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Veteran Japanese Studio Seta Closes Doors

Veteran Japanese Studio Seta Closes Doors

January 21, 2009 | By Eric Caoili, John Andersen, Staff

Gamasutra has learned that Japanese game and pachinko studio Seta Corp. (Super Entertainment and Total Amusement) has recently closed, due in part to the current international financial crisis, according to a winding-up notice.

A full subsidiary of pachinko and slot machine company (and former SNK owner) Aruze Corp. as of 2007, Seta was established in 1985 and was based in Tokyo, releasing dozens of video games for various PC, arcade, and console platforms.

According to its official website, it's also been recently marketing IC card readers and point of sale devices related to the Japanese arcade and pachinko game industry.

Its best-known game titles in the West include Kendo Rage for the SNES and Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the NES, and the firm also produced a Japan-only version of Tetris for Nintendo 64 with a special biometric sensor add-on.

Parent company Aruze said in a release sent out in late December: "Based on the deterioration of economic conditions within Japan as caused by the current international financial crisis, Seta came to the conclusion that the continuation of its business on its own would be difficult, and thereby resolved its dissolution and liquidation."

Though Seta's catalog is dominated by mahjong and golf titles (the company's decade-long Super Real Mahjong series is notable), the studio also co-developed Project Sylpheed: Arc of Deception with Anima and GameArts, which was published by Microsoft Game Studios in 2007 (and by Square Enix in 2006 in Japan) for Xbox 360.

The game was Seta's last, and served as the spiritual successor to acclaimed Sega CD shoot'em up Silpheed. Sporadically released mobile games were the company's only other game output in the late 2000s.

Seta's closing follows a recent announcement from Jaleco (Bases Loaded, Carrier), another longstanding Japanese developer and publisher, revealing the studio's intent to exit the video game business.

Parent company Jaleco Holdings said this decision would help remove "the risk factors for ... profitability." Jaleco sold its game assets for ¥1 to online game company Game Yarou, who also agreed to take on ¥700 million ($7.75m) of Jaleco Holding’s ¥16 billion ($177.0m) in outstanding loans.

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