Sonic Origins, on the whole, is looking like a lovely collection of the mainline, side-scrolling Sonic games. However, one point of worry for fans of Sonic 3 & Knuckles in particular concerns its music. It’s all but confirmed that Michael Jackson and his collaborators contributed to the game’s soundtrack back in the 90s, and those particular songs have become a licensing nightmare for SEGA ever since. What does this mean for Sonic Origins? Finally, we have an answer.
Speaking during the latest official Sonic livestream (above, around the 10 minute mark), social media manager Katie Chrzanowski confirms that certain tracks from the Mega Drive version of Sonic 3&K won’t be included in Origins. However, “Jun Senoue has been working really hard to adapt the original music that was composed in 1993 for Sonic Origins,” she says, adding that the composer is using the Genesis sound chip and his own audio tapes to make these tracks “as faithful to the originals as possible”.
So, for the affected stages of Sonic 3, Jun Senoue has taken the prototype tracks from 1993, reproduced them, and polished them up, replacing a handful of songs from the original game as we know it. This will probably be disappointing news for those with nostalgia for levels like Ice Cap Zone, Carnival Night Zone, and others, but at least this solution makes it so the game can be included in Origins.
If you are partial to those tracks, you can always emulate (providing you have the rights to the ROM that is, i.e. the original cart). Maybe the new tracks will make the game seem fresh anyway?