Hirokazu Yasuhara, a long-time industry veteran and game director for the early Sonic the Hedgehog titles, has assumed a new role at Nintendo, Gamasutra has learned.
Both Nintendo and Yasuhara himself have confirmed the move, and while neither party revealed his new role, Yasuhara said he will be working at Nintendo of America in Redmond, Washington.
Throughout his career, Yasuhara has worked as a game designer for a number of major companies, and has contributed to some of the most successful games and franchises of the past two decades.
He got his start at Sega in 1988, where he served alongside Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka as the director, game planner, and designer for many of the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles for the Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn, spanning the original Genesis title in 1991 to Sonic R in 1997. For his remaining time at Sega, Yasuhara worked on smaller games like Floigan Bros for the Sega Dreamcast.
Around 2000, Yasuhara spent some time at 2K Sports' Visual Concepts Entertainment division, and in 2002, he became a senior game designer at Naughty Dog, where he worked on the Jak & Daxter and Uncharted franchises.
Most recently, Yasuhara worked at Namco Bandai, where he helped create the 2010 release Pac-Man Party, a mini-game collection for Nintendo Wii that celebrated the 30th anniversary of Namco’s most iconic character.
According to Yasuhara’s LinkedIn profile, he left Namco Bandai just last month, and is now a full-fledged Nintendo employee at "Nintendo NST," or Nintendo Software Technology, a North American Nintendo subsidiary.
While Nintendo has yet to reveal what Yasuhara will be working on, the Nintendo Software Technology division is known for working on all sorts of Nintendo IPs and platforms. Some of the company’s most recent releases include Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem for DS and several Nintendo-published DSiWare titles.