Yuji Naka says he was removed as Balan Wonderworld director before launch

Balan Wonderworld Yuji Naka

The Sonic creator posts a thread detailing issues within Balan‘s development

Yuji Naka has published a series of tweets this morning, criticizing Square Enix and the situation surrounding Balan Wonderworld. According to Naka’s thread, Square Enix removed him from the director’s role before launch.

The thread shared today starts with Naka saying he was removed as director of Balan Wonderworld approximately half a year before launch. The decision was ultimately made by the producer, promotional partner, sound director, project director, and HR. Naka says this led him to file in court over the matter. (Translation via VGC and @Cheesemeister3k/Twitter.)

The conflict comes down to two points. The first was a promotion involving a YouTuber arranging one of the in-game songs, rather than using the original score. The other, arguably larger dispute, involved co-developer Arzest submitting a final build without fixing bugs, according to Naka. Eventually, he says he asked his lawyer to negotiate to allow him to address issues in Balan Wonderworld until the very end and, when that failed, ultimately decided to file in court.

“Personally, I believe that it is a true disgrace that Balan Wonderworld was released in the state that it was in,” Naka writes, via VGC’s translation. “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.”

We’ve reached out to Square Enix for comment.

Anyway, here’s Wonderworld

Naka left Square Enix in 2021, following the extremely rough launch of Balan Wonderworld. The new character platformer from Yuji Naka was very poorly received, with low sales and the demo being taken down after launch.

According to the former director, it is because of these issues that Balan Wonderworld received all the “criticisms and comments.” Whether the Balan boat could have been righted or not, it’s a pretty surprising series of tweets to see from the longtime creator.

Naka has meanwhile been working on personal projects, including a mobile game he made by himself.

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Eric Van Allen
Senior Editor - While Eric's been writing about games since 2014, he's been playing them for a lot longer. Usually found grinding RPG battles, digging into an indie gem, or hanging out around the Limsa Aethryte.
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