1. Sonic Mania Showed How Fan-Modders Can Save An Ailing Franchise
The middle-ground between Kickstarter projects lead by ex-developers and official releases, Sonic Mania was headed up by prolific fan-modder Christian Whitehead, who Sega recruited after decades of work making his own homebrew sequels.
Reminiscent of that time a fan once made a 25 hour expansion to apply for Bethesda (only to be snapped up by Bioware), the fantastically positive reception of Sonic Mania - alongside it being an immaculate product - proves that oftentimes, if the official studios have had their wells tapped, recruiting some fan-power can be the way forward.
Lord knows the fans could do a better job of remaking Final Fantasy VII than the current action-heavy, episodic version we're getting from Square Enix, and as things like Pokemon Uranium and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II's fan-overhaul have proven, reinvigorating love for a specific property often works best when coming from an outsider perspective.
Honestly, I don't think we can expect once-prolific studios to always deliver using the same level of drive, passion and dedication, so why not look further afield? Sonic Mania proves this is more than viable.