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Nicalis, Inc.
IndustryVideo games
Founded2007; 13 years ago (2007)
FounderTyrone Rodriguez
SubsidiariesSuperVillain Studios

Nicalis, Inc. is an American video game developer and publisher based in Santa Ana, California. The company focuses primarily on indie games and has developed and published both original games as well as ports of existing games. Nicalis was founded in 2007[1] by Tyrone Rodriguez,[2] a former editor for IGN.[2] In 2017, Nicalis announced that they had acquired SuperVillain Studios and Cowboy Color.[3]


Since its founding, the company has developed and published several games, beginning with Dance Dance Revolution: Mobius in 2008 and Cave Story in 2010. In October 2011, Nicalis announced that it would publish a port of VVVVVV for the Nintendo 3DS via the Nintendo eShop.[1] In December 2011, Nicalis offered both NightSky and Cave Story+ for sale as part of Humble Indie Bundle 4.[4] In April 2012, Nicalis announced that its plans to publish the WiiWare port of La-Mulana in the US and EU had been cancelled, citing a steep decline in the WiiWare userbase.[5] In January 2017, it was silently announced that Nicalis would release several of their games on the Nintendo Switch.[6]

Games developed and published[edit]

Release Year Title Platform(s) Co-developer(s) Notes
2011 VVVVVV Nintendo 3DS Terry Cavanagh Port
2015 PlayStation 4, PS Vita
2017 Nintendo Switch
2010 Cave Story Nintendo 3DS, DSiWare, WiiWare Studio Pixel Ports
2011 NightSky Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Nintendo 3DS, iOS Nifflas
2011 Cave Story 3D Nintendo 3DS Studio Pixel 3D remake
2011 Cave Story+ Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux Studio Pixel Enhanced port
2017 Nintendo Switch Studio Pixel
2014 1001 Spikes Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Xbox One 8-bit Fanatics
2014 Grinsia Nintendo 3DS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
2014 The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Nintendo Switch
2015 Castle in the Darkness Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X Matt Kap
2017 Knight Terrors Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Nintendo Switch FreakZone Games
2017 Tiny Barbarian DX Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Nintendo Switch StarQuail Games
2017 The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
2018 Save me Mr Tako! Nintendo Switch Christophe Galati
2019 Crystal Crisis Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
TBA '90s Super GP PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows Pelikan13

Games published[edit]

Release Title Platform(s) Developer(s) Co-publisher(s) Notes
2006 Toribash Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, WiiWare Nabi Studios
2013 Ikachan Nintendo 3DS Studio Pixel Studio Pixel Port
2016 Dimensional Intersection Microsoft Windows DNV
Creepy Castle Microsoft Windows Dopterra
2017 Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch Lizardcube DotEmu
Ittle Dew 2+ Nintendo Switch Ludosity
  • Sequel to Ittle Dew
  • Enhanced port to Ittle Dew 2
  • Physical release
The End Is Nigh Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 Edmund McMillen, Tyler Glaiel Ports
2018 Runner3 Nintendo Switch Choice Provisions Choice Provisions Physical release
Ikaruga Nintendo Switch Treasure
  • Port
  • Physical release
Code of Princess EX Nintendo Switch Studio Saizensen
  • Enhanced port
  • Physical release
Blade Strangers PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows Studio Saizensen
RemiLore Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Pixellore Inc., REMIMORY
Redout Nintendo Switch 34BigThings 34BigThings Port


Cave Story was nominated for Game of the Year at the 2010 Nintendo Power Awards, as well as WiiWare Game of the Year.[7] The 3DS version of Cave Story was nominated for Best Adventure Game at the 2011 Nintendo Power Awards.[8] At the 2011 Independent Games Festival, Cave Story was a finalist in the category of "Excellence In Visual Art" and both Cave Story and NightSky received honorable mentions in the category of "Excellence In Audio."[9]

Controversy over management[edit]

In September 2019, Kotaku editor Jason Schreier posted a lengthy article compiled from interviews with anonymous internal employees of Nicalis and external developers that have used the company related to the management of the company, particularly to its CEO Tyrone Rodriguez. The investigation was spurred by observations from players of brief conflicts between Nicalis and their developers across social media in the years prior. The report asserted that Rodriguez was controlling and exploitative of his employees and encouraged a racist atmosphere within the company. External developers also stated that they felt Nicalis engaged in ghosting; they had signed deals for Nicalis to help publish their games, but later could not get any response from Nicalis, causing them to lose time and potential sales, and forcing them to turn to other publishers.[10][11] In response to the report, Nicalis issued a statement stating "We do not condone abusive workplace environments or discrimination and have people from all walks of life."[12] Rodriguez apologized on Twitter that his comments to his employees reported in the article were "indefensible and unacceptable".[13]

On hearing of these accusations, Edmund McMillen, who had developed several games through Nicalis, stated that he "won’t be moving forward with Nicalis when it comes to the port of The Legend of Bum-bo or any console versions of Mewgenics, [Binding of Isaac: Repentance] will still be releasing as originally planned, the team poured their heart and soul into this DLC and it’s very close to releasing."[10]


  1. ^ a b "VVVVVV COMING TO 3DDDDDD!!!!!!". 6 October 2011. Archived from the original on 8 May 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b Carter, Grey (27 March 2012). "NightSky Dev: Kojima is Terrible At Making Games". The Escapist. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  3. ^ McAloon, Alissa. "Cave Story 3D dev Nicalis acquires SuperVillain Studios and Cowboy Color". Gamasutra. Gamasutra. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  4. ^ Brown, Mark (14 December 2011). "Humble Indie Bundle 4 zips up Cave Story, Meat Boy, Shank and more (Wired UK)". Wired. Condé Nast Publications. Archived from the original on 17 January 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  5. ^ Jackson, Mike (1 May 2012). "Wii News: WiiWare: 'Window for success passed in 2009' - Nicalis -". Computer and Video Games. Future Publishing. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  6. ^ Frank, Allegra (January 19, 2017). "Nintendo Switch UI gets new close-up in deleted tweet". Polygon. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  7. ^ Nintendo Power Issue 250. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2010. p. 73.
  8. ^ Nintendo Power Issue 276. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2012.
  9. ^ "2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Main Competition Finalists". Archived from the original on 1 May 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b Schreier, Jason (September 12, 2019). "Inside The Ghosting, Racism, And Exploitation At Game Publisher Nicalis". Kotaku. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  11. ^ Olsen, Matthew (September 23, 2019). "Following Bombshell Report, More Indies Share Horror Stories of Working With Nicalis". USGamer. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  12. ^ Bailey, Dustin (September 12, 2019). "Binding of Isaac creator drops future plans to work with Nicalis after reports of exploitation". PCGamesN. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  13. ^ Schreier, Jason (September 13, 2019). "Nicalis founder Tyrone Rodriguez posted a statement on Twitter last night". Kotaku. Retrieved September 13, 2019.

External links[edit]