Sonic co-creator and Balan Wonderworld director Yuji Naka has left Square Enix

Image for Sonic co-creator and Balan Wonderworld director Yuji Naka has left Square Enix
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Yuji Naka has confirmed that he is no longer working for Square Enix as of April this year, and may not work in games again. As he wrote on Twitter, via Google Translate, "I can't talk about the reason now, but I hope I can talk about it when the time comes. As for future activities, I'm 55 years old, so I may retire."

Yuji Naka came up with the prototype for a smoothly scrolling platformer that became the original Sonic the Hedgehog, which he programmed in 1991. As a programmer, producer, and designer he worked on Sega games like Phantasy Star, Puyo Pop Fever, and many of the Sonic sequels. He was the last of Sonic's original creative team to leave Sega, founding his own studio called Prope in 2006.

In 2018, Yuji Naka joined Square Enix to serve as director on Balan Wonderworld, a 3D platformer that was his first collaboration with fellow Sonic co-creator Naoto Ohshima since Sonic Adventure in 1998. It launched in March of this year, but response was muted even after strobing effects that could cause seizures were patched out. It currently has a rating of "Mixed" on Steam.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.