Interview: Koei's Matsubara Talks Tecmo Merger, Dynasty Warriors Expanding West

At the Tokyo Game Show, Gamasutra talks with Koei president Kenji Matsubara about specific business advantages of the company's merger with Tecmo -- and Koei's plans to expand the popularity of its Dynasty Warriors franchise in the West, potentiall
As part of its new merger with Tecmo, Koei is investigating the possibility of expanding the popularity of its Dynasty Warriors series in Western markets, says Koei president Kenji Matsubara. "I cannot speak in detail right now, but please wait and see. Now we are working on what you mentioned," Matsubara says, speaking to Gamasutra at the Tokyo Game Show. Koei has previously pursued a relationship with Namco Bandai in the development of Dynasty Warriors Gundam, based on the huge anime franchise, and new moves for the franchise might be based on that business model. Matsubara also hints that the game would be coming from Koei Canada, which is working on an unannounced next-gen console project. Primarily, though, Koei's focused on its business discussions with Tecmo for the near term. One month has passed since the two companies first announced merger talks on September first, and since then, the two companies have had meetings "every week," according to Matsubara. Koei and Tecmo will form a holding company to which they'll both belong individually, says Matsubara, elaborating on how the two companies would benefit from joining forces in the global market. "Tecmo and Koei.... will belong to this holding company... so that's what we are discussing, and the main way we are talking about it is business schemes," Matsubara says. "We are discussing about synergy, about how we can go forward after consolidation. The main discussion is business schemes, not so [much] in development areas so far." Matsubara says that one of the advantages of the merger is the strength of Tecmo IP like Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden in North America, while Koei has "a very big brand" in Asia. According to Matsubara, both companies are "strong" in the action game genre, but create a "different type" of action game, opening up the possibility for the two companies to collaborate directly on games and also share technology. Both companies also have Asia-targeted online services. Another potential win is distribution, which the company handles in Japan through its distribution company, Koei-Net. "Koei-Net 100% takes care of our products," explainst Matsubara. "We have a distribution company in Japan, and Tecmo, they don't have [one]. They have [their own distribution] in U.S., and we have one in the U.S. We have one in Europe and they don't have one.... so we can think about merging sales channels not only in [Japanese] domestic but also in the Western market."

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