Sonic creator confirms Michael Jackson's long-rumoured involvement in Sonic 3

Sonic runs a loop de loop.
(Image credit: Sega)

One of gaming's longest-running rumours has finally been put to bed. Sonic creator Yuji Naka today confirmed that yes, moonwalking music icon Michael Jackson did, in fact, compose the soundtrack to Sonic 3—and that's probably why Sega seems to have replaced a bunch of Sonic 3's bangers inside of Sonic Origins, a remastered collection of the first three games released today.

Tweeting earlier today, Naka expressed surprise at Origins' soundtrack changing out several tunes, including Carnival Night Zone. Going by the replies, his note of Sega Official using Jackson's music appears to stem from an official TikTok using Billie Jean in a promotion celebrating Sonic's 31st birthday.

Shortly after confirming Jackson's involvement, Naka brought forward further proof by sharing a picture he took while on a helicoptor tour of the singer's Neverland Ranch.

Sega, Sonic Team and Naka (who has since left Sega to release the somewhat underwhelming Balan Wonderland and subsequently pick fights with Square Enix) have been extremely cagey about Jackson's involvement in Sonic 3 for the past three decades. Naka's somewhat gung-ho approach to social media use means it's hard to tell if any official word let him spill the beans, or if he just saw his shot and took it.

Regardless, Sega seems to have decided it's time for Sonic 3 to move on from Michael Jackson. According to GameXplain, removed tracks in Origins have been replaced with tunes based on early builds of Sonic 3.

Missing tunes appear to be the least of Sonic Origins' concerns anyway, with Steam reviews already complaining of a poor PC port with bad performance, lacklustre bonus features and muffled audio on the replacement tracks. In short, it's not exactly a thriller.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.