Toaplan

Summary

Toaplan Co., Ltd.
Toaplan
Native name
株式会社東亜プラン
Kabushiki gaisha Tōapuran
TypeKabushiki gaisha
IndustryVideo games
PredecessorOrca, Crux
FoundedApril 1979; 42 years ago (April 1979)
FounderKiyoshi Motoyoshi
DefunctMarch 1994; 27 years ago (March 1994)
FateBankruptcy
HeadquartersShimizu, Suginami, Tokyo
Area served
Japan
Key people
ProductsVideo games
Websitetoaplan.co.jp

Toaplan Co., Ltd.[a] was a Japanese video game developer based in Tokyo responsible for the creation of a wide array of scrolling shooters and other arcade games. The company was founded in 1979 but its gaming division was established in 1984 by former Orca and Crux employees, who wanted to make games, after both companies declared bankruptcy. Their first shoot 'em up game, Tiger-Heli (1985) on arcades, was a success and helped establish Toaplan as a leading producer of shooting games throughout the 1980s and 1990s that would continue to characterize their output.

Though initially exclusive to arcades, they expanded with the Sega Genesis in 1990. The company ceased development of shoot 'em up projects before declaring bankruptcy in 1994. Several offshoot developers such as Tamsoft, Eighting, CAVE, Gazelle, and Takumi Corporation were formed prior to and after the closure, while former members later joined to other studios like Square Enix and Taito. Toaplan has since earned recognition from critics, being called one of the greatest and most influential Japanese shoot 'em up developers and "master" of the scrolling shooter genre.[1][2]

History

Toaplan was established in April 1979 but its gaming division was established by former Orca and Crux members.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Performan was created by most of the same team that previously worked on several projects at Orca and Crux before both companies declared bankruptcy,[17][18][19][20] after which a group of employees from the two gaming divisions would go on to form Toaplan and among them were composers Masahiro Yuge and Tatsuya Uemura.[6][10][11][12][13]

In 1992, Yoshiyuki Kiyomoto stepped down from his position as CEO at Toaplan, with Taizo Hayashi now serving as the company's president.[21][22] Toaplan provided consultance and advising to Raizing (now Eighting) during the development of Sorcer Striker, as well as licensing their arcade board to the company, since the president of the latter company previously served as an employee of the former.[23][24] Snow Bros. 2: With New Elves served as one of the final projects to be developed by Toaplan, as the company ceased development of shoot 'em up games before their closure.[10][25]

The rights to nearly every Toaplan IP are currently owned by Tatsujin, a Japanese company formed by Yuge and now-affiliate of Japanese arcade manufacturer exA-Arcadia.[26][27][28][29][30][31] In 2019, Japanese company M2 announced that in 2020 they will release every game by Toaplan (excluding Mahjong Sisters and Enma Daiō) for consoles in Japan.[32][33][34][35]

Staff and design philosophy

Various individuals have been important figures in the history of Toaplan:

  • Masahiro Yuge – One of the six original team members and frequent composer.[3][10][11][12][13] Later worked at Takumi Corporation and Eighting on several projects.[9]
  • Tatsuya Uemura – One of the six original team members and frequent composer.[3][10][11][12][13] Later worked at Gazelle and Eighting on several projects.[9]
  • Toshiaki Tomizawa – Music composer for Demon's World, Zero Wing and Vimana.[3][13][25] Co-founder of CAVE.[9][36]
  • Osamu Ōta – Music composer for Wardner, Rally Bike and Twin Hawk.[3][13] Producer of Gekirindan at Taito.[9]
  • Toshiaki Ōta – One of the six original team members and head of software development.[4][9][10][11][12] Founder of Tamsoft.[9][10][12][37]
  • Naoki Ogiwara – Artist and designer for Truxton and Out Zone.[6][10][25][13] Co-founder of CAVE.[9][36]
  • Kōetsu Iwabuchi – Artist for Guardian and Twin Cobra.[6] Later served as planning manager for Grind Stormer.[38]
  • Yuko Tataka – Character designer for Truxton, Hellfire, Twin Hawk, Zero Wing and Fire Shark.[8][9]
  • Sanae Nitō – Character designer for Truxton, Hellfire, Twin Hawk, Zero Wing and Fire Shark.[8][9]
  • Tsuneki Ikeda – Programmer for Grind Stormer and Batsugun.[38][39][40][41] Co-founder of CAVE.[9][12][36][41]
  • Satoshi Kōyama – Programmer for Batsugun. Later worked at CAVE on several projects.[42]
  • Junya Inoue – Designer for Dogyuun, Knuckle Bash and Batsugun.[43][44] Later worked at Gazelle and CAVE on several projects.[43][44][45]
  • Yusuke Naora – Graphic designer for Grind Stormer. Later worked at Square Enix on several projects.[43][46]
  • Kenichi Takano – One of the six original team members and designer for Performan.[10][11][12] Co-founder of CAVE.[9][12][36][41]
  • Yuichirō Nozawa – One of the six original team members and designer for Twin Hawk.[10][11][12]
  • Atsushi Kawaguchi – One of the six original team members and artist for Demon's World.[10][11]
  • Nanpei Kaneko – Designer for FixEight and Knuckle Bash.[43][47] Later worked as illustrator for Japanese magazines.[43][47]
  • Tomonobu Kagawa – One of the three graphic artists for Truxton II.[48][49] Later worked at Taito on several projects.[50][51]

Closure

The company declared bankruptcy on March 31, 1994.[25][52] Its closure led to the formation of several offshoot companies.[53][54] Prior to Toaplan's closure in 1994, several former employees formed or were involved with multiple companies, many of which were dedicated to arcade shooters:[38][43][39][40][36][44][41] Tamsoft, Raizing, CAVE, Gazelle, and Takumi (who continued development of Twin Cobra II after Toaplan's closure).

Games

Developed

Year Title Original platform(s) Publisher Co-developer
1984 Jongō Arcade SNK N/A
1985 Performan Arcade Data East N/A
Tiger-Heli Arcade, Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayStation Taito, Romstar Micronics (NES), Gazelle (PS1)
Jongkyō Arcade Data East N/A
1986 Guardian Arcade Taito, Kitkorp N/A
Slap Fight Arcade, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Thomson MO5, Thomson TO8, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, Sega Mega Drive Taito Probe Software (CPC/ZXS), Imagine Software (C64), France Image Logiciel (MO5/TO8), Abersoft Limited (ST), M.N.M Software (SMD)
Mahjong Sisters Arcade Toaplan N/A
1987 Flying Shark Arcade, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Nintendo Entertainment System, MS-DOS, X68000, FM Towns Taito, Romstar, Electrocoin Catalyst Coders (C64), Graftgold (ZXS/CPC), Images Software (AGA/ST), Software Creations (C64/NES), Banana Development Corporation (DOS), Kaneko (X68K), Ving (FMT)
Wardner Arcade, Famicom Disk System, Sega Genesis Taito Daiei Seisakusho (FDS), Dragnet (SG)
Twin Cobra Arcade, PC Engine, NES, Sega Genesis, X68000, FM Towns, PlayStation Taito, Romstar A.I Company (PCE), Micronics (NES), Graphic Research (SG), Inter State (X68K), Ving (FMT), Gazelle (PS1)
1988 Rally Bike Arcade, Nintendo Entertainment System, X68000 Taito Visco Corporation (NES), SPS (X68K)
Truxton Arcade, Sega Genesis, PC Engine Taito, Midway Sting Entertainment (PCE)
1989 Hellfire Arcade, Sega Genesis, PC Engine Super CD-ROM² Taito, U.S.A. Games NCS Corporation (SG), NEC Avenue (PCE SCD-ROM²)
Twin Hawk Arcade, Sega Mega Drive, PC Engine, PC Engine CD-ROM² Taito Center Tech (PCE), NEC Avenue (PCE CD-ROM²)
Demon's World Arcade, PC Engine Super CD-ROM² Taito, Catalina Games NEC Avenue (PCE SCD-ROM²)
Zero Wing Arcade, Sega Mega Drive, PC Engine CD-ROM² Namco, Williams Electronics N/A
Fire Shark Arcade, Sega Genesis Toaplan, Romstar, Dooyong N/A
1990 Snow Bros. Arcade, Game Boy, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Mega Drive Toaplan, Romstar Dual (GB), Soft House (NES)
Out Zone Arcade Tecmo, Romstar, Toaplan N/A
1991 Teki Paki Arcade Tecmo, Honest Trading, Spacy N/A
Vimana Arcade Tecmo, Toaplan N/A
Ghox Arcade Taito N/A
1992 Pipi & Bibi's Arcade Toaplan, Nova Apparate N/A
Truxton II Arcade, FM Towns Toaplan Ving (FMT)
FixEight Arcade Toaplan N/A
Dogyuun Arcade Toaplan N/A
1993 Grind Stormer Arcade, Sega Genesis Toaplan Tengen (SG)
Knuckle Bash Arcade Toaplan, Atari Games N/A
Enma Daiō Arcade Taito N/A
Batsugun Arcade, Sega Saturn Toaplan, Taito, Unite Trading Gazelle (SS)
1994 Snow Bros. 2: With New Elves Arcade Hanafram N/A

Published

Year Title Platform Developer Co-Publisher Ref.
1990 MUSHA Sega Genesis Compile Seismic [55][56]
1991 Snow Bros. Nintendo Entertainment System Soft House Capcom [10][57]

Cancelled

Title Genre Publisher(s) Planned Release Date/Last Year Developed or Mentioned Notes/Reasons
Batsugun sequel Shoot 'em up Toaplan 1 May 2001 [58]
Untitled Sega System 1 game Action Sega 1 June 2009 [10]
Dynamic Trial 7 Racing, Vehicular combat Toaplan 1 June 2009 [10]
Teki Paki 2 Puzzle N/A 1 June 2009 [10]
Genkai Chōsen Distopia Action, Hack and slash, Platform N/A 1 June 2009 [10][59]
Tank da Don!! Platform, Run and gun N/A 27 October 2011 [25]

Notes

  1. ^ Japanese: 株式会社東亜プラン, Hepburn: Kabushiki gaisha Tōapuran

References

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  49. ^ @kagap_t (28 October 2020). "正解です。荻原直樹は達人王チームの私の上司です。達人王は3人のグラフィッカーが参加しています。私はそのうちの一人です。翻訳の関係でちゃんと伝わってなかったらすみません。" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020 – via Twitter.
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External links

  • Official website (in Japanese)