Following his departure from Square Enix.
Yuji Naka, famed creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, has revealed he’s teaching himself how to program his own smartphone game following his departure from Square Enix earlier this year.
Naka joined Square Enix in 2018, and his first project with the publisher – action-platformer Balan Wonderworld – was announced last summer for release this year. Unfortunately, Balan Wonderland was met with generally unfavourable reviews and disappointing sales when it launched in April, and Naka confirmed his departure from Square Enix in June. At the time, he told Twitter, “I’m 55 years old, so I may retire.”
It seems Naka has been busy since then, however, and he’s celebrated his birthday today by revealing some of what he’s been up to since leaving Square. “Thank you for your birthday message,” he wrote on Twitter. “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,” he continued, “but programming for making games is fun. I hope you can play the app.”
Despite Balan Wonderworld’s readily apparent flaws, Eurogamer’s Martin Robinson still found himself oddly charmed by Naka’s decidedly old-school vision when he reviewed it back in April. “Maybe it’s just because this is how games used to be, and sometimes it’s comforting to slip into a 90s netherworld…when games were often clunky, unexplained, awkward and often downright frustrating,” he wrote. “Balan Wonderworld is all those things, an almost too exacting facsimile of a type of second tier 90s platformer that never quite achieved greatness, even if it’s fascinating all the same.”