Yuji Naka begins “one person” development after ‘Balan Wonderworld’

Naka previously said he might retire

After the release of Balan Wonderworld earlier this year, game director and former head of Sonic Team Yuji Naka has announced that he is now working alone to develop a new game. 

The news comes via a tweet from Naka celebrating his 56th birthday, after he left Square Enix following the lacklustre release of 3D platformer Balan Wonderworld.

He said in the tweet: “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.”

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There’s currently no word on what type of game Naka is going to create, but his decision to become a solo developer is somewhat surprising considering he said he may retire following his official departure from Square Enix.

Naka tweeted at the time (June 5): “I retired from Square Enix at the end of April 2021. 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 be retiring.”

Balan Wonderworld
Balan Wonderworld. Credit: Square Enix

This departure was announced after Balan Wonderworld’s disappointing release, which Naka told IGN last year was his “one chance” to make a platform action game for Square Enix. Since its release in March of this year Balan Wonderworld has average Metacritic scores ranging between 36 and 51 on all platforms.

NME gave the game two stars and said “its admirable artistic vision has been undermined by the systems that power its minute-to-minute gameplay, meaning it’s not worth a look at full price unless you’re a die-hard fan of the development team.”

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In other news, Monster Hunter Rise is crossing over with the Mega Man franchise as trusty canine companion Rush will be added to the game as a new Palamute layered armour on September 24.

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