Back in January last year, Sonic the Hedgehog creator and Sega’s ‘90s whiz programmer Yuji Naka suddenly announced that he had joined Square Enix. That’s good and all, but in-between Sonic Team at Sega and Square Enix, he ran the game studio Prope, the company behind Ivy the Kiwi, the Digimon Adventure game on PSP, some of the extra Streetpass Mii Plaza games, and most prominently, Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii.
When Naka left for Square Enix, nothing was said regarding Prope’s fate, although one could guess what might have happened. It’s been a year since, and still nothing is known for sure, but after some digging, Siliconera found a clue that might shed some light on what may have happened.
The info comes from Job Talk, an online website that specializes in helping people find new jobs. Previous workers are encouraged to write reviews of the company, including the good and bad points. In a post dated April 18th, 2017, a former CG designer at Prope wrote,
“Working there feels quite rewarding, and it was quite a fun company, but… it finally went bankrupt. It’s too bad. If it were possible, I would have liked to have worked there longer…
Every person has their own workstyle, and the company allowed people to do their work their own way, which was great.
The planners and programmers looked like their work was tough. Although these are just my thoughts, and I don’t really know what it’s like…
Nobody really needed to stay behind overnight.”
From just this post alone, it would seem like the worst case scenario happened. Corroborating this post is Prope’s own website, which while still online, has been in stasis since… you guessed it, April 2017. Their final release, according to their site, was Kyatoru! Kokeko no Daibouken, a cutesy tower defense game for iOS and Android.
Going into info of more dubious quality, I looked into details on Prope from the news that Yuji Naka had joined Square Enix, and some posters claimed that they were wondering what had happened to Prope, as they had gone to the company’s previously-known office location only to find that their offices were replaced by another unknown company’s offices. (5ch isn’t that reliable, but it’s a step above Futaba Channel and the ilk). Here are the messages translated below:
“I went to the building Prope was in a few months ago, but Prope was gone, so I was curious…”
“The building Prope is in is close to where I work, but a few months ago when I went to the floor Prope was at, it had a different company’s name there. I thought they had moved offices, but when I looked at their homepage, the address hadn’t changed.”
That said, it’s not as simple as Prope going bankrupt. For one thing, Yuji Naka still lists Prope’s site on his Twitter. Or perhaps that the final smartphone social game by them (as listed on their site) only ended service last year in January. Or you know… the fact that they have a still-ongoing game called Buddy Monster.
So Prope is still alive, despite the evidence to the contrary. That said, it’s concerning, especially since you’d think their website would mention a new game by them, or the removal of Yuji Naka as president or change their address. And there’s the fact that Naka has been silent throughout all this. Perhaps more answers will come to light whenever Naka’s work at Square Enix is revealed.
Edit: Kantan Games’ Serkan Toto points out that Buddy Monsters might not mean much for Prope, as the game is being run by DeNA’s Mobage brand. The mystery runs deep.