'Sonic' designer Yuji Naka joins Square Enix

Gotta go fast.

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Jon Fingas
January 23rd, 2018
Yves Tennevin, Wikimedia Commons
Yves Tennevin, Wikimedia Commons

Here's a game industry move you probably weren't expecting: Sonic the Hedgehog co-designer Yuji Naka has joined Square Enix. He'll continue to pursue game development, but he isn't exactly dropping many hints as to what's next. Naka wants to make an "enjoyable game," which sounds like a good goal to shoot for. It's not clear what will happen to his game studio, Prope, with the change in career path.

Whatever he does, Naka will bring a lot to the table. He started at Sega in 1983 and quickly developed a reputation for his programming skills, which proved instrumental to games like Sonic -- the game's signature loops and curves were the result of his work. He eventually became a producer who managed titles like Nights into Dreams and Phantasy Star Online. Naka left to form Prope in 2006 simply because he wanted to create his own games that weren't Sonic-related. Prope's titles weren't as high-profile, of course, but they covered a wide range of platforms ranging from TV consoles to the 3DS and iOS devices.

Naka isn't likely to have much direct hands-on time at Square Enix given his stature and the size of the company -- this isn't an indie outfit. However, it won't be surprising if he leaves his mark on whatever his new project might be.

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