There’s a fork, in the road, sometime in the early-to-mid nineties. A Sliding Doors moment: Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy takes off, and Sega’s Phantasy Star starts to wither a little.
You could argue there are lots of things that the Phantasy Star series did first: it adopted a high-tech setting before Final Fantasy; it had sentient, talking cat creatures before Squaresoft’s series; it even went into the online MMORPG world first. You could even argue it did lots of things better.
But here we stand, twenty-some years later, and Square Enix is the mega publisher behind Final Fantasy and so much more. Sega all but disappeared for a time, after the discontinuation of the Dreamcast; thankfully it now goes from strength to strength as a third-party publisher.
And one of the legends of the early Sega days – with a creative hand in everything from Sonic the Hedgehog to Phantasy Star – was Yuji Naka.
Naka left Sega in 2006 to follow an independent path, founding Prope. They produced a raft of mobile games, plus a few notable StreetPass games for the 3DS, and some multi-platform Digimon titles.
Today, via Twitter of course, Yuji Naka has announced that he has joined Final Fantasy developer and publisher, Square Enix.
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
We don’t know what Naka will be working on, yet – our money is on a new game, rather than jumping onto one of Square Enix’s existing properties like, say, Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest – but he has promised it will be enjoyable.
So absolutely, we will look forward to it, Naka-san.