Legendary Sonic designer and Balan Wonderworld director Yuji Naka has been arrested in Tokyo in connection to an insider trading investigation involving the reveal of a Dragon Quest game.
According to the Japanese news outlet FNN, the last 24 hours saw ex-Square Enix employee Taisuke Sazaki and his friend Fumiaki Suzuki arrested on suspicion for insider trading. In 2020, developer Aiming had been set to announce its mobile game Dragon Quest Tact, and Sazaki and Suzuki are alleged to have known details about the game before it was publicly revealed. The pair reportedly purchased a combined 162,000 shares of Aiming for roughly 47.2 million yen (or over $335,000) in advance with the intent of profiting on a potentially higher stock price stemming from Tact’s announcement.
Yuji Naka is now suspected of being involved in this scandal as well. He is accused of purchasing 10,000 shares worth 2.8 million yen (roughly $20,000) in Aiming for the same purpose of profiting from Tact’s reveal. Naka was apprehended by Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, and the investigation is ongoing. It’s currently unknown if the suspects still own their shares or if they already sold them.
This is the second major controversy Naka has found himself involved with this year. In April, Naka publicly blasted Square Enix on Twitter over his removal as director from Balan Wonderworld prior to its release, blaming Square for the game’s critical failure. This outburst came after the conclusion of a lawsuit he’d previously filed against the publisher. Naka is best known as the lead programmer behind the original Sonic the Hedgehog games for Sega Genesis and Nights into Dreams.