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Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka reportedly arrested for insider trading

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Yuji Naka, known as the father of Sonic the Hedgehog, has reportedly been arrested in Japan on suspicion of insider trading.


The news was reported this morning by Japanese newspaper Mainichi, and comes a day after two other men were reported to have been charged with insider trading connected to Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix. Naka, you may recall, worked with the company for a brief stint, creating platformer Balan Wonderworld.


Naka, 57, is accused of purchasing shares worth 2.8m yen (around £16.8k) in Aiming, a Japanese developer which Square Enix partnered with to make a Dragon Quest mobile game, before the company’s involvement was public knowledge.

Yuji Naka worked with Square Enix on the platformer Balan Wonderworld, which launched to a lacklustre response.


It’s a similar situation to the men named in yesterday’s report, one of whom was a long-term Square Enix employee. The pair were arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad.


Together, these men were alleged to have deliberately bought up Aiming stocks between December 2019 and February 2020, prior to the developer’s project being announced.


Square Enix formally announced Dragon Quest Tact, a free-to-play tactical role-playing game for iPhone and Android devices, later in February 2020. The game then launched in Japan that July.


Naka worked with Square Enix around the same period, from the autumn of 2019 until around the time of Balan Wonderworld’s underwhelming launch in 2021.


In April this year, Naka revealed he had sued Square Enix over his exit from the company, and accused the publisher of releasing the game unfinished.


“In my opinion, it is a real shame that we released the unfinished work Balan Wonderworld to the world. I wanted to release it to the world as an action game in a proper form considering various things. I think Square Enix and [co-development company] Arzest are companies that do not care about games and game fans.”


Eurogamer has contacted Square Enix for comment.

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