Sonic 3 Creator Confirms Michael Jackson Wrote the Game’s Music

A piece of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 artwork featuring Sonic standing atop Tails' red biplane as it soars above some clouds.

What a way to bring some news, huh? On Twitter, Sonic the hedgehog creator Yuji Naka said the quiet part out loud: Michael Jackson definitely composed some music for the 1994 Sega Genesis game, Sonic the hedgehog 3† Sadly, Naka followed confirmation that this long-running myth is a bona fide fact, with a bittersweet revelation: The songs the King of Pop worked on have been replaced in the just-released Sonic Origins remaster from sonic 3† Yes, it’s a bummer.

It has always been “allegedly” and “presumably” that the problematic late pop musician was involved sonic 3† After all, Jackson had a close relationship with Sega, lending his talents to games like the Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker beat ’em ups and the rhythm action game Room channel 5† Apparently Jackson was hired during… sonic 3‘s development to compose music, but apparently left the project in the wake of the Child abuse allegations in 1993 and has not been mentioned since. Of course, Jackson’s composer and music director Brad Buxer spilled the tea in 2009, and said one possible reason Jackson wasn’t mentioned was, “He wasn’t happy with the resulting sound coming out of the console.” But now we have another line under the statement of the sonic creator himself. You can’t get it any clearer than this.

“Is doing Sonic Origins Sonic 3 have a different number,” Naka asked in a June 23 tweet. Then he answered this question, saying, “Oh my god, the music for… sonic 3 has changed, even though Sega Official uses Michael Jackson’s music.”

So, which tracks have been replaced in? Sonic OriginsSega’s Remastered Bundle with the first four sonic platform games, and what have they been replaced with? GameXplain posted a great video on June 21 that breaks it all down, but the TLDR is the music for three of the game’s zones – Carnival Night, Ice Cap and Launch Base – is completely different in Sonic Originssonic 3† Instead of the funky, rhythmic, distinctly Jackson cuts in the original, in this remaster we get remixed versions of songs used in the game’s prototype. The same prototype that eventually became the 1997 PC port for Sonic 3 & Knuckles† It’s not that they are bad. They mostly sound like elevator music.

When reached for comment via Twitter DMs, Naka . sent Kotaku the tweet below, which reads “it’s too bad the music for” sonic 3 had changed.”

Kotaku has reached out to Sega for comment.

There you have it. Michael Jackson composed music for Sonic 3. It’s a shame, because the tracks Jackson wrote aren’t just the danceable tunes he’s known for, but their thumping energy also matched the game’s frenetic speed. But it’s understandable too that Sega might not want to have the game associated with such a sussy musician, especially in light of 2019’s Leaving Neverland documentary.

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