Namco Bandai to Absorb Namco Tales Studio
It used to be that every Japanese developer had an RPG franchise to call their own. Capcom had Breath of Fire, Konami had Suikoden, Sega had Phantasy Star, hell, even Nintendo had Earthbound (but god forbid those casual whores bring fans the 3rd installment). However, given the indusry's trend towards Western focused action games, most of these franchises have just about died off, with Bandai Namco's Tales franchise a rare exception to the rule. These lovingly crafted anime-inspired RPGs have remained not only relevant, but are actually wildly popular in their home country, with Bandai Namco now looking to fully integrate the games' developer into Namco proper.
Namco Tales Studio has a strange history, having existed first as Wolf Team, a contracted developer for Namco. Following the development of Tales of Phantasia, many members were unpleased with Namco's control, leaving to form rival studio Tri-Ace. Despite this rocky beginning, the team continued to turn out Tales games, eventually becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Namco and being branded with their current moniker. Now, with the incredible success of Tales of Xillia (hoping for a North American release here), Namco now seems to want to take full control of this money-making machine, and we don't blame them.
This move makes it clear that Namco has a interest in the future of the Tales series, and it could mean some previously Japan-only titles may begin making their way stateside. Already both Tales of Graces F and Tales of the Abyss 3D have been announced, though that still leaves dozens of Tales games untranslated! Again, few developers are still putting out classically styled Japanese RPGs, and we've gotta say, the Final Fantasy has been going downhill...
Fingers crossed for more Tales!