It’s a bit surprising that it’s taken Sega more than 25 years to allow Sonic the Hedgehog fans to create and play as their own characters. Sonic Forces, out later this year, will be the first game in the series to let custom heroes get in on the action — and of the most popular original characters, Coldsteel the Hedgeheg may be the one they’re most excited to recreate.
Fanmade Sonic characters are numerous online, but Coldsteel has developed quite the cachet in recent years. His story begins in May 2013, when Twitter user Laxoongarfl posted the following image (which, note, has some gross language — even if most of it’s misspelled):
Coldsteel embodies every preteen conception of badassery. He loves Nine Inch Nails (but hates its lead singer, Trent “Razner”), he has a thing for death, and can’t stand happiness, life or his dad.
In essence: He was created to be a meme. And become a meme he did, quickly. Fan art mocking this typo-ridden, stereotypical fact sheet proliferated on DeviantArt. Dramatic readings of the post on YouTube racked up more than 100,000 views, and someone even animated a trailer to properly introduce Coldsteel to the world for E3 2014.
The Sonic the Hedgehog fandom often takes its original creations seriously. Coldsteel, by stark contrast, is a joke, a dig at “edgelords” — or particularly nihilistic, melodramatic forum dwellers — and Sonic obsessives alike.
Social media has helped Sonic to lighten up in the last few years, revamping his image to embrace the goofs. The official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account tipped its hat to Coldsteel earlier this spring with a winking tweet that got Coldsteel lovers hyped up.
Hedgehogs are among the seven possible species that players can choose for their custom Sonic Forces characters. The character creator’s various options — from accessories to species — already have Sonic fans promising to recreate Coldsteel in-game.
@sonic_hedgehog COLDSTEEL CAN FINALLY BE AN OFFICIAL CHARACTER— BlueParadox (@BlueParax) May 16, 2017
@sonic_hedgehog COLDSTEEL IS NOW CANON— Flandre (Luke)~ (@Flandre9999vr) May 16, 2017
I HOPE YOU REALIZE WHAT YOUVE DONE
Since custom heroes also play a part in Sonic Forces’ storyline, it means that original characters are, in some sense, part of the canonical Sonic universe. Although there’s no confirmation that Hero Characters can be uploaded and shared, rest assured that enough people will recreate their favorite meme characters — like Coldsteel, or Sonichu, or Sanic Hegehog, or Cinos the Hedgehog, or [insert your own name here] the Hedgehog — in-game to cement their place in the actual Sonic world, not just its fandom.