Yuuji Naka is a well-known developer who conceptualized and developed the first Sonic game and also led the series for many years at Sega. Naka recently worked at Square Enix, where he led the development of Balan’s disastrous Wonderworld, and then left the company later claiming he was pulled out of the project before it was completed.
In November 2022, it was reported that Nack had been arrested for alleged involvement in insider trading while working at Square Enix. He allegedly invested about $20,000 in a company that was about to release a mobile game based on the Square Enix property Dragon Quest. It seemed that the consequences of the first arrest were not so serious, and he was released, presumably on bail. But just a few weeks later, Nack was arrested again.
He was convicted of acquiring shares in the studio ATeam, which developed the mobile game Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, for about $834,000. Considering that Naka was working at Square Enix at the time, this means that he was making investments using insider information, which is considered a criminal offense in most jurisdictions.
Naka is now formally charged with insider trading and faces serious penalties, such as a hefty fine or even jail time. Tokyo police confirmed that Naka had “confidential information that Square planned to develop a Final Fantasy spin-off”. Unlike the first accusation, Naka will face far more severe consequences given the much larger amount of profit he could potentially make from ATeam’s investment.
Naka will soon appear in court, but the timing is still unknown.