Yuji Naka Seemingly Confirms Michael Jackson Helped Compose Sonic 3 Soundtrack [Update]

Update 6/23 9:58 am PT: Yuji Naka has somewhat walked back his assertions that Michael Jackson is somehow involved with the music in Sonic 3. Despite longheld rumors, and a seeming confirmation that Jackson is at least somewhat involved in the confusing saga of Sonic 3’s soundtrack, Naka clarified that his tweets were “misunderstood.”

“I feel like I’m being misunderstood a lot, probably because I do not speak English and I’m using a translation tool. Sorry,” Naka writes.

This is in relation to an earlier Tweet where Naka seemingly connects Sonic 3’s music with Michael Jackson through a tribute Sega Tweeted to the pop star. We will simply have to move this rumor back into the vaults of gaming history’s greatest untold tales.

Original Story: Former Sega programmer Yuji Naka seems to have confirmed that Michael Jackson did indeed work on the original Sonic the Hedgehog 3 soundtrack, which could explain why it is no longer used in new re-releases of the game.

On Twitter, Yuji Naka reacted to the fact that Sonic 3’s soundtrack in the Sonic Origins collection was changed. He then followed up with, “Oh my god, the music for Sonic 3 has changed, even though Sega Official uses Michael Jackson’s music.”

Naga then further clarifies that he’s referring to a Sega’s TikTok video where the company is using the star’s song to celebrate Sonic’s 31st birthday. However, this does not seem to negate his previous implication about Sonic 3’s soundtrack.

Earlier this week, Sonic social media manager Katie Chrzanowski confirmed that the original soundtrack for the game would not be included in the new classic games collection. It’s long been speculated that pop star Michael Jackson worked on the original soundtrack due to its similarities with his biggest songs like Smooth Criminal, Stranger in Moscow, and Jam.

Instead, the soundtrack in Sonic 3 for Origins was adapted from the 1993 prototype that was discovered in November 2019. Fans were not really happy about the results.

Sonic Origins launches on June 23 for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X | S.

George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @yinyangfooey

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