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Sacnoth (later known as Nautilus) was a small Japanese based video games developer. Sacnoth’s high profile games include Koudelka for the PlayStation, the three Shadow Hearts games for the PlayStation 2, and Faselei! for the Neo Geo Pocket Color. The name was taken from the name of a supposed magical weapon in a short story by Lord Dunsany, "The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth," published in 1908 in the collection The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories.
The company suffered after their first major project, the RPG Koudelka, received mixed critical reviews and little word of mouth. It was also soon revealed that internal quarrels within Sacnoth had led to a compromised product. Kikuta had wanted to develop an action-based battle system, citing Resident Evil as a source of inspiration. However, his employees were adamant about releasing something closer to the kind of games that Square had been making.
Most people agreed that the game showed some promise, but had serious flaws, particularly in the combat system. Disheartened by the political friction within Sacnoth, as well as the financial condition of SNK, Kikuta resigned.
Aruze Entertainment took control of Sacnoth after SNK folded in 2000. Sacnoth changed their name to Nautilus for the development of the sequel Shadow Hearts and future video games. However, in early 2007 Aruze publicly announced dissolving Nautilus and various creative members have since left the company and had joined AQ Interactive subsidiary feelplus (now merged into Marvelous AQL).
Faselei! was one of the most popular, and technically impressive games for the Neo Geo Pocket Color. However, the game was released just weeks before the Neo Geo Pocket Color and associated stock was recalled after SNK’s bankruptcy. Outside of Japan, the game was only released in the United Kingdom in 'clamshell' case format during the lifespan of the NGPC as a viable system.
Neo Geo fan sites and eBay sellers put the number of copies released into circulation at about 10,000 with only 5000 being sold due to the recall. This rarity, along with its technical superiority in terms of graphics and sound when compared to its peers on the same system, has made the game very sought after and has resulted in high prices on internet auction sites. However, when recalled NGPC systems were resold in game stores in 2004, the lost stock of the US version of Faselei! was included in one of the add-on game packages available, and helped to drive prices down.
See Shadow Hearts (series) for details of Sacnoth's other games