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A discussion of Nintendo’s weird choices with RPG developers

Gamingtodaynews1b - A discussion of Nintendo’s weird choices with RPG developers

After Paper Mario: The Origami King came out, I was quite interested in it. Not because I wanted to play it, but because it was specifically not an RPG starring the plumber, but an adventure game. This led me to looking through Nintendo’s development partners and realizing one thing: Nintendo has a strange strategy with RPGs and how to best use RPG developers, and I wanted to highlight some of them today.

Part 1: Intelligent Systems

A long standing developer that has helped on hundreds of projects. Their golden geese, however, are Fire Emblem and Paper Mario. Two incredibly popular RPGs, with some rough patches. It took Fire Emblem till the GBA to make it to the states, and nearly died in 2012, and Paper Mario hasn’t been an RPG in nearly two decades.

Part 2: Brownie Brown/1-Up Studios

Now this is a name you have probably seen but never thought of. Originally founded in 2000 by ex-Square employees Kameoka Shinichi and Kouji Tsuda, Brownie Brown developed a ton of RPGs, including work on Mother 3. Their latest project was in 2012 (released worldwide in 2014) Fantasy Life, which was a joint project with Level-5. However, after a restructure in 2013, they have exclusively assisted other developers, most recently with Animal Crossing New Horizons. Hopefully they will get back to original projects, but it seems a bit bleak.

Part 3: Camelot Software Planning

Camelot started out as a subsidiary of SEGA, known as SEGA CD4. They developed the Shining Force series, but eventually left SEGA and, after Beyond the Beyond on PlayStation, partnered with Nintendo. At first they stuck to their roots, with the handheld Mario Sports games and Golden Sun. Now though? Mario Sports. Only Mario Sports. And no RPG handheld versions. Just sports.


Part 4: Ape Inc/Creatures Inc and Game Freak

Again, another name you know but don’t really think of. This team made the Morher series, with HALs assistance, and helps Game Freak make Pokémon spinoffs and more recently Pokémon models. As for Gamefreak themselves: Pokémon. They had a couple of titles before Pokémon, but it is mostly Pokémon.

Part 5: Monolith Soft

Founded in 1999, the original team had a simple goal: make a spiritual successor to Xenogears. These developers were also leaving Square, funnily enough. Regardless, they worked with Namco, and made a slew of RPGs for the PS2 and GameCube, most notably Xenosaga and Baten Kaitos. However, they began to feel restricted by Namco, and thus joined Nintendo in 2006. Since then, they have not changed much, still focused on large RPGs, along with helping other developers finish their projects. Whether this will continue remains to be seen.

There were some things I would touch on more, such as the relationship with Square and Alpha Dream to be specific, but this post is already long. Also, to be completely fair, some of this information was obtained off Wikipedia and may not be entirely accurate. I make mistakes! Just comment them below.

TLDR: Paper Mario is no longer and RPG, 1-Up Studios and Camelot no longer develop RPGs even though they have the history to, Creatures and Gamefreak will continue pumping out Pokémon till the end of time, and Monolith Soft is just chilling. Oh, and two teams made specifically after leaving Square in the late 90s.

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