Sonic Origins is meant to be an authentic celebration of the classic 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games, but not quite all of the content is making it into the compilation that launches later this week.
The game, which includes remastered versions of Sonic 1, 2, 3 & Knuckles, and CD, also features new animated cutscenes, bonus objectives, and more. However, fans aren’t happy that the game doesn’t contain the original, authentic soundtrack for Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 soundtrack has a complicated history. It’s a well-known piece of video game trivia that Michael Jackson apparently worked on the Sonic 3 soundtrack, which has led to years of speculation over what legal rights Sega may or may not have to rerelease the game with its original music.
For years, Sega did rerelease emulated versions of Sonic 3, which included the original music. But now, that version of the game is unavailable as Sega delisted classic Sonic games from digital storefronts ahead of Origins’ release.
Now, with Origins, it appears to be confirmed that Sega is not reusing the original music in Sonic 3. Earlier this month, Sonic social media manager Katie Chrzanowski confirmed the full original soundtrack would not return for Sonic Origins.
“We can’t use all of the original sounds [from S3&K]. Jun Senoue has been working really hard to adapt the original music that was composed in 1993 for Origins,” Chrzanowski said. She also said that Senoue was using the same sound chip from the Genesis to reproduce faithful recreations of parts of the Sonic 3 & Knuckles sound track.
📢 “We can’t use all of the original sounds [from S3&K]. Jun Senoue has been working really hard to adapt the original music that was composed in 1993 for Origins,”#SonicNews pic.twitter.com/7va4T76QdZ
— Sonic the Hedgehog News & Updates Tails’ Channel (@TailsChannel) June 9, 2022
The 1993 music Chrzanowski is referring to is from a Sonic the Hedgehog 3 prototype that surfaced in November 2019. The unearthed version of the game featured unused music tracks that were eventually replaced in the final version fans today know. The prototype includes music for Carnival Night Zone, Ice Cap Zone, Launch Base Zone, Knuckles’ theme, the competition menu, and the credits.
For Sonic Origins, it seems Senoue took that prototype music and recreated it for use in the compilation’s version of Sonic 3, and fans aren’t too happy with the results.
Senoue has worked on the Sonic the Hedgehog series since 1994’s Sonic 3 and is also working on the upcoming Sonic Frontiers. You can get an idea of how his work on the prototype tracks sounds for yourself in a breakdown video from GameXplain:
As expected, Origins’ replaced Sonic 3 tracks are frankly, absolute pants.https://t.co/rwxCvO4cxg
—Andy Robinson (@AndyPlaytonic) June 21, 2022
I’m totally accepting of the lack of Jackson tracks in Sonic 3. It is what it is
but oh no why does it sound worse than the Prototype
— Jon Cartwright (@JonComms) June 21, 2022
Sega need to get the license for the Sonic 3 music back en. I’m sorry but the prototype tracks are shite.
—LonelyGoomba (@LonelyGoomba) June 21, 2022
They messed up the prototype music for Sonic 3 pic.twitter.com/U3iOgis1S7
— hiatus until July (for real this time) (@_WarpFormat_) June 21, 2022
As someone who loves the prototype songs from Sonic 3, I am flabbergasted that Sonic Origins makes them sound worse. Especially Carnival Night. pic.twitter.com/yQVef3q8iy
— Tuna “Tuner” Fish (@TunaTunerFish) June 21, 2022
NO WHY DO THE PROTOTYPE TRACKS SOUND LIKE THAT IN ORIGINS
— Cherribun (@ghostbunbun) June 21, 2022
Over on Resetera, Sonic fans are also unhappy with this element of the final product, with the conversation surrounding Sonic 3’s missing music dominating the conversation in the Sonic Origins review thread. Some fans are saying they plan to pass on the collection because of this, while others are saying they’ll pick up the Steam version and wait for modders to get the original music into the game.
Sonic Origins – Screenshots
This isn’t the first controversy Sonic Origins has dealt with, either. When the game was announced, fans were angered and confused over Sonic Origins’ complicated DLC strategy.
Sonic Origins launches on June 23 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. For more, you can check out the first 18 minutes of gameplay on PS5.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPplant.