Namco Tales Studio

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Namco Tales Studio Ltd.
株式会社ナムコ・テイルズスタジオ
Former type Subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings
Industry Computer and video game industry
Fate Dissolved
Successors Bandai Namco Games
Founded 1986
Defunct November 21, 2011
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Key people Eiji Kikuchi
Employees 109 (as of April 1, 2011)
Parent Bandai Namco 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 known as 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 would be dissolved and would merge with their publisher, Bandai Namco Games.[1] On February 24, 2012, it was announced that the 80 people of the Tales team would join Bandai Namco Studios.[2]

History[edit]

The last Wolf Team logo, of many.

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. For Tale Phantasia, a game concept by Gotanda, they looked for an outside publisher with a better reputation.[3] 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 Bandai Namco 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 Bandai Namco 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 Soulcalibur 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.

Developed games[edit]

Namco Tales Studio has developed games for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

Game Title Release Date Platform
Tales of Phantasia 1995/2003 SNES, Game Boy Advance
Tales of Destiny 1997 PlayStation
Tales of Eternia 2000/2005 PlayStation, PlayStation Portable
Tales of Destiny 2 2002 PlayStation 2
Tales of Symphonia 2003/2004/2013 Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3
Tales of Rebirth 2004/2008 PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable
Tales of the Abyss 2005/2011 PlayStation 2, Nintendo 3DS
Tales of Destiny Remake 2006 PlayStation 2
Tales of Destiny Director's Cut 2008 PlayStation 2
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World 2008/2013 Wii, PlayStation 3
Tales of Vesperia 2008/2009 Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Tales of Hearts 2008 Nintendo DS
Tales of Graces 2009 Wii
Keroro RPG: Kishi to Musha to Densetsu no Kaizoku[1] 2010 Nintendo DS
Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X 2010 PlayStation Portable
Tales of Graces F 2010 PlayStation 3
Tales of Xillia 2011 PlayStation 3

Notes: 1 Tales Studio sound staff only

As Wolf Team[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anoop Gantayat (November 21, 2012). "Namco Bandai Dissolving Tales Studio". Andriasang. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ http://www.bandainamco.co.jp/files/E38390E383B3E38380E382A4E3838AE383A0E382B3E382B9E3.pdf
  3. ^ Pär Villner & Fredrik Schaufelberger: "Square Enix", Level (magazine) (sv) 29, September 2009, pg. 44-59. (Swedish)

External links[edit]