Earlier today, it was announced that the treasured Mario & Luigi developer AlphaDream had declared bankruptcy.
Founded in 2000, AlphaDream was originally known as Alpha Star and staffed with ex-Square staff, including former Square president Tetsuo Mizuno. The studio is best known for the Mario & Luigi RPG series, but has also worked on a couple Hamtaro games and other assorted properties. Unfortunately, it was announced today that AlphaDream has gone bankrupt.
According to Yahoo! Japan, revenue was sluggish in recent years and development costs drove the studio into the red. As of March 2018, AlphaDream was 400 million yen ($3.7 million) in debt.
After releasing Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, AlphaDream went on to do four more main entries in the series: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. The studio also worked on the remakes Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions and Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey, the last of which is AlphaDream’s final game.
In retrospect, the warning signs that all was not well at the company are obvious. Fan consensus is that Superstar Saga and Bowser’s Inside Story were the best entries, and the RPG series has been no better than “alright” since then. With remakes of those two games coming out back-to-back right after a crossover with fellow Mario RPG series Paper Mario (which some would say has been troubled for different reasons), it’s apparent that AlphaDream’s been trying to drum up some cash. Tragically, those efforts have been in vain.
AlphaDream has released some slam dunks in the past, and it’s a shame to see them, especially as a developer tied so closely to Ninendo, go away. We hope that their employees can find work elsewhere — and that Nintendo will figure out something to do with the non-Fire Emblem RPG franchises it has lying around.