The oldest independent studio in this Gamasutra 20 awards, Treasure was formed in 1992 by ex-Konami employees. The company has consciously remained small over the years, focusing on making quirky and distinctive titles, including games such as Gunstar Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, and Gradius V.
President Masato Maegawa was one of the company's original founders; in the early days he worked as a programmer for some of the company's titles, but now his primary role is running the studio.
Treasure may be best known for its cult favorites, but the studio has done an excellent job of using current hardware and distribution advances to bring some of its classic titles to new audiences.
This last spring saw the release of Ikaruga (originally released for Japanese arcades in 2001) on XBLA, where the game enjoyed remarkable sales success. Another older title, 2000's Sin and Punishment: Successor to the Earth, was released on Virtual Console at the end of 2007.
However, the company isn't just rereleasing old products; they're also reinventing some of them. Bangai-O Spirits is a sequel to the original Nintendo 64 title; the game has pioneered a technology that allows players to design a level, convert that saved file to a sound, and then share the level by playing the sound to other DS' microphones.
The North American release of Bangai-O Spirits for DS is just in the process of being released. Bleach: Dark Souls, the second in its series of DS fighters based on the popular anime series, is also set to debut in October.
"Treasure has its share of fanboys, so it's no surprise to see it on any given top developers list. But why this year?
Well, the upcoming D3-published release of Bangai-O Spirits and its audio-based map-sharing technology is the reason. Treasure has taken an idea that was developed during the Spectrum days -- that is, sharing game data via audio -- to the next level, allowing simple transfer of maps using the DS' game speaker and microphone.
This is one of the best realizations of user-created content on
the DS, as all maps in the game are editable, copyable, and shareable."
- Brandon Sheffield