It's been a while, but Yuji Naka is talking to the media again. Formerly of Sega's once-better Sonic Team, these days he's heading up his own development studio, Prope, and working on new projects. While Naka wants to look forward, however, his fans keep pulling him back to his days working on the original Sonic the Hedgehog games for the Sega Genesis. One issue that's been circling for years is that Michael Jackson helped shape the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 soundtrack, but was removed from the project after his mid-1990s legal matters made the music icon a less-than-appropriate personality to associate with a game popular with children. When Naka was asked directly about Jackson's supposed involvement in this interview at Kikizo, he dodged the question.
Kikizo: Going a bit further back, I wonder if you can clear up some speculation that's been around for years now, that Michael Jackson was involved in the music production for Sonic 3? There is some really quite convincing evidence on the Internet. You must surely be the guy to say yes it's true, or no it's not?!
Naka: [laughs] It's best that you ask Sega!
Kikizo: Well, er, it was your game, Naka-san... nobody at Sega would even know any more...
Naka: It's a mystery [laughs]. This information is on a need-to-know basis! [laughs more] One day, when the time comes, I will give you the information!
Gaming as an art form and source of entertainment is so young compared to other forms of media, so I think we're at a unique point in time where it's still possible to capture most of the little stories behind our favorite games before the people who were involved with them grow old and pass on. Think of how little we know from the dawn of cinema because people thought the little details were not worth preserving. Now, Michael Jackson's link to Sonic 3 may seem unimportant now, but in fifty years or so it could be one of the great unanswered questions of the early gaming era. We need to get these answers and stories recorded for posterity before it's too late.