In a tweet, Naka revealed the move to the outfit famed for the likes of Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider, stating that he is “Joining game development as before,” and: “I aim to develop an enjoyable game.”
Just a quick note to let you know, I joined SQUARE ENIX in January.
I’m joining game development as before, and strive to develop games at SQUARE ENIX.
I aim to develop an enjoyable game, please look forward to it.
— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) January 22, 2018
Which is all somewhat vague, but since rival publisher Sega owns the rights to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, we can safely assume that he is working on a new IP. In recent years, Naka has been running his own studio, Prope, founded in 2006, whose last game was 2015’s Rodea the Sky Soldier on 3DS and Wii U.
Having worked on the likes of the Phantasy Star franchise, Nights Into Dreams, Samba de Amigo, Chu Chu Rocket and Let’s Tap (which, arguably, prefigured Nintendo’s Labo), Naka is universally esteemed as one of the game’s industry’s most important developers. In recent years, with the launch of its Collective initiative, Square Enix has embraced the indie development scene in a big way, and it will be fascinating to see what it and Naka can come up with. We’ll bring you more news as it emerges.