Namco Tales Studio
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|Former type||Subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings|
|Industry||Computer and video game industry|
|Successor(s)||Namco Bandai Games|
|Defunct||November 21, 2011|
|Key people||Eiji Kikuchi|
|Employees||109 (as of April 1, 2011)|
|Parent||Namco Bandai Holdings|
Namco Tales Studio Ltd. (株式会社ナムコ・テイルズスタジオ Kabushiki-gaisha Namuko Teiruzu Sutajio ), formerly Wolf Team ((株)ウルフチーム Urufu Chīmu ) (or Wolfteam), was a Japanese video game development company founded in 1986. The company was renamed in 2003 when Telenet Japan sold part of its stake and made Namco the majority shareholder. Namco Tales Studio continues to be the primary developer of the Tales RPG series, as they had been since the series' beginning. In November 21, 2011, it was announced that the current Tales Studio will be dissolved and will merge with their publisher, Namco Bandai Games. In February 24, 2012, it was announced that 80 people of the Tales team will join the future development studio, Namco Bandai Studios.
Originally headed by Masahiro Akishino, Wolf Team became independent from Telenet in 1987, was reintegrated in 1990 and got merged with another Telenet subsidiary called Lasersoft, then was completely absorbed in an internal restructuring at Telenet in 1993 at which point most of the staff left together with Akishino.
The remaining staff were the then-very-young programmer Yoshiharu Gotanda, designer Masaki Norimoto, director Joe Asanuma, graphic artist Yoshiaki Inagaki, sound composer Motoi Sakuraba, and sound effect designer Ryota Furuya. Wolf Team went on to create games such as Sol-Feace and Hiouden: Mamono-tachi tono Chikai, which faced weak sales due to Telenet's bad reputation. For Tale Phantasia, a game concept by Gotanda, they looked for an outside publisher with a better reputation. After approaching Enix, Telenet struck a contract with Namco.
Namco, however, insisted upon many changes to the game, including renaming the title to Tales of Phantasia. The conflict over these changes pushed the game's release from 1994 into late 1995. Most of the initial staff left during this dispute and founded tri-Ace in early 1995.
To continue the lucrative arrangement with Namco to develop the Tales series, Telenet re-staffed Wolf Team and retained some other staff, such as Motoi Sakuraba on a freelance basis. They developed or co-developed nearly every game in the series until Wolf Team was renamed to Namco Tales Studio in early 2003, and Namco assumed majority ownership. In October 2007, Telenet filed for bankruptcy, and closed its doors, likely putting an end to the Wolf Team name.
Wolf Team was also notable for porting laserdisc video games to the Sega Mega-CD, including some Japan-only arcades like Time Gal and Ninja Hayate (released as Revenge of the Ninja for the Sega Mega-CD outside of Japan).
At the time of its renaming Namco owned 60% of this venture, Telenet Japan/Kazuyuki Fukushima retained 34%, and Tales series director Eiji Kikuchi received 6%. (Kikuchi, who was the head of Telenet's game development department for 10 years, left Telenet to head the new team full-time.) Effective on April 1, 2006, the then-newly merged Namco Bandai Holdings bought the remaining shares from Telenet Japan, cutting the last link to the developers' former employer and increasing its stockholding majority to 94%. Currently Namco Bandai now owns 100% of the company.
Namco Tales Studios remains the primary developer of the so-called Mothership titles of the Tales series, with the exception of Tales of Legendia and Tales of Innocence. Legendia was developed by an internal Namco development team called Team Melfes, featuring a unique battle system developed by some of the creators of the Soul Calibur series (also a Namco property), which is why it is so different from the others. Innocence was developed by an independent developer, Alfa System, which also developed various spinoff games in the Tales series.
Namco Tales Studio has developed or is currently developing games for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation VITA and PlayStation 3.
Notes: 1 Tales Studio sound staff only
As Wolf Team
- Aisle Lord
- Anetto Futatabi
- Arcus II: Silent Symphony
- Arcus 3
- Arcus Odyssey
- Akushu: Kagerou no Jidai wo Koe te
- Apros: Daichi no Shou Kaze no Tankyuu Sha hen
- Cobra Command
- Crystal Chaser: Tenkuu no Masuishou
- D: European Mirage
- Daitoua Mokujiroku Goh
- Diamond Players
- Dino Land
- Earnest Evans
- El Viento
- Fhey Area
- Final Zone (FZ Senki AXIS)
- Gaudi: Barcelona no Kaze
- Goh 2
- Gulf War Soukouden
- Hiōden 2
- Hiōden: Mamono-tachi tono Chikai
- Jinmu Denshou
- Neugier: Umi to Kaze no Kōdō
- Road Avenger
- Ryū: Naki no Ryū Yori
- Shinsengumi: Bakumatsu Genshikou
- Span of Dream
- Tales of Destiny
- Tales of Destiny 2
- Tales of Eternia
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon
- Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 2
- Tenbu Limited / Mankan Zenseki
- Tenbu: Sangokushi Seishi
- The Grail Hunter
- Tokyo Twilight Busters
- Time Gal
- Zan: Kagerou no Toki
- Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku
- Zan II: Spirits
- Zan 2: Kagerou no Jidai
- Zan 2: Kagerou no Jidai Soshuhen
- Zan 3: Tenun Ware ni Ari
- Zan Gear
- Anoop Gantayat (November 21, 2012). "Namco Bandai Dissolving Tales Studio". Andriasang. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
- . Namco Bandai Holdings http://www.bandainamco.co.jp/files/E38390E383B3E38380E382A4E3838AE383A0E382B3E382B9E3.pdf. Missing or empty
- Pär Villner & Fredrik Schaufelberger: "Square Enix", Level 29, September 2009, pg. 44-59. (Swedish)