In a rare move for the company, Nintendo has acquired a controlling stake in Japanese developer Monolith Soft, best known for the Xenosaga
and Baten Kaitos
role-playing games (and not to be confused with F.E.A.R.
developer Monolith Productions) from Bandai Namco.
According to translated Japanese reports, Nintendo has acquired 80 percent of Bandai Namco’s 96 percent stake in the developer. As such, Bandai Namco will retain a 16 percent stake in Monolith Soft and will continue to use the studio for planning and development, although whether these can be for non-Nintendo formats is currently unclear.
Despite its large cash reserves, Nintendo’s well-established internal development studios have traditionally seen the company unwilling to purchase smaller developers, despite offering funding and publishing opportunities for many so-called “second party” companies.
Monolith Soft, which has generally specialized in hardcore role-playing games, are currently working on the as yet sparsely detailed action title Disaster: Day of Crisis
for the Wii.
The game is to be published by Nintendo and has no doubt proven the catalyst for the acquisition – although Baten Kaitos
was a rare original role-playing series for the GameCube, and a version of Xenosaga
has appeared on the Nintendo DS.