|Type||Game development studio|
|Industry||Computer and video game industry|
|Founded||February 8, 2002 (as Puraguru)|
|Headquarters||Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan|
|Key people||George Kamitani (President)|
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
|Employees||23 (as of January 2010)|
Vanillaware (ヴァニラウェア有限会社 Vanirawea Yūgen-gaisha?) is a Japanese video game developer. Previously, they were known as Puraguru from 2002 until 2004, when they 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  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.
Vanillaware was originally 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. At the time, Kamitani was working for Square Enix as developmental director for their PC title Fantasy Earth: Zero, and had previously been employed by other video game companies such as Capcom, where he worked on arcade titles such as Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom, and Racjin, where he served in an outsourced capacity. In 2004, the company changed its name to Vanillaware Ltd., and has since made a commitment to produce games which primarily feature 2D graphics as opposed to more mainstream 3D works. 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 which look 3D, but are rendered entirely from two-dimensional pixels.
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 Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 to avoid conflicting sales. Though development on their 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. By 2009, the company had grown to 21 employees, whom Kamitani described as "Basically, 100 percent" artists, and in the same year released their first game for the Wii, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, published by Ignition Entertainment. Their 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.
- "ヴァニラウェア有限会社" (in Japanese). Vanillaware. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- McWhertor, Michael (2007-09-05). "Odin Sphere Developer Reveals Wii Project". Kotaku. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- Mielke, James (2006-06-27). "GrimGrimoire Developer Interviewed". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
- Gifford, Kevin (2011-07-18). "Vanillaware's George Kamitani on Dragon's Crown". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2011-07-20.
- Sheffield, Brandon (2009-08-03). "King of 2D: Vanillaware's George Kamitani (Page 1)". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- Sheffield, Brandon (2009-08-03). "King of 2D: Vanillaware's George Kamitani (Page 2)". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- Spencer (2011-06-20). "Dragon's Crown Interview Details Creation Of Vanillaware's 13 Year Old Game". Siliconera. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- Savino, Candace (2008-06-02). "Kumatanchi looks like a vanilla Vanillaware game". Joystiq. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- Spencer (2011-03-29). "Grand Knights History Is The Next Title From Vanillaware And Marvelous". Siliconera. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- Gilbert, Ben (2011-06-07). "Dragon's Crown announced as VanillaWare's next project, coming to PS3/Vita". Joystiq. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- Official website (Japanese)