In Japan, there are many companies who are well known for making video games. Some of these companies include SEGA, Capcom and Square Enix. But there are some smaller ones that don’t get as much attention in the West. One of these is Idea Factory.
The Origins Of Idea Factory
Idea Factory was founded in 1994 by Shingo Kuwana and Yoshiteru Sato. They already had a bit of experience in the video game industry as they originally worked at a company called Data East.
The Company’s first game was Dark Chaser, which was a Visual Novel released in 1995. There is very little information about the game due to the fact that was only relesed in Japan at a time when the internet was only just starting to take off.
One of Idea Factory other earlier game is Spectral Tower. This game was an RPG was the original PlayStation released in 1996.
The Subsidiary Companies Of Idea Factory
Idea Factory also has many subsidiary companies who specialize in particular types of games.
Design Factory was formed in 2001 and specializes in visual novels.
Otomate who specialize in Otome Games, which are games targeted towards women and focus on a female protagonist who tries to build a relationship with a group of men.
Probably the most well-known subsidiary of Idea Factory is Compile Heart. This subsidiary was founded in 2006 by Masamitsu Niitani who is most famous for creating the game Puyo Puyo. The company is named after a former video game company known as Compile who went bankrupt in 2001.
Compile Heart focus on developing RPGs, which usually feature a bit of ecchi (more adult based images) content in places.
Since 2013 Compile Heart has been doing a project called Galapagos RPG. These are RPGs that are made for a Japanese audience in mind.
In 2013 Idea Factory opened a branch in America called Idea Factory International. This branch focuses on localizing their games for international audiences. Idea Factory started doing their own localisations because they had a falling out with their original localizers Nippon Ichi. In Europe, their games are distributed by a company called Reef Entertainment.
What Games How Idea Factory Released
Some of Idea Factory’s more recognizable game series include Spectral Force, which is a series of strategy games that were popular during the days of the PS1 and PS2. The First Game in this series came out back in 1997 for The Orignal Playstation.
Generation Of Chaos was another strategy game series that was popular at the same time Spectral Force was. Record Of Agarest was one of Compile Heart’s earlier game. It was another strategy game which was popular enough to get a sequel and prequel.
Amnesia is a series of otome games. As the title implies the main protagonist has amnesia. During the game, you get to choose a love interest for the protagonist, each one leads into a different ending which the game refers to as a timeline.
Probably the most known series of Idea Factory’s right would be Neptunia, which is one of Compile Heart’s game series. Originally started in 2010 with a game simply titled Hyperdimension Neptunia.
Even though the game was rushed and made on a low budget, it ended up becoming a success for the company, selling over 44 Million worldwide (a large majority of which came from North America) and has become their flagship franchise with sequels, spin-off and even remakes under it’s a wing. The series is a parody of the video game industry itself, featuring characters based off different video game companies. The main characters are goddesses based on the various video game consoles.
The Producer of The Neptunia Games Norihisa Kochiwa believes the reason why the series caught on so much was that people who have played the games really enjoyed the quirky personalities of all the various different characters.
How Do Idea Factory Compare To The Larger Companies
Idea Factory is quite small compared to the big triple a companies. They just barely have 100 employees and their games aren’t the most graphically impressive, even where compared to other companies on a similar scale.
Because their games are mainly market at their local Japenese market and their western following is pretty niche, it is pretty hard to find a lot of information on the company. Even finding high rez images of the games and logos is difficult as not many people really document them, so the information I find is really scarce.
My Thoughts Of Idea Factory
Even though Idea Factory’s games aren’t the most perfect ones, I still enjoy them. I like their games because they’re full of bright colourful characters who go out on fun adventures. I enjoy finding out what happens next in the story even if they aren’t the most fleshed out. I find it allows for open interpretation allowing you to come up with your own stories featuring those characters.
I hope this helps give you an idea of who Idea Factory is and convince you to try one of their games.