Sonic creator Yuji Naka has parted ways with publisher Square Enix seemingly due to the poor performance of his latest platformer, Balan Wonderworld.
Initially spotted by Twitter user Nintendeal, Naka had updated his employment on Facebook to ending with Square Enix on 30 April of this year. This was later verified by IGN who confirmed that he was no longer with the company.
It's not clear if the decision was Naka's or not, but the departure comes just a month after the release of Balan Wonderworld, which likely played a part. The game did not perform particularly well in a number key metrics. The platformer currently sits at a 36% approval rating from critics on Metacritic and sold very poorly in some regions.
Yuji Naka joined Square Enix back in 2018 and started the internal developer Balan Company, which was specifically set up to make the platformer. There was hope that the designer of Sonic could recapture some of that magic, but that has failed to materialise.
It's not clear what Naka's next move will be, though he is still listed as working with Prope, the developer he started in 2006 after leaving Sonic Team. The studio had released many mobile games, but also titles such as Digimon All-Star Rumble in 2014 and Rodea the Sky Soldier in 2015. Since he joined Square Enix, the company has seemingly lain dormant.
For fans of Sonic himself, things are looking much brighter. Last week Sonic: Origins was announced, which will be bringing Sonic the Hedgehog 1, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and Sonic CD together in a new collection. This will let fans play all of the retro games under one roof on modern consoles.
Elsewhere a brand new Sonic game has also been announced coming from Sonic Team. This appears to be a brand new 3D Sonic game for the mainline series. With both collections, it seems like Sonic fans will have plenty to keep busy with on the horizon.
If you are looking are looking for what's on the horizon, why not take a look at our new games 2021 list.