Sonic Month 2019: Sonic 3

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by drx, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. Roxie Mika

    Roxie Mika

    night-running sparklefox Oldbie
    anima-city rooftops
    not hiding who i am anymore. <3
    I kind of wonder if it was something like this:
    As we know now, Michael Jackson was going through the shit pretty bad back during the exact time that the Sonic 3 collaboration work was going on.
    He had some of his people working on audio cues for S3 to give to Sega, including Cirocco Jones and Brad Buxer, but as Buxer said in his interview with the MJCast, Jackson was really not particularly interested in composing for the game: "I had a cassette of the 41 cues, and I thought he wanted to hear how the work was going with Sega, and so he goes, 'no, I don't wanna hear any of that'..."
    He's depressed, he's wracked with sadness, he's got court cases, allegations, and potential damages towering over his head; he doesn't give a flying fuck about America's (then-)Second Favorite Cartoon Rodent.
    What I think came of this, is that Sega approached Jackson and was like, "hey, it's been great collaborating, but this whole scandal you've got going on is really going to be bad for us, so we'd like to cut things off here." And Jackson gladly accepts the out, probably saying something along the lines of "sure, pleasure working with you, I'll have my lawyers draft something up so you can keep using the work we did together but only for use in Sonic 3." Crucially, this is between Sega execs, Jackson, and his lawyers only at the time; as far as Cirocco, Buxer, etc know, the project is over, they're not using our music, it didn't work out, let's move on.
    And so they part ways. Some of the cues by Jackson's team go into the game after late October, but before the game goes gold and is sent to manufacturing. Most of the rest of the music for the game, and all of the music for S&K, is composed in-house; perhaps the rest of the Jackson team cues weren't up to scratch, perhaps they went back and forth in conference rooms throughout Sega about whether to use any of it or none of it and compromised on putting some of it in there, so that in case the allegations involving Jackson blew over and everything was fine, they could turn around and work with Jackson again, getting to say "hey guys, Michael Jackson worked on ALL NEW MUSIC for OUR video game!" In other words, getting to have their cake and eat it too. We can, of course, never know.
    Jackson goes on to make "Stranger in Moscow" with, unbeknownst to him at first, the Buxer-composed S3 Credits theme. (Some people speculate that the Competition Menu music is the basis for You Rock My World, as well.)
    Everything seems to go on as normal.
    And then Sonic 3 actually releases.
    I doubt it was immediate, but Jackson's composers find out, one way or another, that some of their work is still in the final game. Maybe they hear it as Jackson is playing Sonic 3 on his Genesis in the tour bus or at a hotel or sometbing; it's well known that he liked Sega games. Some of the composers are, maybe, a little bemused, and then shrug their shoulders and go "ah well", like Buxer. But others, like Cirocco, are pretty pissed! After all, their work is in a game they assumed wouldn't include it, and they sure as hell didn't agree to Jackson's blanket handover of all their work, effectively under the table and without any involvement from them or their own laywers. They're not getting any royalties off of this, and they should be! They start to raise a big stink over it, and Sega's like "whuh-oh".
    Thus Cirocco saying that Sega "owes a lot of people money" for Sonic 3: They never paid any of Jackson's composers for the work they put in, used or not.
    And like, 41 sound cues is a fair bit of work!
    Even if Sega had used maybe 25 of those cues, and something like 20 of them were actual full length pieces of music, the other 5 being incidental cues, there's still quite a fair bit of royalties to be made off of something like that.
    If indeed there's legal proceedings going on between Sega and Cirocco (and potentially the Jackson estate), it's entirely understandable why Sega wouldn't want to touch any of the potentially Jackson-related compositions, or anything containing those compositions that aren't the original game code running on original hardware or an emulation thereof, with a 39 and a half foot pole.

    This is all speculation (as is a lot of the stuff in this thread of course), but I feel like it makes sense, even if the particulars aren't exact.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
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  2. D.A. Garden

    D.A. Garden

    & Knuckles Member
    This is just like in the final game. Those rock pieces are objects that are used to put the player behind the artwork when you are indoors. There's a whole layout of these masking rocks (a third object layout similar to Casino Night's bumpers in Sonic 2) that is used in Act 1. When making Sonic 3 D.A. Garden Edition, I had to create a whole new rock object layout to accommodate the new layout. The pipe piece is new though; in the final there's only rock pieces in the list.
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  3. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    It's possible that SEGA can use the music in Genesis soundfont form and nothing else. That would explain why the muaic was fine in Sonic Jam but had to be changed in Sonic PC because the soundtrack would he in MIDI format.

    It's also possible that the Sonic PC team simply messed up and included the prototype music by mistake. It's not the first time that PC ports of the time made such mistakes or based their ports off older builds.

    This was all back in 1997 anyway, we have no way of knowing what the arrangement is now.

    I would say however that we can be certain that the S3 final changed music is by MJ's team. Carnival Night uses a voice sample and bridge motif from what would become Jam, so we can conclusively say that ICZ, CNZ, LBZ and the credits are by his team, because they all use similar voice samples. Whether most of these samples are archive or not doesn't really matter, because no other tracks in the game use them.
  4. Prototype


    Quick question, where can I find the Sonic 3 proto ROM with hacked in MVZ/LRZ? I think drx linked it ages back in Discord, but I can't find a link. Appreciated.
  5. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

    Tech Member
  6. Nova


    オ カ エ リ ナ サ λ Site Staff
    I always thought it was common knowledge that outside of emulating the original, Sega have chosen not to re-release S3 entirely or have done so with the changed music (S&K Collection), because of exactly that kind of clause. This feels to me like it confirms almost everything we've guessed at about the music over the years.
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  7. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    That wouldn't really explain why they can't re-release Sonic 3 now though. If they can use the Genesis sound font, then surely there would be no issues in re-releasing it. They never had issues re-releasing Sonic 3 until roughly the 2010s, they used the Genesis music both in ports (Sonic Jam) and emulations.
  8. Xilla


    OH NO! Member
    There is one MJ/BB track that did make it into another game: Knuckles theme is in Sonic Pocket Adventure.

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  9. DigitalDuck


    Arriving four years late. Member
    Lincs, UK
    TurBoa, S1RL
    They don't bother with Sonic 3 because it doesn't sell.

    It's that simple.
  10. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I've thought that at one point too, but I think it's unlikely considering how often they re-release Sonic 1 and 2. Sonic 3 isn't some unknown game and they re-released it pretty consistently until 2010.

    It seems highly unlikely that they would just stop all of a sudden from the early 2010s.
  11. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I think this proves, along with Sonic Jam, that Sonic and Knuckles PC Collection probably didn't change the music for legal purposes.
  12. Nova


    オ カ エ リ ナ サ λ Site Staff
    It may be nothing to do with the soundfont used and be more to do with Sega not wanting to touch the game or it's audio for fear of possible repercussions. Emulation though could be fine as they're technically not releasing an updated or otherwise 'new' version of the game. Basically, what Roxie said.
  13. brainkk


    Hey total noob here and i haven't read the full thread yet, but isn't the unknown music a super sonic theme but they just couldn't fit it into the catridge so they just opted for the invincibility theme instead?
  14. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I think it's possible, but it's strange that none of this hypothetically kicked off until 2010. The music was ported in Sonic Jam in 1997 and remade in Pocket Adventure in 1999. Sonic 3 was then consistently re-released until 2010.

    I mean there's definitely issues now, but I don't think they really arose until 2010.

    The MJ Team are credited in Sonic 3, so I personally find it unlikely that they were unaware their music was in the final product.

    Also, can anyone look up the credits for Sonic 3 alone on Sonic and Knuckles PC Collection? I'm curious as to who's credited for the music, could give a hint as to who wrote the prototype music.
  15. brainkk


    upon relistening it, the unknown music really sounds like an intro music. Maybe a opening ala sonic 3D Blast was planned? Or maybe it was a theme of the lost Sonic Isometric concept that they just kept. Alot of mistery i like that ! o:
  16. Nova


    オ カ エ リ ナ サ λ Site Staff
    Sonic Jam and Pocket Adventure I don't have explanations for, but most of the re-releases of Sonic 3 in that time span were emulated as far as I recall.
  17. Chibisteven


    The in game credits are the same as the Genesis version but manual says on page 26 that the sound coordinator is Masaru Setsumaru. The Sound Arrangers are Shigeaki Irie (USP), Masaki Nishizawa (USP), and Goro Takahashi (USP).
  18. PhotonSeek


    Shigeaki Irie, Masaaki Nishizawa and Gorō Takahashi are credited for sound arrangement, although I don't think they had anything to do with the original game. Masaru Setsumaru was credited for sound coordination, although someone contacted him years ago and he said those tracks weren't is. Either way, they were most likely composed by the same sound team credited in the final game. Perhaps I'll ask Tomonori Sawada to see if any of them were his (possibly Ice Cap Zone), as he did tell me 4 years ago that the Title Screen music is his. Most of the other composers are hard to reach.
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  19. KMetalmind


    After reading all proto threads and many Sega books (specially Mayumi Nina Sakazaki one about MJ involvement on Sega), I have many things in mind:

    Maybe some or all the tracks were there from the beginning.

    Special Stage was composed for SegaSonic Bros, so we don't know how many of them could be composed previously.

    Ice Cap sounding like Crystal Egg, Crystal Egg having cacti, and Cacti being on the original Sand/Snow S2 level goes full circle. Maybe the Ice Cap proto tunes were being composed for the S2 Snow level, the Sand/Snow level was showed in planning stages to the S2 MS team (which likely happened at least with S1 and S2). They built an ice level, that later changed to crystal, with a similar tune. Then, the music composed for S2 was reused for the S3 snow level. I think it's not a coincidence that Crystal Egg sounds like Ice Cap proto, and Crystal Egg has cacti.

    Many S3 level designs actually come from S2 scrapped levels. Why not reuse previously composed and unused themes?

    MJ involvement started in 1993 according to the Mayumi Nina Sakazaki book. By that time, I think many parts of the game started being developed in really early state.

    Maybe there weren't enough tracks to fill the entire soundtrack, and the deal was just for S3. Or the included ones were just Brad Buxer ones, and MJ ones got scrapped.

    According to the Mayumi book, the recording was long, specially becuse MJ didn't have much time (three recording weeks in LA and some extra time in the Dangeours tour in Japan in September). We don't know if they actually record the entire soundtrack or not.

    MJ wasn't happy with the music quality. In the Mayami book it seems it says S3 used less memory for the music and more for the graphics. Is it true?

    Miyami and Brad Buxer are in the credits. So the S3 MJ tracks in the final game weren't a mistake. But maybe they couldn't use the tracks in future games, so they changed them in later releases like the PC one. There are many things supporting this:

    PC release using proto music.

    Sonic Pocket Adventure and Sonic Generations not using any S3 themes of the MJ part.

    Nearly every release of S3 being a Genesis/MD emulation.

    Sega could maybe keep the deal with Brad Buxer but not with MJ. Music licensing and rights aren't simple.

    Always remember MJ wasn't going to make much money with the deal. Again, according to the book, he agreed to not receive much money if Sega used it for charity.

    Knuckles proto sprite looks much more like S3 pal art. With time constraints, the artwork could be made before the sprite change.

    Always remember things were different back them and development was much more chaotic than it seems. When was decided to split the game in two? How organized was each part of the team? Were there any communication problems like in S2?

    About the unused CNZ switch and... Door? I've always felt the Knuckles cutscene was incomplete. You can't reach him because an invisible wall, while in the rest of the game there's either a real wall or you can't control the character. I think the switch and the door were going to be used in the cutscene, but they ended not being used.

    Mania team clearly had access to prototype content. Both drop dash and the HCZ2 platforms having the same color in both games could be coincidences on their own. But I highly doubt in two unlikely coincidences at once.

    Lastly, I've always thought the unused tracks goes really well for some victory cutscene track. Being so long, I really think it was meant for the ending.

    Sorry for the long post and theorizing too much...
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  20. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    Yeah, I think Ice Cap Act 1's background beat is too similar to Sonic 2 MM's Crystal Egg to be a coincidence.