Yuji Naka
Image: Square Enix

Former Sega and Square Enix developer Yuji Naka could face a prison term of two years and six months in relation to the insider trading trial held in Tokyo, Japan, as reported by denfaminicogamer (thanks, Time Extension).

In addition, Naka may be fined 2.5 million JPY along with a surcharge of 170 million JPY. He, along with two former Square Enix employees, Taisuke Sazaki and Fumiaki Suzuki, had been accused of purchasing shares in developers Aiming and Ateam based on information not yet made public regarding the free-to-play mobile games Dragon Quest Tact and Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier. The three suspects had intended to sell their stock in each company once the respective games were publicly announced.

The prosecution stated that the suspects had "gained unfair profits from a significantly more advantageous position than general investors, and undermined the fairness of the market". To counteract this, the defense claimed that they "did not actively browse insider information", seeking leniency and a reduction in both fines and surcharges.

Naka's upcoming final sentence on July 7th, 2023 will presumably mark the end of a lengthy legal process that started back in November 2022. Prior to this, the developer had gained a notable reputation during his time at Sega, during which he helped spearhead the creation of the company's most famous mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog. Since leaving Sega, he created his own studio, Prope, and made a number of games for the Wii and 3DS.

Most recently, he joined Square Enix to create the subsidiary brand Balan Company and subsequently directed the much-maligned Balan Wonderworld. After its release, Naka claimed he was removed as the game's director prior to launch and moved to file a lawsuit against Square Enix.

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[source news.denfaminicogamer.jp, via timeextension.com]