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SEGA Wins April Fool’s Day By Releasing a Free Game Where Sonic Literally Dies

Screenshot from the trailer of SEGA's The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog

April Fool’s Day is very much a double-edged sword. Er, maybe it’s more single-edged. It’s a day where we go on social media to see companies indulge in a bunch of half-hearted joke headlines and false announcements that usually invoke nothing more than an eye roll and a groan. But occasionally, someone goes above and beyond. Once in a blue moon, someone’s April Fool’s Day prank is genuinely epic. This year, SEGA has won April Fool’s Day. The victory is uncontested. Because they have released a game where its beloved mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, dies.

On “April Fool’s Day (Observed)” (ie, April 1st in Tokyo, where their headquarters are), SEGA released a trailer for a new game: The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog. Which, they said, is free and available on Steam. Up front, the trailer features a lot of footage from last year’s Sonic Frontiers, a game which received a … very “hot or cold” reception, you could say. Sonic Frontiers attempts to reimagine what’s possible for Sonic games by taking a hefty page from Breath of the Wild and turn Sonic into an open-world experience. Some really loved it. Some really didn’t.

So SEGA shot back. “We’ve heard your feedback. Yes … all of it,” they say in the new trailer, over upbeat and chipper music. “We now have a bold new direction for the future of Sonic the Hedgehog. We’re excited to announce—he’s dead.”

If this is not the best burn a developer has ever delivered to toxic fandoms who have overly specific ideas about what a beloved franchise “should” do, please show me another. Because regardless of what you think of Sonic Frontiers, SEGA got us all good.

Except—this game is not a joke at all. In a truly brilliant twist on an already brilliant gag, The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is real. You can get it on Steam right now. And it’s actually free!

What’s the game like?

As long as you have a Steam account, you can play The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog for free. It even works on both PC and Mac. And so I played it for a little bit. And guys? There’s no reason an April Fool’s joke needed to be this good. Especially when it’s also free.

The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is a hybrid visual novel and murder mystery. The player character is a new employee on a luxury train, and your task on your first day is to work Amy Rose’s birthday party. And guess what—she’s hosting a murder mystery! Everyone (minus Eggman, naturally) is there to celebrate. Even my boy Shadow. Also, did Rogue always have visible cleavage?

Anyway, the line between fiction and reality quickly begin to blur. Sonic seems genuinely hurt! Dead, even?! You work with Tails (looking adorable in his little Sherlock Holmes getup) and Amy to solve the mystery of his (fake? real?!) murder. You travel around the train and talk to suspects, who play along with Amy’s murder mystery game with varying levels of enthusiasm. Whenever you have to put clues together, a classic-Sonic-style mini-game appears on your player character’s “DreamGear.”

The music slaps, the dialogue is very self-aware and fun (love the mental image of Tails specializing in cast iron pizza), and the game overall is incredibly charming. The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is a good game. Hell, it has 98% positive reviews on Steam right now.

I bow my detective’s cap to you, SEGA. Well played.

(Featured image: SEGA)

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Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.