Yuji Naka was fired six months before the release of Balan Wonderworld. He was not allowed to speak until now, but now he has spoken out.
Balan Wonderworld was one of those games that, although aimed at the little ones, featured a combination of lights, colours and tunes that appealed to gamers of all ages. Unfortunately, users were faced with a title fraught with technical problems that even affected the demo. In short, a disaster that also affected the reputation of director Yuji Naka, also known as the father of Sonic.
“The court case is now over and the work order is no longer in effect.” – Yuji Naka
Nevertheless, the truth behind the terrible release is now revealed: Naka was fully aware that the game was not ready, but Square Enix did not listen to the director’s warnings. This led to his abrupt dismissal six months before the release of Balan Wonderworld, as Naka himself revealed in a Twitter post.
Thanks to the translation of the well-known tweeter Nibel, we can read the first outline of the story Naka tells: “About 6 months before the release of Balan Wonderworld, a work order was issued removing me as director, so I filed a lawsuit against Square Enix. The court case is now over and the work order is no longer in effect,” says Naka.
“It’s a real shame that Balan Wonderworld was released as an unfinished work.” – Yuji Naka
Explaining in detail what happened, Naka says, “I think a game is something that is made by striving how to make it a good game until the end and hoping that the game fans will enjoy it when they buy it. I think it’s strange to remove the director who commented on the game without consulting with him because he doesn’t have enough time and doesn’t want to be involved in any way.” He then apologises to all players who have bought Balan Wonderworld.
“It is a great shame for me that Balan Wonderworld was released as an unfinished work. I wanted to release it as an action game, in a proper way, with several things in mind. I think Square Enix and Arzest are companies that do not care about games and game fans.”
Recall that Yuji Naka left Square Enix shortly after the release of Balan Wonderworld, and while he had nothing to say about what happened at the time, we now know the sad state of affairs that lay behind it.
Even if read with machine translation, it is a very scathing thread that concludes with the following
"I think Square Enix and Arzest are companies that do not care about games and game fans."
Until a better translation comes out, here's a DeepL translation of the thread: pic.twitter.com/mlRet1gHwC
— Nibel (@Nibellion) April 28, 2022