Sonic games are generally met with a collective shrug among the wider gaming community but the latest trailer for Sonic Forces shows Sega catering to their hardcore fans brilliantly. This may be the smartest thing Sega has done for their mascot in years.
The "Custom Heroes" trailer shows the first game in the series that will allow you to bring in your own original creation. It has some limitations, namely those of the seven animal breeds that can be selected in the character creator: cat, dog, bear, bird, hedgehog, rabbit, and wolf. It's a pretty common feature in video games, albeit with the added twist of implementing Sonic's cute cadre of animal companions.
What makes this so genius, though, doesn't come from Sega or Sonic Team itself. Instead, it's a keen response to a fan community that has existed for years. Sonic has inspired fan creations like few other series, leading to a dedicated group of fans who have been drawing or rendering their own alter-egos as forest creatures who pal along with Sonic, Tails, and the rest of the crew.
To get an idea of just how large this community is, just use Google Image Search to search for your own name followed by "the hedgehog." (Be sure to turn on SafeSearch.) Chances are, someone has made it. Then there are more high-profile fan characters that have become well known in the community as memes, and an entire Wiki devoted to this portion of fandom.
In short, a character creator might be just what the series needs. A neat little feature that will be fine enough for the casual fans, and incredibly satisfying for the legion of super-fans who have kept the series alive through the years.