Update, 12/7/2022: Balan Wonderworld director Yuji Naka has been arrested again on a second charge of insider trading, this time involving mobile battle royale title Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.
Last month, Naka and former Square Enix employee Taisuke Sazaki were arrested on suspicion of buying shares in developer Aiming after learning in advance of the team’s announcement of their mobile game Dragon Quest Tactic (see full original story below). ). Japanese Outlet Aashi (Thank you video game chronicle) now reports that Naka and Sazaki are believed to have tried a similar plan for the reveal of Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.
Ashai noted that in February 2021, developer Atem and Square Enix announced a partnership to develop a mobile battle royale title. Naka and Sazaki are said to have learned of the details of the deal before it became public, and to have bought shares in ATM, hoping to profit from the high stock price stemming from The First Soldier’s revelations.
Naka is reported to have bought 120,000 shares for approximately 144.7 million yen (more than $1 million). Sazaki is accused of purchasing 91,000 shares for approximately 105 million yen ($767,000), as well as passing this insider information to an acquaintance who also obtained shares. The investigation is ongoing so it’s unclear where things will go from here, but Square Enix previously said it was cooperating fully with the Securities and Exchange Supervisory Commission and the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office.
In October, Square Enix announced Shut Down Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier On 11 January.
Original story, 11/9/2022: Renowned Sonic designer and Balan Wonderland director Yuji Naka has been arrested in Tokyo in connection with an insider trading investigation related to the Dragon Quest game revelations.
According to Japanese news outlet fnnIn the past 24 hours, former Square Enix employee Taisuke Sazaki and his friend Fumiaki Suzuki were arrested on suspicion of insider trading. In 2020, developer Aiming was ready to announce its mobile game dragon quest tactic, and Sazaki and Suzuki are alleged to have known details about the game before it was publicly revealed. The pair reportedly bought a combined 162,000 shares of Target for approximately 47.2 million yen (or more than $335,000), with the intention of taking advantage of a potentially higher stock price resulting from Tact’s announcement.
Yuji Naka is also suspected to be involved in this scandal. He is accused of buying 10,000 shares worth 2.8 million yen (about $20,000) with the intention of profiting from Tact’s disclosure. Naka was apprehended by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the investigation continues. It is currently unknown whether the suspects still own their shares or if they have already sold them.
This is the second major controversy Naka has found itself embroiled in this year. Naka in April publicly blasted square enix Balan took to Twitter on his removal as director from Wonderworld prior to release, blaming Square for the game’s critical failure. The outburst came after the conclusion of a lawsuit he had previously filed against the publisher. Naka is best known as the lead programmer behind the original Sonic the Hedgehog games for the Sega Genesis and Nights Into Dreams.