About The Aksys / Arc System Works Relationship…

By Spencer . August 11, 2009 . 12:42pm


Aksys and Arc System Works, the company behind Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, are tight. Their names are coincidentally similar, if you take the Japanese abbreviation “ArcSys” into account. What’s the deal between the two companies?


Does Arc System Works actually own Aksys? No.


“We’re not owned [by Arc System Works], they don’t own us, we don’t own any part of them,” Gail Salamanca, Director of Marketing, explained. “We just have a really good relationship and basically we get to see all of their titles before anyone else does.”


Ever since Aksys opened their doors most Arc System Works developed games have been released in North America. Before Aksys got involved Atlus and Majesco handled select titles, usually Guilty Gear games.


I asked Salamanca to further describe their relationship with the Yokohama based publisher.


“Yeah, we have first right of refusal, unless they’re going to publish it themselves.”


I followed up and inquired if Aksys ever refused to release a game from Arc System Works, which would allow another publisher to pick it up.


“It really depends. If they ask us to do it, if the numbers make sense. It’s not like they’re forcing us or we’re forced to do a game they do. We can pass on a title. If they want us to do it we’ll look into it if it makes sense.”


Arc System Works also assisted Aksys by distributing Bit.Trip Beat and Bit.Trip Core in Japan. Both of these WiiWare games were developed by Gaijin Games and commissioned by Aksys.

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  • MrAptronym

    I always assumed Aksys was just the american subsidiary of Arc Systems Works. I mean… the name…

  • Well, you can just compare the games Arc has to what gets released over here. I would think it’s unlikely Aksys would publish something like Hanakosan, but maybe they’d give Ranshima Monogatari Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou a shot.

  • jarrodand

    I knew Aksys was originally some ex-Atlus USA guys starting up, but I always figured ASW just bought them out or something along the way. Surprised that they’re totally separate.

    • I think Gail said in a podcast at their site that they mentioned about their relationship in a Gamasutra article. Ah, found it!
      A quote from producer at Arc, Kouki Sadamori:
      “Well, they’re a business partner, a company we’ve got a great relationship with. It’s through their help that we’ve been able to bring our games out in North America.
      With another company, we’d have to convince them to purchase licensing rights for such and such an amount, and then they’d release the game. You can’t really get around that. From our perspective though, we’d want a contract that guaranteed a certain amount of the take from each copy sold, but getting contracts like that can be really difficult.
      This is where Aksys comes in. Because we work in partnership with them, they’re willing to divide the royalties with us on each game sold, instead of paying a lump sum for the right to sell it in the States. We also share the extraneous costs.
      We handle development and production costs, while Aksys pays for voice acting and localization. It’s mutually beneficial, and something that goes beyond a merely contractual relationship. We’re both working toward the goal of carving a niche for our games to succeed in the American market.
      We’re in constant contact with them, discussing the best strategies for marketing each new title as they come up. ”

      • Thanks for the link. Very informative! I didn’t know anyone else thought about asking this so I asked Aksys when I had the chance.

        • Kris

          I appreciate it, the whole scenario used to make my brain hurt.

  • Ereek

    Oh, this is interesting. I love this kind of stuff.

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