Famed developer and producer Yuji Naka has admitted to insider trading at a Tokyo District Court, reports VGC via NHK.
Naka, who is most well-known for his work on the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, as well as Balan Wonderworld and his one-man development on the mobile game Shot2048, admitted he had accessed information while working at Square Enix about the release of upcoming games. He had then allegedly used that information to buy stock for companies working on development of the titles, anticipating that when the games were officially announced they would rise.
Although Naka has reportedly admitted that he did find out about the games before they went public and bought stocks off the back of this knowledge, it’s possible he may argue there was no wrongdoing before the court. However, with that kind of admission it may be difficult for him to claim ignorance, especially as this is not the first time he’s been arrested with regards to a similar case from his time at Square Enix.
A sonic fall from grace
Naka’s public split from Square Enix and arrest on suspicion of insider trading completed a very public fall from grace after the failure of his last major project, Balan Wonderworld. He had blamed Square Enix management for rushing development and release of the game.
In VGC reporting at the time, Naka’s public condemnation of Square Enix was translated as him saying, “Personally, I believe that it is a true disgrace that Balan Wonderworld was released in the state that it was in. I wanted to show the world an action game in its proper light. Therefore, I believe that Square Enix and Arzest are companies that care about neither games nor their fans.”
Square Enix themselves have had a rocky few months in mobile, with the shutting down of Echoes of Mana and Bravely Default: Brilliant Lights. Both were highly anticipated mobile adaptations of their existing franchises that were shuttered after less than a year of operation.