Balan Wonderworld Lead Yuji Naka Leaves Square Enix
Yuji Naka, legendary developer and lead of Balan Wonderworld has exited Square Enix. This follows the unfortunate critical reception of his latest work, Balan Wonderworld. This also was confirmed on Yuji Naka’s Linkedin and Facebook, where he ended his tenure as a Senior Manager at Square Enix back on April 30th. We have no idea what’s next for the creator, and can only hope he rebounds after the poorly received Balan Wonderworld.
A Legendary Creator:
Balan Wonderworld aside, Yuji Naka has his name on a litany of great titles. He was Co-Founder of Sonic Team and was a part of the development of Phantasy Star Online. NIGHTS: Into Dreams, Sonic the Hedgehog are just some of the titles he worked on. According to Yuji Naka himself, he had “one chance” from the Square Enix president to make a platform action game, which led to Balan Wonderworld.
Yuji Naka also admits in a discussion last year that he’s not very good with stories. He’s more into figuring out the game itself and the action, to make sure it feels good and is fun. This tracks with the work he did on Sonic the Hedgehog.
As this was his one chance to make the game he wanted to, and it failed, Yuji Naka has left Square Enix one way or another. There’s no word if he was removed, or if Naka left on his own terms. With a rough 36% on Metacritic, it was panned the world over as “unremarkable”. Personally, I never played it, but pretty much everyone I know personally that did wound up hating it. We have to wonder what’s next for Yuji Naka, now that he left Square Enix. Perhaps he will retire or may return to SEGA. We’ll keep an eye on this story as it develops.