November 27, 2022

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Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka arrested for insider trading

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Yuji Naka, the legendary Sega designer who helped create Sonic the Hedgehog, has been arrested in Japan and charged with insider trading, reports FNN (via Kotaku).

Naka, 57, was one of three video game creators raided by the Tokyo District Attorney’s Office. Law enforcement officials allege that in 2020, while working at Dragon Quest developer Square Enix, Naka bought stock in a studio called Aiming just before it was announced as the home of a new Dragon Quest game, Tact.

Naka is accused of buying 10,000 Aiming shares for 2.8 million yen, or about $20,000. Taisuke Sazaki, a veteran of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games, is accused of buying about $188,000 worth of stock, and another employee, Fumiaki Suzuki, allegedly bought about $150,000 worth of stock.

The three men allegedly bought the shares in hopes of selling them for a profit after Aiming announced Dragon Quest: Tact. It has not been publicly reported whether they completed the sale or how much money they may have made, but they have been charged with insider trading under Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchanges Law.

Naka’s last project with Square Enix was 2021’s 3D platformer Balan Wonderworld, which received generally unfavorable reviews, according to Metacritic. After the game’s release, Naka left Square Enix and filed a lawsuit against his former employer. He claimed he was removed from the project six months before its debut and was not given permission to fix the many apparent issues.

His most famous creation continues to dominate the global box office, with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 grossing over $400 million in April on a budget of around $100 million. Paramount and Sega have already announced Sonic 3 and a Knuckles spin-off.

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