You did not misread that headline. Sonic's new adventure, Sonic Forces, is giving fans a pretty amazing opportunity: you can now create your own character via a Custom Hero creation mode.
The idea was officially announced on Tuesday in a trailer posted by the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account. The trailer shows off some of the features.
What can you do inside the creator? Well, it seems players will be able to pick their character's footwear, gloves, headgear, and clothes. There's also options for bodysuits, skin color, and the Custom Hero's body itself. Comparing the various characters in the trailer reveals that we'll probably receive multiple character species, from bunnies to foxes. It also looks like there's male and female options.
After creating a Custom Hero, creations can be used inside Modern and Classic gameplay. More features may be coming soon with the Custom Hero, too: Sonic Forces advertises the creation as an "Avatar," meaning those heroes may be used for a social or online element.
Either way, Sega is providing Sonic fans a pretty powerful toolkit for creating their own characters. That's a big deal for a community like Sonic the Hedgehog's fandom.
Bringing Your Roleplay Characters to Life
It's common knowledge that the Sonic the Hedgehog fandom has some... interesting fans. Original character (or OC) creation is particularly common in the community. Meaning that plenty of people create their own heroes inspired by the official characters' designs. Some are blatant rip offs of Sonic, others are pretty clever, but original character creation is a staple that practically any major fan will recognize.
Sometimes to the point of cringe. It's been satirized in the past plenty of times. Back in 2015, Arcane Kids' Sonic Dreams Collection came with "Make My Sonic," a parody OC creator where everyone's Sonic is just a slightly modified version of the official Sonic. Some have jokingly compared the mode to Sonic Forces' new Custom Hero creator.
It's a humorous observation, but there's some truth to the idea. Some speculate that the mod scene surrounding Sonic Forces will be, um, intense. And somewhat cringey.
But Sonic fans should be excited about the upcoming creator inside Sonic Forces. Fans have been developing their own OC creators for well over a decade, and original characters date back even further than the advent of Flash. And even though the Sonic series has added in additional characters over time, Sega never quite made the jump to let players create their own heroes.
By adding Custom Heroes in, Sega is sending a pretty clear message that they want to create a Sonic game that gives fans exactly what they want: engagement with a classic franchise. That's important, because Sonic has been criticized for straying away from its classic formula for years.
Seriously, Sonic Boom and Sonic Unleashed? What was Sega thinking? Instead, Sonic Team is developing something that bridges the two most popular era together: the classic '90s days and the Sonic Adventure years. Like Sonic Generations, it's sure to do well.
And the Nintendo Switch Could Play a Major Role
With Sonic Forces headed to Nintendo Switch, Custom Hero options may prove a huge pull for fans. Why create and play on a big screen when you can take Sonic with you anywhere you go? There's something so engaging about creating and playing as your own character on a long trip. Fine-tuning your new original character seems like a perfect way to spend an Amtrak train ride.
And younger fans will take note. The creator looks quite powerful, giving fans the ability to literally put their OCs into the game. Given the choice to play with their creations anywhere, the Nintendo Switch might look like a particularly strong option for die-hard fans playing Sonic Forces.
What other features will Sega add into Sonic Forces? Right now, it's hard to say. But having a custom character creator is a good start. Expect some crazy releases to come out as the modding community takes hold. Maybe we'll even see BLONIC.
Are you going to resurrect your Sonic OC for Sonic Forces? Tell us in the comments below.