Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka has taken a move towards the realm of indie games following this year’s disappointing release of Balan Wonderworld.
As translated by VGC, Naka, who turns 56 today (September 17), tweeted thanking fans for their birthday wishes before going on to announce that he’s working on a small indie mobile game developed using Unity.
“I’ve recently started learning how to program again, and I’m working on a simple game for smartphones with Unity,” said Naka. “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.”
In April this year, Naka left his position at Square Enix shortly after the studio’s dissatisfying release of Balan Wonderworld. The game, which Naka himself worked as the director on, received an overwhelmingly negative response from critics and fans. Naka had previously told IGN that the game was his “one chance” to make a platformer for the publisher.
Upon the title’s release, IGN reviewed Balan Wonderworld upon its release and granted it a lowly 4/10. In our verdict for the game, we said that its “half-baked platforming and ill-advised one-button design” unfortunately led to it “being a complete bore”.
In June, Naka told fans that he couldn’t currently talk about the reasons behind his departure from Square Enix despite also adding that he one day hopes to be able to. The famed Sonic producer also noted at the time that at 55 years of age, he was considering retirement. It remains unclear if Naka’s departure was his decision or Square Enix’s.
While little else is known about the Unity-based mobile project that Naka is currently working on, fans will be hoping that it provides the programmer with an opportunity to put Square Enix’s release of Balan Wonderworld behind him.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.
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