Yuji Naka says Square Enix removed him from ‘Balan Wonderworld’ six months prior to release

Naka left Square Enix last year

Ex-Sonic The Hedgehog developer Yuji Naka says he was removed from Balan Wonderworld’s development around six months before it launched, and that he filed a now-resolved lawsuit with Square Enix over the dismissal.

Naka published a Twitter thread earlier today (April 28) about his time working on Balan Wonderworld and his removal from the project. Google Translate has been used on Naka’s words, which have also been edited for clarity where needed.

Naka claims that “approximately half a year before the launch of Balan Wonderworld” he was removed from development, which he says is the reason he filed the lawsuit against Square Enix that has since been settled.

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According to court documents seen by Naka, one reason he was removed from development was because he said some things about co-developer Arzest “submitting [Balan Wonderworld] without fixing [it]”.

Naka added that the tight schedule around the game’s development and release wasn’t decided by him, but the producer. “I’m really sorry for the customers who bought the unfinished Balan Wonderworld,” he said.

Balan Wonderworld
Balan Wonderworld. Credit: Square Enix

The developer then also voiced his opinion on how he thinks games should be made, and how to approach improving them up to release: “I think it’s natural to make a correction request to make a good [game], and if that’s not possible, I think it’s just a matter of discussing it, but that’s it. I can’t seem to do it. I don’t think the game has been taken care of.

“I think that this matter has a lot to do with the results and evaluations that everyone knows about Balan Wonderworld. It’s really a shame that the work I created from the beginning has [had] such a result.”

It was previously reported that Naka left Square Enix around April of last year, although any specific reasons for his departure from the company were unknown at the time. However, Balan Wonderworld’s released to overwhelmingly negative reviews led many to believe that the game’s reception was the reason.

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Now, Yuji Naka is working on another project as a solo developer, which he says will be a “simple game for smartphones”. Naka is best known for his work at Sega’s Sonic Team on the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise, which he worked on until the early 2000s.

Square Enix is yet to respond to the claims put forth by Naka.

In other news, Xbox and Bethesda have announced that they will host a joint games showcase this June.

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