Let's be honest: it's been a long time since Sonic the Hedgehog fans have had anything to be excited about. It looked like the series would make a grand return to form with Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, but Sega followed those games up with the generally boring Sonic: Lost Worlds and the abysmal Sonic Boom. For a moment there, it almost looked like Sonic was done with terrible games.
At this point, maybe it's time for fans to take things into their own hands. There have been a number of successful, fan-created games over the years (just look at all of the custom Metroid games floating around on the Internet), so maybe Sonic should receive the same treatment. Sure, there are a few 2D custom games floating around, but what about another fully-3D Sonic the Hedgehog?
Well, going by a recent Unreal Engine 4 tech demo, that might not be too far off...
First and foremost, it's clear that the above video is a tech demo. Animations are choppy, momentum is relatively nonexistent and Sonic's face is stuck in a surprisingly angry scowl - but that's what you should expect to see in a tech demo. They're built to test if the ideas will work at all, and that is what's being shown here.
Surprisingly, it looks like a more open Sonic the Hedgehog game could actually work with something like this. True, the camera would need adjusting, and building a decent level takes a lot more than just giving Sonic a field to run through, but what's shown in the video is definitely far better than anything fans saw in Sonic Boom.
This isn't the first time fans have seen classic games transplanted into the Unreal Engine 4: a few months back, one programmer created a playable demo of Super Mario 64 running in Unreal. While it's easy to assume that both of these projects will be shut down (if they haven't been already), it'd be interesting to see what fans are capable of making with one of the industry's most powerful creation tools.
Of course, after games like Sonic '06 and Sonic Boom, the only way left to go is up, right?