Yuji Naka, the co-creator of the ever popular ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ has confirmed via Twitter that he will not be working with Square Enix as of April and he may not work in games ever 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.” Fans initially got the news when Yuji updated his Facebook and LinkedIn profile which stated that his employment had ended at Square Enix as of April 2021. On the 5th of May, Yuji confirmed this news when he tweeted the below tweet.
— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) June 5, 2021
Yuji along with Naoto Ohshima came up with the idea of a ‘smooth scrolling game’ which was later developed into Sonic the Hedgehog. Yuji did the programming side of the game while Naoto did the art. The duo is generally credited for creating Sonic while most of the games are developed by the Sonic Team. He had an immense contribution in classic SEGA games like Nights into Dreams and Phantasy Star Online. He was the last one to leave SEGA from Sonic’s original creative team, eventually founding his own studio called ‘Prope’ in 2006.
Yuji joined Square Enix in 2018 to serve as the director for the game ‘Balan Wonderworld’. Inside of Square Enix, Yuji had formed another studio called the Balan Company, dedicated for the development of the game which consisted of some veteran programmers and Naoto Ohshima. The pair last worked together in 1998’s Sonic Adventure.
Sadly, the game didn’t do very well in retail and some say it even flopped receiving a Metacritic score ranging from 36 to 51. Commercially, the title appears to have been just as disappointing. In the UK, the game didn’t even manage to break into Top 40 boxed games in its debut week. In Japan, it had a similarly poor debut, selling fewer than 2,100 copies in its first week.On Steam, Balan has only been played by more than 100 concurrent players on two days since it was released, according to SteamDB data.