Sonic Co-Creator Yuji Naka Arrested Over Dragon Quest Game


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Over the past 24 hours quite a few people in Japan—including a Square Enix worker—have been arrested on insider trading charges related to a Dragon Quest game announcement. Legendary Sega designer Yuji Naka is reportedly amongst them.

The scandal centers around a studio called Aiming, which in 2020 was announced because the developer of a latest Dragon Quest game, called Tact. Last night, it was first alleged that 38-year-old Square Enix worker Taisuke Sazaki, who has worked on Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games, knew of the deal before it was publicly announced, and together with a friend purchased a ton of shares in Aiming, hoping to profit when their share price (presumably) went up.

Naka, 57, who’s credited as certainly one of the fundamental creators of Sonic the Hedgehog and who has also worked on every part from NiGHTS Into Dreams to Phantasy Star, has since been arrested on similar charges. In accordance with this FNN report, Naka is accused of also knowing in regards to the Aiming deal before it was public news, and taking the chance to buy 10,000 shares in the corporate.

While most famous for his work with Sega, Naka had most recently teamed up with Square Enix on the ill-fated 3D platformer Balan Wonderland. He parted ways with the corporate in April 2021; these allegations stem from 2020, when he was still working with the publisher.

Naka was arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, which is continuous its investigation. Naka is alleged to have purchased 10,000 shares, price ¥2.8 million, or around USD$20,000. (Sazaki, meanwhile, is accused of shopping for ¥26.4 million price, or around USD$188,000.) Authorities have yet to reveal whether any of the three men arrested to this point still owned those shares, or whether or not they had been sold off for profit prior to the investigation.

Kotaku reached out to Square Enix for comment.

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