In 1991, working alongside artist Naoto Ohshima and designer Hirokazu Yasuhara, programmer Yuji Naka coded the genesis of an iconic new gaming mascot for SEGA that would go on to rival the likes of Mario: the one and only Sonic the Hedgehog. Naka left the publisher and Sonic Team in 2006 to found his own studio, Prope, known for Ivy the Kiwi?, Rodea the Sky Soldier, and Nintendo 3DS Streetpass titles Streetpass Mansion and Streetpass Fishing.
Today, the renowned “father of Sonic the Hedgehog” has announced on Twitter that he is moving on to greener pastures, having joined Square Enix—home to Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, and Dragon Quest—earlier this month. Naka notes that he “[aims] to develop an enjoyable game” for fans to look forward to in the future.
While this leaves the future of Prope uncertain, Square Enix has certainly acquired some considerable talent with Naka under their helm. The Sonic Team programmer went from humble beginnings within SEGA to becoming one of their head producers, having overseen notable projects such as Nights into Dreams, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Burning Rangers, and Phantasy Star Online.
What kind of game would you expect from a Yuji Naka/Square Enix collaboration? Which of his works have you enjoyed most in your childhood? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Just a quick note to let you know, I joined SQUARE ENIX in January.
I’m joining game development as before, and strive to develop games at SQUARE ENIX.
I aim to develop an enjoyable game, please look forward to it.
— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) January 22, 2018