Tales Studio Disbanded


Namco Bandai Games have announced that Tales Studio, the studio responsible for producing its popular line of Tales RPGs, is to be disbanded and merged into Namco Bandai proper.

The official announcement of their dissolution and merging merely points out that as a fully owned subsidiary there is no substantive financial change in it being dissolved.

A detailed rationale for the decision is not provided, although the studio’s financial performance has been in doubt for some time, despite healthy sales of recent “mothership” titles.

As far as Japanese corporate politics go, for a fully owned subsidiary to be rolled back into the parent company suggests at the very least a considerable loss of independence and prestige, although just how it will affect their game output is not clear.

Online there is no small scepticism about the move:

“TOX was planned to sell 400,000 but managed 600,000, why are they doing this!?”

“The expansion of Bandai Namco’s exploitative business practice continues apace.”

“This sounds like a streamlining move, but I don’t see how they can avoid layoffs.”

“Nothing will change… right? It was a fully owned subsidiary after all. And the parent is the one who keeps churning out loss making games.”

“The influence of the Tales staff is sure to decrease with a move like this, you know.”

“Haven’t they lost enough staff already?”

“Tales Studio was an actual company?”

“It’s the same as with SCE. But unlike Sony there is no way they’ll reorganise them into another company.”

“So they won’t be able to choose their platform and number of titles now?”

“So Xillia was a beta after all…”

“If TOX could sell 600,000 and still make a loss their organisation must be pretty rotten. Anyone else could make a crappy game like that with only 200,000 sales.”

“Some of these Tales games are good. I hope they keep making them.”

“Why annoy all the users and retailers by dissolving their studio?”

“They’ll make it CG and have them appearing in Soul Calibur, mark my words.”

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  • When a group gets merged at Namco, it usually means the end of the series they have worked on. Same thing happened to Ridge Racer and to Ace Combat. Sure there are games under that name being released, but they are NOT true sequels. They are wannabes.

  • Well it’s there fault for making broken beta games and ripping their consumer base.
    Maybe if they you made finished games and decided to NOT port the final product a year later then maybe they would not have been in so much debt.

  • Looks to me like they wanted to tighten their “iron grip” on the Tales staff.

    It doesn’t sound nearly as bad as what happened to poor Atlus, which is now at the mercy of a retarded cell phone/trash ware master.

    • Actually, the consensus said that Atlus will be pushed into making “streamlined” games in the near future. And that’s what happened.
      Trivial cell-phone drivel, spin-offs of comparatively old games which are fairly “UnAtlus” no less and so on. Catherine is out of that loop because it was in late development even before the merger.

      I have yet to see a really new RPG title in the spirit of old Atlus. You know, the one’s they are famous for.

    • Y’know.

      It’s probably because the parent company was too cheap to localize the game overseas.

      The developers rarely have the cash (definitely over 9000 dollars) to localize it, bribe the lawyers and cut the red tape (over 90,000 dollars)to get it sold in the US.

    • What serves them right?

      Your inability to realize that the Japanese create those games primarily for the Japanese?

      If they don’t want their games localized in different countries, then there’s nothing you can do about it. But you should be aware that the people at Tales Studio, the ones that REALLY CREATE those games have NOTHING to do with the fact that the west doesn’t get certain titles. That’s the work of the suits in charge of the money, read: the ones that dish out the paycheck to said creators.

      I really don’t get rage-people these days.

      There are so many ways to still play those games anyway.

      • the thing is that Japanese is too strict, have idiotic rules that prevent them to release games,and you can also say that in other words they stingy, most sane companies these days want to gain more money, and we WANT (at least most of us) to give them (i meant to Tales studio) that money! but these idiots prefer to go with their primitive regulations and also mess with the west (and other people who don’t know Japanese ) by releasing “BETA” versions of their games before they release the finel version for their beloved Japanese (and to the Wii, PS3 and other jap consols in that matter) , means they take Japanese as first place and take the west and even the east as second citizens, it seem like you don’t know alot about this company’s (and other jap companies ) History, plz do your homework before replying..

        • I hate to say this, but you’re coming off as a fanboy, here. No, seriously, they are beta versions. See how much shit gets improved, but it is never ported back to the same console? That’s ‘beta’ testing, right there, plain. And simple.

          Stop defending a company with such shit ability in consumer products; they only care about their own money needs and their own consumation of said money. And yes, it is a beta version. Beta versions typically have less completeness to it — fact — less improvements, less party members, and worst of all, a lot less content.

          TOV for the PS3 was the finalized, finished version, and the 360 was the beta. This is a fact that it is too blatant to ignore, especially with so many improvements. So much of it is improved that it is impossible to consider the 360 ver. as anything -but- a beta.

          And Bamco has no qualms about their xenophobic tendences. Unless you miss half the news about them, of course.

        • Oh please.

          They DO NOT release “beta” versions of their games to mess with the west. How stupid is that thought?

          I own EVERY single Tales game, with the sole exception of titles for the PSP, because i don’t have one yet. I bought all of those “beta” versions when they hit the market and i don’t mind them releasing or re-releasing ports with enhanced elements. Things like that are common practice nowadays, it’s just that other companies usually try to cast a shadow over it by releasing a butt-load of DLC and day-one patches.

          If you’re really that offended by it, you can always wait it out or sell your old game before buying the improved version.

          And of course they put priority on the Japanese market. As if something so obvious needs to be mentioned.

    • i totally agreed with you man! we want TOV to PS3 with sub! we want TOX to be localization too@! we want TOX anime and we all want to kill TO studio for makes us wait so much =D

      (also we want all of TO to be localization as well lol and if possible on PS3 and XBOX dammit..)

  • Of course their studio has taken a dive. They don’t even bother to advertise on what could be their cash cow market, the US. Seriously the only way we find out about new releases over here is to either actively search online, and even then details are scarce. We have indipendant games over here that sell better than Tales, by simply providing the major gaming websites and magazines with a copy to review and a demo to distribute. Tales series is easily better than any indipendant game I’ve ever played. Surely a studio that’s managed 600,000 sales on their recent title can afford to do the same, likely go the extra step of getting banners on major online advertisers and television networks.

  • Meh, hopefully by merging the studio back into the parent company they can start making better decisions about releases.

    What can you expect when every successive Tales release was on entirely different platforms? Excluding those before Tales of Abyss, the series went from the PS2, to the 360, to the PSP, then the 360 one went to the PS3 as a rerelease, and then another PSP one, and then a completely new one on the Wii that was a complete clusterfuck, and then finally the last one was on the PS3 again.

    Every single one of those, bar 1, was a different EXCLUSIVE title, not all of them were released in all regions, and I think there may have been more releases in there that I don’t know about.

    Their marketing and distribution was a complete mess. If this remerger can help streamline their release distribution then I’m all for it.

    • Actually, most of the Tales games eventually get North American and European releases. Graces will get a western release next year, and Abyss will be released on the 3DS in Europe in a few days, and in North America in a couple months. Maybe you live elsewhere, but you could still import a localized copy if that were the case.

      • actually, no NA and EU didn’t.

        NA got 8 of the 12 main titles yes, EU got less (6-7).
        while that qualifies as “most”, that still means NA/EU missed a full third of the main title releases.

        and when we get into the spin-offs, NA/EU has gotten next to nothing.
        literally 1-2 titles out of over 20.

  • Games studios are very much like movie studios. A lot of money is invested in every project, and sometimes it’s a roll of the dice if it pays off or not. We’ve seen several big name yet financially troubled game studios being rolled into their parent (Atlus being a recent example). It’s an investment, a gamble, created with a whole host of people’s blood sweat and tears in order to have their creation see the light of day.

    Rolling them back into the parent, reorganizing them, or just cutting them entirely is, of course, a business decision, and the corporate heads look purely at the monetary concerns, nothing more.

    But really, what are they getting out of some of these decisions? As anyone in the industry can tell you, the more a parent company/publisher meddles in the development process, the worse the result tends to be. Exploiting your own brands (and quite often running them into the ground) generates some short-term cash, but doesn’t help a long term situation.

    Smaller dev’s in the states are constantly shifted, bought, sold, and disbanded, and that’s just part of the industry. Even so, the more cooks they try to shove in front of a pot, the greater the chance that the result will be something horrendous.

    The Tales Studio has obviously had financial problems, but their games themselves have sold well. If that’s the case, Namco should reorganize the studio and help make their work easier and more efficient, and get the hell away from the creative process.

    Accountants don’t typically make grandiose tales that enrapture the hearts (and wallets) of hundreds of thousands of people. They work with numbers. Stick to what you know, and let us creative people do our job as well.

    • No surprise here. Tales Studio has/had bein broke and going even more broke for some time now. company cannot function if it cant break even no matter how big its sales it. At one point, its debt even exceed its total assets. The cost to make the game far exceed the sales hence they were always making a lost even if they were selling 600k or so plus.

      In such situations, they are usually absorbed into the parent co, to get restructured, cut dead wood and more importantly make a profit no matter how crappy the series takes a turn for. theres no long term situation/future for one that cant turn a penny over.

    • Amen to that. I’ve been working in the Games industry for years, too. Started as enthusiastic and eager Localisation QA tester. All went well until the producers made a dick move and engaged a lying, incompetent, but of course cheaper loca agency that caused me trice the work I had before. People kept saying “give them a month or so to get into gears.” Needless to say they didn’t. Luckily I managed to get off that train and started as a full-time translator for the agency that worked on my game previously. But guess what: I’m now being laid off because there isn’t enough work on the market for well-established, quality-minded, non-dumping-priced translators to keep me employed. Fuck accountants, they only see pre-sales numbers, like you said, not the sales-boosting value of proper localisation.

      This, and Sony’s PSN fiasco. Dozens, maybe hundreds of game projects and/or their localisation plans were canceled, scratching a considerable share of income from the agenda of many a translation agency. Hacks like these (see Steam) are felt everywhere, not just at the companies directly affected. I’m not sure which one to hate more for this, the fuckers who hack them and ruin the fun for everyone, or the companies that get hacked. After all, even if they’re on their toes trying to keep everything secure, there’s always some twatfart who wants to break through and eventually succeeds …

    • Your well thought, well composed statement falls on deaf ears. Not to this pair however, and to that I say “what about Atlus?” As of now, nothing bad has happened so far since their merger. There hasn’t been much development (publicly announced) since then either but for now everything seems to be going well, which, I will admit, is a rare case.