As odd as it might sound, there has long been an urban legend that Michael Jackson was involved in creating part of the soundtrack for Sonic 3. Now Sonic creator and Sonic 3 programmer Yuji Naka has seemed to lend credence to that legend on Twitter, as it relates to the replacement of certain tracks in the recently released remasters in Sonic Origins.
Earlier today, Yuki Naja tweeted to ask whether the Sonic Origins release of Sonic 3 had different music, and then remarked with surprise that did even as Sega's TikTok marketing for the account used Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.
Oh my god, the music for Sonic 3 has changed, even though SEGA Official uses Michael Jackson's music.— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) June 23, 2022
"SEGA Official is playing Michael Jackson's song on Sonic. I'm surprised. Is it a sign?" Naja had asked in an earlier tweet.
Players had previously noticed that Sonic 3 within Sonic Origins replaced several tracks with versions of the songs from earlier test versions of the game. That led people to speculate that the replaced tracks were those that Michael Jackson had worked on, and that Sega no longer have the rights to use those tracks.
Naka further fuelled the rumours by tweeting a picture he took while flying over Jackson's Neverland ranch in Jackson's own 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
All of that said, Naja never outright states that Jackson worked on the soundtrack - just as Sonic 3 never featured Michael Jackson in its credits. Naka also followed up his short thread on Twitter by writing, "I feel like I'm being misunderstood a lot, probably because I don't speak English and I'm using a translation tool. Sorry."
Does this mean Michael Jackson worked on the Sonic 3 soundtrack? Who knows. Jackson is regularly rumoured to be involved with projects without exact confirmation. It was rumoured for years that he had voiced a character in The Simpsons before anyone creatively involved with the show confirmed it really was him. He was apparently also motion captured and recorded for Ready 2 Rumble Box: Round 2, "albeit at a lower register than his usual speaking voice" according to Wikipedia.