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Sonic Co-Creator Yuji Naka Blasts Square Enix For Balan Wonderworld's Failure

The director said he was removed from the project six months before it released.


Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka's most recent game, Balan Wonderworld, didn't exactly impress players. However, according to Naka himself, he was actually removed from his director position six months before the game came out--and he doesn't think publisher Square Enix or developer Arzest care about their games' quality.

Writing in a thread on Twitter, Naka explained that a court case related to his removal recently ended, letting him now speak about what happened during his time working on Balan Wonderworld.

Naka said his firing came for two reasons, one of which was his insistence that a "score of an original song" be used in a trailer rather than a YouTuber's version played on piano. He also said he took issue with a build submitted by developer Arzest that contained glitches and called the game straight-up "unfinished" in another tweet in the thread. He contrasted this with his work on Sonic the Hedgehog, and said two weeks before the master was completed, a game-breaking bug needed to be (and was) fixed.

"Game creators are supposed to improve their games until the very last minute, and to prevent them from doing so is still not right," Naka added. "I asked for a lawyer and tried to navigate with them to at least submit comments until the end, but to no avail, so I filed a lawsuit in court."

Square Enix has yet to comment on Naka's removal since his thread was posted. By Naka's own admission, the decision to fire him was shared by a number of people at the company, including the producer and HR workers.

Naka began his game development career at Sega, working as a programmer on acclaimed games like Space Harrier and Phantasy Star before taking a major creative role in Sonic the Hedgehog. He left Sega in 2006 and founded his own studio, Prope, of which he is currently the only employee.

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