Fans of Sega’s iconic blue hedgehog have been wondering for years why the company has stopped distributing 1994’s Sonic the Hedgehog 3 on digital platforms or the recent Sega Genesis Classic. Although Sega has never officially acknowledged a popular theory as to why, various sources have suggested that controversial pop star Michael Jackson was a composer of the game’s soundtrack and was never credited due to allegations of sexual abuse which were made against him after development began. That’s not great, and unfortunately, it gets much worse: a new sweeping investigative report has not only confirmed that Michael Jackson did write the Sonic 3 music, but also that it was arranged by O.J. Simpson.
The report, published yesterday in the Associated Press, includes quotes from former and current Sega employees at various levels of the company as well as representatives from the estate of Michael Jackson, representatives for O.J. Simpson, and members of Sonic Team, who all independently confirmed the facts of the game’s development. It also included data from an early unreleased ROM of the game such as an unused Michael Jackson song for the game’s final boss and an unused bonus level where Sonic gets chased by police cars down the 405 freeway in Los Angeles.
“Sonic was one of the coolest, hippest brands of the 90’s, and pairing him with a pop superstar like Michael Jackson and a beloved athlete like O.J. Simpson made perfect sense in early 1993 when we began development,” said former Sega marketing executive Phillip Robison. “We were lucky that MJ was interested in Sonic, and we were lucky that OJ was interested in chiptune music. We were unlucky with pretty much everything that happened after that.”
“It’s a shame all of that extra material had to go to waste,” said series programmer and former Sonic Team lead Yuji Naka. “We eventually got to re-use the car chase idea in Sonic Adventure 2, but doing it on those hills in San Francisco it just doesn’t have the same oomph as the 405, you know? Still hurts to think about.”
Well, this is all incredibly unpleasant, and it definitely means we won’t be seeing Sonic 3 on the Nintendo Switch eShop anytime soon, but at least now we know why!
Listen to the newest episode of our podcast, The Ace Watkins Presidential Hour: