You seem to like lighthearted, sentimental, friendly games. Why is that, and what's important about that to you?
YN: That is because I think games should be something that's more close to us. Recently there are a lot of games that you need to learn what to do before you play the game, and I think that's one of the reasons people step away from gaming.
You can play Ivy with only a stylus for DS, and just pointing with the remote for Wii. The controls are very simple, as it's a game that will make the person next to you say, "Let me try, let me try!" Wasn't this how it used to feel when we played action games for the first time?
Are you interested in getting back into coding? Does Prope allow you to get more hands-on, as you have said you wished to be when you left Sega?
YN: Unfortunately, I was not in charge of the programming once again. However, in my role as producer, I am working a lot closer on the heart of the game than when I was at Sega.
I'm involved in the fine tuning of the gameplay balance as well, so if you think the balance is off you can write, "Yuji Naka, the game is too difficult," in your review (laughs).
You're well-known for being a talented programmer, and worked in assembly. Nowadays there are scripting languages which make game creation much easier. How do you feel about these changes?
YN: I'm very happy to see that there are a lot more people becoming game creators due to new things like script languages. I'm looking forward to what the young creators come up with that we couldn't even imagine before.
You were very interested in getting performance out of games with early titles, i.e. Master System Phantasy Star and Afterburner. Nowadays it's more about 30 frames per second and effects, it seems. Do you think performance is not as valued as it used to be?
YN: The current machines have a decent performance capability, but when you really try to make things look good onscreen, sometimes a drop in frame rate is unavoidable, depending on the effects.
However, even in the past there were times we dropped the frame rate to make things look nice, so unless it's a game that's dependent more on precise controls, we'll probably see this tendency continue.
In an interview we recently conducted with Ohshima-san, your old collaborator, he said that in Sonic CD the programmers he worked with couldn't make the game instantly transition from the past to the present, but had to put in a loading screen. He said "Naka could have done it." Just thought you might like to hear it. But do you think it's true?
YN: Thank you very much.
However, even if I was working on that title I may have put in a loading screen. Technical skill depends on being in the moment and getting some kind of inspiration to overcome your current problem, and there's no guarantee it will happen every time.
What do you think about the direction Sega is going in right now?
YN: Even after I've left I'm looking forward to what surprises they'll come out with. It's pretty fun watching from an outsider's point of view now.