Sonic The Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka goes too fast, arrested for insider trading

Looks like Balan Wonderworld wasn’t his only misstep.

Screenshot via Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube

All things considered, Sonic the Hedgehog has had it pretty easy the last couple of years. While the new open-zone Sonic Frontiers proved a little divisive, it was nevertheless better received than the vast majority of 3D entries into the series, and the upcoming Netflix series Sonic Prime looks set to be an enjoyable romp through various different worlds. Unfortunately, series co-creator Yuji Naka’s luck has taken a turn for the worse after he was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into insider trading at Square Enix.

Naka is the third suspect named in the investigation, following the arrests of former Square Enix employees Taisuke Sazaki and Fumiaki Suzuki on Thursday. The case hinges on Japanese developer Aiming, which announced it was working on a new Dragon Quest game early last year. Sazaki, Suzuki, and Naka are alleged to have bought shares in the company — over $300,000 worth in the case of Sazaki and Suzuki and around $20,000 in the case of Naka — shortly before the announcement of mobile title Dragon Quest Tact, anticipating a lucrative spike in share price after the reveal was made.

Square Enix made a statement following the arrest of Sazaki and Suzuki saying it was “fully cooperating” with the investigation and that it “deeply regret[s] the great concern this has caused to all concerned.” But any internal disciplinary procedures will have little effect on Naka, who left the company last June after the disastrous launch of Balan Wonderworld, which went on to become one of the most critically-panned games of 2021.

Naka is in fact still embroiled in a lawsuit against Square Enix regarding Balan Wonderworld’s failed release, claiming he was removed from the team six months prior to the game’s launch and wasn’t given an opportunity to fix the myriad bugs and issues that still remained before it landed in the hands of players. It would appear that his lawyers might now have their hands full for the foreseeable future, though.