Japanese mobile development company Nepro Japan announced their acquisition of development studio tri-Ace on Friday, February 20. tri-Ace, best known for their work on numerous Japanese RPGs, including creation of the Star Ocean series, will be thrust into a major role within their new company which is looking to upscale their production on mobile games.
While it was never stated outright, this will most certainly put an end to tri-Ace’s days of developing major RPGs for consoles unless some miracle partnership brings Nepro Japan and Square Enix together to allow tri-Ace another collaboration.
tri-Ace has always had a knack for creating unique battle systems that ranged from their dynamic, position based active system in Star Ocean to their 2d turn-based system in Valkyrie Profile. My personal favorite tri-Ace game is the charming RPG Radiata Stories, which had the AI control party members using tactical commands as the player controlled the main character, Jack. Radiata Stories put games like Chrono Cross and Suikoden to shame with 176 recruitable NPCs for a ton of variety in its gameplay.
It is a shame to see a talented team like tri-Ace, with a very successful history, be reduced to the role of mobile development. Unfortunately, that is the reality of Japan’s gaming market.
tri-Ace also developed Resonance of Fate for Sega, Square’s Infinite Undiscovery and co-developed the battle systems for Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lighting Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.