Fans creating their own Sonic the Hedgehog games will be happy to know that Sega probably won't be sending cease and desist letters anytime soon! In a pair of Tweets, Sega of America associate influencer manager Katie Chrzanowski discussed the company's policy when it comes to fan games based on Sonic. According to Chrzanowski, Sega's biggest concern comes down to monetization. If fans aren't looking to profit from these games, the company is mostly okay with them! Chrzanowski was quick to point out that this will be the case for most fan games, but she can't legally say it will be true for everything. However, the move is a major deviation from most video game publishers!
Chrzanowski's Tweets about fan games can be found embedded below.
We can handle outliers case-by-case as we notice them, but our goal isn't to stifle everything.
Please do not use this thread to call out any specific groups or people; we're all learning here and I appreciate how receptive everyone I've spoken to has been. 💛— Katie - MiniKitty (@KatieChrz) May 10, 2021
Sega has long had a unique relationship with Sonic the Hedgehog fan games. Christian Whitehead started his career in game development working on Sonic fan games, before catching Sega's attention. The programmer was eventually hired to work on Sonic ports, before developing the critically-acclaimed title Sonic Mania.
Not all publishers have similarly embraced fan games. Most companies tend to be fiercely protective when it comes to their IPs. Nintendo has a track record of sending cease and desist letters for fan games, and Warner Bros. recently did the same with a fan game based on the 1989 Batman movie.
Chrzanowski's initial Tweet mentions the fact that a lot of developers tend to hone their development skills by working on fan projects. Notably, GalaxyTrail's Freedom Planet began life as a Sonic the Hedgehog fan game! Sega's acknowledgement of this fact really says a lot about the company's culture, and its knowledge of the industry. Sega's approach is forward thinking, and it will be interesting to see if more companies follow suit. As long as fan games aren't turning a profit, more publishers should be willing to let them be!
Are you happy to see Sega embrace fan games? Should more companies adopt a similar philosophy? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!