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Arzest (ex-Sega folks including Naoto Ohshima) worked on Mario & Sonic Rio 2016 3DS

Nov 26, 2006
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I made an article about this at a site I write for, I will NOT link to it because I don't want to blatantly advertise, so instead I will rewrite it here as I would making a normal thread. :)

This started when I found a credits video for the 3DS version of the game and shockingly Arzest was one of the companies involved with the game (the other being Spike Chunsoft, how about that), but now Arzest also added the game to their Japanese site (it's not up yet on their English page):

http://www.arzest.jp/p1_works.html

First a history lesson.

Most know Naoto Ohshima as one of the creators of Sonic, most specifically his character design as well as Robotnik's. He would work at Sega on the series all the way until 1998 when his final game at Sega would be Sonic Adventure 1 on Dreamcast.

The roles he took for the game were CG Movie Producer, Story Event Coordinator, one of the Event Motion Designers, and Opening Movie Editor. In the following year, he and several other Sega veterans, including Yoji Iishi and Yutaka Sugano would leave Sega and all form Artoon.

Yoji Iishi worked on many of Sega's early arcade classics, and also was the main man behind Flicky. Yutaka Sugano is most well known for his work on the Panzer Dragoon series.

Anyway, their first game was Pinobee for the GBA, which later got a PS1 port. But their most famous works include Blinx the Time Sweeper for Xbox and Blue Dragon for Xbox 360 with Microsoft, and also Yoshi's Topsy-Turvy for GBA and Yoshi's Island DS with Nintendo.

Eventually in 2005 they were bought by AQ Interactive, who also owned Cavia and Feelplus. Things went fine and dandy until 2010 when all of the sudden AQ decided to absorb all three developers and making everything under the AQ name. Artoon was essentially no more as a company of its own.

Over the next couple of years however they would be known to specifically work on a few more games, all of which on Wii. First was Club Penguin: Game Day with Disney, Flingsmash with Nintendo, and original IP, and their swan song; The Last Story with Nintendo and Mistwalker.

Apparently they may have also worked on Fortune Street (it's under the AQ name), as apparently assets from Club Penguin: Game Day exist in the game.

Only Flingsmash actually retained Artoon's name, all others were under the AQ name.

Anyway, in 2010 after Artoon was absorbed, Ohshima and the other founders left the company, and formed Arzest.

Arzest would straight away connect with Nintendo, and their first task would be to create mini-games for Wii Play Motion. Their games were Spooky Search, Jump Park, and Cone Zone. What some might NOT know is that one other among the rest of the group of devs to work on the game, was none other than Prope, formed by another creator of Sonic; Yuji Naka.

The best thing? The two had the same idea for a mini-game!

Yuji Naka says in the Iwata Asks of the game:

Right. But it got shelved it. When this project came up, we worked on it some more and made a prototype, but it clashed with Oshima-san’s project. They were both about ghosts. Ours was removed from competition, but in the two weeks left for prototypes, we made Trigger Twist.

Trigger Twist was Prope's only mini-game in Wii Play Motion.

Afterwards, Arzest would help out Nintendo by adding SpotPass support to Mii Plaza's features including Find Mii II, StreetPass Map and Puzzle Swap. They also would do some character modeling for the formerly 3DS-exclusive Time Travellers for Level-5 and help out with Terra Battle with Mistwalker throughout, including making some oddly familiar looking characters for the game...

Eventually in 2013 their first full retail game would be revealed; Yoshi's New Island, carrying the torch from their predecessor. Oddly enough they got the now defunct Imageepoch to help with character model animation.

So after doing some mobile/browser work, they'd eventually work on another 3DS retail project for Nintendo, and that's where Mario & Sonic Rio 3DS comes in.

I've already compiled their spot on the credits as seen below:

ARZEST Corp.

Directors: Masahito Shimizu, Noboru Shirasu

Art Director: Yoshihide Sasagawa

Technical Director: Tomoo Kondo

Game Designers: Jun Imanishi, Daisuke Hagiya, Ryo Sato, Takashi Nakashima, Mitsunori Yamazaki, Tadaaki Moriya, Rena Sakaguchi, Hidemi Hamada, Makoto Hara, Gen Murayama, Gen Shiomi, Koji Arai, Akihiko Sato, Teppei Iwanaga, Mitsunori Shimazu, Motoharu Nakajima

Stage Artists: Daisuke Kojima, Kana Fujibayashi, Ayana Katsumata, Masaya Takahashi

Character Animators: Hiroshi Arai, Eriko Kato, Yuya Iwama

Graphic U.I. Artists: Yuno Endoh, Chihiro Ishikura, Chika Yamamoto, Makoto Sonoda, Akihito Kato, Tsutomu Hatanaka, Tatsuya Ishikawa, Michiru Sasamori

SFX Artists: Tatsuro Matsunaga, Yasuhisa Nakagawa

Cutscene Artist: Yuichi Nakamura

Programmers: Shinji Iseki, Naotaka Ueda, Kouichi Watanabe, Mikio Kume, Kenji Miyakawa, Kohei Iwata, Takanori Yoshida, Manabu Kobayashi, Akihiko Ohyama, Kazuya Azuma, Kenichi Otani, Hiroshi Fujinishi, Toshinori Suzuki, Norio Suzuki Fumie Morishita

Art Supervisor: Masamichi Harada

Supervisor: Naoto Ohshima

Producer: Yutaka Sugano

Executive Producer: Yoji Iishi

This marks the first time one of Sonic's creators has officially worked on a new Sonic project (if you don't count Yuji Naka being asked via email by M2 how he got the Spin Dash into Sonic 1 in Sonic Jam, for them to get it in 3D Sonic 1 on 3DS) since Yuji Naka's departure in 2006, AND is Ohshima's first Sonic project period since 1998!

There were some claims however that Naoto Ohshima was credited under "Special Thanks" in Sonic Generations (mostly Wikipedia pages), and so I've checked the credits of both the HD version and the 3DS version and never saw his name mentioned under Special Thanks in either, so I highly doubt he had any involvement whatsoever.

And that concludes the history of Arzest. :p

I hope you liked it. :p
 

DownGrader

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Jun 7, 2014
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Thanks for the great post. I have always mixed up Artoon and Arzest due to handheld Yoshi series and I had lower opinion about the pedigree of each studio.

I think it's appropriate to note that PROPE and Yuji Naka have eventually made another StreetPass game, StreetPass Mansion/Monster Manor.
 
Nov 26, 2006
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Well researched, OP. Good read

Thanks! :)

Thanks for the great post. I have always mixed up Artoon and Arzest due to handheld Yoshi series and I had lower opinion about the pedigree with each studio.

I think it's appropriate to note that PROPE and Yuji Naka have eventually made another StreetPass game, StreetPass Mansion/Monster Manor.

Easy to confuse as like I said, they're more or less the same, hell they both start with "Ar".

And yeah I forgot to mention Prope's Mii Plaza stuff. :p

I heard that Sega have made a Mario & Sonic Rio Olympics 2016, arcade machine.

Can anyone confirm/deny?

Yepper!

http://www.olympicvideogames.com/mario_sonic_ac_en/
 

Boney

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It's always weird when ex major publisher teams start their own company and set ties with Nintendo and then work on spiritual successors like Flagship and Alpha Dream. Not that this is the case.

He must've seen all the new side characters from Sonic and go blink182 whatthefuck.gif

Also what do you mean by formally exclusive for 3ds on Time Travellers.what a weird spin.
 
Nov 26, 2006
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astrogamer

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Doesn't Nintendo partially own Spike Chunsoft? That could explain why they worked on this (and probably why they worked on a couple other Nintendo games like Fossil Fighters Frontier)
 
Nov 26, 2006
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Doesn't Nintendo partially own Spike Chunsoft? That could explain why they worked on this (and probably why they worked on a couple other Nintendo games like Fossil Fighters Frontier)

Nah. What happened was that Nintendo bought a tiny percentage (like 1.5%?) of Dwango, who own Spike Chunsoft.

Last year or so Dwango merged with Kadokawa which surely decreased Nintendo's percentage in the company.

Honestly if that purchase had any real influence in Spike Chunsoft, we'd see a much higher focus from them on 3DS right now, that's not the case, they all but stopped after Kenka Bancho 6 (their only non-Nintendo published game coming up is Zero Escape 3 IIRC).
 

Nanashrew

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Doesn't Nintendo partially own Spike Chunsoft? That could explain why they worked on this (and probably why they worked on a couple other Nintendo games like Fossil Fighters Frontier)

Dwango owns 100% of Spike Chunsoft.

But Nintendo did buy a small portion of shares of Dwango at the request of one of Dwango's Chairman.

EDIT: beaten.
 

Jon Carter

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Jul 14, 2015
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Why are there only three reviews on Metacritic? It's a game starring Mario and Sonic and not even one major gaming website cares?
 

jdstorm

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That was a great read. Thanks OP.

Also these guys worked on The Last Story. Loved that game
 

@MUWANdo

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Why are there only three reviews on Metacritic? It's a game starring Mario and Sonic and not even one major gaming website cares?

Nintendo didn't send out review copies. (EDIT: it's not out in NA for a few weeks, either.)

I don't know why, it's not a bad game by any means, nor is it fundamentally different to any of the other Mario & Sonic games.
 

Ridley327

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Nintendo didn't send out review copies. (EDIT: it's not out in NA for a few weeks, either.)

I don't know why, it's not a bad game by any means, nor is it fundamentally different to any of the other Mario & Sonic games.
They did this with Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, too. Probably not the kinds of games that really need reviews for the target audience.
 

TheMoon

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That was a cool read. I enjoy hearing about the smaller companies with interesting histories like that.
 

SpotAnime

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Oct 11, 2006
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Great post OP. I love these types of threads. It's so interesting to see what my favorite developers from yesterday are doing today. Especially when so many have been acquired multiple times over.

Artoon and Blinx... Now there's some names I haven't heard in a while. I knew Mistwalker worked on The Last Story but didn't know ex-Artoon folks did as well.
 

Ridley327

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Great post OP. I love these types of threads. It's so interesting to see what my favorite developers from yesterday are doing today. Especially when so many have been acquired multiple times over.

Artoon and Blinx... Now there's some names I haven't heard in a while. I knew Mistwalker worked on The Last Story but didn't know ex-Artoon folks did as well.
Mistwalker does the planning for their console games, but the development has always been handled by another studio. TLS wasn't even the first game Artoon staff worked on for them, since they also handled Blue Dragon and Away: Shuffle Dungeon.
 
Nov 26, 2006
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http://gonintendo.com/stories/25490...-mario-and-sonic-at-the-rio-2016-olympic-game

GN passed the thread around, and already two people didn't read the thread about why Arzest shouldn't be known as a shitty dev of Yoshi games. :(

It's why I put so much effort into providing all the history, people the folks working at Arzest actually have real potential and worked on some of Sega's greatest games.

I could've done more though with naming some folks that are there and what games they specifically worked on.

Here, I did that actually when I transcribed Yoshi's New Island's credits way back:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=104307426&postcount=305

They still have numerous Sonic Adventure 1 folks there, a lot of which worked as Field Artists on it. As well as Artoon stuff like Blinx and Blue Dragon.
 

@MUWANdo

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It's why I put so much effort into providing all the history, people the folks working at Arzest actually have real potential and worked on some of Sega's greatest games..

Potential doesn't really mean anything, I could name a hundred devs with pedigree that went on to make mediocre garbage, even within the same genre as their old works. (One of the leads on the original Virtua Fighter and director of the first couple Tekken games went onto make the execrable Kokuto Chojin: Back Alley Brutal for Xbox, for example.)

Sega is Sega, Arzest is Arzest, and Arzest/Artoon/AQ hasn't made anything great on their own as was a bit player in the few interesting games they're attached to. Sad but true.
 

Ridley327

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I don't think making bad Yoshi games means that Artoon or Arzest are bad developers. I think it just means they're bad at making Yoshi games.
 
Nov 26, 2006
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Potential doesn't really mean anything, I could name a hundred devs with pedigree that went on to make mediocre garbage, even within the same genre as their old works. (One of the leads on the original Virtua Fighter and director of the first couple Tekken games went onto make the execrable Kokuto Chojin: Back Alley Brutal for Xbox, for example.)

Sega is Sega, Arzest is Arzest, and Arzest/Artoon/AQ hasn't made anything great on their own as was a bit player in the few interesting games they're attached to. Sad but true.

True, but there's also the sense that Arzest aren't given the opportunity to really stretch their arms and have the freedom to create their big break. True Artoon did with Blinx, but that was almost 15 years ago. Arzest has the opportunity to start fresh with lessons learned from their Artoon days. They certainly are big at now 80 employees going by their site. What are they all even doing since Yoshi and Rio only have like a couple dozen people or so and they wouldn't need so many for Terra Battle and Boost Beast (mobile/Facebook game).

I don't think making bad Yoshi games means that Artoon or Arzest are bad developers. I think it just means they're bad at making Yoshi games.

Sadly people think that. Most times I see Arzest mentioned and people just cringe at the mention of their name, very likely not knowing their significance.