Yuji Naka, the co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, has been sentenced to prison for two and a half years for insider trading.
Per the Japanese outlet Abema Times, the Tokyo District Court has also ordered the game designer to pay fines of ¥2.5 million (about $24,000 CAD) and ¥170 million (about $1.6 million CAD).
Last year, Naka was accused of insider trading for two Square Enix mobile games: Dragon Quest Tact and Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier. Specifically, he was alleged to have bought 10,000 shares of Tact developer Aiming for approximately ¥47.2 million (about $457,300) and ¥144.7 million (about $1.4 million CAD) worth of shares in The First Soldier maker ATeam, both before they were revealed to the public.
This March, Naka admitted his guilt. Now, however, his team is asking for the two-and-a-half-year sentence to be reduced. A final ruling will be made on July 7th.
Between 1983 and 2006, Naka worked at Sega on various titles, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Nights into Dreams and Phantasy Star. After a decade of being independent, he joined Square Enix and worked on the poorly received 2021 game Balan Wonderworld. He announced his departure from Square Enix that same year, and in 2022 sued the company for what he claimed was wrongful termination.
Given the negative reception to Balan Wonderland, that in and of itself would have been a rough end to a veteran developer’s career, so the insider trading charges only tarnish Naka’s legacy even more.
But hey, at least the recent Sonic game was good?
Image credit: Sega