Sonic the Hedgehog Lead Joins Square Enix

Today via Twitter, Sonic the Hedgehog Team Lead Yuji Naka announced that he has joined the team at [...]


Today via Twitter, Sonic the Hedgehog Team Lead Yuji Naka announced that he has joined the team at Square Enix for a new, unspecified title. Naka has been with the Sonic the Hedgehog Team since the start, having programmed the original game that released in 1991.

"Just a quick note to let you know, I joined SQUARE ENIX in January," Naka told his followers this morning. "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." It's likely that you've already heard of Naka, or that you've played through at least one of the various games he has worked on in the past. Spanning three decades of programming and development, Naka's legacy involves creative twists on familiar style of game play, which opens up some serious potential for what he's working on with Square Enix. While it looks like he's only working on one title at the moment, Naka seems to hint that this is just the first of many.

Naka's creativity and leadership took him from being a curious student who avoided attending university in order to develop games in his home town, to one of the best known names in game development, so there's plenty to explore and speculate on. Naka previously left Sega back in 2006 to create his own studio, Prope. Back in 2012, Naka told Polygon that he had to leave Sega to avoid creating the same kind of game. "One of the reasons I left Sega was, if I stayed there, I would have had to just make Sonic games," said Naka. "Right now I don't have to make Sonic anymore, so I'm enjoying that freedom a lot."

That same interview, of course, might hint at what to expect: "The reason my games are actually [skill-based] is probably because I'm a creator from the old days," Naka said, while detailing the sorts of games Prope put out. "I understand the importance of action. Of winning and losing, and how your emotion moves when you win or lose while you're playing the game. That's why I want to create games where you gain that experience."

Now the only thing to wonder is this: with the Nintendo Labo on the way, will Naka be willing to work with Nintendo to create a new take on Let's Tap for the Switch? ... Because we're all wondering that, right?