Phantasy Star, Sonic the Hedgehog, Nights into Dreams, ChuChu Rocket! — it would be incredible to say you had an important impact on any of these games, but Yuji Naka did all of them in his time at Sega. He’s had his ups and downs in game development since, much like some other game development visionaries like Keiji Inafune, but everyone’s rooting for him. Recently, Naka and his fellow Sonic co-creator Naoto Ohshima delivered a dramatic failure for Square Enix with platformer Balan Wonderworld, which received a critically negative reception and apparently poor sales to match. Naka subsequently left Square Enix. But the man ain’t done yet! Yuji Naka has revealed that he is “studying programs” again and making a new mobile game by himself with the Unity engine.
Thank you for your birthday message.
Recently I've started studying programs again, and I'm making a simple game for smartphones with Unity. It's not a big deal because it's made by one person, but programming for making games is fun. I hope you can play the app. pic.twitter.com/rBQTsAI3us
— Yuji Naka / ???? (@nakayuji) September 17, 2021
Isn’t that just awesome? Yuji Naka has just turned 56 years old, and despite the failure of a big project, he has dusted himself off, started over, and followed his passion with a simple mobile game. Will the game be good? Will anyone ever even see it? Who knows, and who cares? The point is Naka isn’t rolling over and retiring. He’s still got fire in him (just like Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai, who isn’t retiring anytime soon).
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with retiring if you feel you’ve left your mark on the world. Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has spoken more than once recently about how his well-received Apple Arcade RPG Fantasian may be the end for him, and his collaborator composer Nobuo Uematsu may be finished composing full soundtracks as well.
Anyway, let us know what you think of Yuji Naka becoming a solo renegade, making a (maybe) radical mobile game.