Namco Bandai released an announcement yesterday stating that the company will be dissolving the Namco Tales subsidiary. This studio was responsible for the Tales series and was known as Wolf Team prior to being purchased in 2003. Last year it was revealed that the studio had become insolvent, amassing $21 million in debt with an annual loss of $1 million (figures approximates converted from yen values at the time).
The announcement did not specify why the studio would be reabsorbed, but it did state the dissolution would take affect on the first of next year once it’s been approved by the board. The developer currently had several games in development, and the future of those titles is currently unclear. The last known employee count for the studio was 109, which was made back in April.
Analysis: Well, this is rather sad. Although the studio hadn’t done really well in recent years, it had surpassed expectations on a number of its most recent titles. I suppose it was to be expected, given that the developer’s debt outweighed its assets, but I don’t think anyone truly expected Namco Bandai to shut down the studio. Perhaps “shut down” isn’t quite the right wording, but it’s unclear if the entire team will still be kept together or not.
I don’t personally think the titles will be shelved, and I really hope that the Tales series hasn’t reached the end of its life yet, but that is up to Namco Bandai to decide. If they can’t make them economically feasible, they won’t happen.
I will never forget how much fun Symphonia and Abyss were, and I truly hope that the Tales of the Abyss remake for the 3DS sees the light of day. Rest in peace, Namco Tales; your days as a semi-independent entity are over. That reminds me, I still need to play Tales of Phantasia.