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Vanillaware Ltd.
IndustryVideo game industry
FoundedFebruary 8, 2002 (as Puraguru)[1]
HeadquartersChūō-ku, Osaka, Japan[1]
Key people
George Kamitani (president and game director)
Odin Sphere
Dragon's Crown
Number of employees
26 (as of January 2016)[1]

Vanillaware Ltd. (ヴァニラウェア有限会社, Vanirawea Yūgen-gaisha) is a Japanese video game developer. Previously, it was known as Puraguru from 2002 until 2004, when it renamed as Vanillaware. The studio's past projects have specialized in 2D, or sprite-based, game design. They have garnered positive attention from fans and game media alike for embracing 2D game design [2] in a market dominated by 3D games. The company was formed from members of the Atlus project team which had developed Princess Crown for the Sega Saturn in 1997.

Company history[edit]

Vanillaware was founded under the name Puraguru in February 2002 by former employees of Atlus, including game director George Kamitani and two others, who had all previously been part of the development team of Princess Crown for the Sega Saturn in 1997.[3] At the time, Kamitani was working for Square Enix as developmental director for its PC title Fantasy Earth: Zero, and had previously been employed by other video game companies such as Capcom, where he worked on arcade titles like Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom,[4] and Racjin, where he served in an outsourced capacity.[5] In 2004, the company changed its name to Vanillaware Ltd.,[3] and has since made a commitment to produce games that primarily feature 2D graphics as opposed to more mainstream 3D works.[6] The company uses proprietary programming toolsets inspired by Adobe Flash, as well as a graphic development process known as tebineri or "hand-shaping", which allows the artists to create characters and environments that look 3D but are rendered entirely from two-dimensional pixels.[6]

The company's first completed game was Odin Sphere for the PlayStation 2, which was published by Atlus. Though the title was finished in 2006, Atlus withheld the game from release until May 2007 due to the popularity of its own in-house role-playing game Persona 3 to avoid conflicting sales.[5] Though development on its second project, GrimGrimoire did not begin until after Odin Sphere was completed, it was actually released one month before in Japan and was published by Nippon Ichi Software.[5] By 2009, the company had grown to 21 employees, whom Kamitani described as "Basically, 100 percent" artists, and in the same year it released its first game for the Wii, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, published by Ignition Entertainment.[5] Its partnership with Ignition would later produce Dragon's Crown for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, a game Kamitani had been pitching to publishers for nearly 13 years before it eventually saw development.[7]


Game Release date System Publisher(s) JP NA EU
GrimGrimoire April 12, 2007 PlayStation 2 Nippon Ichi Software (JP) Yes Yes Yes
June 26, 2007 NIS America (NA)
September 28, 2007 Koei (EU)
Odin Sphere May 17, 2007 PlayStation 2 Atlus (JP) Yes Yes Yes
May 22, 2007 Atlus USA (NA)
March 14, 2008 Square Enix (EU)
Kumatanchi[8] September 25, 2008 Nintendo DS Dimple Entertainment Yes No No
Muramasa: The Demon Blade April 9, 2009 Wii Marvelous Entertainment (JP) Yes Yes Yes
September 8, 2009 Ignition Entertainment (NA)
November 27, 2009 Rising Star Games (EU)
Grand Knights History[9] September 1, 2011 PlayStation Portable Marvelous Entertainment Yes No No
Cancelled XSEED Games (NA)a
Rising Star Games (EU)a
Muramasa Rebirth March 28, 2013 PlayStation Vita Marvelous AQL (JP) Yes Yes Yes
June 25, 2013 Aksys Games (NA)
October 16, 2013 Aksys Games (EU)b
Dragon's Crown[10] July 25, 2013 PlayStation 4
PlayStation 3
PlayStation Vita
Atlus (JP) Yes Yes Yes
August 6, 2013 Atlus USA (NA)c
October 11, 2013 NIS America (EU)
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir[11] January 14, 2016 PlayStation 4
PlayStation 3
PlayStation Vita
Atlus (JP) Yes Yes Yes
June 7, 2016 Atlus USA (NA)
June 24, 2016 NIS America (EU)
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim TBA PlayStation 4
Atlus (JP) Yes Yes TBA
Atlus USA (NA)

^a Announced for localization but later cancelled.
^b Digital-only.
^c Originally to be published by Ignition Entertainment but company folded during localization.


  1. ^ a b c ヴァニラウェア有限会社 (in Japanese). Vanillaware. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  2. ^ McWhertor, Michael (2007-09-05). "Odin Sphere Developer Reveals Wii Project". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  3. ^ a b Mielke, James (2006-06-27). "GrimGrimoire Developer Interviewed". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
  4. ^ Gifford, Kevin (2011-07-18). "Vanillaware's George Kamitani on Dragon's Crown". Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2011-07-20.
  5. ^ a b c d Sheffield, Brandon (2009-08-03). "King of 2D: Vanillaware's George Kamitani (Page 1)". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  6. ^ a b Sheffield, Brandon (2009-08-03). "King of 2D: Vanillaware's George Kamitani (Page 2)". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  7. ^ Spencer (2011-06-20). "Dragon's Crown Interview Details Creation Of Vanillaware's 13 Year Old Game". Siliconera. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  8. ^ Savino, Candace (2008-06-02). "Kumatanchi looks like a vanilla Vanillaware game". Joystiq. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  9. ^ Spencer (2011-03-29). "Grand Knights History Is The Next Title From Vanillaware And Marvelous". Siliconera. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  10. ^ Gilbert, Ben (2011-06-07). "Dragon's Crown announced as VanillaWare's next project, coming to PS3/Vita". Joystiq. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  11. ^ "Odin Sphere: Leifdrasir announced for PS4, PS3, and PS Vita". Gematsu. July 20, 2015.

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