Game designer Yuji Naka, who is best known for his time at SEGA and for creating Sonic The Hedgehog, posted a series of tweets on Thursday, April 28, 2022 revealing that he had filed a lawsuit against Square Enix for removing him as the director of Balan Wonderworld six months before the game was launched.
Naka had announced his retirement from Square Enix at the end April 2021. While he had not clarified his reason for leaving, he did so now in his tweets as the trial against Square Enix had ended.
“Six months before the launch of #BalanWonderworld, a work order was issued removing me as director, so I filed a lawsuit in court against Square Enix. I would like to tell you that the court case is over and the work order is no longer in effect at this time,” Naka wrote on Twitter.
According to Naka, Square Enix did not care about “games and game fans.” He claimed that he was removed as the director of Balan Wonderworld for suggesting a couple of modifications related to the game.
“I think it is only natural to request modifications to make the game better since we are making the game, and if we can’t do that, we should just discuss it, but it seems that we can’t do that. I don’t think they are able to take care of the game,” Naka said.
Naka had asked his lawyers to negotiate with Square Enix to allow him to address issues on Balan Wonderworld’s development until the very end. However, he was forced to take the company to court, as they denied his requests.
The veteran game designer had objected the idea of letting a YouTuber perform and publish the score of in-game music for promotional purposes. He suggested that the company release the original score instead.
Secondly, Naka said that court documents stated that he had ruined business relationships with Arzest, Square Enix’s game developer partner, as he complained about the final build which Arzest had submitted without fixing the glitches in it.
Naka went on to say that Square Enix is not taking good care of their “game fans” and that they should have strived to make the game better till the very end.
“I believe that a game should be made with the intention of making it a good game until the very end, so that game fans can enjoy it when they buy it. I think it is strange to remove a director who comments on a game without consulting him because there is not enough time to do so,” Naka wrote.
Naka was of the opinion that Square Enix’s attitude was the reason why Balan Wonderworld was receiving the kind of response it received from fans.
“It is really unfortunate that a work that I created from the beginning has such a result,” Naka wrote.
Yuji Naka is a Japanese video game programmer, designer and producer. He is the former head of the Sega studio Sonic Team, where he was the lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog series on the Sega Mega Drive.
Naka also led development on games including Nights into Dreams (1996), Burning Rangers (1998), Sonic Adventure (1998) and three games in the Phantasy Star franchise (1987-2000). In 2006, he left Sega to establish Prope, an independent game company.