Ever since departing Capcom, it's been something of an uphill struggle for Keiji Inafune and his new company, Comcept. Even with a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign to bolster their efforts, communication which could be charitably described as questionable and a string of product which has either failed to meet expectations -- or materialize altogether -- has effectively dragged the legendary game creator's name through the mud.
Perhaps this is why the company has now become a subsidiary of Level-5, developer and sometimes-publisher (in Japan, at least) of such critical and commercial successes as the Professor Layton and Yo-Kai Watch series.
Known as "Level-5 Comcept," the new company is positioned to rise out of the ashes of the old Comcept and will be located in Osaka, where they hope to develop a studio that will be "something like" Level-5's own development house in the future. There, Comcept's 15-person staff (which they hope to expand following this move) will be featured as the base with Level-5 President and Chief Executive Officer Akihiro Hino involved, "putting the desires of both companies together as one." Hino intends to work with the team, rather than simply issuing orders from above.
The first order of business for Level-5 Comcept is a new mobile role playing game titled Dragon Colonies, which focuses on Player Versus Player and the crafting of worlds. Expected to launch in 2018, the goal is "to make it into a game that can show something big with Infune’s characteristics as a creator," as a translation from Siliconera says.
For Inafune's part in this, he has stated that "10 years ago, I mistook Hino as simply just a guy who made it big with Professor Layton," and that ever since he worked for Capcom, he has wanted to be more like Hino. Since working together on Guild02, the pair have talked about doing something together.
That just leaves the question of what happens to the Comcept we all know and... well, we all know. They are scheduled to shut down in the future, but "they’re taking responsibility for all the titles they’re working on and plan to do so until the very end."
Among these titles would be Red Ash: The KalKanon Incident, which you might recall was picked up by Chinese digital entertainment company FUZE Entertainment after the Kickstarter appeared destined to fail, and we've heard little about it since. Otherwise, it seems the slate -- at least as far as announced titles go -- is largely clear, save for one: Mighty No. 9.
Though the game was released, it was not released in all the versions which they had acquired funding for, with the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita platforms yet to see releases. Furthermore, there also remains the issue of numerous backer rewards which have yet to be issued to the Kickstarter campaign's backers even as we close in on a year since the game's release. Whether any of this remains a part of said "responsibility" that they are taking remains to be seen.
Incidentally, the news of the merger does raise some interesting questions, particularly with the release of Mighty Gunvolt Burst later on today. Inti Creates basically said they just asked if they could use the characters from Mighty No. 9, and Comcept agreed with no fees or oversight attached. Make of that what you will.
That said, I'm hopeful that things will improve for Inafune and Comcept in the future (though they should still own up to the Mighty No. 9 stuff, but I digress). As I said when I dissected the game, I believe in a lot of what's there, but I think some additional oversight would be beneficial. Level-5 has a proven track record with their own properties, so hopefully they can steer Comcept towards the right track in the future.
Thanks to everyone who sent in tips about this! (I'd have had it up sooner, but with E3 happening and all...)