So if I’m right in my theory that the custom character is, in some way, an avatar of/aspect of Infinite, it occurred to me, that could actually be a brilliant commentary on the role of fancharacters and fanwork in general- and not in a mocking “oh look at this bad stuff” way, but a very heartfelt one.
If I’m right in my takes, that Infinite is, and has been, used, and has probably been kind of miserable- imagine what shifted originally to put them in contact with Eggman is that they became aware of Sonic’s world, and, Sonic himself?
After all it seems odd, if Eggman’s the only one masterminding these dimensional shifts, that he’d make things hard for himself by putting two different versions of Sonic against him.
But if Infinite’s acting on their own-
Imagine if Infinite had a way to look across dimensions and view, but not interact with, Sonic’s past adventures, his history. This entity that’s powerful, but trapped, and unhappy- and, like a lot of people before, someone who is touched by Sonic, inspired by him, wants to root for him.
And- out of that- someone who wants to be part of that world, to have these people as their friends, too.
And, someone who’s kind of lonely and desperate, who’s very powerful and not much can stop them- it makes sense they’d be so tempted by this that they wouldn’t think much about tampering with reality, with dimensions. They might’ve even agreed to work for Eggman just to make it happen, and from there, either fell under control or back on patterns of being controlled. Either way, they don’t fight it-
Because, effectively, they’ve already got what they wanted: they wanted to go on an adventure with Sonic. They’ve split off their more presentable alter-ego, who finds Sonic, and fights alongside him, and gets along with him.
And… it’s not going to work, because, that schism is probably going to get dicey. Working with Sonic and firsthand realizing how miserable people are in this messed-up dimension would be upsetting, would make them doubt if getting to spend time with their hero was really worth it. They’d feel guilty, but also, scared- sure, maybe their power can fix it but owning the side of them that made this happen in the first place, admitting to being Infinite, they might be rejected- their “outsider” status as a being not truly of Sonic’s world emphasized.
It’d basically make Infinite an in-universe self-insert, reflecting very much the kind of sentiments that go into it: we experience Sonic and his world, the people he knows, the life he leads, vicariously. And, especially when we’re younger, if we’re a little lonely or vulnerable or just want some validation or excitement we don’t feel like we have- we make these characters to get into that world, to go where we can’t.
Many early self-inserts befriend everyone and immediately establish themselves as integral to the team and I think rather than cheaply deriding that, exploring it as characterization- someone desperately lonely in a bleak environment who actually gets that chance to put themselves into the situation! And their heart sings the way, frankly, all of ours did when that character creation bit hit news.
But then, has to evaluate. Is it worth it? Not that they don’t deserve friends, but- they’re being dishonest about who they are, and they’re trying to co-opt Sonic’s world, Sonic’s friends, to tell their story. It’s a kind of selfishness that I think any fanwork creator can recognize in themselves, and, it strangles the self just as easily as it does everybody else.
It could open for a really cool arc, of watching this character grow and move beyond initial fear and desire for control- an in-universe version of a character becoming more fleshed out.
And frankly it’d also be a wicked nod to genre considering many Sonic fancharacters are either heroes full of all kinds of cool tricks (like the custom character/buddy figure) or elaborately designed demonic-looking entities (Infinite themselves)- and who hasn’t written a rogues gallery team-up?
Basically, imagine things being really meta because Infinite is basically the actual ultimate in-universe fancharacter in a way handled with respect to the feelings behind it, and not a concept exploited for cheap laughs at the expense of the young fan we all were at some point.