Yuji Naka sued Square Enix over Balan Wonderworld’s release

Yuji Naka has revealed that he sued Square Enix over the release of Balan Wonderworld, saying that they removed him as director of the game six months before release and refused to let him keep working with co-developer Azrest to address game bugs.

The lawsuit has now concluded, allowing him to speak publicly over the release, apologising to fans for the final product’s state and stating that he doesn’t believe Square Enix values their fans.

Square Enix’s decision to remove him from the game’s development process was down to a breakdown in his working relationship with Azrest after they submitted a final build of the game without fixing a number of bugs, and a disagreement over the game’s promotion, involving a YouTuber playing the piano and releasing the score of an in-game song. He was also prohibited for commenting on social media and responding to fans about the game since its ill-fated release.

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Despite this fallout, Naka requested the ability to continue working to address issues through to the final launch of Balan Wonderworld. Square Enix ignored this request and so he filed suit.

He claims (translated by Twitter user Cheesemeister) that “I think that the resulting Balan Wonderworld and the critical reception it received have a lot to do with what happened. I’m really disappointed that a product I worked on from the start turned out this way.

“I personally regret that Balan Wonderworld was released to the world in an unfinished state. I wanted to consider all kinds of things and release it as a proper action game. I don’t think that Square Enix and Arzest value games and their fans.”

It’s not clear how the court case was concluded, but it is clear that Naka is seeking to restore some of his reputation. Since Balan Wonderworld’s release, he has departed Square Enix and gone solo, working on a mobile game.

Balan Wonderworld was widely panned when it released in March 2021 with a mixture of bugs and design issues undermining the 3D platformer. In our own Balan Wonderworld review, Reuben said:

“Balan Wonderworld is a passable platformer marred by a string of increasingly baffling design decisions. It has charm by the bucketload and off-the-wall concepts that land well in spite of themselves, but the experience is inconsistent at best and frustrating at worst. There is a good game in here somewhere, and it is great fun at points, but waiting for those points isn’t really worth it.”

Source: Yuji Naka via Cheesemeister

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