Sonic the Hedgehog creator pleads guilty to insider trading charges

Big the Cat is currently tattooing the prison plans onto his body.

Screenshot via Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube

Yuji Naka, the creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges levied at him during his time at Square Enix. Naka was arrested twice at the end of 2022, as he was accused of using his knowledge of upcoming games to buy stock in their developers ahead of any official announcements, which is against the law in most countries.

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According to DemiFamiNico Gamer (via Siliconera), Naka pleaded guilty during his first trial in the Tokyo District Court. He has admitted to knowing about Dragon Quest mobile games and Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier before their release and buying stock based on that information. In this case, it was stock in Ateam Entertainment, which developed Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier for Square Enix.

In Japan, there are various penalties for insider trading, ranging from hefty fines to jail time, depending on different circumstances. Naka may be admitting to his guilt early as part of a deal for a lesser sentence, which could keep him out of jail entirely. Either that or the evidence against him is so overwhelming that there’s no point in fighting the charges. While he might be going for a slap on the wrist, his prominence as an iconic figure in the video game industry could work against him, as he might be made an example of.

When Naka was arrested for inside trading, it sent shockwaves throughout the industry as this former titan of video games was accused of a serious crime. Despite what people thought of Balan Wonderworld, Naka was the brains behind incredible franchises, like Sonic the Hedgehog, and was a crucial figure in Sega becoming a worldwide entity. Now that he has admitted to his crimes, it’s a case of seeing just how harsh his punishment will be.