Yuji Naka

From Sega Retro

EPKAugust05 YujiNaka yn 1.jpg
Yuji Naka
Place of birth: Hirakata, Osaka prefecture, Japan
Date of birth: 1965-09-17 (age 57)
Employment history:
Role(s): Programmer, Designer, Producer, Executive
Education: Nishinoda Technology Senior High School
Twitter: @nakayuji

Yuji Naka (中 裕司) is a video game designer, programmer, the former head of Sonic Team (usually credited by his alias, YU2), and currently the head of the video game development company, Prope.


When Yuji Naka was 17 years old, he decided that he wanted to program video games. He learned how to program by copying and debugging game code published in magazines, and these experiences prompted him to learn how to use assemblers and write his own programs. The electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra was also an influence on the young Naka.

Being a large fan of Namco, Yuji Naka aimed to work for them after he graduated from college. However, Namco only accepted work from university graduates, and thus Yuji Naka would not be eligible as he did not want to go to university.

He did however score a job at Sega as a programming assistant. His first release was a game for the SG-1000 called Girl's Garden. Yuji Naka's distinction was producing/project managing projects while simultaneously handling the lead programming of them. Examples of this are Space Harrier II and Phantasy Star II.

In 1990 he, along with Naoto Oshima and Hirokazu Yasuhara, began to conceive Sonic the Hedgehog and then leading the now dubbed Sonic Team, putting his leadership and programming talents into work.

The last time, Yuji Naka did any hands-on coding was NiGHTS into Dreams, with Sonic Team members Tetsu Katano and Takahiro Hamano succeeding him in that regard.

On March 16, 2006 it was announced that Naka would be creating his own independent game studio, with partial financial backing from Sega. Naka left Sega to set up this studio, called Prope.

In January 2018, Naka joined Square Enix[1]. On July 16, 2020, it was announced that Square Enix had formed the subsidiary developer Balan Company[2]. The new developer would work with internal and external studios to make games that were more atypical for Square Enix. On July 23, 2020, Balan Wonderworld was revealed as a new 3D platformer from Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima[3].

During his time with Square Enix, Prope remained in business with Naka as the only employee[4]. By 2019, Naka's work with Prope was largely administrative tasks he performed during weekends.

In April 2021, upon the release and commercial failure of Balan Wonderworld, Naka left Square Enix. He posted a fairly vague message concerning his reasons for doing so[5] but stated he may retire.

On December 18, 2021, Naka released the free mobile game Shot2048 through Prope. It was built in Unity and his first time creating a game entirely by himself[6].

On April 28, 2022, Naka revealed in a Twitter thread that he had filed a lawsuit against Square Enix[7]. He stated that he was removed as the director of Balan Wonderworld six months before the game's release following disagreements over the game's stability. Naka stated that his protests were ignored. On July 5, 2022, Naka posted another thread about discovering in court documents that coworkers at Square Enix had been talking behind his back. He posted an image of the NiGHTS into Dreams team with Naoto Oshima seemingly blacked out with marker[8].

On November 17, 2022, Naka was arrested on suspicion of insider trading during his time at Square Enix[9]. He was accused of trading with non-public knowledge about the 2020 mobile game Dragon Quest Tact. Naka allegedly bought 10,000 shares of the game's developer Aiming for around ¥2.8 million before the game was announced. He then allegedly sold the stock when the value increased.

Production history




Song credits

Main article: Yuji Naka/Song credits.

OutRun (Master System Version)

  • Magical Sound Shower — Arrangement
  • Passing Breeze — Arrangement
  • Splash Wave — Arrangement
  • Last Wave — Arrangement


Some or all of the following content should be mirrored on Sega Retro (or Retro CDN).

Magazine articles

Main article: Yuji Naka/Magazine articles.


Main article: Photos of Yuji Naka

External links


  1. https://twitter.com/nakayuji/status/955385616971247617
  2. https://www.gematsu.com/2020/07/square-enix-announces-balan-company-action-game-brand
  3. https://twinfinite.net/2020/07/balan-wonderworld-announced-by-square-enix-and-sonic-creators/
  4. https://www.siliconera.com/yuji-naka-on-propes-status-downsized-to-one-person-company/
  5. https://twitter.com/nakayuji/status/1401050454704857088
  6. https://twitter.com/nakayuji/status/1472186879588331525
  7. https://twitter.com/nakayuji/status/1519648947932860416
  8. https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2022/07/yuji-naka-erases-former-co-worker-and-sonic-creator-naoto-ohshima-from-team-photo
  9. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-11-18/yuji-naka-arrested-insider-trading-sonic-dragon-quest
  10. File:UltraGamePlayers US 103.pdf, page 36
  11. File:Super Thunder Blade MD credits.pdf
  12. File:Sonic the Hedgehog MD credits.pdf
  13. File:Sonic the Hedgehog 2 MD credits.pdf
  14. File:SonicSpinball MD US manual.pdf, page 21
  15. 15.0 15.1 File:Sonic the Hedgehog 3 MD credits.pdf
  16. 16.0 16.1 File:Sonic 3 & Knuckles MD credits.pdf
  17. 17.0 17.1 File:NiGHTS into Dreams Saturn credits.pdf
  18. File:Sonic 3D Blast MD credits.pdf
  19. 19.0 19.1 File:Sonic R Saturn credits.pdf
  20. File:Sonic 3D Blast Saturn credits.pdf
  21. File:SonicMegaCollection GC US Credits.pdf
  22. File:SonicGenesis GBA US manual.pdf, page 18
  23. File:SegaTunesComixZone Album JP Box Back.jpg
  24. File:VirtualSonic CD US back.jpg
  25. File:SongsWithAttitude CD JP booklet.pdf, page 7
  26. File:SARemix CD JP booklet.pdf, page 9
  27. File:SADLCOST CD JP booklet1.pdf, page 2
  28. File:CutsUnleashed CD JP front.pdf, page 3
  29. File:MDSA2OST poster1.pdf, page 1
  30. File:SA2OST CD US booklet.pdf, page 10
  31. File:TripleThreat CD JP booklet.pdf, page 2
  32. File:SonicXOST CD JP booklet.pdf, page 3
  33. File:CompleteTrinity CD JP booklet.pdf, page 8
  34. File:PSOBBSoundTrack CD JP Box.jpg
  35. File:StHOriginalSoundtrax CD JP booklet.pdf, page 2
  36. File:SonicRidersOST CD JP booklet.pdf, page 3
  37. File:LostandFound CD JP booklet.pdf, page 6