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Thread: Developer Obscura Vol. 1: Pony Canyon & Friends

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    Funnily, I also find myself in the middle of investigating these companies right now. Here's a theory: Perhaps Newtopia Planning, as the name implies, and as the "produced by" credits imply, was in fact just a middle-hand, doing the planning for games while handing the hard work out to subcontractors even further down the chain, such as Miki/Fujiwara Pro. This is just yet another theory.

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    I have mailed Infinity about their past connection with Newtopia. Their boss is Yukio Horimoto, of Battle of Olympus fame. Let's hope they respond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CRV
    - I thought Reiko Oshida might be from Infinity, but she's probably just a freelance graphic artist.
    Here's food for thought: a director at the current Infinity is called Reiko Horimoto. Could Oshida have married Yukio Horimoto?

    As for Hitoshi Yasuda, I'm certain he belongs to Group SNE. I only find him in games "developed" by SNE, and I think that's a dead end. SNE seems to be a licencing and planning company; they don't seem to do any actual development work themselves, apart from drawing design documents and following progress at the actual developers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by idrougge
    Here's food for thought: a director at the current Infinity is called Reiko Horimoto. Could Oshida have married Yukio Horimoto?
    I would say "probably." She worked on graphics for the GameCube version of Ribbit King. Yukio was one of the programmers.

    Yes, Infinity did the GameCube version of Ribbit King. Their works list only mentions that version. So I don't know if they did the PS2 version.

    Quote Originally Posted by idrougge
    As for Hitoshi Yasuda, I'm certain he belongs to Group SNE. I only find him in games "developed" by SNE, and I think that's a dead end. SNE seems to be a licencing and planning company; they don't seem to do any actual development work themselves, apart from drawing design documents and following progress at the actual developers.
    Yes, Hitoshi Yasuda IS from Group SNE. Group SNE is a company mostly involved with making pen-and-paper and table RPGs. Their involvement in video games doesn't seem to beyond those things you pointed out. However, I did consider Group SNE a developer on PCE Cyber Knight, since Ryo Mizuno of Group SNE designed the game. But maybe I shouldn't. What do you think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CRV
    Quote Originally Posted by idrougge
    Here's food for thought: a director at the current Infinity is called Reiko Horimoto. Could Oshida have married Yukio Horimoto?
    I would say "probably." She worked on graphics for the GameCube version of Ribbit King. Yukio was one of the programmers.
    You always seem to be one step ahead.

    Quote Originally Posted by CRV
    Yes, Infinity did the GameCube version of Ribbit King. Their works list only mentions that version. So I don't know if they did the PS2 version.
    I'd say they did not. They have a separate page where they list their original concepts, and those are few. Ribbit is not listed there. Their specialty seems to be ports in any case, just a look at the release list tells you that.

    Quote Originally Posted by CRV
    Quote Originally Posted by idrougge
    As for Hitoshi Yasuda, I'm certain he belongs to Group SNE. I only find him in games "developed" by SNE, and I think that's a dead end. SNE seems to be a licencing and planning company; they don't seem to do any actual development work themselves, apart from drawing design documents and following progress at the actual developers.
    Yes, Hitoshi Yasuda IS from Group SNE. Group SNE is a company mostly involved with making pen-and-paper and table RPGs. Their involvement in video games doesn't seem to beyond those things you pointed out. However, I did consider Group SNE a developer on PCE Cyber Knight, since Ryo Mizuno of Group SNE designed the game. But maybe I shouldn't. What do you think?
    That depends on what you mean by "develop". Planning and writing scenario is of course a development job, but the hard work was done by Compile. I'm more intrigued by who did the SNES version. Did Tonkinhouse/Tokyo Shoseki have its own development team?

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    I received a prompt reply from Mr. Horimoto. He recalls that Newtopia Planning was a 2nd party (his words) to Ponyca. Newtopia's boss was Koji Ichikawa, who is now boss of Locus (http://www.locus.co.jp/kaisyaannai/index.html). The development contract for Ultima - Seisha e no michi (Avatar) was given by Newtopia to Infinity through a company called Digital Presence, run by the boss of another company called Digital Arts.



    So now we get a picture of the complicated make-up of the Japanese software industry, and know who Koji Ichikawa is. It might also support my theory that Newtopia wasn't a real program house.

    Edit: Can't find a trace of Digital Presence, but Digital Arts is operating as a company still. Founded in 1986, made framebuffers. Now it is specialised in scan converters, though it seems to take on software development contracts as well. No mention of games in its company history.
    The company history for Locus says that it started out as a software consulting company, with the localisation of Wizardry and Ultima as its primary business. I should probably mail them and ask if they're the same company as Newtopia. They were founded in 1986.

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    What was the extent of your email question? I understand that you didn't want to ask too much, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by idrougge
    The company history for Locus says that it started out as a software consulting company, with the localisation of Wizardry and Ultima as its primary business. I should probably mail them and ask if they're the same company as Newtopia. They were founded in 1986.
    It's entirely possible.

    The earliest game I can find from Locus is a 1993 Game Boy game called Panel Action Bingo, published by FCI in the US. I presumed they were the developer, but now, I'm not so sure. They share the copyright. They later worked on some Wizardry ports for the PlayStation/Saturn/Windows.

    http://review-site.net/developer/ro.html#ローカス

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    Quote Originally Posted by CRV
    The earliest game I can find from Locus is a 1993 Game Boy game called Panel Action Bingo, published by FCI in the US. I presumed they were the developer, but now, I'm not so sure. They share the copyright. They later worked on some Wizardry ports for the PlayStation/Saturn/Windows.

    http://review-site.net/developer/ro.html#????
    As SIT says, they only (with emphasis on only) do production and planning.

    Is it anything you think I should ask Horimoto or Lotus?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro
    What was the extent of your email question? I understand that you didn't want to ask too much, of course.
    I basically asked if they knew anything about Newtopia, and if it possibly was the old name for Infinity. Well, it can't have been that, since it says Infinity even on the title screen of Olympos no tatakai, but I hadn't played that game until today. The ending for Olympos credits only three people: Y. Horimoto, R. Oshimoto and K. Sawa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro
    What was the extent of your email question? I understand that you didn't want to ask too much, of course.
    I basically asked if they knew anything about Newtopia, and if it possibly was the old name for Infinity. Well, it can't have been that, since it says Infinity even on the title screen of Olympos no tatakai, but I hadn't played that game until today. The ending for Olympos credits only three people: Y. Horimoto, R. Oshimoto and K. Sawa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by idrougge
    Is it anything you think I should ask Horimoto or Lotus?
    I would just go ahead and ask Locus about Newtopia Planning.

    As for Tokyo Shoseki, which you asked about before, I'm not sure if they actually developed anything or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by idrougge
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro
    What was the extent of your email question? I understand that you didn't want to ask too much, of course.
    I basically asked if they knew anything about Newtopia, and if it possibly was the old name for Infinity. Well, it can't have been that, since it says Infinity even on the title screen of Olympos no tatakai, but I hadn't played that game until today. The ending for Olympos credits only three people: Y. Horimoto, R. Oshimoto and K. Sawa.
    Hmm...could you ask him what games he remembers having worked on, and what teams he was with? Anyway, thanks for doing this, you're awesome.

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    I was digging through the ISO for 1994's "Eye of the Beholder" for the Sega CD, looking for credits. Well, guess who's involved. Satoru Miki and Hiroyuki Fujiwara and all the "usual suspects" from what we're calling "Miki & Fujiwara Production." That blows my theory out of the water. Maybe ISCO really didn't develop games like MD Midnight Resistance and MD Master of Monsters. They certainly were involved since the company president, Shigeki Saka, produced or supervised many of them.

    Iggy, you think you could e-mail ISCO about this whole thing?

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    I don't know, what should I ask? We're having a 30 degree heat wave here, so I can hardly think. ;-)

    Could you post those credits for EOTB?

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    I don't know. Ask if they actually developed those games or just produced them. Ask about Satoru Miki & Hiroyuki Fujiwara.

    Eye of the Beholder Sega CD Credits

    PRODUCER
    Yasutaka Ukai
    Makoto Ichinoseki

    TECHNICAL SUPPORT
    Hiroyuki Fujiwara
    Satoru Miki

    GRAPHICS
    Atsuhiro Gunji
    Hiroshi Akagi
    Ken Takagi
    Yasuaki Mizutani
    Saeko Satou
    Kiyoto Yoshimura

    GAME DESIGN
    Atsuhiro Gunji
    Masaaki Furuya

    MUSIC
    Yuzo Koshiro
    Motohiro Kawashima

    SOUND EFFECTS
    Hitoshi Sakimoto (YmoH.S)

    VISUAL
    Makoto Ichinoseki
    Kiyoto Yoshimura
    Yoko Ogasawara

    GRAPHICS
    Atsuhiro Gunji
    Ken Takagi

    SOUND EDIT
    Hidefumi Ohara
    Keiichi Yoshida
    Kiyoto Yoshimura

    VOICES
    Martha Carlucci
    Teacey Steinmetz
    Margot Blattmann
    Charlens Landrum
    Tim Brown
    Harold Johnson
    James Ward
    Nicholas Beliacff

    TRASLATION SUPERVISE
    GROUP SNE
    Hitoshi Yasuda
    Miyuki Kiyomatsu
    Megumi Tsuge

    PROMOTION
    Yoshiaki Matsumoto
    Masayoshi Kanagawa

    Testing
    Jeff Gregg

    THANKS TO
    Darren
    Ross
    Eric
    Erik
    Rich
    Charlene
    Robert
    Albert
    Michael
    Mr. Fukuda
    Elaine
    Cynthia Po (I don't know if these names are supposed to be together or separate)
    Kuniaki Ikariya (SEGA)
    Yuji Ikeuchi (SEGA)

    SPECIAL THANKS TO
    James Ward (TSR)
    Nicholas Beliaeff
    Kaz Saito (FCI-NY)
    Doreen Do (FCI-NY)
    Eiko Nagata (FCI-NY)
    James MacLean (FCI-NY)

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    Quote Originally Posted by CRV
    - I was looking Ultima: Exodus for the MSX2 tonight. While it says "Produced by Newtopia Planning," if you look in the ROM, it says "Ultima Msx2 version by Miki & Fujiwara Production."
    Interestingly, Ultima 1 for the MSX is "produced" by Newtopia Planning, but ported by two other companies which are not listed in SIT - SuperStation, Inc. and Desktop, Inc.

    Credits:
    Original by Richard Garriott (Lord British)
    Directed by Kunihiko Kagawa
    Coordinated by Koji Ichikawa, Yasuhiro Kawashima
    Program Directed by K. Mizuno (JF2AJA)
    Programmed by H. Fujita, K. Takeuchi, H. Miyoshi, T. Tsujioka (JH1NRR)
    Pictured by Mari Miyazawa
    Music by Takeshi Yasuda
    Art Design by Hideki Haruta
    Special thanks to Shiro Hirano, Yusuke Nakajima, Koichiro Mori
    Translation work by SuperStation Inc., Desktop Inc.
    Produced by Newtopia Planning
    Presented by Ponycanyon Inc.

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    Here's a page featuring T. Tsujioka (JH1NRR). It's quite old. I doubt the e-mail address works.

    http://mmm.uec.ac.jp:8081/club/koken.../tsujioka.html

    Here's a Japanese site featuring info on Ultima and other RPG series. It's seems JH1NRR/SuperStation/DeskTop "translated" the PC-98 Ultima ports.

    http://www.saturn.dti.ne.jp/~dastard/azito.htm

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    Didn't think of looking up those callsigns, but they seem to lead somewhere, at least. Will try to contact them later on.

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    Going back to Micronics for a second, I found somewhere someone mentioned that Micronics might have been (or been part of) Treco. The suggestion that Atomic Robo-Kid on MD was also by them, but credits don't seem to exist for that particular game. However:

    Task Force Harrier EX:
    Management Hiromitsu Kususe
    Creative Staff
    Task Force Harrier EX
    Director Team Griffin
    Takashi Kuroda
    Ryo Saitou
    Planner Yoh Hayakawa
    Main Programmer Y.K
    Sub Programmer Yuuichi Yamaguchi
    Special Programmer Mitoshi Asakawa
    Main Graphic Designer Yoh Hayakawa
    Graphic Designer Mitusru Ishida
    Masaru Yokoura
    Sound Tenpei Satou
    SE M. Kajihara
    PCM T. Suzuki
    Special Thanks Takashi Ohga
    Satoru Tanaka
    Mura
    Yaga Shooting Master
    Tsu-Chi
    Kimi Chan
    Mo-Rin
    Midori Chan
    Naoko Chan
    Meiko Chan
    Master of Games
    Take Chan
    Presented by Treco 1991

    Street Smart:
    Presend by American Treco Corporation
    Staff
    Boss E.Kawasaki
    Producer Tsuka
    Designer Nobuhiko
    Wada UG
    Natsuji
    Wara2
    Helper Akira Goto
    Programmer Imasa
    Sound Programmer Doda
    Sound Jojoha Kitamura
    Special Thanks Shinchan
    Bento- Matsuyama
    Kura
    and SNK Arcade Version Staff

    Twin Cobra:
    Publisher Hajime Satomi
    Producer Hiromitsu Kususe
    Assistant Producer Tatsuhiko Tsuchida
    Takashi Ohga
    Midori Sawada
    Takashi Kuroda
    Akihiro Murayama
    Program Designer Hyakumangoku Hamada
    Oshiete Kawacyan
    Art Creator Numatoroh
    Etoh Shiwasu
    Kencyan Arumon Mark-2
    Harada Riku-Shicyoh
    Arumon Puls
    Hashiuri Yuki
    Kidokoro Mai
    Music Arrange Raika no Papa
    Super Data Maker Dotsukanpo Itoh
    Executive Director Yoshiaki Sawada
    SPecial Thanks Gamenanoyo-N Shigecyan
    Silpheed
    Silence Takahashi
    Dadida Syohji
    Tetorisu Kudasai Maccyan
    Bakkin Tamayama
    Yukimi Papa
    Urakurenai Man 7
    Egawa Bucyoh
    Yamanaka San
    Hex Dec Bin Imoto
    Presented by Sega Enterprises Ltd.
    (C) 1991 All Rights Reserved


    Y.K and Yuuichi Yamaguchi might be the "Y.Kazzo" and "Yuichi" listed in several Micronics games.

    Takashi Kuroda is also mentioned in the NES version of Twin Cobra, but he may be someone from Taito since he's also mentioned in MD Sagaia.

    (Street Smart is only up there in case someone else spots a connection that CRV and I missed.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by idrougge
    Here's food for thought: a director at the current Infinity is called Reiko Horimoto. Could Oshida have married Yukio Horimoto?
    Probably not. The name Reiko is fairly common in Japan, as far as I know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsune Sniper
    Probably not. The name Reiko is fairly common in Japan, as far as I know.
    Considering that both Reiko Oshida and Reiko Horimoto did graphics in games, I'm leaning toward "yes."

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    I found our friend Reiko Oshida hiding inside the SNES Sim Earth ROM today. It's published by Imagineer in Japan, but developed by a company called TomCat System, made up of old Namco employees. Thankfully, they have an exhaustive list of works.

    BTW, do we know who did FC Ballblazer yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitri
    Y.K and Yuuichi Yamaguchi might be the "Y.Kazzo" and "Yuichi" listed in several Micronics games.
    The programmer of Aero Fighters/Sonic Wings (Video System) on the SNES is called Kazzo. I've always written Kazzo off as a nickname for "Kazuo", mind you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by idrougge
    The programmer of Aero Fighters/Sonic Wings (Video System) on the SNES is called Kazzo. I've always written Kazzo off as a nickname for "Kazuo", mind you.
    1) Yes, I noticed that. M. Tsukuda is also there. They're both in the arcade credits. I don't know what to make of that.

    2) I'm wondering if Opera House is indeed Miki & Fujiwara Production. Looking at the Break Time (NES) credits again, the project manager is from Pony Canyon and everyone else seems to be from Miki & Fujiwara.

    3) I was looking at the Double Hawk (SMS) credits again, too. Nannorio and Noboru Machida (Noborunrun) are there as planner and director respectively. But the rest of the credits I have not seen in another Sanritsu/SIMS game. But look at the programmers. Fujichan and Mikisama. Could it be Hiroyuki Fujiwara and Satoru Miki? Could Sanritsu have outsourced the game to Miki & Fujiwara Production/Opera House/whatever it is?

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