46 Facts About Yuji Naka


Yuji Naka, credited in some games as YU2, is a Japanese video game programmer, designer and producer.


Yuji Naka is the co-creator of the Sonic the Hedgehog series and was the president of the Sonic Team department until his departure from Sega in 2006.


Yuji Naka was the lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games on the Mega Drive in the early 1990s, which greatly increased Sega's market share.


In 2006, Yuji Naka left Sega to found the independent game company Prope.


Yuji Naka joined Square Enix to direct the platform game Balan Wonderworld, which reunited him with the Sonic co-creator Naoto Ohshima.


In late 2022, Yuji Naka was arrested twice on suspicions of insider trading at Square Enix.


Yuji Naka learned to program by replicating and debugging video game code printed in magazines.


Around 1983, Yuji Naka saw that the video game company Sega was looking for programming assistants and applied.


However Yuji Naka felt embarrassed about his code, and did not want to release the game.


Yuji Naka developed games going with the flow, and did not do task management at all.


Yuji Naka requested a 6Mbit cartridge for Phantasy Star II, which got through.


Yuji Naka altered the slopes and was able to create a functioning 360-degree loop.


Sprite-scaling was still a technique that Yuji Naka wanted to improve his skill on with a game called Metal Lancer, but it was cancelled halfway through development.


Yuji Naka created a prototype platform game that involved a fast-moving character rolling in a ball through a long winding tube.


Yuji Naka hoped to showcase the Mega Drive's processing speed through fast and exhilarating gameplay.


The development took longer than any game Yuji Naka worked on before, and he worked only on this game for approximately a year and a half.


Yuji Naka was dissatisfied with his treatment at Sega and felt he received little credit for his involvement in the success.


Yuji Naka quit but was hired by Mark Cerny to work at the American Sega Technical Institute, with a higher salary and more creative freedom.


Yuji Naka went to do long research and how to properly display the splitscreen two-player mode.


Originally, Yuji Naka wanted to make Sonic 3 a 3D game, with the SVP chip that was used to port Virtua Racing to the Genesis.


Yuji Naka did not have any desire to develop for the 32X, and was disappointed that the Saturn was not true 3D.


Yuji Naka persuaded his superiors that Nights would only take one year and that would work on a 3D Sonic in 1997, however the development on Nights took longer than expected.


Yuji Naka regretted that he was not able to deliver a Sonic game for the Saturn, as this was often cited as a reason for the console's failure.


Reportedly, Yuji Naka contributed to the cancellation by refusing to let STI use the Nights game engine and threatening to quit.


In July 2022, Naka denied that he had anything to do with X-treme use of the Nights engine and said it would have been useless because Nights was coded in assembly and X-treme was in C He suggested that the developers invented the story to rationalize their failure to finish X-treme.


Yuji Naka proposed a multimedia concept that involved taking to a built in microphone to switch TV channels.


Shortly after the Japanese launch of the Dreamcast and Sonic Adventure, Yuji Naka was contacted by Sega Chairman Isao Okawa to develop a flagship online game for the Dreamcast.


Originally, Yuji Naka was unenthusiastic about the idea given his team's inexperience with creating online games.


Yuji Naka remained as an executive officer, overseeing all of Sega's output until his departure in 2006.


Yuji Naka regretted that he did not bring Phantasy Star Online to the PlayStation 2, as Monster Hunter came out in 2004 and became popular.


On March 16,2006, Yuji Naka announced that he would leave Sega to create his own game studio, Prope.


Yuji Naka said he considered it a benefit to be able to create games other than Sonic the Hedgehog games.


Yuji Naka explained that the video game industry was young, leading to quick promotions; he felt his senior position had given him less time to be close to development.


The last Sonic game Yuji Naka was involved was Sonic the Hedgehog.


Yuji Naka regretted leaving Sega during the middle of its development as it was poorly received.


Yuji Naka explained that while it was uncommon in the west, he always maintained a strong relationship with the company despite his departure.


In 2018, Yuji Naka joined Square Enix to form the subsidiary developer Balan Company, which aimed to facilitate collaboration between internal and external staff.


Yuji Naka described Balan Company as a collective of designers and artists focusing on genres outside the norms of Square Enix.


When Yuji Naka joined Square Enix in January 2018, he considered making social mobile games, but was encouraged by Shinji Hashimoto to make action games for the new market, which was seeing a resurgence in classic action and platform games.


Yuji Naka said he had attempted to negotiate to address his concerns, but was ignored.


Yuji Naka concluded that Square Enix and Arzest did not "value games or game fans".


On November 17,2022, Yuji Naka was arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and charged with violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act of 2006.


Yuji Naka allegedly bought 10,000 shares of the developer, Aiming, before the game was announced to the public.


Yuji Naka was later indicted on insider trading charges by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office.


Yuji Naka admitted to the ATeam insider trading in court in March 2023.


Yuji Naka is an avid racer and car enthusiast, having mentioned his Ferrari 360 Spider in multiple interviews.