If you don’t keep up with smartphone gaming, you probably haven’t heard of Cygames. If you have heard of them, chances are you haven’t paid them much attention. That might change soon, because even if you aren’t into smartphone games, Cygames is a company to keep an eye on.
Cygames is the Japanese development studio behind Rage of Bahamut, a hit smartphone game that has about 8 million players worldwide. In early 2013, Cygames’ total audience—including other games they’d worked on, like an [email protected] title for Namco Bandai—was at around 20 million.
20 million is a big number, but numbers understandably do not earn everyone’s admiration. Some relate better to names. Here’s two—Nobuo Uematsu and Hideo Minaba.
Uematsu, as you know, is recognized for his work on the Final Fantasy series of games for Square Enix. Hideo Minaba, meanwhile, was the art director of Final Fantasy VI and co-art director on Final Fantasy XII. Both developers worked on a Cygames title called Granblue Fantasy, a major RPG project, which is celebrating its first anniversary today.
Another RPG from Cygames is Knights of Glory. This game allows one to take up several jobs, including Warrior, Thief, Sorcerer, Priest, Knight, Treasure Hunter, Wizard or Hierophant. Those are your basic jobs. Additional jobs include things like Berserker, Sniper, Samurai and so on, and the game uses a real-time battle system. (And yes, if you thought the artwork—which is from the game’s initial release—looks like Akihiko Yoshida’s, you aren’t alone.)
More recently, Cygames also announced that they would bring Airship Q, a 2D Terraria-like sandbox RPG developed by Japanese indie studio Miracle Positive, to the PlayStation 4. In 2014, Cygames invested 70 million yen in Miracle Positive to improve development of Airship Q, which had already been partially funded through a crowdfunding effort. The game is planned for release on both PS4 and Vita.
In short, Cygames have been collaborating with some interesting Japanese talent, and we’re probably going to see that list grow longer—especially with major smartphone gaming companies like DeNA taking note of Cygames’ strides in the mobile space. DeNA have already published Rage of Bahamut in collaboration with Cygames, and following that, they collaborated with the developer on Raldessia Chronicles, a monster-rearing RPG with over 400 monsters to capture. Most of Cygames titles have great artwork, and this one’s no different. You can learn a little more about the game in this report.
This morning brings another interesting piece of news about Cygames: the company has announced that it is opening an anime production department. This department will work on anime based on existing Cygames properties as well as original anime shows. Cygames are currently recruiting producers, production assistants and more. While the company has already flirted with the anime industry with a 13-episode Rage of Bahamut TV series that premiered last year, it has its own production department, putting yet another feather in its cap. It should be interesting to see what this leads to.