Yuji Naka , is a video game designer, programmer, the former head of Sonic Team, a group of Sega programmers/designers, the lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog and the head of Prope.
After graduating high school, Naka decided to skip university and stay in his home town. During this time, Naka worked long hours at various menial jobs. After quitting his last job, Naka saw that Sega was looking for programming assistants. After a brief interview, he was hired and began working on a game called Girl’s Garden, which earned him critical praise and fan appreciation. He programmed the original Sonic the Hedgehog game, while Naoto Ōshima designed the character and Hirokazu Yasuhara designed the stages. Naka has also produced several other titles like Nights into Dreams…, Burning Rangers and Phantasy Star Online. In early games he was often credited as “YU2″ (in reference to Yu Suzuki) and “Muuu Yuji”. He is one of the few famous Japanese game creators to speak fluent English.
Naka also helped create a popular EyeToy game for the PlayStation 2 called Sega Superstars, and finds mention in Shadow the Hedgehog where GUN soldiers will occasionally call out “Mister Yuji Naka is all right” Yuji Naka has a cameo in Virtua Striker 3 along with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Eggman, and a group of Chao.
In news released on March 16, 2006, Naka announced that he intended to create his own game studio, independent of Sega and Sega Studio USA. This decision bears resemblance to Naoto Oshima’s departure of Sonic Team in 1999, when he founded Artoon. And Hirokazu Yasuhara’s departure of Sonic Team in 2002, when he moved to Naughty Dog.