Monolith Soft

Not to be confused with Monolith Productions, an American video game studio.
Monolith Soft, Ltd.
Native name
Kabushiki gaisha
Industry Video game industry
Founded October 1, 1999 (1999-10-01)
Founder Tetsuya Takahashi
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Key people
Hirohide Sugiura
Tetsuya Takahashi
Yasuyuki Honne
Koh Kojima
Products Xeno series
Project X Zone series
Baten Kaitos series
Soma Bringer
Owner Nintendo
Number of employees
109 (June 2016)[1]
Parent Nintendo[1]

Monolith Soft, Inc. (株式会社モノリスソフト Kabushiki gaisha monorisu sofuto) is a Japanese video game development studio. The company was formed in 1999 by Tetsuya Takahashi shortly after the completion of the first game he was in charge of at Squaresoft - Xenogears. When Squaresoft did not move forward with a Xenogears sequel, Takahashi broke away from the company and formed his own, in order to further focus on more titles in the Xeno series. From 2000 to 2006, the development team worked as a subsidiary of Namco to produce three more titles in the Xeno series, Xenosaga Episode I, Episode II, and Episode III, along with a variety of other titles, most notably, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean and Baten Kaitos Origins.

In 2007, Nintendo bought all shares from Bandai Namco, making the company a subsidiary of Nintendo. In addition to assisting Nintendo on various projects, they continued the Xeno series with Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X on Nintendo platforms alongside continuing the Namco x Capcom tactical RPG through the spiritual successor crossover series Project X Zone.


1999–2002: Founding and Xenosaga Episode I

The company was founded on October 1, 1999 by producer Hirohide Sugiura and director Tetsuya Takahashi after they left Square and accepted an investment from Namco.[2] Development on Xenosaga Episode I, then known as Project X, officially began around the end of 2000. In an interview with GameSpot in 2001, Takahashi stated that Xenogears did not end up the way he originally envisioned. The formation of Monolith Soft allowed the team to reset and start over by creating an all-new series with its own universe. Soon after the establishment of the company, six episodes were planned with the entire series being divided into three major parts. During the development of Xenosaga Episode I, Takahashi had the entire saga's story plotted until the middle of episode five in his mind.[3] Upon its release, the game was met with generally favorable reviews and strong sales performance.[4][5]

2003–2006: Baten Kaitos and Xenosaga sequels

The initial concept for Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean began in 2001, with development starting six months later.[6] The game was met with generally positive reviews by critics, despite mixed opinions on the battle system, characters, and voice acting.

Some time after the release of the first Xenosaga game, the company underwent through major staff changes. Takahashi stepped down from his role as a producer to allow someone else to handle the direction of the Xenosaga series.[7] Around this time period, the original six-part Xenosaga series went through severe changes by cutting the amount of planned episodes.[7] On April 28, 2004, Namco released Xenosaga Freaks in Japan.[7] Shortly after, Xenosaga Episode II was released in Japan in June 2004, and worldwide the following year. Despite its mixed reviews from critics, the game was considered a financial success, having sold over 256,000 copies in Japan by the end of 2004.[8][9]

Despite Baten Kaitos' lackluster sales, Namco approved a prequel known as Baten Kaitos Origins.[10] Upon its 2006 release, IGN labeled it as "one of the last great gems" on the GameCube.[11] In 2006, Monolith Soft released the Xenosaga Episode III as the finale of the Xenosaga series. According to Bandai-Namco's 3rd Quarter 2006 results, Episode III sold 343,000 copies in Japan, North America and Asia.[12]

2007–2008: Nintendo acquisition

On May 1, 2007, Nintendo acquired controlling interest in the company after Bandai Namco Holdings sold 80% of its 96% stake.[13] Later, Namco sold the remaining 16%, making Monolith Soft a fully incorporated first-party developer for Nintendo.

Soma Bringer, the first original Monolith Soft title for the Nintendo DS, was released in 2008.[14] Critical reception for the game was largely positive; many praised the game for its combat system and character development.[15] Despite being known for their role-playing games, Monolith Soft developed an action-adventure game called Disaster: Day of Crisis for the Wii.[16] The game's reception was mixed, with some sites praising its presentation and others criticizing the unfocused story and lackluster graphics and sounds.[17][18]

2010–2014: Xenoblade Chronicles and other projects

Xenoblade Chronicles, then known as Monado: Beginning of the World, was formally unveiled at E3 2009.[19] In 2010, Nintendo renamed the title to Xenoblade to honor Takahashi. As soon as the project began, the team encountered many difficulties and ran into development issues.[20] The team considered abandoning certain aspects of the game to reach the original scheduled date, but was encouraged by Nintendo to see it through to the end until they were completely satisfied.[20] Upon its release, the game earned unanimous critical acclaim from multiple outlets.[21][22][23]

The company announced on July 8, 2011, that they were opening up an additional studio in Kyoto, Japan.[24] During the development of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Monolith Soft helped to create field layout designs, conceptualized sub-events, and wrote some of the text.[25] Additionally, the Kyoto studio worked on the graphics for Animal Crossing: New Leaf. In 2012, the team co-developed Project X Zone with Banpresto, featuring playable characters from various video games, including KOS-MOS and T-elos from the Xenosaga series.[26]

2015–present: Xenoblade Chronicles X and other projects

In January 2013, the company's first high-definition video game for the Nintendo Wii U was officially revealed with a debut trailer for X.[27] Its title was later formally announced as Xenoblade Chronicles X, a spiritual sequel to the widely acclaimed Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii.[28] Originally intended for release in 2014, the game was delayed to the following year.[29] After launch, the game received generally positive reviews from critics.[30] In the same year, Monolith Soft revealed and released Project X Zone 2 in Japan, featuring returning character KOS-MOS from Xenosaga and Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles as the new paired characters.[31]

The company reportedly earned a total profit of 2.74 billion yen for the fiscal year ending in March 2016. This marks a significant increase from the 1 billion yen earned from the previous year.[32] The company assisted in the development of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.[33]

On October 16, 2015, Monolith Soft posted "urgent" mass recruitment job openings for both the Kyoto and Tokyo offices, particularly for 3D designers.[34][35] In an interview with series director Takahashi, he said he would like to return to a more story-driven JRPG game like Xenoblade Chronicles after the more game-play focused Xenoblade Chronicles X. He would also like to continue the Xenoblade series by using a variety of settings rather than using the fantasy and science fiction settings from each game respectively.[36] Regarding their next project, Takahashi stated "I get bored with things pretty easily, so I'd like to keep creating things with different approaches every time. Along those lines, I'd definitely like my next project to look and feel pretty different from this one. The 'Xeno' name, by the way, really just exists to make it clear that these are Tetsuya Takahashi productions."[37]

List of games developed

Tokyo Software Development Studio

Title Publisher Platform Release Additional details
Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht Namco PlayStation 2 2002
Xenosaga: Episode I: Reloaded Namco PlayStation 2 2003 Special version of Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean Namco GameCube 2003 Co-developed with tri-Crescendo
Xenosaga Freaks Namco PlayStation 2 2004 Spin-off of Xenosaga
Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse PlayStation 2 2004
Namco × Capcom Namco PlayStation 2 2005
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Square Enix PlayStation 2 2006 Development co-operation for Square Enix
Baten Kaitos Origins Nintendo GameCube 2006 Co-developed by tri-Crescendo
Xenosaga I & II Namco Nintendo DS 2006 Co-developed with Tom Create
Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra PlayStation 2 2006
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Nintendo Wii 2008 Special thanks
Soma Bringer Nintendo Nintendo DS 2008
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier Nintendo DS 2008 Co-developed with Banpresto
Disaster: Day of Crisis Nintendo Wii 2008
Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Nintendo DS 2009
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier EXCEED Bandai Namco Games Nintendo DS 2010
Xenoblade Chronicles Nintendo Wii 2010
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Nintendo Wii 2011 Special thanks
Project X Zone Bandai Namco Games Nintendo 3DS 2012 Co-developed with Banpresto
Xenoblade Chronicles X Nintendo Wii U 2015
Project X Zone 2 Bandai Namco Games Nintendo 3DS 2015 Co-developed with Banpresto
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild[33] Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo Switch 2017

Kyoto Software Development Studio

Title Publisher Platform Release Additional details
Animal Crossing: New Leaf Nintendo Nintendo 3DS 2012 Special thanks
Pikmin 3[38] Nintendo Wii U 2013 Special thanks
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds[39] Nintendo Nintendo 3DS 2013 Special thanks
Splatoon Nintendo Wii U 2015 Special thanks
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer Nintendo Nintendo 3DS 2015 Special thanks
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild[33] Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo Switch 2017


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  4. ナムコ、2002年3月期決算説明会資料を公開 PS2「ACE COMBAT 04」日本で44万本、「ゼノサーガ」45万本. Game Impress Watch. 30 May 2002. Archived from the original on 28 June 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
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  31. Goldfarb, By Andrew. "TGS 2015: Fire Emblem, Xenoblade Characters Join Project X Zone 2". IGN. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  32. "モノリスソフト、16年3月期の最終利益は2.7倍の2.74億円と大幅増益…『Xenoblade』や『XenobladeX』『PROJECT X ZONE 2』を開発 - Social Game Info".
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