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Arsys Software (アルシスソフトウェア), later known as Cyberhead (サイバーヘッド), was a Japanese video game software development company active from 1985 to 2001.[1][2][3] It was founded by former employees of Technosoft.

Overview

The company was founded as Arsys Software by former Technosoft staff members Osamu Nagano and Katsunori Yoshimura on 11 November 1985.[1] They were primarily involved in PC game development, having previously created the original Thunder Force (a 1983 free-scrolling shooter game)[4] and Plazma Line (a 1984 space racing game considered the first computer game with 3D polygon graphics)[5] at Technosoft. In 1986, Arsys debuted with the 3D role-playing shooter Wibarm, followed by the free-roaming adventure game Reviver: The Real-Time Adventure in 1987 and the 3D first-person shooter role-playing game Star Cruiser in 1988.[1] When Star Cruiser was released in 1988, the company only had two employees, which grew to a dozen employees by 1991, when development began on Star Cruiser 2; by 2001, the company had reduced to three employees.

In addition to its own products, they also ported games to Japanese computer platforms, such as Prince of Persia and several SystemSoft games. They also contributed to the development of several games from other companies, such as the 1992 combat flight simulator arcade game Air Combat and Sony Computer Entertainment's 1997 racing simulator Gran Turismo.[1] They also released the chiptune video game music soundtrack album Arsys Best Selection (アルシス・ベストセレクション) in 1990. The company eventually closed down in 2001.

Notable releases

Wibarm

File:WiBArm1a.jpg

Wibarm (1986), stylized as WiBArM (ウィバーン), was an early role-playing shooter released by Arsys Software for the NEC PC-88 computer in Japan and ported to MS-DOS for Western release by Brøderbund. It combined run and gun shooter gameplay with role-playing video game elements, and was also the first action role-playing game to feature 3D polygonal graphics. In Wibarm, the player controls a transformable mecha robot that can shift between walking mode, a tank, and a flying jet. The viewpoint switches between several different perspectives: a 2D top-down perspective while flying, a side-scrolling view during on-foot outdoor exploration, a fully 3D polygonal third-person perspective inside buildings, and arena-style 2D shoot 'em up battles during boss encounters.[7]

The game features a variety of weapons and equipment as well as an automap, and the player could upgrade equipment and earn experience to raise stats.[7][8] In contrast to first-person RPGs at the time that were restricted to 90-degree movements, Wibarm's use of 3D polygons allowed full 360-degree movement.[8]

The plot revolves around the player character Eizel Cloud, an intergalactic investigator, who is attempting to recapture an orbiting power plant before it explodes and destroys the planet. Using the Wibarm, a mech which transforms between a robot, land cruiser, and star jet, the player must search through 32 maze-filled buildings, and fight over 30 different enemy types with 10 different weapons along the way, in order to piece together clues to solve the mission.[9]

Wibarm won the 1986 Game of the Year award from the Japanese computer game magazine Oh!MZ, later known as Oh!X.[1] Later, Computer Gaming World, in its October 1989 issue, described Wibarm as an "action/role-playing game" that has "Sharp graphics" and "smooth 360 degree scrolling."[9] Retrospectively, Oh!FM7 stated the game appears to have borrowed ideas from 1985 shooter Thexder, 1985 action role-playing game Xanadu, and the polygonal 3D action game SeeNa,[4] also known as See・Na, released by SystemSoft for the PC-88 in February 1986.[10]

Reviver

Reviver: The Real-Time Adventure, also known as Reviver (リバイバ), is an adventure game designed by Katsunori Yoshimura and released by Arsys Software in July 1987,[1][11] for the NEC PC-88, FM-7, Sharp X1, Sharp MZ and MSX2 platforms.[11][12] The sub-title, The Real-Time Adventure, is a reference to the game's introduction of a real-time persistent world, where time continues to elapse, day-night cycles adjust the brightness of the screen to indicate the time of day, and certain stores and non-player characters would only be available at certain times of the day. The game also gives players direct control over the player character. The game also features a fantasy story, full-colour 2D overhead scrolling graphics, and role-playing video game elements.[11] It won the 1987 Game of the Year award from Japanese gaming magazine Oh!X.[1]

Star Cruiser

File:Star Cruiser screenshot.jpg

Star Cruiser (スタークルーザー) was a first-person role-playing shooter released for the PC-88 in 1988. The game is considered innovative and ahead of its time, for being an early example of an action role-playing game with fully 3D polygonal graphics,[13] combined with early first-person shooter gameplay,[14] which would occasionally switch to space flight simulator gameplay when exploring the open-ended outer space with six degrees of freedom. All the backgrounds, objects and opponents in the game were rendered in 3D polygons, many years before they were widely adopted by the video game industry.[13] The game also emphasized storytelling, with plot twists and extensive character dialogues,[13] taking place in a futuristic science fiction setting.[15] The game had a large open-ended game universe, allowing the player to explore over 30 planets across four star systems.[16]

The original computer versions, the Sharp X68000 version in particular, used a unique dual control scheme that anticipated the standard keyboard & mouse controls of the first-person shooter genre, with the direction keys used to move and strafe, while the numpad keys are used to turn around and aim (much like the function of the mouse in later FPS games). However, it is not possible to aim up or down while on foot (much like Doom), but in the outer space segments, the player can aim in all directions with the numpad keys.

It won the 1988 Game of the Year awards from the Japanese computer game magazines POPCOM and Oh!X.[1] The game was later ported to the Sharp X68000 computer platform in 1989,[12] and the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) video game console in 1990.[14] Import copies of the game were available in the United Kingdom by early 1991, for the price of £39.95 [1] ($64.31 at the time, [2] or $108.41 in 2012 dollars). [3] The June 1994 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly (page 190) previewed a fully translated English localization by Namco, stating that it was set to be released in North America in July 1994. A European release was also planned for 1994.[17] However, its release in the Western world was later cancelled.

The game's sequel, Star Cruiser 2, was released in 1992,[18] for the PC-9821 and FM Towns computers.[19] Seven chiptune video game music soundtrack albums of both Star Cruiser games, composed by Toshiya Yamanaka, have been released from 1992 to 2008.[20]

Star Cruiser was also an influence on the famous game designer Hideki Kamiya (known for Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, Okami, Bayonetta, The Wonderful 101, etc.). In his blog, Kamiya mentioned Star Cruiser as one of his favourite games. [4]

Air Combat and Gran Turismo

The company contributed to the development of several games from other companies. These include Namco's 1992 combat flight simulator arcade game Air Combat and Sony Computer Entertainment's 1997 racing simulator Gran Turismo.[1]

List of video games

The following games were developed by the company:[1][3][12][21]

Title Release Platform(s) Note(s)
WiBArM August 1986 (Japan)
August 1989 (North America)
PC-88, PC-98, X1, MZ, FM-7, MS-DOS 3D role-playing shooter.
Won 1986 Game of the Year award from Oh!MZ (Oh!X) magazine.
Reviver: The Real-Time Adventure July 1987 PC-88, FM-7, X1, MZ, MSX2 Free-roaming adventure game.
Won 1987 Game of the Year award from Oh!X magazine.
Star Cruiser May 1988 PC-88, PC-98, X1, X68000, Mega Drive 3D role-playing first-person shooter.
Won 1988 Game of the Year awards from POPCOM and Oh!X magazines.
Cyber Armor Wer Dragon September 1989 PC-88 Scrolling shooter action game.
Knight Arms: The Hybrid Framer 8 December 1989 X68000 3D shooter game.
Won 1989 Game of the Year award from LOGiN and Oh!X magazines.
Tenka Touitsu 18 May 1990 X68000 Historical strategy video game.
Port of SystemSoft game.
Prince of Persia 20 July 1990 SNES Cinematic platformer.
Enhanced port.
Blitzkrieg Toubu Sensen 1941-45 25 October 1991 X68000 Historical turn-based strategy.
Daisenryaku III '90 20 December 1991 X68000 Port of SystemSoft strategy game.
Spin Dizzy II 10 April 1992 PC-98, X68000 Port of Activision's Spindizzy Worlds.
Air Combat December 1992 Arcade Combat flight simulator.
Co-developed with Namco since June 1991.
Star Cruiser 2 2 December 1992[18] PC-98, FM Towns 3D first-person role-playing shooter.
Battle Zeque Den 15 July 1994 SNES Beat 'em up action game.
Gran Turismo 23 December 1997 PlayStation Racing simulator.
Co-developed with Sony Computer Entertainment.
Galaxy Knights July 2001 PC Science fiction role-playing video game.

See also

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Corporate profile. Cyberhead. Archived from the original on 24 October 2001 Retrieved on 30 August 2012.
  2. Home page. Cyberhead. Archived from the original on 2001-08-03 Retrieved on 30 August 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Arsys Software Inc.. GameSpot. Retrieved on 30 August 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Wibarm. Oh!FM. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012 Retrieved on 1 September 2012.
  5. Plazma Line. Oh!FM. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012 Retrieved on 1 September 2012.
  6. Wibarm (X1) at GameFAQs
  7. 7.0 7.1 John Szczepaniak. Retro Japanese Computers: Gaming's Final Frontier. Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved on 2011-03-18. (Reprinted from Retro Gamer, Issue 67, 2009)
  8. 8.0 8.1 【リリース】プロジェクトEGGから3月25日に「ウィバーン」発売. 4Gamer.net. Retrieved on 2011-03-05. (Translation)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Computer Gaming World, issue 64, October 1989, page 6
  10. See・Na, Famitsu (Translation)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Reviver. Oh!FM. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012 Retrieved on 2 September 2012.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Product list. Cyberhead. Archived from the original on 2001-04-15 Retrieved on 30 August 2012.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 スタークルーザー (translation), 4Gamer.net
  14. 14.0 14.1 Arsys Software at Allgame via the Wayback Machine
  15. Star Cruiser (X68000). Project EGG. Amusement Center (2011). Archived from the original on 31 August 2012 Retrieved on 31 August 2012.
  16. Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue 59, June 1994, page 190. Also see this page from the 1994 EGM Buyer's Guide.
  17. See this scan from a 1994 Italian magazine
  18. 18.0 18.1 でんげき~別館~ (Translation), Dengeki
  19. 日記(バックナンバー) (Translation), Dengeki
  20. Search Results: "Star Cruiser". VGMdb. Retrieved on 31 August 2012.
  21. Game Companies: Arsys Software Inc.. GameFAQs. Retrieved on 30 August 2012.

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