Sonic creator says he sued Square Enix after being removed as director of his latest game

Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka says he sued Square Enix after being removed as the director of his latest game, 2021’s Balan Wonderworld.

In a thread on Twitter (translated by DeepL, via Nibel), Naka said that “about 6 months before the release of Balan Wonderworld, a work order was issued removing me as director […], so I filed a lawsuit in court against Square Enix. I would like to tell you that the court case is over and the work order is no longer in effect at this time.”

Even if read with machine translation, it is a very scathing thread that concludes with the following”I think Square Enix and Arzest are companies that do not care about games and game fans.”Until a better translation comes out, here’s a DeepL translation of the thread: pic.twitter.com/mlRet1gHwCApril 28, 2022

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Much of the thread seems to focus on issues around the game’s soundtrack, but Naka’s critique of Square Enix appears to be scathing, saying that “I think Square Enix is no good if they don’t care about games and game fans,” and that “I think Square Enix is not taking good care of their game fans.”

Naka went on to apologise multiple times for the state that Balan Wonderworld was in at launch, saying that he was “really sorry” for its “unfinished” release. Having been prevented from working on the game several months before it would eventually release, he cited a major change made to the original Sonic game just two weeks before its launch, saying “we were still trying to make the game better until the last minute.” He finished his thread by saying that “I think Square Enix and Arzest are companies that do not care about games and game fans.”

It’s not clear what the outcome of the legal case has been, or exactly what Naka hoped to achieve by filing his case. Naka also cited Arzest, the company that helped co-develop the game, in his thread, but doesn’t appear to have filed suit against it. 

Balan Wonderworld released last March to a Metacritic score of just 51 on PS5 and 36 on Nintendo Switch, alongside reports of abysmal sales in its opening week where it failed to chart in major regions. Adding to its launch woes were concerns about a sequence that triggered epileptic seizures in some players, although those were fixed shortly after release.

We’ve reached out to Square Enix for more information about Naka’s claims.

Keep up to date with this list of new games 2022.

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