Yuji Naka, the co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog and former head of developer Sonic Team, has been arrested for insider trading in Tokyo. The news, first reported by Japanese news site FNN, has been corroborated by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper in an English-language report.

Naka is alleged to have bought stock in developer Aiming in early 2020, based on inside information that it would be developing a Dragon Quest mobile game, Dragon Quest Tact. At the time, publisher Square Enix’s partnership with Aiming on the game was not yet public, and Naka was working at Square Enix on ill-fated platformer Balan Wonderworld.

The special investigations unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, which made the arrest, said that Naka had bought 10,000 shares in Aiming for about 2.8 million yen ($20,000) after learning about Dragon Quest Tact in late January 2020, before the announcement of the game the following month.

The assumption is that he was hoping to profit from an increase in the share price after the announcement and release of the game — although based on current reporting, it’s not clear if he did sell the shares.

Naka’s arrest Friday follows those of two other former Square Enix employees a day earlier on the same charges. Taisuke Sazaki and Fumiaki Suzuki are said by investigators to have bought 47 million yen ($336,000) worth of Aiming stock between late 2019 and early 2020, after Suzuki learned of Dragon Quest Tact’s existence in November 2019.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, Sazaki and Suzuki sold their Aiming shares after the announcement of Dragon Quest Tact in February 2020, profiting to the tune of tens of millions of yen.

The paper’s sources also say that Sazaki was actually a member of the joint development team working on Dragon Quest Tact. Sazaki received a “Special Thanks” mention in the credits for Balan Wonderworld.

Polygon has contacted Square Enix for comment. In a statement issued to VGC Thursday, addressing the arrests of Sazaki and Suzuki, the company said:

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. We deeply regret the great concern this has caused to all concerned. We have dealt with this incident strictly, including internal disciplinary actions taken against the suspected employees.

Naka co-created Sega mascot Sonic the Hedgehog with artist Naoto Ohshima. As lead programmer on the original 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog and its sequels, it was Naka’s code that enabled the game’s signature fast-moving, fluid visuals. Naka left Sega in 2006 and spent a while as an independent developer before joining Square Enix in 2018, where he reteamed with Ohshima to develop Balan Wonderworld.

But the game’s development didn’t go well. Balan Wonderworld was released in March 2021 and met with poor review scores and a controversy about seizure-inducing flashing sequences.

In April 2022, Naka revealed that he had been kicked off the project six months before its release, said he had sued Square Enix over his departure, and apologized to fans for the “unfinished” state of the game.

Yuji Naka – Bio, Net Worth, Age, Wife, Family, Facts, Height, Career

Yuji Naka is a Japanese video game programmer, designer, and producer who is renowned for being the former head of the Sega studio Sonic Team, where he was the lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog series on the Sega Mega Drive.

Naka also led the development of games including Nights into Dreams (1996), Burning Rangers (1998), Sonic Adventure (1998), and three games in the Phantasy Star franchise (1987-2000).

He was also the founder and president of his indie game company Prope. He had also worked under Square Enix to direct Balan Wonderworld (2021). In April 2022, Naka participated in the first round of the Elise Super Tech competition at the Mobility Resort Motegi circuit, finishing 7th place.

What is Yuji Naka Famous For?

  • Being a video game programmer, designer, and producer.
  • Being the founder and president of his indie game company Prope.

Where is Yuji Naka From?

Yuji Naka took birth on 17th September 1965. He is from Hirakata, Osaka, Japan. He holds Japanese nationality and his ethnicity is Japanese-White. His present age is 56 as of 2021. His zodiac sign is Virgo.

Yuji has not mentioned details about his parents and siblings to the media. He learned how to program by replicating and debugging video game code printed in magazines. After graduating from high school, he decided not to enroll in university and stayed in his hometown.

Why did Yuji Naka quit Sega?

  • In April 1984, Naka started working for Sega. His first task was designing maps and checking floppy disks for Road Runner for the SF-7000. 
  • His first major project was Girl’s Garden.
  • His abilities as a programmer were further demonstrated in 1987 for his work on Phantasy Star for the Master System. 
  • After that, he was asked by game designer Hirokazu Yasuhara to assist artist Naoto Oshima in creating a game to showcase Sega’s new mascot Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Following this, he reportedly quit Sega, with sources citing that he was demoralized by the lack of recognition he received within the company after the game’s success.
  • He was then joined by Yasuhara and several other Japanese developers as they relocated to California.
  • After that, he was joined by American developers and he began development on Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • In 1992, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was released. 
  • A Japanese-only team was formed and led by Naka as they worked on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994) and Sonic & Knuckles (1994).
  • Also, he became the head of Sega’s Consumer Development Department 3, also known as CS3. 
  • He next acquainted himself with Sega’s upcoming console, the Sega Saturn, and laid the groundwork for what would be his team’s next projects Nights Into Dreams (1996) and Burning Rangers (1998).
  • Naka directed the game; Sonic Team’s “Chu Chu Rocket” (1999), an action-puzzle game and the first game for the system to support online console gaming.
  • His team also developed the “Phantasy Star Online”.
  • Later, he was appointed as the CEO of the company, SONICTEAM, Ltd. 
  • In 2001, all of Sega’s semiautonomous entities were reabsorbed, including Naka’s Sonic Team. 

  • Due to this, he remained as an executive officer, overseeing all of Sega’s output until his departure in 2006.
  • On 16th March 2006, he announced that he would leave Sega to create his own game studio, Prope. 
  • Naka and Prope then developed multiple small titles for the Nintendo Wii and mobile devices such as Wii Play: Motion and Ivy The Kiwi?. 
  • In 2012, Kadokawa Games opted to create a version for the Nintendo Wii U version. Next, Kadokawa Games released Rodea The Sky Soldier on the 3DS and Wii U in November 2015, while packaging Naka and Prope’s Wii version as a bonus bundled with the initial print of the Wii U version. 
  • In January 2018, he joined Square Enix. 
  • Later, Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima utilized Oshima’s development studio Arzest to develop this project.
  • He announced he was working on a game for the company called “Balan Wonderworld” in September 2019. 
  • Next, he revealed that he was no longer working at Square Enix, and said that he was considering retirement. 

  • In April 2022, he announced that he had sued Square Enix. According to Naka, he was removed from his seat on the game following disagreements over the game’s stability. 
  • On 22nd December 2021, he released a free mobile game, “Shot2048”, similar to the games “2048” and “Chain Cube”.

Who is Yuji Naka Wife?

Yuji Naka is a married man to his beautiful wife. The duo is also blessed with two children. He has not mentioned his wife’s details and their wedding date as he is a very secretive man as well. Today, they are enjoying their present life happily. His sexual orientation is straight and he is not gay. 

How much is Yuji Naka Net Worth?

Yuji Naka is a talented video game programmer, producer, and designer by profession who has made a cool amount of money from his profession.

The net worth of Yuji Naka is estimated to have between $1 Million – $5 Million as of 2022 as per sources. Whereas his exact salary is still to get disclosed yet. His main source of wealth comes from his game programming and design career. He is living a lavish lifestyle today. 

How tall is Yuji Naka?

Yuji Naka is a handsome man with a height of 1.66 m and his well-maintained body measures 66 KG. His body type is average. He also wears a spectacle which perfectly suits him. His hair color is black and his eye color is brown. Overall, he has got a healthy body. 

Trivias About Yuji Naka You Need To Know.

  • Naka is an avid racer and car enthusiast.
  • He is from Hirakata, Osaka, Japan.
  • He is the former head of the Sega studio Sonic Team.
  • He has two children.

Sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

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