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Balan Wonderworld Director Yuji Naka Left Square Enix in April

Balan Wonderworld Director Yuji Naka Left Square Enix in April - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 05 June 2021 / 1,514 Views

Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka via Twitter announced he left Square Enix at the end of April.

"I resigned from Square Enix at the end of April," Naka said. "While I cannot share the reason right now, I hope to be able to discuss it when the time comes. As for what I’ll do in the future, I’m already 55 years-old, so I may as well retire."

He was the director of the platformer, Balan Wonderworld, which launched on March 26 for the Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The game had a poor reception from reviewers and fans. 

Thanks, Gematsu.

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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shikamaru317 (on 05 June 2021)

Sad news, would have liked to see his career end on a swan song, rather than the fairly mediocre Balan Wonderworld. Hopefully he decides against retiring, maybe try to kickstart something if none of the publishers will fund him.

  • +2
Tridrakious shikamaru317 (on 05 June 2021)

Character platformers are a tough one to excel at. He's really struggled with them for a long time. Nights, Billy Hatcher and Balan all were bad under his leadership and let's face it, he was killing Sonic too (Sonic 2006 was his idea).

  • +1
Trentonater Tridrakious (on 06 June 2021)

Are you suggesting that Nights and Billy Hatcher were bad games? That's ridiculous. In fact these days Billy Hatcher is considered one of the most underrated platformers of the era. Nights was extremely innovative to the point that it's not a platformer.

  • +4
Tridrakious Trentonater (on 06 June 2021)

Yes, those games are bad and they were under his leadership. No suggestion whatever, I haven't liked his output since Sonic 3 and even that wasn't better than Sonic 2.

I will say that I enjoy Chu Chu Rocket, but only through multiplayer.

  • -1
Mystro-Sama (on 05 June 2021)

55 isn't that old. I'm pretty sure everyone on the exec board of Nintendo is 20 years older than him. lol

  • +2
Kakadu18 Mystro-Sama (on 05 June 2021)

The president is 49...

  • +6
CaptainExplosion (on 05 June 2021)

But should you really retire after one bad game?

  • +2

It's not necessarily because it's bad, I think he just realized his idea of what a game should be is severely outdated. Balan plays like a platformer from 20 years ago, and if he doesn't think he can get with the times, maybe retirement doesn't seem like such a bad idea. Part of being a genius is knowing when to stop.

  • +3
No_Name_Needed (on 05 June 2021)

Wow, he is considering retirement. While the game seems to have been a disaster all around, retirement at 55 years old seems drastic.

  • +2

Being able to retire that relatively young is not that bad, especially considering how draining work culture in Japan can be.

  • 0
Zeruda-Hime (on 05 June 2021)

I am curious about the sales... 30.000 (All) ?

  • 0