|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||October 1, 1999|
Project X Zone series
Baten Kaitos series
Number of employees
|109 (June 2016)|
Monolith Soft, Inc. (株式会社モノリスソフト Kabushiki gaisha monorisu sofuto?) is a Japanese video game development studio. The company was formed in 1999 by Tetsuya Takahashi shortly after the completion of the first game he was in charge of at Squaresoft - Xenogears. When Squaresoft did not move forward with a Xenogears sequel, Takahashi broke away from the company and formed his own, in order to further focus on more titles in the Xeno series. From 2000 to 2006, the development team worked as a subsidiary of Namco to produce three more titles in the Xeno series, Xenosaga Episode I, Episode II, and Episode III, along with a variety of other titles, most notably, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean and Baten Kaitos Origins.
In 2007, Nintendo bought all shares from Bandai Namco, making the company a subsidiary of Nintendo. In addition to assisting Nintendo on various projects, they continued the Xeno series with Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X on Nintendo platforms alongside continuing the Namco x Capcom tactical RPG through the spiritual successor crossover series Project X Zone.
- 1 History
- 2 List of games developed
- 3 References
- 4 External links
1999–2002: Founding and Xenosaga Episode I
The company was founded on October 1, 1999 by producer Hirohide Sugiura and director Tetsuya Takahashi after they left Square and accepted an investment from Namco. Development on Xenosaga Episode I, then known as Project X, officially began around the end of 2000. In an interview with GameSpot in 2001, Takahashi stated that Xenogears did not end up the way he originally envisioned. The formation of Monolith Soft allowed the team to reset and start over by creating an all-new series with its own universe. Soon after the establishment of the company, six episodes were planned with the entire series being divided into three major parts. During the development of Xenosaga Episode I, Takahashi had the entire saga's story plotted until the middle of episode five in his mind. Upon its release, the game was met with generally favorable reviews and strong sales performance.
2003–2006: Baten Kaitos and Xenosaga sequels
The initial concept for Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean began in 2001, with development starting six months later. The game was met with generally positive reviews by critics, despite mixed opinions on the battle system, characters, and voice acting.
Some time after the release of the first Xenosaga game, the company underwent through major staff changes. Takahashi stepped down from his role as a producer to allow someone else to handle the direction of the Xenosaga series. Around this time period, the original six-part Xenosaga series went through severe changes by cutting the amount of planned episodes. On April 28, 2004, Namco released Xenosaga Freaks in Japan. Shortly after, Xenosaga Episode II was released in Japan in June 2004, and worldwide the following year. Despite its mixed reviews from critics, the game was considered a financial success, having sold over 256,000 copies in Japan by the end of 2004.
Despite Baten Kaitos' lackluster sales, Namco approved a prequel known as Baten Kaitos Origins. Upon its 2006 release, IGN labeled it as "one of the last great gems" on the GameCube. In 2006, Monolith Soft released the Xenosaga Episode III as the finale of the Xenosaga series. According to Bandai-Namco's 3rd Quarter 2006 results, Episode III sold 343,000 copies in Japan, North America and Asia.
2007–2008: Nintendo acquisition
On May 1, 2007, Nintendo acquired controlling interest in the company after Bandai Namco Holdings sold 80% of its 96% stake. Later, Namco sold the remaining 16%, making Monolith Soft a fully incorporated first-party developer for Nintendo.
Soma Bringer, the first original Monolith Soft title for the Nintendo DS, was released in 2008. Critical reception for the game was largely positive; many praised the game for its combat system and character development. Despite being known for their role-playing games, Monolith Soft developed an action-adventure game called Disaster: Day of Crisis for the Wii. The game's reception was mixed, with some sites praising its presentation and others criticizing the unfocused story and lackluster graphics and sounds.
2010–2014: Xenoblade Chronicles and other projects
Xenoblade Chronicles, then known as Monado: Beginning of the World, was formally unveiled at E3 2009. In 2010, Nintendo renamed the title to Xenoblade to honor Takahashi. As soon as the project began, the team encountered many difficulties and ran into development issues. The team considered abandoning certain aspects of the game to reach the original scheduled date, but was encouraged by Nintendo to see it through to the end until they were completely satisfied. Upon its release, the game earned unanimous critical acclaim from multiple outlets.
The company announced on July 8, 2011, that they were opening up an additional studio in Kyoto, Japan. During the development of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Monolith Soft helped to create field layout designs, conceptualized sub-events, and wrote some of the text. Additionally, the Kyoto studio worked on the graphics for Animal Crossing: New Leaf. In 2012, the team co-developed Project X Zone with Banpresto, featuring playable characters from various video games, including KOS-MOS and T-elos from the Xenosaga series.
2015–present: Xenoblade Chronicles X and other projects
In January 2013, the company's first high-definition video game for the Nintendo Wii U was officially revealed with a debut trailer for X. Its title was later formally announced as Xenoblade Chronicles X, a spiritual sequel to the widely acclaimed Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. Originally intended for release in 2014, the game was delayed to the following year. After launch, the game received generally positive reviews from critics. In the same year, Monolith Soft revealed and released Project X Zone 2 in Japan, featuring returning character KOS-MOS from Xenosaga and Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles as the new paired characters.
The company reportedly earned a total profit of 2.74 billion yen for the fiscal year ending in March 2016. This marks a significant increase from the 1 billion yen earned from the previous year. The company assisted in the development of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
On October 16, 2015, Monolith Soft posted "urgent" mass recruitment job openings for both the Kyoto and Tokyo offices, particularly for 3D designers. In an interview with series director Takahashi, he said he would like to return to a more story-driven JRPG game like Xenoblade Chronicles after the more game-play focused Xenoblade Chronicles X. He would also like to continue the Xenoblade series by using a variety of settings rather than using the fantasy and science fiction settings from each game respectively. Regarding their next project, Takahashi stated "I get bored with things pretty easily, so I'd like to keep creating things with different approaches every time. Along those lines, I'd definitely like my next project to look and feel pretty different from this one. The 'Xeno' name, by the way, really just exists to make it clear that these are Tetsuya Takahashi productions."
List of games developed
Tokyo Software Development Studio
Kyoto Software Development Studio
|Animal Crossing: New Leaf||Nintendo||Nintendo 3DS||2012||Special thanks|
|Pikmin 3||Nintendo||Wii U||2013||Special thanks|
|The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds||Nintendo||Nintendo 3DS||2013||Special thanks|
|Splatoon||Nintendo||Wii U||2015||Special thanks|
|Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer||Nintendo||Nintendo 3DS||2015||Special thanks|
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||Nintendo||Wii U, Nintendo Switch||2017|
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