The scandal revolves around online game production company Aiming and game developer Square Enix, who announced in February 2020 their plans to create a new Dragon Quest mobile phone game. According to Kotaku, former Square Enix employee Taisuke Sazaki (who worked on Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games) allegedly learned of the deal prior to the public release and joined up with another ex-Square Enix employee to buy up a ton of shares in Aiming from December 2019 t0 February 2020.
Now, Naka’s arrest seems to have him involved in gaming insider trading as well. Before Aiming’s announcement, Naka allegedly purchased 10,000 shares in the company’s stock, totaling up to 2.8 million yen (about $20,000), as shown in an FNN report. The two former employees and Naka have all been arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, with information on whether any of them sold their shares still unknown.
While Naka made his name as the creator of a famous blue, speedy hedgehog, he previously worked with Square Enix on the poorly received 2021 game Balan Wonderworld. After he was removed as director of the game, Naka went on to leave the company in early 2022. He later sued Square Enix, stating that he was taken off the project six months before its completion.
“We have been fully cooperating with requests from the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission,” said Square Enix in an official statement on November 17. “We deeply regret the great concern this has caused to all concerned. We have dealt with this incident strictly, including internal disciplinary actions taken against the suspected employees.”