After decades of speculation, Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka casually confirms that Michael Jackson did indeed compose music for Sonic 3.
Rumors about pop star Michael Jackson’s involvement in the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 have finally been confirmed.
Sonic’s co-creator, Yuji Naka, finally confirmed that Jackson composed music for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive classic on Twitter. While discussing changes that were made to game in the new retro compilation Sonic Origins, Naka casually let it slip that Michael Jackson’s original music had been replaced in the new collection. “Does Sonic Origins Sonic 3 have a different song?…Oh my god, the music for Sonic 3 has changed, even though SEGA Official uses Michael Jackson’s music,” Naka wrote.
Rumors have swirled for decades about Michael Jackson’s involvement with the production of Sonic 3. Several developers who worked on the game previously mentioned that the “Beat It” and “Thriller” artist secretly composed several songs from the game, but for whatever reason, both Sega and Yuji Naka previously officially denied that Jackson had any involvement with the game. Some speculation suggested that Jackson’s tracks went unused in the final game, but Naka’s statements seemingly finally confirm that the late musician’s work did make it into the original release of the game. It is unknown why Jackson was previously uncredited for the compositions.
Sonic Origins, which was released on June 23 for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs, features Sega’s first official re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in several years. While Sega has made a habit of re-releasing other classic titles in the franchise as frequently as possible, Sonic 3 was mysteriously absent from many of the company’s other recent retro compilations, which led to speculation that the game could not be re-released due to legal issues surrounding the ownership of Jackson’s music. Sonic Origins appears to confirm this, as several tracks from Sonic 3, which were rumored to be the ones composed by the artist, have been replaced with new songs in the collection.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was originally released in 1994. Due to time restrictions and limitations on cartridge memory, the game’s content had to be split into two releases. The latter half of Sonic’s first trip to Angel Island was instead released as Sonic and Knuckles, which premiered later that same year in a special “lock-on” cart that could be plugged into Sonic 3 to combine both games into the originally planned adventure that was substantially larger than any of the previous titles in the series. The game is still regarded as one of the best games in the series, and one of greatest 16-bit platformers ever created.
Sonic’s newest adventure, the open-world Sonic Frontiers, is scheduled to be released for all modern platforms later this year.
Michael is one of CBR’s Anime News Editors, a Link main in Smash Bros., and once tried to eat 100 tacos in one sitting (He tapped out after about thirty.) After working for several years as a writer and copy editor for companies like an advertising agency and a music label, Michael has come to CBR to pursue his true passion: sharing his love for giant robots and collectible monsters.