Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka has spoken out against publisher Square Enix over the release of Balan Wonderworld, claiming he was removed from the project as director months before the game’s launch – which led him to sue the Final Fantasy company.
In a series of explosive tweets published today (translated by Twitter user Cheesemeister3K and VGC), Naka was heavily critical of Square Enix and fellow development studio Arzest for the way Balan Wonderworld turned out. The game was panned on launch, with game critics saying the action platformer was clearly rushed to market. Naka said his removal as the game’s director led to the game being released in an unfinished state.
“Personally, I believe that it is a true disgrace that Balan Wonderworld was released in the state that it was in,” reads Naka’s statement (translated). “I wanted to show the world an action game in its proper light. Therefore, I believe that Square Enix and Arzest are companies that care about neither games nor their fans.”
“The business relationship with Arzest fell apart due to my comments about Arzest submitting the final build without fixing bugs even though there were problems during development, and I was pushing for further polish,” Naka added. This point formed one of two disputes that Naka says was the basis for Square Enix pushing him out of the project many months before the game’s release.
Another dispute involved an incident with a YouTuber who intended to use an arrangement piece to promote the game’s soundtrack, rather than the publisher using a track from the original score.
“Game creators are supposed to improve their games until the very end, and I believe that it is wrong to prevent them from carrying out this goal,” Naka concluded. “I asked my lawyer to negotiate with our business partners to at least allow me to address issues on Balan Wonderworld’s development until the very end, but they ignored my requests, so I ultimately decided to file a lawsuit in court.
“It is because of this that Balan Wonderworld received all the criticisms and comments you all know well… It is quite unfortunate that a project I had spearheaded from the beginning would turn out this way.”
Naka added that he wanted to speak about his experience with Balan Wonderworld now that his legal challenge against Square Enix is over.
A full translation of Naka’s statement can be found on VGC.