Balan Wonderworld turned out to be a bit of a disaster. Previews of the game revealed multiple problems, such as awful platforming, a final boss that could cause seizures, and a song that seemed plagiarized from the original Ghostbusters film. Then the game was released to poor reviews and even worse sales.
A month later, Balan Wonderworld director and Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka revealed that he had been sacked from Square Enix, but he couldn't explain why. Now almost a year after leaving the Balan Wonderworld publisher, Naka has accused Square Enix of not caring "about games and game fans" in a tweetstorm that revealed he even went to court to stop Balan Wonderworld from releasing in an "unfinished" state.
"Approximately half a year before the launch of Balan Wonderworld, a business order was issued to be removed from the director of Balan Wonderworld," wrote Naka (with translation by Google), "so I filed a lawsuit against Square Enix in court."
The trial is now over, so Naka can now discuss what went so terribly wrong with Balan Wonderworld. Naka said documents from his trial revealed two principal complaints, one regarding the release of Balan Wonderworld’s soundtrack, and the other regarding the “collapsed” relationship with support studio Azrest.
Although the translation isn’t perfect, it seems that Naka insisted on releasing Balan Wonderworld’s soundtrack even amidst copyright concerns over streamers playing the game on YouTube. But these issues likely could have been worked out. What truly doomed Balan Wonderworld was the loss of Azrest, a studio that had been helping develop Balan Wonderworld. Naka said there were complaints against Azrest for "submitting" builds "without fixing" problems, which eventually led to the collapse of their partnership.
Naka attempted to "gather staff" and shift the release of the trial versions of the game, but the Square Enix producers refused to shift Balan Wonderworld’s schedule. This led to Naka's departure, a lawsuit, and Balan Wonderworld releasing in an "unfinished" state.
"Personally, I'm really sorry that I released the unfinished work Balan Wonderworld to the world," wrote Naka. "I wanted to think about various things and put it out in a proper form as an action game. I think Square Enix and Azrest are companies that don't care about games and game fans."
The final outcome of the lawsuit wasn’t revealed, but Naka hinted at his possible retirement in a tweet last April.
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