PUBLISHER SPOTLIGHT: Namco Bandai Games

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series where Oprainfall will be briefly covering publishers that specialise in localising niche-market titles into the West. Fans of niche gaming should pay close attention to each of these publishers, and the best way to support them is by purchasing the titles they localise. As the saying goes, “put your money where your mouth is.” Without further ado, we present this month’s publisher:

Namco Bandai Games

To celebrate the release of Ni no Kuni, we’ll be taking a closer look at the history and the games developed and published by the company bringing it to us: Namco Bandai Games.

Namco formed in 1955 in Tokyo, Japan, originally manufacturing rides and machines for amusement parks. They acquired Atari in the mid-70s, and when Atari started developing games, Namco began publishing them. The development of Namco’s first original game, Gee Bee, in 1978 coincided with their opening of a North American branch in Sunnyvale, California.

Bandai was founded in 1950 as a toy manufacturer, and are currently the world’s third-largest toy producer after Mattel and Hasbro. They also make plastic model kits, and of course, video games. They opened a North American branch in the early days of 2005.

March 31st, 2006 saw Namco and Bandai merge to become Namco Bandai Games. Namco’s North American headquarters became the base of operations for Namco Bandai Games in North America. They also have a foothold in Europe, where they bring to PAL regions the same games they bring to NTSC regions.

Perhaps their most notable series, which happens to be both developed and published by Namco Bandai Games and its subsidiaries, is the Tales of series. The first game in the series was Tales of Phantasia, made for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995 by Namco. Phantasia was initially only present in Japan, but later got a rerelease for the GameBoy Advance which made it over to the West. The first Tales game to get published after the merger was Tales of the Abyss. Abyss was released in 2006 for Japanese and NTSC PlayStation 2s, and only made it over to PAL regions with the 3DS remake.

Every Tales of game since the release of Abyss has been wonderfully handled by Namco Bandai Games. Series producer Hideo Baba has expressed a keen interest in the localisation of as many Tales of games as possible. This bodes well for future localisations of the entries in the series, and will hopefully see them bring over Tales of Xillia 2 should the first game do well this year.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Namco Bandai Games were the ones who made the excellent decision of publishing the Ni no Kuni in America a couple of days ago, and will be releasing the game in Europe in a week’s time. A personal favourite of mine that Namco Bandai Games have published for PAL regions is CyberConnect’s Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, a gorgeous game developed for the DS. I’ve got my fingers crossed hoping they’ll also pick up the sequel a little farther down the line.

Ever heard of Dark Souls? Well, you have Namco Bandai Games to thank for your English copies of the game. A game belonging to Xenoblade creators Monolith Soft, the third game in the Xenosaga series, was also brought stateside by Namco Bandai Games. Nihom Falcom’s Gagharv Trilogy, whose games are perhaps better known in English as The Legend of Heroes, are further examples of Namco Bandai’s excellent taste in niche games.

Publisher Namco - Dark Souls Publisher Namco - Toki to Towa Publisher Namco - Eternal Sonata Publisher Namco - Tales of Xillia
Publisher Namco - Beautiful Katamari Publisher Namco - .hack Publisher Namco - Xenosaga III Publisher Namco - Solatorobo

Eternal Sonata, Beautiful Katamari, the latest in the .hack series; Namco Bandai Games have localised and released each of them for our gaming pleasure. And they will continue to do so; they have already stated they have plans to release Toki to Towa in the West, and will of course be bringing the Western world the next Dark Souls game. Just this week, they announced that they will be bringing Project X Zone to both America and Europe, proving that they are a developer that will keep bringing us the games we want. So keep both eyes on Namco Bandai Games; they’re sure to keep bringing us titles of the highest calibre!

Follow Namco Bandai Games online:

American website: http://www.namcobandaigames.com/home
American Twitter: https://twitter.com/namcogames
American YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/NamcoBandaiGames

European website: http://www.au.namcobandaigames.eu/
European Twitter: https://twitter.com/NamcoBandaiUK
European YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/NamcoBandaiGamesEU

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NamcoBandai




  • Guest

    Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, Xenosaga I-III, Tales of series, Eternal Sonata, and the ever wonderful Tekken and Soulcalibur franchises are all localized thanks to Bandai Namco, as are the Klonoa, Ridge Racer, and Ace Combat games. For the games they don’t localize, at least XSEED is allowed to step in and save them, such as Fragile Dreams, Sky Crawlers, and Salotorobo (in America)

  • I loved Tales of Symphonia. That was one of my top GameCube games, right there.

  • Too bad hundreds of people got their Ni No Kuni Wizard Edition arbitrarily cancelled.
    There’s a massive mess going on right now surrounding the Wizard Edition.
    And Namco is doing nothing to address the situation.
    I love this company, I really do, but I can’t see myself making any purchases from them in the near future if ever unless this whole situation gets fixed somehow.
    It’s really disheartening, I’ve always been a fan of the Tales of Series, as well as .hack, just to name a couple. :

    • Nonnahswriter

      Agreed… It just makes me sad. As someone who spent hours posting on the Namco facebook page in hopes of them localizing Graces F, and to eventually see mine and many other fans’ dreams come to fruition, I was really rooting for Namco… Then this crap happens, and I just feel a piece of myself die inside. My boyfriend ordered his copy for the two of us all the way back in September, and he only just recently received word from Digital River that his order was canceled without him even knowing about it. I really hope Namco pulls through and does something to help the fans, but… I just don’t know at this point.

    • I would never be willing to completely boycott them because of something like that. I mean think about all the amazing games you would miss out on simply because of stubbornness. Really think about it. Games you don’t even know yet? Yikes. Not worth it for me. d: I love Tales of too much!

  • kylehyde

    It appears that they have made a good job on localizing certain titles that nobody expected. Still, I really wish that they have published at least one of the DS tales games that they developed for it.

  • With Ni no Kuni and the Tales series, I had become Namco Bandai RPG’s fan for a while.
    Tales of Xillia is a day 1 purchase for me, and I hope for it doing well so I can enjoy the masterpiece of Tales of Xillia 2.

  • 4dollarsforaCOSTUME

    They’ve certainly been doing better lately. If only they didn’t have the pechant for scam DLC….

  • John Ellis

    Such a great company, thanks for the Tales of Series and the One Piece games