The developer of the popular Mario & Luigi RPG series, AlphaDream, has filed for bankruptcy, according to sources.
AlphaDream was first formed in 1991, then working as a construction firm. In the 2000s the company’s focus shifted to video games. It produced many Japan-only titles as well as the critically acclaimed Mario & Luigi series.
According to Japanese source, as translated by Gematsu, the company had suffered ‘sluggish income’ and a ‘heavy burden of development costs’, leading to debts which cost around ¥465 million (£3.5m) by the end of March 2018. It is unclear whether key staff would be able to resurrect the company in some way, or whether Nintendo – who has published most of their most recent games – might step in, to help them.
While AlphaDream did have some success with Japanese only titles such as Tomato Adventure and worked on the Hamtaro series for Nintendo, they’re best known as the game developer of the Mario & Luigi series of portable playing games. A spin-off from the Paper Mario series, the games had variation in quality, but Bowser’s Inside Story is widely regarded as one of the best games on the Nintendo DS.
Superstar Saga, the first game in the series, and Bower’s Inside Story were both recently remastered for the 3DS but despite that, it does not seem to have been enough to solve AlphaDream’s financial problems. The most recent console title to come out of AlphaDream was a beefed-up remaster of a prior DS title, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey for Nintendo 3DS, which saw its global release earlier this year. Now, the future of the series is not certain.
Whether Nintendo would continue the series without AlphaDream is unclear but there hasn’t been a brand-new entry since 2015 Paper Mario crossover Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. on 3DS. For that matter, there has not been a standalone Paper Mario game since the disappointing Paper Mario: Color Splash on Wii U, which is one of the few Nintendo Wii U exclusives not to be transformed to the Switch.