Sonic The Hedgehog 3 Lead Programmer Confirms Michael Jackson Worked On The Game’s Original Soundtrack
Today marks the release of Sonic Origins, a new compilation of four classic 16-bit Sonic games. One of them, Sonic The Hedgehog 3, features an altered soundtrack. Longstanding rumors suggest an uncredited Michael Jackson worked on the soundtrack for that game, composing the music for certain levels with keyboardist Brad Buxer — rumors that intensified when it became clear some of the music for Sonic 3 had been swapped out for Sonic Origins, presumably because Jackson’s estate made it hard for Sega to secure the rights to his compositions. On Twitter today, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Jackson did indeed contribute music to the game.
As Polygon points out, Yuji Naka — the former Sonic Team lead who was lead programmer on Sonic 3 — addressed the soundtrack switcheroo in a series of tweets. “Does Sonic Origins Sonic 3 have a different song?” he wrote at first, followed by, “Oh my god, the music for Sonic 3 has changed, even though SEGA Official uses Michael Jackson’s music.” In a third tweet, he clarified that he was surprised Sega had replaced Jackson’s music even though the company’s official TikTok recently posted a happy birthday message to Sonic soundtracked by “Billie Jean.”
Below, check out Naka’s tweets as well as a video breaking down which of the Sonic 3 songs have been subbed out.
@segaofficial 熱い！熱い！☕️🥵/ Hot! Hot! #michaeljackson #hot #sega #セガ #sonic ♬ 오리지널 사운드 – 홍슨생