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Surprise killing Sonic the Hedgehog shows why he’s lived so long

The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog on Steam is a free game that came out of nowhere, but it proves exactly why the Sega mascot has lived this long.

The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is absolutely brilliant. Released as a free game on Steam to coincide with the many April Fool’s jokes our industry puts out, Sega and Sonic’s social team has once again proved that they completely understand the characters, fanbase, and reason why the series sticks around so much. Despite repeated attempts to kill him, Sonic The Hedgehog refuses to die.

Part visual novel, part Ace Attorney, and part meme-filled fan service, The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is a short adventure that sees you take control of a new character whose first day on the job is marred by a murder mystery party that’s light on the murder, but heavy on the mystery.

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It’s a rather simple and yet absurdly engrossing premise for us Sonic fans, as you get to see the large cast of characters interact with each other while the writing team has squeezed in as many deep-cut easter eggs and jokes as possible. One minute it’s a Tails voice line I’m certain most fans don’t even remember, and then it’s a recreation of the Family Guy death pose.

There are a lot of reasons The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog works, and chief among them is Sega’s continued willingness to listen to series fans (many of which are now experienced developers or working at Sega themselves) and just let them make anything with ludicrous sincerity.

Sonic social media manager Katie Chrzanowski says they “pulled together a group of friends and pitched” what would become The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog (see the image below), and at this point, I’m not even surprised Sega went with it. Sonic Mania was given to someone in the fangame community that made mobile ports of the original games, and Sega even gave Sonic away to have him be in his own Roblox game. Part of the reason Sonic is still here is that Sega knows dedicated fans give him life, even if they show that by killing him.

The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog also understands its audience. Deep cuts for long-time fans are mixed with a true understanding of each character to the point that despite none of them being voiced, you can absolutely hear each as they speak.

This understanding extends beyond the game itself too, as producer on the project Michal Shafrir shared a render of the dead Sonic image with no background as a “launch day treat,” and it’s already being used to excellent effect. I even put him in that one scene from Goodfellas, but a cursory glance at the Sonic community shows that they’ve already gone wild with the image.

It’s difficult to highlight how well The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog understands the fanbase without spoiling some of its best moments, but seeing Knuckles in a cowboy hat should tell you all you need to know, really.

It also helps that it’s both a free game and incredibly well-written. A short and sweet experience, you’re just along for the ride while all the character’s personalities take over the screen. There are a couple of twists and turns in there, and even some cool uses of age-old Sonic lore as well.

The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog might look like a joke, sound like a joke, and be filled with jokes, but it’s about as far from one as you can get. This game is very real, and we’re all the better for it.

Sonic the Hedgehog is dead. Long live Sonic the Hedgehog.

If you want more like The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog we’ve got a list of the best story games available on PC, or you can play games more in line with traditional Sonic releases from our best platform games list instead.