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A key figure in the creation of the classic video game sonic the hedgehog seemingly confirmed a long-running rumor that Michael Jackson contributed to the 1994 trio’s soundtrack, sonic the hedgehog 3. As for why Jackson would have been chosen by Sega to help with the music, and not by 90s band Blur, we still don’t know.
Yuji Naka was the lead programmer for the original sonic the hedgehog on Sega Genesis, according to the Sonic Wiki. It happens to be Sonic’s birthday on Thursday; 31 years to the day since the game was released on June 23, 1991, which many fans of the chili-loving mammal celebrated, We Got This Covered previously reported.
Coinciding with the anniversary of the blue blur was the release of Sound origins on most modern consoles. The game is a set of the first four main Sonic games, including sonic the Hedgehog, sonic the hedgehog 2, CD Sonic the Hedgehogand Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Knuckles. This last game is the one Jackson would have contributed to the soundtrack.
Two weeks ago, Katie Chrzanowski, head of social media for Sonic the Hedgehog, confirmed the Sonic 3 the re-release would not use “all of the original sounds from the Sega Genesis version of the game”, according to an interview with Tails’ Channel, a Sonic News Twitter account.
This news of the track replacements immediately struck fans as a tacit acknowledgment from Sega that the rumored Jackson had contributed tracks on Sonic 3in an uncredited capacity, was actually true all along.
Even Naka took to Twitter to comment on the situation, saying, “Does Sonic Origins Sonic 3 have a different song?”
Naka followed up this Tweet with a remark that some have taken as proof positive that Jackson contributed original music to Sonic 3which was later replaced on the Sound origins reissue.
“Oh my god, the music for Sonic 3 has changed, even though SEGA Official uses Michael Jackson’s music.”
However, take the previous comment with a grain of salt. It may not be the unambiguous acknowledgment of Jackson’s involvement in Sonic 3 it seems.
Naka explained in a later tweet that when he said “SEGA Official uses music by Michael Jackson”, he was referring to a TikTok created by the company that used Jackson’s instrumental of “Billie Jean”, a track which definitely not part of Sonic 3 soundtrack.
The TikTok in question is actually quite funny, despite the somewhat questionable taste of using a Jackson song, given all the controversy. It featured Sonic struggling to grab a cup of hot coffee with Jackson’s signature vocal soundtrack standing out as the Blue Blur’s own exasperated lyrics.
Naka also expressed concern that his tweets were being “misunderstood” due to “using a translation tool” to post messages in English, which is not a language he normally speaks. This would seem to indicate that Naka is trying to limit expectations regarding his initial tweet and cautions others not to misinterpret his words.
Although Sega still hasn’t officially acknowledged Jackson’s alleged involvement in the Sonic 3 soundtrack, all signs seem to point to this being true, given everything we know about the situation, with this latest change in the Sound origins the soundtrack iteration being just the latest example.
For example, even though Jackson was uncredited in the Genesis game, several of his frequent collaborators were, including C. Circocco Jones, Bobby Brooks, Geoff Grace, Brad Buxer, Doug Grigsby III, and Darryl Ross. Three of the aforementioned six instrumentalists claimed that Jackson had actually worked on the game, according to a 2016 article in The Huffington Post. The musicians also claimed that not only did Jackson work on the game, but his music eventually made it into the final version.
Specifically, music tracks that have been replaced in Sound origins include music from Sonic 3 Carnival Night, Ice Cap and Launch Base levels, according to a breakdown from the GameXplain YouTube channel.
The music that takes the place of the tracks allegedly composed by Jackson is a revamped version of some early 1993-era beta compositions by composer Jun Senoue that never left the editing room – until now – according to VG247.
That same article explained that many had long believed that Jackson was collaborating with Sega to contribute to the Sonic 3 soundtrack when the first accusations of pedophilia surfaced about the pop star. The public court drama and controversy involving Jackson prompted the video game company to strike his name from the credits, but apparently not his music, at least one of several theories.
According to the article, “Sega’s official line remains that Jackson’s contribution to Sonic 3which was never officially announced, never even existed.
Over the years, people have also compared the game’s tracks to some of Jackson’s own songs, such as the Carnival Night Zone track resembling parts of Jackson’s song “Jam”, among other examples.
Anyway you can get Sound origins now and decide for yourself if the replacement tracks are up to the task; the collection is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series X/S/One and PC.