Given recent developments, the forthcoming Sonic Runners is likely to be the first proper signpost as to both the future of the character and Sega itself.
Though we can't imagine many Sonic fans - and do they still exist, oddly - getting too stoked up about it, Sonic Runners might at least return the 'hog back to 2D basics before he milks the last few drops of goodwill from the public's teats of tolerance. How do he do dis?
As unappealing as we sort of find Sonic and his dated "attitude" schtick these days, we were big fans of his first game. As the years have gone on, the games have become faster, more 3D-y, and seemed to do everything conceivable to wrestle control out of the hands of the player.
It's like Sega never found a way to translate that original side-on platform gameplay into a satisfying 3D environment, the way Nintendo did with Mario. Even when returning to basics - as in the recent Sonic 4 - something has been missing.
While we can't imagine that Sonic Runners will be the Sonic game we really want, it does at least feel like a sensible move for the hyper-fast, spiny glove-wearer. Particularly given that we can't imagine anyone forking out actual money for a Sonic game ever again.
Anyhow, here's the trailer, voiced by an excitable Japanese fellow.