Yuji Naka says Square Enix does not “appreciate games” after Balan Wonderworld mess

In an honest Twitter thread, famed video game developer Yuji Naka revealed details of a lawsuit he filed against Square Enix and his fight to make it ambitious but ultimately cruel. Balan Wonderworld a better game.

In the threadwritten in Japanese and translated by The edgewrote Naka that he was removed as a producer of Balan Wonderworld six months before his release and that he shortly after sued Square Enix.

“Improving a game to the last is what it’s like to be a game creator, and it’s weird to make it impossible to do that,” Naka wrote. “I asked my lawyer to try to negotiate, even just comment on the production until the end, but I sued because I was denied.”

He says he was removed for two reasons. The first involved comments he made about a decision to release a YouTube event of a piece Wonderworld‘s music instead of the original song.

“I thought it was wrong that a piano arrangement of the game music by a YouTuber was used in a promotion of an original game,” Naka wrote. “When I insisted that the original song be released, it created problems.”

Naka stated that the second reason for his release was because he took a problem with the quality of the work from Arzest, the game studio behind Balan Wonderworld‘s development.

“The relationship with Arzest fell apart when I made comments that I would improve the game, or that Arzest submitted the game without correcting errors,” Naka tweeted.

Balan Wonderworld was a musical platform game that generated a lot of early buzz; it was a new franchise from Square Enix and Yuji Naka, famous for his work on the original The hedgehog Sonic games, would be its director. But after launch, the game’s whimsical brilliance disappeared, revealing superficial gameplay filled with potentially damaging flaws.

In game development, a game often has most of its pieces in place long before a release date, and any changes can lead to costly delays. In his thread, Naka expressed frustration at being taken out of the project as it ran counter to his philosophy of making corrections and improvements to a game until the last minute – something that has served him well in the past. Naka, the original programmer on The hedgehog Sonicshared that he came up with the now-general convention that Sonic does not die as long as he had a single ring just two weeks before the game was to be sent for final approval.

Naka said his inability to continue working on the game was partly responsible for its poor performance.

“I believe in the reception and reviews of Balan Wonderworld as you all know has a lot to do with this situation. I’m really disappointed that a product I worked on from the beginning has become this way, ”he tweeted.

He also criticized his former employer, Square Enix, and Wonderworld‘s developer, Arzest.

“[They] are companies that do not value games or gaming fans. “

In 2021, Naka Square left Enix and recently released a solo-developed mobile game. He did not reveal the details of his case against Square Enix and apologized to his fans, saying he will be more responsive on social media in the future.

“I am deeply saddened by the customers who have bought what I consider unfinished Balan Wonderworld,” he wrote.