Lux-Pain Developer Killaware Closes Their Doors

By Spencer . May 4, 2011 . 8:15am

imageBack in 2006, two former Atlus employees established Killaware. Led by Kazuhiro Yamao, Killaware focused on adventure games and are probably best known in the West for Lux-Pain. Marvelous released their worm filled story on Nintendo DS, but Killaware had to stake out a new publisher for their second game.


Arc System Works picked up Killaware’s second title Another Time Another Leaf, an adventure game where you switch between the past and the present. Their third game Tsuku Monogatari got little attention. Furyu, the company behind Last Bullet and the upcoming dungeon crawler UnchainBlades Rexx, published it on PSP in January. Check our report on Tsuku Monogatari for more about the title.


Shortly afterwards, Killaware filed for bankruptcy. The motion was made on March 31, right at the end of the company’s fiscal year. Killaware’s website is now offline too and that can’t be a good sign. Kouji "Cozy" Okada’s company Gaia doesn’t appear to be in good shape either. Last year, a note was posted on Gaia’s website apologizing for the site’s closure.

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  • It’s not funny anymore.

  • Damn shame, I still haven’t played Tsuku Monogatari, but I really liked what I’ve seen of it(probably gonna pick it up in the near future). And Lux-Pain was a really good game, the translation was lacking quality, but as someone who watches a lot of HorribleSubs I could very well live with that.
    I hope they can get a job in another company or something the like, it would be a waste if not.

    • I remember Aoshi having…not nice things…to say about Tsuku Monogatari…

  • Ladius

    Really, really sad. Lux Pain was a great game, a pity its western release was ruined by Ignition’s disgusting, unprofessional pseudo-localization. I would have loved to see Tsuku Monogatari translated :(

  • Aww, even with all the typos and weird grammar, I was absolutely addicted to Lux Pain. I’ll have to find this Another Time game and give it a go in memory of Killaware.

  • I

  • Zero_Destiny

    No sequel to Lux-Pain ;__; Looks like I’ll have to go cry in a corner. Always a shame when a game company goes out of business. Makes me feel like our world of gaming is shrinking and we lost a potential future that could of been. It’s always sad to see companies go. :(

    • Ladius

      What pisses me off is that if Lux Pain’s localization had been at least normal that game could have enjoyed far more success than it actually did, and maybe that would have lead to the localization of their other titles (their second game was published by Arc System, and Aksys could have localized it as they did with 999) and to an increase of their revenues. Ignition is at least partly responsible for this sad event, things could have turned up differently if Killaware had been able to establish a western fanbase with its first effort.

      • Shadow_Raskolnik

        Sadly that’s probably true.

        It also kind of reminds me of Imageepoch in that while their first game (Luminous Arc) was kind of mediocre it still managed to be something of a success due to the time it was released (there were very few SRPGs on the DS at the time) and the fact that Atlus’ localization of the game was well-done. Because of these factors Imageepoch was able to obtain a western fanbase that eventually resulted in them forming a contract with NISA.

  • Pichi

    Hate to see another studio go down. I was hoping that some of their games would make it overseas, now there’s no chance.

  • T___T

  • #RIP Killaware, 2006-2011. Cause of death: lack of proper marketing and poor localization. :(

  • gimpylee

    Funny how companies that work with Ignition end up in financial difficulty. Coincidence?

    • Zero_Destiny

      You Know I don’t really like Ignition all that much ether and I have some mean things to say about their localization job for Lux-Pain but I highly doubt others would of even bothered to of brought the game over.

      Going through the list of games they developed the only company that ever even cared to bother was Ignition. No one else did, that’s for sure. Likewise doing business with any company is better than none.Lackluster North American release is better than none ether. Plus it’s not like Ignition didn’t pay their end of the deal and screwed Killaware out of the money their contract promised. They did just fine.

      The level of advertisement was pretty normal to. I don’t see any one else like say Konami the publisher of Time Hollow going on a big campaign to sell that DS Visual Novel/Point-In-Click Adventurer game. Really by putting the game into a bigger box and offering a little artbook (let’s not debate it’s quality that is important) Ignition has already done more campaigning than what Konami did for Time Hollow.

      Did Ignition screw up? Yes big time. This localization was very poor. But had they done a better one would it of made a difference and help to save Killaware? No. Hell no! We were cheated out of a proper localization but in the end at least we got one.

      Also Mistwalker, Feel Plus, Vanillaware, SNK Play more, Matrix Software, Red Entertainment. Last I checked these companies are doing pretty good. So what are you getting at? Likewise Ignition is a small and not well known Company. As such it will naturally try to get the rights from other smaller Japanese companies since they don’t have a lot of money and don’t have an establish connection with many other clients. That’s probably what brought them to Killaware. A very small company.

      The fact that Killaware was a small company without a a huge fanbase, in a difficult time in Japan and a difficult time in the gaming Market in general is what killed the company. That and their last game seems to have gotten some pretty bad reviews. Seems like they should of invested in making a better game. Sad since I like Lux-Pain but this is how the industry works. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. In the end of the day Ignition had nothing to do with this though. :)

      • Ladius

        “Did Ignition screw up? Yes big time. This localization was very poor. But had they done a better one would it of made a difference and help to save Killaware? No. Hell no! We were cheated out of a proper localization but in the end at least we got one.”

        That isn’t true. 999 is niche as hell and is even more static than Lux Pain, but it enjoyed a great success (for this kind of games) in our markets. Why? Because Aksys did a great job localizing its script, and marketed it with care and love, showing that they actually cared about its reception. The same could be said about Capcom’s Phoenix Wright localizations, or about MangaGamer’s recent efforts. They won’t create a huge fanbase for this genre anytime soon, but they surely helped to create a niche of interested fans.

        Of course having a localized version of Lux Pain is better than having none, but that completely unprofessional “translation” absolutely killed the game’s charm, making it playable only by visual novel enthusiasts who craved for their vn fix and were able to stomach incoherent dialogues, gender changes and so on (I was among them, btw). I think a decently localized LP could have sold more and enjoyed a good word of mouth, and since Killaware’s second title was published by Arc System maybe this could have helped a localization by Aksys. Of course after the shoddy job done by Ignition I can completely understand that Aksys wasn’t thrilled to localize a Killaware game, since LP has been so ruined by Ignition that many gamers felt it was a horrible game without separating the actual game from its localization (I can remember some comments on the line of “if this is what visual novels are about then we aren’t losing out on anything”).

        • Zero_Destiny

          I love your enthusiasm but sadly Akyss’ amazing job of 999, or MangaGamers, or JAST, or Capcom’s Phoenix Wright games, or any other of the awesome releases such as these are still very niche. They in the grand stream of things don’t push too much weight in the market. They appeal to people who like this stuff and that’s pretty much it.

          Anyways I’d seriously doubt anyone would of brought over Another Time Another Leaf. This is of course my own opinion and I have nothing but guesses to back it up. But if you would be so kind to listen why I would appreciate it.

          Another just came at the wrong time. Sure Capcom has done well with Phoenix and some other games like Hotel Dusk have gotten good recognition but by this time some no-name games like Time Hollow have already been released and did poorly. It’s dangerous to try to push a game in this genre with no franchisee to back it (There is no anime/manga adaption nor is there any sequels or other aspect of a series ether to back it up). It’s a 50-50 chance, Maybe it will sell maybe it will flop. Seems rather risky in this kind of business.

          Phoenix had Capcom to back it and did a great translation to help make the game seem a little more western while still keeping in with the charm and writing. Hotel Dusk had Nintendo who has lots of money to advertise and promote games of these sorts. Not only that but the game is drawn in a more western fashion and has a setting in the west. Another with Akyss? I think that’s just super risky there. They don’t have the power to promote it (a no-name with nothing special or appealing to anyone outside of the small fanbase game) right. To promote that kind of game would be a tough challenge for any company in the west.

          So why such a success with 999? Well 999 is special in how it blends story well with puzzles. The puzzle element makes it easier to market as well. Another doesn’t have anything quite that special going for more of Lux-Pain style of gameplay. That makes it harder to market. 999 has the benefit of famous people like Kotaro Uchikoshi and of course being made by the famous Sound Novel Company Chunsoft too. Another didn’t. It’s just another (lol pun) game in the sea of Visual Novels.

          I doubt a western fanbase would make any difference for the lasting effect of Killaware. Had it had a larger one it still would of went out of business. The western fanbase (or lack thereof) was not what killed the company. Nor do I think if it even had a better one would it really prologue the company’s life. It died and it still would of died. ;__; It’s rather sad really.

          Anyways All I’m trying to do is play devil’s addict and defend Ignition. They didn’t kill this company. That’s just silly and childish to say. They did give us a hack-job of a translation and they may of hurt the image of visual novels to some people (I honestly say don’t worry though. This is 100% personal opinion but reading the comments and those reviewers. I think most of those people would of never cared in the first place).

          In the end we got the short-end of the sick with a shady translation and a good old insult to our pride (because of Insulting Reviews) but Ignition did not and could not kill this company. You as I fan (Me too I’m right there with you) have all rights to be upset with their release. But we do not have the right to say that Ignition killed Killaware.

          If you honestly think Another could of came out here had Lux-Pain been handled better (I don’t think it would of ever happened, even if Lux-Pain had been handled twice as well as 999 but I’m skeptical here) I guess it’s another thing to be upset about for you but that is nothing more than your speculation and it holds no water or grounds.

          In the end I’m just saying Ignition is another company out there. They’re not this great evil organization bent on ruining videogames. They ARE however quite dubious and have made a good bit of fumbles. I’m very interested in their release of El Shaddai. However it turns out is how I’m going to view them from now on. Let’s see if Ignition can turn itself around and do some good. ^_^

          On a very little side-note I have quite enjoyed this debate. I like how you think. It’s just that I can’t agree with some of your points and I think we really shouldn’t blame Ignition for the death of Killaware. We can blame them for giving us a shaddy release though.

          So have you played Hotel Dusk yet? That was one of my fav’s for DS Visual Novel/Point-in-Click games. ^_^ Super fun. Also check out some of JAST’s releases if you haven’t all ready. They’re going to release School Days real soon. Can’t wait for that. Oh and DemonBane too.

          • Ladius

            You’re a very nice person, even if we disagree it’s great to discuss in such a civil way :)

            I understand your point about Another Time Another Leaf being more difficult to market than hybrid titles like Lux Pain, 999 or PW, but still I think that if Lux Pain had managed to create a fanbase for Killaware (the hype was quite strong in our niche before its release) maybe Aksys would have given ATAL a chance in our market.

            Of course I’m not saying that Ignition single-handedly killed Killaware, but their horrible job surely destroyed their chance to bring their titles to the western markets, and in a globalized world such as ours where even niche publishers like 5pb and Cave try to expand westward being confined to a single market can be lethal. if you think about it, Lux Pain’s localization was a really big opportunity for a new company, especially since many major visual novel developers have never seen one of their titles released in the west. Of course I’m no seer, and Killaware could have disappeared even with all their games localized and acclaimed in the west. Sadly, we will never know :(

            Also, I’m not an Ignition hater, I just hate the work they did with Lux Pain. As I said in a recent thread, I am ready to buy their games if I see an improvement in their localization quality and will buy El Shaddai regardless simply because of its beauty :P

            I loved Hotel Dusk (and Last Window) and I’m ready to order Demonbane as soon as it is available on Playasia :) Aside from sad news such as Killaware’s demise it’s a great period for us visual novel fans, there have been a ton of releases both by official publishers and by fantranslators and if some years ago I waited impatiently to play new titles now I am accumulating a massive visual novel backlog XD

          • Zero_Destiny

            Oh man aren’t those games awesome. So many cool new releases too. ^_^ I’m excited for them. Well I have to say you are quite nice yourself. :3 It’s been a fun conversation even if we think differently about some things.

  • dusk

    Oh man. I’ve been playing Tsukumonogatari recently and for what it’s worth, they sure hired some of the best voice actresses for this game. Kobayashi Yuu, Horie Yui, Tamura Yukari and my favorite Kugimiya Rei in an unexpected Kuudere role! Oh well, hopefully their employees can continue working in another company and come up with more games.

  • DDanny

    *Sigh* why can’t Okada just return to Atlus….

  • PrinceHeir

    always sad to see video game companies closing down :(

  • Ach, this isn’t cool. Really good game, and not really that hard to get if you have a really really firm grasp on English, and some knowledge of Japanese word structure/how words are translated between the languages. (“Pharancks” anyone?) Definitely a sad event in VN history. Killaware deserved a lot better than this. I’m sure their stories will live on forever in the hearts of fans, though.

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