Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka has had a rough few years. First, the flop of Balan Wonderworld caused him to part ways with Sega and go independent, then he later sued the company for firing him as the game’s director. That was just the start of Naka’s legal concerns, as he’s now been arrested for alleged insider trading — twice.
As reported by Japanese site Asahi (via VGC), Naka and former Square Enix employee Taisuke Sazaki were arrested for insider trading that involved privileged stock purchases. The duo allegedly invested in mobile developer ATeam after learning that the studio would be working with Square on Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier. The game was announced in early 2021, but Naka and Sazaki allegedly knew about the development deal ahead of time. Square Enix has said it will be cooperating with authorities on the matter.
That’s a good thing, considering The First Soldier isn’t the only Square game that got Naka into trouble. His first arrest was also on suspicion of insider trading, due to alleged early knowledge of Dragon Quest Treasures. At this time, we don’t know what sort of repercussions Naka will be facing for these repeat offenses, but fines and a jail sentence are possibilities as per Japanese law.
It’s a bit ironic that Yuji Naka has had such a rough go of things because 2022 has been a banner year for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The highlight, of course, is the release of Sonic Frontiers. The latest Sonic outing tried a lot of new gameplay experiments, leading to commercial success. It even became a Black Friday bestseller barely a week after launch.
On top of that, we’re getting a new Sonic cartoon this year. Sonic Prime comes to Netflix on Thursday, December 15, but Roblox players can actually catch an early premiere inside the game this weekend.