DeNA enlists Mega Man, Sonic creators to make social games


It looks like Japan is using some American moves in its bout with the US for control of the social gaming market. DeNA has announced, according to Andriasang, its Super Creators program. This new program has enlisted the help of legendary Japanese game designers to create social games for release through the company's Ngmoco-ran platform, Mobage. The news was announced at a press conference covered by Japanese outlet, and here are all five creators, according to Andriasang's translation:

  • Keiji Inafune: Comcept. The former Capcom development head is producing an app called J.J. Rockets. The nature of the game hasn't been revealed, but Inafune suggested it will be an action game.

  • Suda 51: Grasshopper Manufacture. He'll be releasing something based off No More Heroes.

  • Yuji Naka: Prope. The creator Sonic and Nights said that he hopes to release a game that uses positional information and has growth and adventure elements.

  • Yoshifumi Hashimoto: Marvelous Entertainment. He'll be releasing a game based off Harvest Moon. The game will link up with weather and seasonal information and will allow for communication with friends.

  • Noritaka Funamizu: Crafts & Meister. He'll be working on a brand called "Nama-ge."

Some of these names might be familiar with fans of hits hardcore franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog. However, all you need to know is that Japanese companies are beginning to mirror American companies that have attracted traditional veteran designers into social games. (Though, their approach is far more ... forced.) Designers like Ultima creator Richard Garriott with Portalarium, John Romero--one of two men behind Doom--ready to launch a second social game with Loot Drop, and Brian Reynolds, who joined Zynga last year to release FrontierVille.

The power players are turning into dream teams, so I say we settle this on the court--purely because of the humor in middle-aged coders and designers playing professional sports. Whether these games will eventually come to the US has not been announced, but since DeNA aims to expand into the US at some point, it is a possibility.

Do you think DeNA has a competitive advantage now, with five Super Creators on its side? How will this effect the growing rivalry between US and Japanese social game companies? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.