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Game Dev Indie Yuji Naka has gone indie following Balan Wonderworld disappointment

Javthusiast

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Is this a joke or you're trolling to get attention because no one cares about you? Hard to tell on the Internet nowadays.

I've heard a lot of it had to do with Square Enix and their horrible decisions regarding the game.

He hasn't created a single good game in his life, and him coding for Sonic or whatever doesn't change the fact. Sonic was never good. The gameplay is some floaty, clunky shite.
 

lostinblue

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He hasn't created a single good game in his life, and him coding for Sonic or whatever doesn't change the fact. Sonic was never good. The gameplay is some floaty, clunky shite.
I respect your opinion.

That said, while he is not my favourite developer or anything of the sort, he was/is influential and quite a few good games came out of his involvement (NiGHTs being my favourite). I do think he has talent and intelligence, I just don't think he is a one man band kind of deal, he needs to collaborate with other talented people. But suck the surrounding talent out of Miyamoto or *cough* Kojima or anyone really and they'll also suffer.

I also appreciate that he is willing to take risks and took them quite late into his career. I'm sure he could have stayed at Sega but chose to leave; he did games like Let's Tap (a game like warioware for the wii where you controlled the game while never touching the controller, well received), he also explored indie territory with iOS and Android releases early on for a developer of his generation. Ivy the Kiwi and Rodea the Sky soldier (the Wii version) are relatively recent and are well received conventional games, so it's not like the guy has been unable to pull something respectable since the 90's.

Gotta give the guy some props for trying.

Naka posted on Twitter today that he was celebrating his 56th birthday and revealed that he’s literally gone back to the drawing board, learning how to code again.

“Thank you for your birthday messages, I’m 56 years old,” he tweeted.

“I’ve recently started learning how to program again, and I’m working on a simple game for smartphones with Unity. I’m making it by myself, so it’s not much, but I’m enjoying programming it. I hope you’ll be able to play with the app when it’s available.”
I understand he already did in 2017 with Legend of Coin, just before joining Square-Enix.

Here is a tweet of the era: (12 December 2017)

" Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 no Twitter: "It is a work that I, Yuji Naka, was involved as a programmer for the first time in about twenty years. It took longer since I was studying Unity, C# and PHP and developing at the same time, but I believe that it came out great. Programming is really enjoyable." / Twitter "

So, he started, even released a game, took a hiatus now got back to it.

Kudos, still.
 
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Samba de Amigo is on pe of the best rhytm game ever
Phantasy Star was unbelievable
Phantasy Star Online was of the first on his genre, a masterpiece released a decade too soon
Sonic The Hedgehos is a classic, and this is it
Burning Ranger is a cult classic, but still a classic
Nights is primitive, weird, but is full of magic
The fishing one on Wii is a very good game

So no, Naka is not a moron

He try too hard to create another Sonic, with Billy the Hatcher and the latest one, and fail miserable
 

ReBurn

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Balan Wonderland is the kind of esoteric bullshit that pops out when a designer crawls into their own head after sniffing too many of their own farts. Sometimes the old imagination is just too weird for the mainstream to be able to follow along.
 
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Notabueno

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Yuji Naka has to either learn or hire a GAME DESIGNER/CONCEPTOR.

Balan Wonderland had a great Art Direction which is what Yuji Naka is good at, but it's as if the game got zero conception and no game design outlook, making it a terribly crappy game.
 
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dave_d

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Careful he'll dive over the cubicle and try to strangle you like he did Cerny.
Is there any link to that story? I never heard that one before. (I know Cerny was at Sega for a bit but was gone by the time Sonic Extreme was going through the "fun" with Yuji.)
 

ManaByte

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Is there any link to that story? I never heard that one before. (I know Cerny was at Sega for a bit but was gone by the time Sonic Extreme was going through the "fun" with Yuji.)

Not sure. The legend goes it was at SOA during development of Sonic 3. Cerny said something to Naka, and Naka then dived at him trying to strangle him.
 

Nvzman

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“The origins of Sonic can be traced farther back to a tech demo created by Yuji Naka, who had developed an algorithm that allowed a sprite to move smoothly on a curve by determining its position with a dot matrix. Naka's original prototype was a platform game that involved a fast-moving character rolling in a ball through a long winding tube, and this concept was subsequently fleshed out with Oshima's character design and levels conceived by designer Hirokazu Yasuhara

Naka si the creator of the game, and important voice in all the decelopment phases
Happy to see the guy doing what he wants (maybe he has no choice?).

Anyway, I jumped in this thread to say that there was absolutely no acknowledgement of Naka in the Paramount Sonic movie. He deserved a huge special thanks when the movie ended, if not at least somewhere in the credits, but nope, he got nothing.

Can you imagine a Mario, Zelda, or Donkey Kong movie with no acknowledgement of Miyamoto? As a matter of respect Naka should have been mentioned.

On the one hand, he is responsible for creating Sonic The Hedgehog.

On the other hand, he is responsible for creating Sonic The Hedgehog. And its fandom. And now also Balan Wonderworld.

Go fast, Naka-san.
Yuji Naka only was a programmer for the original Sonic games, calling him the creator of Sonic is about as accurate as saying Mark Cerny was the brain behind Sonic 2. He barely had anything to do with the director side of things, he was just an excellent coder.
To be honest I think he's much better as a coder too, I can't really think of any Sonic game that he directed that was very good.
 

AzafuseYugi

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He hasn't created a single good game in his life, and him coding for Sonic or whatever doesn't change the fact. Sonic was never good. The gameplay is some floaty, clunky shite.
you could say the same about the first Mario. also NiGHTS, Phantasy Star, Samba de Amigo and ChuChu Rocket still exist.

as for the general topic, at this point i'd rather have Naka make an Anime or a manga with his or Oshima's designs.
 
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Kadve

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I've heard a lot of it had to do with Square Enix and their horrible decisions regarding the game.

Not so much. Squeeinx told him to do a 3d platformer and insisted on CG cutscenes. But was hands off otherwise. Its state seemed to have steamed more from Yuji being stuck 30 years in the past when it comes to the gaming industry.
 
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PJX

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Not so much. Squeeinx told him to do a 3d platformer and insisted on CG cutscenes. But was hands off otherwise. Its state seemed to have steamed more from Yuji being stuck 30 years in the past when it comes to the gaming industry.
Where do you think most of the budget go to when you have CG cutscenes in a game? There is a reason why majority of games use real time cutscenes nowdays.
 

Javthusiast

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you could say the same about the first Mario. also NiGHTS, Phantasy Star, Samba de Amigo and ChuChu Rocket still exist.

as for the general topic, at this point i'd rather have Naka make an Anime or a manga with his or Oshima's designs.

Nights
Season 5 Lol GIF by Real Husbands of Hollywood
 

UnNamed

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Dec 21, 2006
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Somewhere in Bananaland
I don't know the weight of Naka in the past games (Sonic, Nights, PSO), but Balan is a game stuck in 1997 where developers have no idea of the QoL mechanics videogame industry made in the last 20 years.
 

Swoopsail

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I mean if I was independent and wanted to make money, mobile is probably where I would look too.

It's common taste in video games that is to blame for the dominance of mobile though, not game developers. Business always follows the money. I'm not a fan, but that seems how it is.
 
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Heck yea! Dunno whats up with the Halo like music but this is pretty fun! Reminds me of the days where you learn the gameplay by playing the game! Its really intuitive and paid to remove ads to support Naka and Prope
 
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Where do you think most of the budget go to when you have CG cutscenes in a game? There is a reason why majority of games use real time cutscenes nowdays.
Balan's problems were in gameplay concepts, though, not bugs or audio/visual presentation. Budget is not to blame for how Balan turned out.

Anyway, I'll be interested in seeing what Naka puts out. I hope Balan humbled him, considering his long history of being difficult to work with at Sega.

If Naka's smart, he'll probably hire people to be his new Oshima and Yasuhara.
 

PJX

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Balan's problems were in gameplay concepts, though, not bugs or audio/visual presentation. Budget is not to blame for how Balan turned out.

Anyway, I'll be interested in seeing what Naka puts out. I hope Balan humbled him, considering his long history of being difficult to work with at Sega.

If Naka's smart, he'll probably hire people to be his new Oshima and Yasuhara.
It cost money to balance out gameplay concepts, mate.
 

tygertrip

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Exactly. Quoting this simply to spread the message. Anyone calling him a one hit wonder clearly doesn't know their history, and they should feel ashamed. A simple Google search isn't that hard, people.
And even if he was, being a one-hit wonder is pretty damn good. Most people in the business would give their left nut to be at least a one-hit wonder, I'm sure. What's that saying? Better to be a has-been than a never-was! Edit: I don't personally consider him just a has-been or one-hit wonder.
 
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TheInfamousKira

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Jul 13, 2020
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You can tell you got a winner when the public reception makes you literally think to yourself "You know, I should go learn everything about my profession over again, I think I'm missing key information,"

Heavy Altair beginning of Assassin's Creed 1 vibes.
 
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It cost money to balance out gameplay concepts, mate.
By "Balance out" are you referring to playtesters? Because Balan had a demo out some time before the game's release. People effectively playtested the main gameplay loop for free.

If you're talking about conceptualizing the gameplay loop? That's USUALLY the very first step in a game's development, before any assets intended to actually be placed in the game are made. At the most complex, it's making the barebones engine for the game (Usually no longer necessary since every dev uses Unreal Engine anymore) or a tech demo of the gameplay loop with placeholder assets. The step requires the least amount of on-hand staff - the coders, concept designers, and executives. Therefore, to presume any serious budget went into that step on a game with fully polished graphics and cutscenes is silly.

When budget runs out, you see it in either a downgrade of graphics/audio or heavy asset flipping. Balan clearly didn't have a budget problem when one of the big complaints is how many excessive, redundant powerups there are, when if anything cutting the budget could had fixed that.
 

Ozzie666

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Maybe it's better to describe him as a great coder, not such a great creator. Without checking some of his better works, I'm not sure how much of a creative designer he was with his earlier projects, did he have more experienced game designers doing that side of things. As I said, my impression of him, is he used to be a fantastic coder. I'm not saying he was a coding genius like Carmac or anything. The team who create sonic, wasn't just him. In fact, I seem to recall he had little to do with the designs, he just made dreams come true. Am I wrong?. Reminds me of George Lucas.
 

WolfusFh

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He hasn't created a single good game in his life, and him coding for Sonic or whatever doesn't change the fact. Sonic was never good. The gameplay is some floaty, clunky shite.
Man, got some gaming journalist level of bad criticism here. Wouldn't even call criticism either.
If you don't like the games, that's fine. But stop stating your inaccurate opinions about the games as a fact.
 

ParaSeoul

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Jun 23, 2021
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Samba de Amigo is on pe of the best rhytm game ever
Phantasy Star was unbelievable
Phantasy Star Online was of the first on his genre, a masterpiece released a decade too soon
Sonic The Hedgehos is a classic, and this is it
Burning Ranger is a cult classic, but still a classic
Nights is primitive, weird, but is full of magic
The fishing one on Wii is a very good game

So no, Naka is not a moron

He try too hard to create another Sonic, with Billy the Hatcher and the latest one, and fail miserable
Hes in the later Miyamoto phase rn,no one there to tell him no when doing questionable things because of his previous achievements
 

Javthusiast

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Man, got some gaming journalist level of bad criticism here. Wouldn't even call criticism either.
If you don't like the games, that's fine. But stop stating your inaccurate opinions about the games as a fact.

Stop being insecure and accept FAX.
star on fox brandy GIF by STAR
 

Dream-Knife

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This dice game is actually pretty fun and quick to pick up, making it a perfect mobile game.
 
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Having the creator behind big titles isn't enough to make good games, it is a team effort, so without talented people your game will be bad regardless of what you have created in your past.

I mean look at the mess that Mighty no. 9 was, it had the creator of mega man, but was a bad game, because it seems the team didn't deliver.

As a positive example Bloodstained turned out great, because Koji also had a great team behind him.
 

Havoc2049

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This dice game is actually pretty fun and quick to pick up, making it a perfect mobile game.
Ditto. I usually don't like games like Shot2048, but it's pretty fun.

To me, Yuji Naka is still the man. Phantasy Star, Sonic, Nights, Burning Rangers, Sonic Adventure and Phantasy Star Online were all awesome games.
 
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Notabueno

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Yuji Naka is not a game director. He's an art director.

Which is why all his game always had great art direction, but where terribly rigid and wonky, which was tolerable in the 90s/early 2000s, but not after.
 

Scotty W

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Hes in the later Miyamoto phase rn,no one there to tell him no when doing questionable things because of his previous achievements

I can never forget what happened to an early build of Sonic for the Saturn. Another team was using the Nights engine without his knowledge, and he demanded they scrap the game or he would quit.

The contrast with Miyamoto is that he is willing to train his younger staff to do greater things than himself.

The power of ego to help or hurt a company.
 
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The contrast with Miyamoto is that he is willing to train his younger staff to do greater things than himself.
And the beauty of this is being seen in the results. We have new Mario and Zelda games that can introduce new concepts from the successors of Nintendo's talent, blended seamlessly into games that people who played the old Mario and Zelda games can immediately pick up and feel the recognition of. We also got new IP like Splatoon, which is definitely something only the successors could have made, yet still has Nintendo's mood and feel in it.

Compare/Contrast with Sonic's constant state of identity crisis and how few other Genesis-era IP Sega has kept making quality iterations of, or how they've struggled to make a marketable new IP after Yakuza. (after spending nearly a decade and a half just trying to make Yakuza viable to international markets.)

Sadly, I feel like I have to blame Naka for this; not only did he not share his code during Sonic Xtreme's development, but it's clear he didn't tutor anyone internally at Sega either, considering 3D Sonic as done in Naka's vision and style died after Sonic 06, which he left in mid-development of.
 
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