Sonic Origins, a collection of four classic Sonic the Hedgehog games, was released today, allowing Sega fans to relive the mascot’s 16-bit era.
With one exception, some of the music that many Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles players experienced on the Sega Genesis in the 1990s isn’t included in the new collection. Instead, Sega substituted different tracks that are a mix of old and new work.
That’s because some of the songs in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 were written by the late singer Michael Jackson and keyboardist Brad Buxer.
According to Buxer, Jackson was dissatisfied with Sega’s use of his songs, and subsequent releases of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 featured a different set of music tracks.
Sega has never officially confirmed Jackson’s involvement in the Genesis game (he is not credited in any version of the game), leading to speculation that Sonic 3’s music rights are in jeopardy.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Michael Jackson
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 music will composed by Michael Jackson, a Former Sonic Team leader Yuji Naka, who was the lead programmer on Sonic the Hedgehog 3, confirmed on Twitter on Thursday that Jackson contributed music to the game.
It’s been a longstanding rumor and hinted at in the past by the other former Sega developers, but Naka would be in a position to know.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 re-releases on other platforms and compilations have included music tracks from a prototype version of the game. According to Sonic social media manager Katie Chrzanowski, Sega went above and beyond for Sonic Origins, hiring longtime Sonic the Hedgehog composer Jun Senoue to modify Sonic 3’s original prototype music for the collection.
“While we can’t use all of the original sounds from the Sega Genesis version of the game, Jun Senoue has been working really hard to adapt the original music that was composed in 1993 for Sonic Origins,” says Jun Senoue.
In a video Q&A, Chrzanowski stated. “He’s gone as far as reproducing it with the same sound chip from the Sega Genesis and using his own digital audio tape collection to make it as authentic as possible.”
The Jackson-Buxer tracks have been removed and replaced with Senoue’s recreated tracks, as seen and heard in the excellent GameXplain video below.
It’s surely an useful solution to a problem that has vexed Sega and Sonic fans for years, and likely the most authentic way of addressing what has been somewhat of an urban legend. But that doesn’t mean Sonic the Hedgehog fans are pleased; reaction to the updated prototype music has been overwhelmingly negative.
Sonic Origins is now available for purchase on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic CD are all included in the collection.