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Koei Co., Ltd.
Native name
Kabushikigaisha Kōē
Company typeKabushiki gaisha
IndustryVideo games
FoundedJuly 25, 1978; 45 years ago (1978-07-25)
FounderYōichi Erikawa
Keiko Erikawa
DefunctApril 1, 2010; 13 years ago
FateMerged with Tecmo
SuccessorKoei Tecmo Games
HeadquartersYokohama, Japan
ProductsList of Koei Tecmo games
ParentKoei Tecmo

Koei Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game publisher, developer, and distributor founded in 1978. The company is known for its historical simulation games based on the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, as well as simulation games based on pseudo-historical events.

The company found mainstream success in a series of loosely historical action games, the flagship titles of which are the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series, also known as the Musō series. Koei also owned a division known as Ruby Party, which focuses on otome games.[1]

On April 1, 2009, Koei merged with Tecmo to create the Tecmo Koei Holdings holding company. After operating as subsidiaries of Tecmo Koei Holdings for exactly a year, Koei merged with Tecmo on April 1, 2010 and combined both companies as one under the name Tecmo Koei Games (with Koei as the actual surviving corporation).



Koei was established in July 1978 by Yōichi Erikawa [ja] (also known as Kou Shibusawa [ja]) and Keiko Erikawa [ja]. Yoichi was a student at Keio University, and when his family's rural dyestuffs business failed, he decided to pursue his interest in programming. The company has remained located in the Hiyoshi area of Yokohama.

The company initially focused on personal computer sales and made-to-order business software. In 1982, the company released the erotic title (eroge) Seduction of the Condominium Wife (団地妻の誘惑, Danchi Tsuma no Yūwaku), which was an early role-playing adventure game with color graphics,[2][3] owing to the eight-color palette of the PC-8001 computer. It became a hit, helping Koei become a major software company.[4] In March the same year Koei released Underground Exploration, the earliest known Japanese RPG.[5] In 1983 it released Nobunaga's Ambition (信長の野望, Nobunaga no Yabō), a historical strategy game set during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. The game went on to receive numerous awards, and Koei produced several more such games set against the backdrop of world history, including Romance of the Three Kingdoms, set during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history, and Uncharted Waters (大航海時代, Dai Kōkai Jidai, lit. Great Navigation Era), set in Portugal during the Age of Exploration.

In 1988, Koei established a North American subsidiary, Koei America Corporation, in California. This subsidiary localized Koei games for export to all territories outside Japan, as well as producing original games and concepts with the leadership of designer Stieg Hedlund, like Liberty or Death, Celtic Tales: Balor of the Evil Eye, Gemfire and Saiyuki: Journey West. After Hedlund's departure, this subsidiary ceased game development in 1995, focusing instead on localization, sales and marketing.

Though none of Koei's historical simulations achieved mass market success, they acquired a loyal cult following. This following allowed Koei to remain profitable, since they could reliably predict how many copies of their games would sell[6] (especially important during the cartridge era, when a surplus of unsold cartridges on a single game was often enough to bankrupt a company).[7]

A Canadian subsidiary, Koei Canada, Inc. was established in early 2001, and a European subsidiary, Koei Limited was established in early 2003 in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. Koei also maintains subsidiaries in mainland China, Korea, Taiwan and Lithuania. Recently, Koei created a Singapore branch for game development such as Sangokushi Online.

Koei's Ruby Party division specializes on games labeled as Neoromance: GxB dating sims, usually with extra side-quests. Out of the three Neoromance series, the best known is Angelique, which has been in production since 1994. Harukanaru Toki no Naka de is a newer Neoromance hit, with many sequels and an anime television series based on it. The newest game in the series, Kin'iro no Corda, is gaining popularity partially because the manga series it was based on, has been recently licensed by Viz for English language publishing. It gaining more popularity though, and an anime television series based on it began airing in October 2006. A sequel was also released on the PlayStation 2 in March 2007.[8]

On September 4, 2008, Koei announced that it was in talks to purchase ailing competitor Tecmo.[9][10] They agreed in November 2008 to merge on April 1, 2009 to form Tecmo Koei Holdings.[11] On January 26, 2009 the two companies approved the merger, the holding company formed on April 1, 2009 as planned.[12]

Koei changed its name to Tecmo Koei Games on April 1, 2010 by absorbing Tecmo, and again on July 1, 2014, to Koei Tecmo Games.[13][14] Koei's subsidiaries in the United States, Europe and Korea already had their names changed months before the Japanese parent.[15] The developing operations of the original Koei and Tecmo companies were spun off on March 15, 2010 as new separate subsidiaries under the names of Koei Co., Ltd and Tecmo Co., Ltd respectively, but they were absorbed the following year by Tecmo Koei Games, on April 1, 2011.[13][16]

Games by Koei


Koei has built a large base of franchises, and has developed on various consoles and computers. Below is a list of game series developed by Koei.



History simulation




Executive Series









  • Gitaroo Man (As well as a PlayStation Portable version called Gitaroo Man Lives!)







Games published by Koei in Europe



  1. ^ "Entertainment | Introduction to our Business".
  2. ^ "Danchizuma no Yuuwaku". Legendra. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  3. ^ "Danchi-zuma no Yuuwaku". GameSpot. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  4. ^ Pesimo, Rudyard Contretas (2007). "'Asianizing' Animation in Asia: Digital Content Identity Construction Within the Animation Landscapes of Japan and Thailand" (PDF). Reflections on the Human Condition: Change, Conflict and Modernity—The Work of the 2004/2005 API Fellows. The Nippon Foundation. pp. 124–160. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 4, 2011.
  5. ^ "1982-1987 – The Birth of Japanese RPGs, re-told in 15 Games". gamasutra.com. October 10, 2016.
  6. ^ "NG Alphas: Sangoku Musou". Next Generation. No. 25. Imagine Media. January 1997. p. 89.
  7. ^ "1996: The Year of the Videogame". Next Generation. No. 13. Imagine Media. January 1996. p. 71.
  8. ^ "金色のコルダ2". Koei. February 2007. Archived from the original on February 2, 2007.
  9. ^ Thorsen, Tor (September 4, 2008). "Tecmo, Koei in merger talks". GameSpot. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
  10. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (September 4, 2008). "Report: Tecmo And Koei In Talks To Merge". Kotaku. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
  11. ^ "Tecmo and Koei to Merge in April 2009". Shacknews. November 18, 2008.
  12. ^ "Koei Tecmo Reveals Its New Company Logo (Looks Familiar)". Kotaku. April 1, 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Official report of Tecmo Koei Holdings for the dissolution of Tecmo and Koei development studios" (PDF). Tecmo Koei Holdings. February 7, 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 30, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  14. ^ "商号の変更及び定款の一部変更に関するお知らせ" (PDF) (in Japanese). Koei Tecmo. May 26, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 5, 2015.
  15. ^ "Tecmo Koei Company History". Tecmo Koei Holdings. Archived from the original on February 16, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  16. ^ "Tecmo Koei Games Co., Ltd. Announces Merger between Subsidiary and Sub-subsidiaries; Announces Business Transition between Subsidiaries". Reuters. February 7, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2012.[dead link]
  17. ^ "Tamashii no Mon: Dante no Shinkyoku yori - IGDB". Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  18. ^ "Bandit Kings of Ancient China – MobyGames". Retrieved February 1, 2009.
  19. ^ "Genghis Khan – MobyGames". Retrieved February 1, 2009.
  20. ^ "Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Grey Wolf – MobyGames". Retrieved February 1, 2009.
  21. ^ Dembo, Arinn; Aye, 'Tis a Bonny Land Indeed: Koei explores the Emerald Isle's Myth and Magic in CELTIC TALES, p. 214. Computer Gaming World, Issue 134, September 1995