In recent years, the tone of April Fool’s Day has undergone a rapid shift. While it has the occasional tendency to be mean-spirited, playing off innocence and trust, many video game companies have begun using the day as an excuse to experiment, and test the waters of new ideas. In Sega’s case, April Fool’s Day 2023 was used to literally kill off Sonic the Hedgehog.
To celebrate the titular day, the company released The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog, a murder-mystery narrative game that transports players to a mysterious party where Sonic is the victim of strange and suspicious circumstances.
‘It’s Amy Rose’s birthday, and she’s hosting a murder mystery party on the Mirage Express!’ the game’s official description reads. ‘When Sonic the Hedgehog becomes the game’s victim, everyone is off to get to the bottom of things. However, something feels a bit off – is this really an innocent game or is something more sinister afoot?’
Following these harrowing events, it’s your job to interrogate suspects – Knuckles the Echidna, Rouge the Bat, Shadow the Hedgehog, Espio the Chameleon, and other friends – to figure out who really killed Sonic, and why.
While the game is technically just an April Fool’s Day joke, it’s been met with an uproarious response. The attention to detail and characterisation in the writing has been particularly praised, with many players calling for more narrative experimentation in the Sonic franchise.
‘I’m not going to lie, I would pay money for a proper “Detective Sonic” game now. If Pikachu can do it, why can’t Sonic?’ one Steam review for the game reads.
‘I hope this was a proof of concept like Sonic Frontiers, and not a one-off April’s Fools “joke,” because this was seriously incredible,’ another said. ‘Such a fun adventure start to finish that’s jam-packed with callbacks, great character moments and funny gags. Please make more.’
Another reviewer claimed they felt like they’d ‘robbed’ Sega by playing the game for free, as the effort and fun of the experience warranted a paid price tag.
For now, it does appear The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is a one-off experience designed to be a fun and frivolous April Fool’s Day joke, but it could spark a renewed interest in the Sonic franchise and spin-off games that adopt a more narrative-focused formula.
The effort and talent on show in this non-canon adventure is worthy of celebration, and there’s high hopes we could see more mini-tales like it in future. The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog may be considered a throw-away idea, but it has limitless potential that should certainly be explored.
You can now download and play the free game on Steam.