In a lengthy thread on Twitter, former Sonic Team head Yuji Naka revealed that he knew his latest game, Balan Wonderworld, was in an unfinished state when it was released. However, it doesn’t seem that Naka had any power over the game at that point, as he also claims that he was removed from his position as the game’s director before it launched.
— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) April 28, 2022
Today, Balan Wonderworld is a fairly infamous name. The game was touted as the next great work from Naka, who was the lead programmer on some of the original Sonic games. When the game launched, it was panned for its shoddy controls and, as Digital Trends Gaming Section Lead Giovanni Colantonio described it in his review, “half-formed platforming ideas.”
According to Naka, his involvement with the game ended roughly six months before it launched. The industry veteran also claims to have filed a lawsuit against Square Enix for being removed from his position. That lawsuit has since been resolved, which is why Naka posted on Twitter about the game’s development in the first place.
We have reached out to Square Enix regarding the validity of Naka’s claims and will update this article when we receive a response.
By the end of his Twitter thread, Naka had some cutting words for both Square Enix and Arzest, the studio that co-developed the game along with Naka’s own studio, Balan Company. “I think Square Enix and Arzest are companies that don’t care about games and game fans,” said Naka in his final post, which was translated by Google.