Yuji Naka

Sonic The Hedgehog’s Co-Creator Was Arrested for Illegally Trading Final Fantasy Stock

Late last year, Sonic the Hedgehog’s co-creator Yuji Naka was charged and arrested for insider trading of over $1 Million of stock in ATeam, a game studio which was soon to announce its involvement in a Final Fantasy spinoff game called Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.

For the uninitiated, insider trading refers to the trading of stock with insider knowledge of an industry to gain an advantage in the market and it is illegal in both Japan and the United States.

This is unfortunately not the first time Naka has been arrested for illegally trading stock. Just a month prior to this incident, he was caught allegedly purchasing shares of the game studio Aiming before they had announced their development of an upcoming Dragon Quest game.

Although Naka’s purchase of Final Fantasy stock had occurred prior to the game’s release in 2021, he was not arrested until December 7th of 2022.

In both incidents, Naka was arrested alongside an employee of Square Enix named Taisuke Sasaki who was charged with illegally trading about $782,000 in gaming stock.

The game which Naka and Sasaki allegedly used to illegally gain a financial advantage in the stock market, The First Soldier, was a flop. It was meant to be a battle royal-style Final Fantasy game capitalizing on the success of titles like Fortnite. However, the mobile exclusive Final Fantasy game was canceled less than a year after is launch due primarily to performance issues.

Yuji Naka was a game development legend in his day, having worked for Sega and Square Enix on series such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Phantasy Star.

Much of the best of the Sonic the Hedgehog series was a creation of Naka’s. Games like Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Heroes, Sonic R, Sonic Advance, and my personal favorites, Sonic Adventure 1 & 2, were all Naka’s design.

However, in recent years his games have not seen such enthusiastic acclaim. In 2018, Naka worked at Square Enix to develop the bizarre and hard to grasp Balan Wonderworld which was so bad it reportedly only sold around 2,000 physical copies in Japan.

Since the release of Balan Wonderworld, Naka has left Square Enix but has not stated the reason, instead mysteriously saying “I can’t tell you why now, but I hope I can tell you when the time comes.” He also said he “may retire” soon since he is already 55 years old.

So sorry to hear that you’re considering leaving the industry Yuji,” one Twitter user said. “I’d personally love you to have ended your career with one final #NiGHTS game. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours. Rest assured that you’ll leave a gaming legacy that’ll last forever.”

About the Author
Phillip Schneider is a Twitch Affiliate, gamer, and writer with a particular love for retro games of the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s. Favorite game ever? Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon.

This article (Sonic The Hedgehog’s Co-Creator Was Arrested for Illegally Trading Final Fantasy Stock) originally appeared at Phillip Schneider and may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author credit, and this copyright statement.

Leave a Reply