Yuji Naka has recently been sentenced by Japanese courts following his trial for insider trading, which he allegedly carried out with the help of a colleague during his time at Square Enix. Naka will be on a four year suspended sentence, he will go to jail only if the terms of the probation will be broken.
The Japanese prosecutors had demanded that Naka be punished with two and a half years of prison and fines for several million Yen, which the court agreed with. The Sonic the Hedgehog creator was also fined by the court for overall 172 million yen (approx one million EUR).
Naka had moved to Square Enix in 2018, from which he retired three years later. During his period at the company, he was the main designer on Balan Wonderworld, which had a lackluster launch and poor sales numbers.
Following his arrest in December of last year, it was revealed that, during his period working at the company, Yuji Naka purchased several million yen of ATeam stock, developers of Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.
Apparently, this was because he was informed of the upcoming release of the game, before the official announcement was made. Naka was hoping the company' stock would increase in value and thus profit on the announcement.
Naka had also been arrested prior to this for a similar charge. Allegedly, Naka had purchased 2.8m yen's of shares in Aiming, developers of the Dragon Quest mobile game. This was done, again, prior to the official announcement of the project.
While Naka had reported suing Square Enix after leaving, he admitted to the charges brought against him by the Japanese courts.
While it is sad ending to a tale of a once creative and talented game designer, perhaps not all hope is lost. After serving his probation and sentence, maybe we will see Yuji Naka again working on another 3D platformer. But, this time, perhaps in a more independent position.
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