You might have heard chatter on social media about a fan project that just wrapped up this week, called ‘Sonic Omens’. The final chapters of this impressively ambitious – but highly controversial – fan game was completed and released to the world a few days ago, and the Sonic community has been quick to comment on how developer Ouroboros Studio has made use of the franchise’s accepted canon.
* Warning: Spoilers for the ‘Sonic Omens’ fan game below. *
While the feedback on the project’s core gameplay seems generally positive – if Sonic Unleashed style gameplay is your kind of thing, it sounds like you’re going to have a great time – it’s the story beats, use of characters and dialogue that are currently a source of confusion with those who have played the game.
“It’s a fairly decent fangame,” writes user Blake Leyland. “The visuals/scenery look good. The gameplay is solid, but there isn’t much else that stands out to me.”
What did stand out to Blake though, was the return of Sonic Adventure 2 character Maria – a young girl who grew up with Shadow the Hedgehog on the Space Colony ARK – and her somewhat complicated and uncharacteristic turn to a boss in Sonic Omens. The idea of having to battle “Maria’s ghost” as Shadow was a touch uncomfortable for some.
Despite this, one player felt that the Maria boss was pretty good in terms of execution. “It turns into a bullet hell, near final boss… you’ve got a screen nuke move you build up, so everything balances out. I was actually surprised,” writes user ‘Snick of the Internet’.
It’s worth noting that the above was just about the only praise that ‘Snick’ was willing to give the game – making it clear that overall they really didn’t like the game. At all.
Perhaps the part of the story that surprised people the most was the inclusion of Chris Thorndyke, a human character that Sonic befriends in the official 2003 anime ‘Sonic X’. Chris comes from a completely different universe to Sonic the Hedgehog, according to the anime storyline, so it’s interesting to see him return in Sonic’s world.
However, it’s less the actual inclusion of Chris Thorndyke that has generated surprise – rather, his adult design (seen above and here, where a user draws comparisons to Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series) and his fate within the storyline. During the course of the game, Chris dies and during a credits sequence Sonic is seen visiting the character’s grave.
It’s certainly a very… complex and creative take on the Sonic the Hedgehog universe, and while the plot does seem to have some fans online the general feedback is somewhat less kind. Which is a shame because a lot of effort has clearly gone into developing this game.
Sonic Omens has also been mired in controversy for the past year or so, as it was discovered in 2021 that Russian game studio Ouroboros had a Patreon account that was tied to various elements of the game’s development. This led to accusations from the community of the studio attempting to find ways to profit from their use of the Sonic the Hedgehog IP, something that is frowned upon as it could invite blanket repercussions and fan game project bans from SEGA.
For its part, Ouroboros has written a number of statements to fiercely deny this, rejecting what they called an “unfounded wave of hatred” from an “aggressive minority” of “brawlers”. In a recent statement from early 2022, representatives from the studio claimed that “everything published from [Sonic Omens] was original content – such as bosses, team-created assets , original soundtrack and concept art. Ouroboros has every right to monetize that content.”
If you’re as confused as we are right now and just fancy trying a new Sonic fan game, you can download Sonic Omens from the Gamejolt page right here. Just, maybe mute or skip the cutscenes while you’re playing it.