Update: A bit later in the day, Yuji Naka attempted to backtrack from his comments on Twitter by posting the following statement: “I feel like I’m being misunderstood a lot, probably because I don’t speak English and I’m using a translation tool. Sorry.” There are too many coincidences for this to merely be a mistake, but it may point to the mystery not being solved just yet.
In a relatively off-the-cuff post on Twitter earlier today, Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka confirmed a long-standing rumor. As it turns out, Michael Jackson did have some involvement with Sonic the Hedgehog 3’s soundtrack.
For decades, it was believed that “The King of Pop” contributed compositions and melodies to the blue blur’s third outing on the Genesis. While members of Jackson’s band have detailed their own personal involvement with specific songs, Sega has never officially gone on record about the rumors surrounding MJ’s supposed work in the game. The recent release of the Sonic Origins Collection brought up the discussion again, and it seems Naka simply wanted to set the record straight.
Out of the blue
Right around 8:00 am EST, Naka tweeted out a question asking if Sonic Origins would have different music for Sonic 3. He followed that up by tweeting, “Oh my god, the music for Sonic 3 has changed, even though SEGA Official uses Michael Jackson’s music.” That, alone, doesn’t confirm anything, but his follow-up then spilled the beans. Naka uploaded a photo he took from the helicopter ride to the Neverland Ranch, which was Jackson’s estate, with a description stating, “This is a picture taken by me with my camera when we went to his house in his helicopter.”
This is a picture taken by me with my camera when we went to his house in his helicopter. It's pretty faded. I miss it. pic.twitter.com/wtM1BtMHwT
— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) June 23, 2022
Stranger in Moscow
While that still doesn’t completely clear up what Jackson may have worked on for Sonic the Hedgehog 3, it absolutely confirms the rumors that he was contacted by Sega. It’s not exactly clear why Naka revealed all of this on a random Thursday morning, but after nearly 30 years, fans finally have a definitive answer on whether or not Sega was in negotiations with Michael Jackson for a Sonic game. It also adds up with the recent answer given for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 having its soundtrack changed in the Sonic Origins Collection.
We’ll probably never learn the entire story behind what happened with Sonic 3’s soundtrack, but it’s nice to have urban legends such as this get concrete answers.