Yuji Naka

Interview: Life after Sonic

Since leaving Sega's Sonic Team last year to form his own new studio, Tokyo-based Prope, legendary game designer Yuji Naka has been as quiet as a hedgehog in hibernation.

Naka is (quite rightly) credited with creating some of gaming's best-loved titles during his tenure at Sega. Credits include Sonic the Hedgehog, NiGHTS and the Phantasy Star series to name a few.

In March 2006 Naka announced his intention to leave the Sega stable and branch out on his own. He went on to form Prope (pronounced 'pro-pe'), which is a Latin word meaning 'beside' and 'near' future. Since then though, things on the Naka front have been quite. A little too quiet, maybe?

It took a while but CVG managed to track down the legendary creator for a quick chat about the future of the man responsible for many of us losing countless hours of our lives to his games. He wouldn't give anything away regarding what the company is currently is working on but expect Naka's new titles to be multi-platform.

Why did you feel you had to leave Sega?

Yuji Naka: Well, there's a support program at Sega for game designers who want to go independent, and my feelings about this program were the same as Sega's. Sega wanted me to be the first of their game creators to get involved with this program - to act as my business partner and co-operate with Prope.

How many people are currently working at Prope? Are the staff mostly experienced developers?

Naka: As of April, we'll have 26 staff at Prope. Most of the people here already have great experience, but we've also taken on some fresh university graduates and other members are inexperienced in the game industry.

Will you be working exclusively with one console manufacturer, or do you have multi-platform plans?

Naka: For each project, we'll consider which formats are best suited to what we're trying to achieve. But we really want as many players as possible to enjoy our games, so we're not going to limit ourselves to one format or one manufacturer.

What would you say is Prope's main objective?

Naka: We're not going to be doing any ports or sequels: we only want to create original entertainment. We want to make works that have the power to fill the children of the world with dreams.

So you don't have any plans to revisit any of your old Sega properties?

Naka: That's right. At present, I have no such intentions.

Looks like NiGHTS on Wii is a go. Hit this link for more