Yuji Naka, a former head of the Sonic Team and programmer for Sonic the Hedgehog, has allegedly been detained in connection with the current Square Enix insider trading probe. The newest defendant in a case involving insider trading on a new Dragon Quest game is Naka, according to the Japanese news outlet FNN Prime Online.
Two former Square Enix workers were detained on Thursday in Tokyo in connection with a possible insider trading scam. Just before it was revealed that a new Dragon Quest game was in development, Taisuke Sazaki and Fumiaki Suzuki were detained for purchasing shares in the Japanese developer Aiming. The two allegedly invested around 47 million ($336,300) in shares before the game’s release.
Currently, Naka has been detained for a similar suspected violation by the Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors’ Office, according to FNN. Before Dragon Quest Tact was revealed, it’s said that Naka, who was developing Balan Wonderworld for Square Enix at the time, spent around 2.8 million yen ($20,000) buying about 10,000 shares of Aiming stock. The theory is that all three suspects may have purposefully bought the stock before the announcement to subsequently sell it again when its value surged.
Square Enix stated after the initial two suspects were taken into custody confirmed that the two were former workers and said it was cooperating with investigators.
Today, some media outlets reported that the former employees of Square Enix were under investigation for suspected insider trading. We have been fully cooperating with requests from the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission. As the investigation by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is underway, we will continue to fully cooperate with the investigation.”
While Naka is well known for his work with SEGA, his most recent collaboration was the disastrous 3D platformer Balan Wonderland with Square Enix. These accusations date back to 2020 when he was still employed by the publisher, even though he left the firm in April 2021.
While controversy involving some of the gaming industry’s most well-known people is nothing new, these disputes often entail software flaws or gameplay choices rather than obvious financial wrongdoing. The reputation of Yuji Naka, which was already in jeopardy because of the high-profile collapse of his game Balan Wonderworld, is at risk due to this instance of suspected insider trading.
The creator of the swift blue blur may be wishing he, too, could run away from his problems right about now as the Sonic series undergoes a bit of a renaissance owing to the success of two blockbuster films and the recent release of Sonic Frontiers.