Yuji Naka Talks Balan Wonderworld Issues: “I Think Square Enix Is No Good”

Veteran developer Yuji Naka slapped his former publisher Square Enix after a court case over his removal as director of Balan wonder world closed.

Naka is best known for his work on Sonic The Hedgehog, Phantasy Star and Nights into Dreams. In a series of tweets, Naka said that “Square Enix is ​​no good” and that neither she nor co-developer Arzest are “companies that care about games or care about fans”.

Naka served as director during much of Balan’s development, but was removed from his post about six months before the game’s release. He resigned from Square Enix shortly after Balan was released and filed a lawsuit against the company. He also brought up the idea of ​​retiring from the gaming industry for good.

Balan Wonderworld Xbox Series X screenshots

In his thread, Naka gave two reasons for his short-term dismissal. First, he expressed concerns about promotional work with a YouTuber to perform and publish sheet music for a piano arrangement of the game’s music. “I found it odd that we only release an arrangement of the game’s music and also use a ghostwriter to produce that arrangement,” Naka wrote. “I got in trouble for arguing that we publish the original score.”

Naka also cited tensions between him and Arzest related to his comments that the game was submitted in an unfinished state and known issues have not been fixed. “I believe games should be made by working hard to the end, until it’s a good game that the team thinks its fans will enjoy if they buy,” he wrote.

Announced in 2020, Balan Wonderworld was hailed as the long-awaited reunion of Naka and Sonic creator Naoto Ohshima, who currently heads Arzest. It was a critical and commercial failure on its March 2021 release our review He called it a “half-baked platformer” that was little more than a “hodgepodge of endearing but incoherent ideas” and let down by “fundamentally bad decisions.”

While Naka mostly focused his anger on Square Enix and Azrest, he also thanked those who provided “comments and fantastic illustrations” inspired by the game and issued a “sincere apology to the customers who purchased the unfinished Balan Wonderworld.” .

IGN reached out to Square Enix for comment, and you can read our independent translation of Naka’s Twitter thread below.

I filed a lawsuit against Square Enix after being removed as director of Balan Wonderworld about six months before release. Now that the court case is complete and the eviction is no longer in effect, I want to say a few things.

I think Square Enix isn’t good: they don’t care about games or fans. According to court documents, I was removed as director of Balan Wonderworld for two reasons. This decision was made by the producer, the publicist, the sound director, the CEO and the human resources department.

One reason is that a pianist wanted Youtuber to perform songs from the game and release the sheet music arrangement as part of the game’s promotion. I found it odd that we only released an arrangement of the game’s music and also hired a ghostwriter to produce that arrangement. I got in trouble for arguing that we publish the original score.

Another reason is that according to court documents, my relationship with Arzest was compromised because of comments I made about them submitting the game without fixing issues discovered during development, as well as comments I made with the aim of to improve the game itself has been corrupted. The producer, Mr. Fujimoto, told Mr. Oshima about these comments.

Another point: In an email to Mr. Fujimoto, Mr. Oshima wrote: “I just gathered the staff and told them that the demo version should be postponed. I told them, ‘This decision was made by Mr. Fujimoto. Let’s do our best for him sake.’ They clapped and cheered when I told them, which was a bit unexpected and I was very touched.

“Recently, staff who appeared depressed have been revived. Thanks very much. We’ll all do our best.” However, the producer decides the schedule, not me. The producer settled on this tight schedule. Something is weird about that, isn’t it?

I don’t think it’s a good idea to only release arrangements of the game’s music. I think there is game music that everyone knows and can hum, but I’m not sure if that’s the “true” music of the game.

I believe games should be made by working hard to the end until it’s a good game that the team thinks its fans will enjoy if they buy it. I find it odd to remove and completely shut out a director who had an impact on the game and do it without discussion because there isn’t time for that.

By banning retweets, likes, etc. on social media, Square Enix is ​​doing its fans a disservice in my opinion. There have been so many comments and fantastic illustrations from Balan Wonderworld and I’m really sorry I couldn’t do anything to recognize them.

For my part, I would like to sincerely apologize to the customers who bought the unfinished Balan Wonderworld.

From now on, I believe I can respond to mentions and tags as an individual.

I think it’s natural to ask for changes that make a game better. If you can’t, I think it’s okay to at least discuss it, but even that seems impossible. I don’t think we can do justice to a game with that.

Two weeks before the final release date for Sonic the Hedgehog, we changed the spec so that Sonic can’t die even if he has even a single ring. This famous mechanic came about because we worked until the last minute to improve the game and I think people around the world still enjoy this game to this day. #Sonic the Hedgehog

I find it strange to say that developers can’t work to the last minute to make their game better. I asked my attorney to help me negotiate the possibility of simply commenting on the game until development was complete, but this was completely ignored, so I filed a lawsuit.

I think this matter has grown so big because of the results and the recognition Balan Wonderworld has achieved. It’s such a shame that a project I’ve been working on from the beginning has come this far.

I personally think it’s a pity that an unfinished “Balan Wonderworld” was sent out into the world. I wanted to release it properly, as a carefully crafted action game. I don’t think Square Enix or Arzest are companies that care about games or fans.

Jack Richardson is a freelance writer for IGN. Yuji Naka Talks Balan Wonderworld Issues: “I Think Square Enix Is No Good”

Fry Electronics Team

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