Sonic creator Yuji Naka had a hand in many of Sega’s iconic franchises, as well as their interesting experimental games like NiGHTS Into Dreams. The game was recently made free to celebrate Sega’s 60th anniversary, and Naka was shocked to learn he’s not included in the game’s credits, despite being the producer on the original.
“If you look at the credits, as usual, they don’t put any of the names of the people who actually made it. I still think this is weird,” Naka said. “It’s doing this that makes me feel like the game industry is useless. Maybe you can see it after you’ve cleared the game, but it’s just a long stream of names of people who didn’t even make the game.”
To be clear, older games are frequently upgraded to a high-definition format for new platforms, much like NiGHTS was, however the team handling the HD upgrade is typically an entirely new team.
He added, “I don’t think it’s right that they are labeling the game as if they made it, when they could have done it because the original existed in the first place. Especially if you don’t have to clear the game to see it, shouldn’t they show the person who made the original? Or, if you’re a re-release, you should not show it.
“I still don’t think it’s right to only show the person’s name when it’s easy to port to a lower-tier machine, but it’s easy to do on today’s hardware. It just looks like you’re taking someone else’s game, copying it, and calling it my game. Isn’t that embarrassing?”
Naka’s comments were made after he talked up the iconic game being made free to celebrate Sega’s anniversary, even after Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was also made free.
“So even NiGHTS is free? What’s wrong with Sega that it’s free after Sonic 2? I feel like they could have given Sonic and NiGHTS a little more importance, but maybe it’s because they’re old. NiGHTS into dreams… for Steam is now available for free!,” Naka said.
Sega’s Yosuke Okunari, who worked on the HD remaster, responded to Naka’s comments in the hope of clarifying why Naka wasn’t included as the original producer.
“I made this 8 years ago, but the credits are all original members when you play in Sega Saturn mode, and the staff of the port version doesn’t show up,” Okunari noted. “In remake mode, you’ll be a member of the remake staff, and those who contributed to the original staff, such as Mr. Naka, will be listed in the Special Thanks section.”
Naka responded, saying he didn’t see his name or the original director’s name, Naoto Ohshima, anywhere in the HD remaster.
“Hmm, I looked at the long list of credits, and I didn’t see my name or Ohshima’s anywhere. Just like Ghibli’s movies, whether they’re on Blu-ray or distributed over the internet, I think games should be properly labeled with the name Hayao Miyazaki, just as the name of the person who made them should be properly labeled. I don’t think SEGA’s way of thinking is good for the development of the game industry either. Please think about it,” Naka said.
Okunari further clarified, suggesting he agrees with Naka in that the original staff should be shown in the HD version, however they are listed separately in each version.
“Yes. I think you’re right. That’s why the staff roles for the ending of the original SEGASATURN DREAMS were made up solely of the original staff, and the remake of BRAND NEW DREAMS was made up of the remake staff. It’s not always the case that the direction of the remake is in line with the original staff’s intentions,” Okunari said.
Naka responded with some final thoughts on having his original work re-released in HD as such, and how ports, sequels, and remakes have virtually taken over the games industry.
“I think it’s funny that it’s displayed the same no matter which way you look at it, and it’s funny that they’re displaying it as if they made it, when they could have done it because they had the original to port it in the first place,” Naka said. “Especially when you don’t have to clear the game to see it, shouldn’t they show the person who made the original? Or maybe you shouldn’t show it.”
Naka’s closing comments are very interesting, and bemoan the current trend of HD remakes, ports, and sequels in the gaming industry.
“Ports, sequels, remakes, manga and anime IP’s, and in recent years it’s become a lot of these types of games, but too many people don’t understand that all of these games are here today because of the original IP’s,” Naka said. “It’s a shame that the game industry now has the ability to create original IP’s from scratch but they don’t. It’s a shame about the current game industry because being able to create original IPs from scratch is such a fun thing to do.”
Yuji Naka’s upcoming game, Balan Wonderworld, is very reminiscent of NiGHTS, and like its progenitor, is a totally new IP from Square Enix. Naka went on record recently to say if the game performs below Square’s expectations, it could be his last 3D platformer.
NiGHTS Into Dreams HD is currently available for Windows PC (via Steam), PS3, and Xbox 360. Balan Wonderworld launches March 26, 2021 across Windows PC (via Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.