Michael Jackson's Involvement with Sonic 3
During the development of this game, Michael Jackson was hired to compose the game’s soundtrack, alongside fellow musician Brad Buxer. However, he was not credited either due to the scandals of child sexual abuse or that he wasn't happy with how the sound came out of the Genesis. Michael Jackson and Brad Buxer had composed the credits music, which was later used as the base for Michael Jackson's single and track, Stranger In Moscow on the 1996 album HIStory.
The involvement of Michael composing music initially started off as a rumor, with people on the internet noticing many similarities between some of the tracks on the video game and some of the backing music behind some of Michael's biggest songs such as Smooth Criminal, Stranger in Moscow and Jam.
Roger Hector Interview
There was an interview with Roger Hector, the executive coordinator for this game and the general manager of the SEGA Technical Institute for a number of years that was conducted by HXC in September of 2005.
"Sonic 3 (also called Sonic 3 & Knuckles) was a lot of fun, but it was also very difficult. Michael Jackson was originally brought in to compose all the music for the game, but at the very end, his work was dropped after his scandals became public. This caused a lot of problems and required a lot of reworking. But the game turned out great in the end."
This interview explains that Michael Jackson was indeed brought to compose all of the music for Sonic 3, but according to Roger Hector, Michael Jackson's music was dropped before the final version of the game. Michael Jackson's music actually being in the game remained a mystery.
Brad Buxer Interview
The rumor of Michael composing for Sonic 3 later became one of the biggest mysteries in video game history, but in December 2009 the mystery finally ended with Brad Buxer (who worked with Michael through the Dangerous and HIStory eras).
On December 2, 2009 a member from a website called VGMdb (A website that focuses on video game music) called dma had an interview with a credited music composer called Brad Buxer in a excerpt from the Black & White magazine (a French Michael Jackson fanzine).
B&W: Can you clarify the rumor that Michael had in 1993 composed the music for Sonic 3 video game, for which you have been credited?
Buxer: I've never played the game, so I do not know what tracks on which Michael and I have worked the developers have kept, but we did compose music for the game. Michael called me at the time for help on this project, and that's what I did. And if he is not credited for composing the music, it's because he was not happy with the result sound coming out of the console. At the time, game consoles did not allow an optimal sound reproduction, and Michael found it frustrating. He did not want to be associated with a product that devalued his music...
B&W: One of the surprising things in this soundtrack is that you can hear the chords from Stranger in Moscow, which is supposed to have been composed later...
Buxer: Yes, Michael and I had composed those chords for the game, and it has been used as base for Stranger in Moscow. [...]"
Game Trailers Pop Fiction
On Friday 4th October 2013, almost four years after the confirmation from Brad Buxer, Game Trailers did their own investigation through their online series, Pop Fiction. In this episode they managed to get Roger Hector who was the director of STI (Sega Technical Institute) when Sonic 3 was in development to talk, and stuck with what he had said in a previous interview, in which they did in deed get Michael to compose the music for the game but dropped him due to scandals of child molestation. They also contacted Buxer, who said to the Black & White fanzine that him and Michael did work on the Sonic 3 credits, in which served as the basis for Stranger in Moscow. They managed to talk to Buxer, who through his manager said he doesn't remember doing the interview or saying that. In the end Game Trailers who were coming close to a dead end, got contact and full confirmation on the music of Sonic 3. The source said they wanted to stay anonymous, but said that they did in deed get Michael to compose music for Sonic 3, and in the end wanted his name to be dropped due to the fact of the sound chip the Mega Drive (Genesis) had.