Balan Wonderworld
Image: Square Enix

Former Sonic Team lead Yuji Naka has been on a bit of a tear of late, publishing a number of tweets about the difficult development of the heavily criticized Balan Wonderworld and his premature removal from the project.

The famous developer claims to have previously sued Square Enix over the behind-the-scenes fallout, revealing this info back in April of early this year. But has continued to post about the situation ever since, putting the blame for the game's release state on publisher Square Enix and its developer, Arzest.

Naka's most recent outburst occurred on Tuesday 5, July (as spotted by VGC), after he posted a picture of the Nights Into Dreams team to celebrate the 26th Anniversary. Fans were quick to notice he had removed Balan Wonderworld's development producer Naoto Ohshima from the photo, which prompted the developer to elaborate on the reasons behind this.

Naka wrote:

How would you feel if you were suddenly removed from a game that you had worked hard on for over two years, and when you went to court, you found out that they had been talking about me behind my back in court documents and that is why I was removed from the game?

Game creators create games with care for the people who play them. Don't you think that people and companies that cannot take care of games are no good? Instead of talking behind my back, don't you think you should tell them directly before removing them?

What would you do if you were to be ill for a long time and unable to do anything because of it? And how would you feel if you were the director of an unfinished game and it was heavily criticized?

Ohshima had previously had a long history working with Naka, having collaborated on Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights Into Dreams. Balan Wonderworld was to see the pair reunite to create a brand new IP, but when the game was released many were disappointed with its tedious gameplay and poor technical performance, with Naka claiming he had been removed from the project six months prior to it being finished.

Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima
Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima announced Balan Wonderworld together back in July 2020 — Image: Square Enix

According to Naka's original set of tweets, the relationship between himself and his development partners started soured primarily because of two disagreements. The first of these was Arzest's decision to submit the final build of the game without fixing known bugs, while the latter was a proposed idea that would have seen a YouTuber publishing a piano arrangement of an in-game song for promotional purposes, in place of the original score.

The response to these comments has been mixed online. While some have offered their sympathies towards him for his treatment, others are quick to bring up examples of Naka's own conduct in the past. Such as the time he allegedly shut down a Star Fox-like project to take its proprietary tech for Sonic Adventure. Or his alleged role in shutting down Sonic X-treme for the Sega Saturn, which led to two Sega employees contracting potentially fatal illnesses.

It's a strange situation, with Square Enix and Arzest remaining quiet on its own reaction to Naka's comments about the two companies. We reached out to Arzest for comment, and will update if we hear anything back.