On Thursday, former Sonic Team lead Yuji Naka confirmed the longstanding rumor that Michael Jackson contributed music to Sonic 3. The singer-songwriter’s exact involvement in the soundtrack is not explicitly clear, but he composed music for the game without ever being officially credited for his work.
In a tweet Thursday morning, the former producer expressed surprise that Jackson’s music was not included in the new edition of Sonic Origins, a compilation that includes Sonic 3 alongside three other Sonic titles from the Genesis. He confirmed that “even though SEGA Official uses Michael Jackson’s music,” the compilation has replaced the songs he worked on, reportedly with music from earlier builds.
Naka’s tweet marks the first time anyone from the Sonic 3 team has confirmed Jackson’s involvement in the game. The rumor of his involvement is nearly 30 years old: Jackson, a fan of the Sonic series, was supposedly tapped to write the soundtrack for the game, before SEGA distanced themselves from him following Sonic 3’s release. Takashi Iizuka confirmed to Eurogamer that the music was replaced in Origins because of the original’s low quality: “When we’re going back and trying to recreate all these games from 30 plus years ago, you get a lot of old data that’s not really usable.” Restrictions from Jackson’s estate may have also contributed to the change.