The "Sonic The Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles" Quest for Music Composer Research

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by T.Q., Nov 18, 2019.

Choose your favorite soundtrack version:

  1. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 -- Prototype / PC

  2. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 -- Mega Drive / Sega Genesis

  3. Sonic [3] & Knuckles -- Mega Drive / Sega Genesis

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. SystemsReady

    SystemsReady

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    Do we actually know that much about the PC port, like when it started? One could guess that maybe work on it started when the Genesis version did (explaining the music), but of course, there's no proof of that...
     
  2. muteKi

    muteKi

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    Any work on it would post-date the Dreamcast release. The Sonic CD port was in 1996 and that was the one that laid the foundation for S&K Collection to even be feasible on Windows. It was only after that point you saw serious video games released in native Windows instead of DOS
     
  3. S&K Collection was probably made in 1996, given that it came out in February 1997.
     
  4. The Other RaFaél

    The Other RaFaél

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    The S&KC version is also in a lower key than the prototype version and its intro sounds like its arranged a little differently.
     
  5. Happened to catch that Hard Times vinyl on Google alerts before it sold out, came in the mail yesterday and it's pretty snazzy. I haven't owned a record player in 5 years so I won't be listening to it, but as a $10 novelty to put on my shelf it was worth it.
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    As for how they were able to get away with it, its simple: they did a low production run of 250 copies, they were never going to make more than $2,500 off this. Sega would spend more to have their lawyer send a cease and desist e-mail than they could possibly hope to get in damages. Not to mention Sega would be poking a hornet's nest of legal troubles by making a fuss over it at all, considering the song was never properly licensed for use in the game. This is one of those things where the smartest thing Sega can do is ignore it.

    From what I understand about the issue surrounding a re-release of Sonic 3 is that there's nobody physically standing in the way, however the online rumors and whispers around 2011 (when Hard Times was first noticed if I remember correctly) definitely could have gotten Sega's lawyers to look at the situation. We don't know for sure what the details are, but the end result is that we haven't seen Sonic 3 since the Steam release and its been noticeably skipped over for several compilations and re-release opportunities. Again, nobody's giving Sega overt trouble in public, so this is most likely all pre-emptive on their part. If Sony has any stake in it/cared about it they would've strong armed Sega into working out a deal, considering the relationship Sega has with the PlayStation division. Jackson himself is dead and I don't think his estate is going to try to prove Jackson's direct involvement in order to shake Sega for pennies, digging up contracts from 30 years ago aisn't an easy task.

    This leaves the actual composers themselves, Jackson's contracted team, who are all regular people with regular lives who likely can't afford to hire entertainment lawyers to go after Sega. Most of them were likely unaware that their music actually made it into the game until fans told them, which would've been after 2011 (or after 2005 really, when the first YouTube video about the subject came out). So the cat's out of the bag, but nobody who would care enough to pursue it can afford to pursue it. This doesn't mean Sega's off the hook forever, if they did market a new release of Sonic 3 that would give the composers ample cause to find lawyers who could get them a piece of the re-release pie. The game being already available through Steam or Xbox One backwards compatibility is likely Sega trying to avoid suspicion, since it would raise questions if the game were suddenly de-listed after all this speculation.

    Its like that episode of The Simpsons where the doctor explains to Mr. Burns how he has every disease possible, but they all keep themselves in check because they can't get through the door. The different legal challenges keep Sega from releasing the game while keeping the composers from being able to realistically seek damages.
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  6. This is a big IF, and again, pure speculation..

    IF Sony is the main entity involved with owning the rights to 10 songs from the soundtrack, how would they benefit from those songs today? It doesn’t appear that they are and from my POV, they would just be sitting on the rights. It’s not like they are using the songs in any way, shape, or form; if I were SEGA and this was the case, I would try and buy the rights for a price and then it’s one major hurdle cleared
     
  7. Sony could want money from future releases now that MJ's involvement is well known. And given that MJ still is a pretty lucrative name, I think it's possible that Sega thinks the amount of money Sony wants is unreasonable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  8. Afro Thunder

    Afro Thunder

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    Sony doesn't own a thing. The only thing they'd want money for is whatever MJ songs got sampled (The credits theme might be a trickier situation since it's explicitly mentioned to be the prototype of "Stranger In Moscow"), and even then, the MJ estate gets first dibs, since they own the publishing and masters. While I personally doubt the Estate or Sony is all up in Sega's face over it, nor want to ruin a potential working relationship (There were attempts to reissue some of his Sega games not long after he died, but something fell through), Sega, as mentioned a few posts above, is playing it super safe by not touching the game, and not attracting attention to it as much as they possibly can, which doesn't always work (Ex: AtGames saying why S3&K was left out of the Sega Genesis mini without mentioning the people involved).
     
  9. A) I never heard about SEGA re-releasing some of MJ’s games; that would have been really cool had it gone through
    B) it’s crazy that the 2-3 seconds of “Jam” that were sampled can be worth so much money; Hard Times and Stranger in Moscow I can understand since that’s an obvious resemblance/recreation so yes, more hurdles there unless those songs are just replaced
     
  10. Afro Thunder

    Afro Thunder

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    Trying to get outta Dr. Dre mode, and actually release an album.
    That's sampling in a nutshell. In many cases, especially if you're sampling someone who's known for having their works sampled, you often end up paying out hundreds of thousands in cash in order to clear it. That's why a lot of guys interpolate samples now, because it's cheaper to re-record the piece you wanna sample instead of lifting it directly from the record. Sonic 3 is in murky waters with MJ's sampling, because while "Jam" was sampled, and he is the original artist, it probably still would've needed a greenlight from Sony, per his contract.

    And there's a very big likelihood that he probably wasn't even allowed to work on the game's music under his contract (Moonwalker aside, since they had the MJJ Productions license, MJ was more or less forbidden by his label to work with rival companies after a legal snafu happened with him, MCA and the E.T. Storybook album he did), so that could probably cause more headaches for Sega.
     
  11. Firippu Maiefusuki

    Firippu Maiefusuki

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    Not to be a downer, but considering the recent news regarding SEGA, the possibility of them just buying the rights to the songs is pretty low unfortunately
     
  12. RDNexus

    RDNexus

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    What recent news about SEGA?
     
  13. Firippu Maiefusuki

    Firippu Maiefusuki

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    They seem to be having some financial trouble due to the pandemic. They are selling 85% of their arcades, reducing pay for some higher-ups, and "asking 650 employees to retire voluntarily".
     
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  14. Chainspike

    Chainspike

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    https://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_the_Hedgehog_3/Development/Music#Music_Soundtrack

    This page doesn't have Masayuki Nagao credited as the the composer for Lava Reef Act 2, despite the fact that Sega Retro lists him as the arranger. I could be wrong with definitions, but I'm pretty certain that would indicate he arranged the Act 2 composition?

    Now another notable credit is Tomonori Sawada, a Sonic 3 composer who also worked on Sonic 2 (8-bit) and composed none other than Crytal Egg Zone, a track that some have pointed out has striking similarities to the prototype version of IceCap Zone. No, it isn't concrete, but it's about as close to a credit as you can get without it being officially confirmed.

    Lastly, Jun Senoue is credited as the composer for two of the bonus stage music tracks in Sonic 3 & Knuckles - Gumball and Glowing Spheres. However, to my knowledge the claim of the latter is misinformed, and the track that Jun actually composed is the Slot Machine theme. From what I can dig up, the evidence to the claim rests on Jun's favorite track in Sonic 3 being the Glowing Spheres theme. For one, this doesn't necessarily prove that he composed the theme. Secondly, we know by the Sonic 3 final and prototype version of S3A that the bonus stage themes were switched around in development. The Slot Machine initially used the Gumball theme, while the Glowing Spheres used the Slot Machine theme. Furthermore, there's two more points that indicate Jun actually composed the Slot Machine theme:

    1. Sonic 3D Blast 825 oddly ported the Gumball and Slot Machine themes from Sonic 3 back into the game (Documentation on these prototypes is scarce, it might've existed in others). This matter is interesting because it would seem two of Jun's previous tracks were used as placeholder in a game that he extensively worked on.

    2. Jon Burton has claimed that the Slot Machine theme was composed by Jun Senoue in regards to the 825 build.

    3. One of the other unused Sonic 3D Blast tracks, while not 100% confirmed, is distinctly Jun in style and has an iconic percussion leitmotif from the Slot Machine theme.

    With all this being said, I understand Retro's desire for concrete evidence in regards to the composers for each track. However, for these well-substantiated claims, it seems like a good idea to add a likely composer.
     
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  15. T.Q.

    T.Q.

    The Sims 2, Tim Drake [Robin] Member
    Interesting information.

    I think the reason for Masayuki Nagao not listed there is because "composer" doesn't equal "arranger" (also such as possibility can exist). So in that regard, I can propose (and look at) renaming the section that says "Compose(s)" to say "Credits". Then within the field, list different functions of a person's contribution, such as "Composer(s)", "Arranger(s)", and maybe other fields if I think of it (or if folks want to add it in the tables).
    EDIT: Check, done (although in a different way).

    As for Tomonori Sawada being a possible source on who composed the Ice Cap prototype music, perhaps that can be listed in the footnotes of the zone as a speculative claim with a link to that YouTube video?
    EDIT: Check, done.

    As for the Slot Machine music being Jun Senoue's, did Jon Burton find a composer list in the prototype? I'll leave this unchanged and left to someone else to change it in the Wiki.
    EDIT: I see that Jon Burton was the game design and implementer for Sonic 3D Blast on Mega Drive, didn't know that.

    Because even though the source of what's listed is from 2002, I'd wonder how Jun saw "Sonic 3" as a game that developed. Like was it developed with the idea that the game was 14 zones (e.g. "Sonic 3" in development = "Sonic 3 & Knuckles" as the public plays it), or was it developed thinking the game was going to be split in 2 (e.g. "Sonic 3" as its own game, and "Sonic & Knuckles" as a 2nd game)?

    If during development "Sonic 3" was seen as a 14-zone game, then Jun Senoue might have said he composed music for "the bonus stage" but didn't remember there were 3 bonus stages.

    If he does know that "Sonic 3" and "Sonic & Knuckles" are two games released and their music were split, then sure, Jun Senoue would be suggesting the Gumball Machine bonus stage.
    EDIT: Oh, I did not read that part you said where the Glowing Spheres used the music on the Slot Machine. Hum....interesting observation. Perhaps Jun thought that was how it stayed in the game, but then it got switched without his knowledge. However, track 7 from the 1994 music disc "Sonic The Hedgehog 3" credits the music to him. Are you suggesting the music disc was incorrect?

    Perhaps that would require an interview in the future to..."reminisce" about the game's past, and how the "music creativity" flowed within the company departments.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020 at 2:14 AM
  16. That poll regarding the soundtracks is a bit tough because since I’ve been playing both AIR and Complete, I actually prefer hearing the final/released soundtrack but with the prototype versions of Carnival Night, Ice Cap, and Launch Base, if that makes any sense.. this combo, for me at least, meshes so well with the game and the levels, it’s hard to go back to the MJ/Buxer tunes (the only one I would switch here and there is Ice Cap)
     
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  17. Firippu Maiefusuki

    Firippu Maiefusuki

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    After looking more into the music page on Sonic Retro, I've found two mistakes. Firstly, the SONIC & KNUCKLES • SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3 album doesn't credit Jun Senoue for "Rings and Diamonds Land" and even if it did, that track is a medley of Rolling Jump, Slot Machine, and the special stage theme, which means it wouldn't be clear what the credit refers to. The second part is more minor. 3 arrangements of Mushroom Hill/Valley were made for Sonic Generations with the console and handheld versions combined. The console version has a unique arrangement that doesn't appear in the 3DS version
     
  18. T.Q.

    T.Q.

    The Sims 2, Tim Drake [Robin] Member
    Really? So the information on VGMDB is incorrect? As in, track 7 doesn't have credits showing it was Jun Senoue and Milpo? Because that website says the first part of the track is Jun Senoue's. That claim is implying that the Rolling Jump bonus stage is Jun's. So it was made up by someone?

    EDIT: I was checking out some other music on VGMDB, and decided to look at Jun Senoue's composer credits. I encountered this CD called "Olio"

    https://vgmdb.net/album/14953

    It's from Japan, and lists some familiar names:
    - Tomonori Sawada
    - MILPO

    Has anyone heard the music on the CD? It was released in August 1994. Maybe there's some interesting stuff on it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020 at 2:28 AM
  19. rata

    rata

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    It 404's me.
     
  20. T.Q.

    T.Q.

    The Sims 2, Tim Drake [Robin] Member
    Wow, how fussy of VGMDB. The extra "/" after the link 404'ed the page. It's fixed now.