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Yuji Naka reveals lawsuit against Square over Balan Wonderworld

Did you think we were done with talking about Balan Wonderworld? Admittedly, I did too. But then this morning happened. And Yuji Naka spilled what actually happened with the maligned game. 

In a Twitter thread (fully translated here by @Cheesemeister3k), Naka revealed that he was fired as director of Balan Wonderworld six months from release. The reason for his firing is a little murky. But it seems to boil down to the fact that he criticized Square Enix producers over multiple decisions. You can find the thread from Naka below.

What led to Yuji Naka being kicked off Balan Wonderworld?

Two decisions were major factors in Naka’s firing according to him. A YouTuber’s arranged piano performance of the game music being released instead of the original game track was the first disgression. Naka insisted the promo be re-done with the original composition so the composer would not be classified as a ghostwriter. According to Naka, Square didn’t like that very much. 

The second is the more damning accusation. According to court documents, at the time of the firing, the relationship between producers and Naka was ruined. This was due to Naka wanting to improve the game in the face of producers submitting the game without fixing bugs. The disagreement apparently led to Naka’s firing as director of the game. 

Is either party in the right?

Now, this is a very complex situation on both sides. For one, Naka has been known as a developer to be hard to work with for years. He even admits in the thread that he likes to fine-tune a game till the last moment to make sure it goes out ok. Some devs and publishers understandably don’t enjoy this type of direction. Did Naka do that too much on Balan Wonderworld? Maybe? But we don’t know for sure. 

On the other hand, it’s not a good look for Square Enix either to fire a game director six months before a heavily anticipated title drops. One that they marketed heavily on Naka’s name. And it seems the way they did it insinuates that they were rushing the game out. Not caring if it was fully complete or not. It’s a horrific look for a company already facing awful PR this year

I’ve got a feeling this story isn’t over. There are a lot of unanswered questions on both sides. Nevertheless, if Naka can now speak freely without Square retaliating legally, we may be able to get to the bottom of what exactly happened at Balan Wonderworld. What do you think about the reveal? Does it change your opinion on the game? Let us know below.

Alex Lehew

28-year-old gamer, writer, content creator, weeb, and Sega fan! I'm old enough to remember when you played Sonic The Hedgehog 2 on a CRT, or how weird Revelations: Persona is. Constantly begging Atlus to make Snowboard Kids 3.
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