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This week in Japanese news: Square Enix to Otome

This week in Japanese news: Square Enix to Otome

January 9, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

January 9, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
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More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

[Gamasutra rounds up recent reports on the Japanese games industry from local news site, a leading destination for English-language news on Japan's game industry.]

In our latest round-up of Japanese game industry news not previously reported on Gamasutra, we look at Square Enix building a new Shinjuku office, a new company from Otome game creator Ayumi Takagi, and more.

3DS broke monthly sales record in December

Nintendo's 3DS enjoyed the highest one-month sales for video game any console in Japan since Famitsu publisher Enterbrain began recording hardware sales in 1997, according to a report from Sankei News.

During Enterbrain's November 28 to December 25 tracking period, 3DS sold 1,492,931 units. The handheld has claimed Enterbrain's top monthly sales spot for the last seven months, and the top weekly spot since its price cut in August.

Square Enix relocating main office

Square Enix will relocate its main office to a new building (artist rendition of the building pictured) currently under construction in the East Side Square of Tokyo's Shinjuku ward. Construction is expected to be completed in April.

Nikkei BP says the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest developer/publisher will move from its current headquarters in another part of Shinjuku to the new building some time in summer.

Square Enix was previously based in Tokyo's Meguro ward, but the company moved to Shinjuku in 2004. Famed composer and former employee Nobuo Uematsu previously claimed the move was spurred by a fortune teller's prediction.

"[Square Enix CEO and president Yoichi] Wada took a couple of locations to a fortune teller named Pao," said Uematsu. "Pao said the Meguro space was not going to bring any fortune to the company, and pointed to Shinjuku. That's why he decided to move it there. I heard this directly from Wada."

Otome game creator Ayumi Takagi forms new company

Ayumi Takagi, who is know for creating "otome" games, or romantic Japanese games targeting female players, has started a new developer called Ichi Column. The studio will work with developer and publisher Idea Factory to create its titles.

Takagi previously worked at Vingt et un Systems, where she contributed to series like Kanuchi, Towa no Sakura and Hanayakasuri, Wagaichizoku -- all for Idea Factory's Otomate brand. Ichi Column is inheriting the rights for the titles from Vingt et un Systems.

Kazuma Kujo working on game for PS3 and Vita

Former Irem developer Kasuma Kujo, who worked on series like Disaster Report and Bumpy Trot, said his new studio Granzella is working on a game that will release for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita.

Kujo said the genre for the game is "a secret," but he said it will be a downloadable title. He also said that the title, like all of the other projects currently under development at Granzella, are original games unattached to other properties.

Since opening in April 2011, Granzella has released a couple lounges for Sony's PlayStation Home virtual world. Kujo has previously mentioned that the Kanazawa-based (Ishikawa) studio is working on at least two new games.

[This story was written with permission using material from, a leading destination for English-language news on Japan's game industry.]

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