Update: Yuji Naka says his reference to Sega using Michael Jackson's music was about a TikTok video.
Naka points to video (opens in new tab) from the official Sega TikTok account where a person in a Sonic costume tries to pick up a cup of coffee that's too hot - while the base line from Billie Jean plays in the background and samples of Michael Jackson's voice play in the background.
"I feel like I'm being misunderstood a lot," Naka says (opens in new tab), "probably because I don't speak English and I'm using a translation tool. Sorry."
While Sega's never officially acknowledged Jackson's contribution to Sonic 3, the musicians who worked with him on the game have been very specific about it. A 2016 Huffington Post feature (opens in new tab) features direct confirmation that Jackson's music made it into the game.
Original story follows...
And just like that, Sonic creator Yuji Naka has casually confirmed on Twitter that Michael Jackson worked on the Sonic 3 soundtrack.
Somewhat out of the blue, the industry veteran took to social media to query Sonic Origins' soundtrack before confirming a long-standing rumour. "Does Sonic Origins Sonic 3 have a different song?" Naka tweets (opens in new tab). "Oh my god, the music for Sonic 3 has changed, even though Sega Official uses Michael Jackson's music."
Naka follows up the tweets with an old picture he took with a camera while flying in Jackson's helicopter to visit his house. Clearly feeling a pinch of nostalgia, he has also shared some vintage snaps of a Pontiac Fiero and Chevrolet Lumina he drove while creating Sonic in San Francisco.
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/wtM1BtMHwTJune 23, 2022
Speculation (opens in new tab) over Jackson's involvement with the game has persisted for close to 30 years now. It's generally believed (opens in new tab) that the music star did work on the soundtrack but remained uncredited. Finding the truth to these claims, though, proved elusive as Sega has never officially confirmed Jackson's involvement, though several others, such as a keyboardist who worked with Jackson called Brad Buxer, have (opens in new tab).
To clarify Naka’s tweet somewhat, he’s talking about Sonic Origins, which doesn’t appear to include the original Sonic 3 soundtrack. If you’ve been out of the loop, Sonic Origins brings Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3, & Knuckles to current-gen consoles. Sega has delisted the classic Sonic games ahead of Origins’ launch, so it might just be your best way to play the classics.
Sonic Origins is out today.
Here are the best retro games of all time, so say us.