At the beginning of the 90s, Michael Jackson was probably the most famous and successful artist of that time. Early 1994, one of the most famous games at that time was released as well. We’re talking about Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog. What’s better than to combine these two? Nothing right? That’s what they were thinking at the time, because Jackson is actually a part of the game!
One super fan named Ben Mallison was obsessed with both the game and Michael Jackson. Sonic 3 became his favourite game and he couldn’t stop playing. At first he didn’t notice anything, but when he became a teenager, he felt that there was something weird about the music. One day he suddenly says: “Huh. That Sonic music sure sounds like Michael Jackson.” At the time, he didn’t have a way of sharing his information since there was no such thing as the internet, so he had to wait.
By the time that it was 2003, Ben had been comparing Jackson’s song and the game for years. One day, he posted his theory in one of many message boards named “Sonic Classic”. That’s where all the madness set off. Anyone who had ever worked for the game, or even previous ones, would be bombarded with millions of emails from die hard fans. The employees of the game would just never respond because they couldn’t keep up with all the letters they received.
Then in 2005 there is suddenly a breakthrough. A Sonic forum user reached out to executive coordinator Roger Hector, who had worked in secret on the game back in the day. Hector stated that Sega had actually worked with Jackson to develop a soundtrack. Sega eventually decided to scrubb off all the tracks from the game. In 2009, there was another breakthrough: a French magazine named Black & White once had an interview with Jackson’s onetime musical director named Buxer. He was credited on the Sonic 3 soundtrack, and he told the story of how Jackson had worked on the game with him and the other listed composers. Like Hector, he says that Jackson’s music may have never even made it into the final game. He said he had never played the game, so he wouldn’t know if it was true or not. There was never any denial of Jackson’s involvement.
When the game was released, Jackson’s entire team was credited, except for him. His team says that he wanted to pull out his name from the game. The reason for this was because of him being disappointed that the music sounded so different from what he had made. Hector says that the deal fell apart and they had to replace it all. This because of all the molestation allegations that happened during the same time. It’s hard to know for sure why Jackson’s name wasn’t on it, but after a lot of investigation it is sure: the melody that appears in the end credit can also be heard in Jackson’s song ‘Stranger in Moscow’.