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Encyclopedia > Working Designs
Working Designs
The Working Designs logo.
Type defunct
Founded 1986
Headquarters 18135 Clear Creek Road, Redding, CA 9600
Key people Victor Ireland, Todd Mark, Sylvia Schmitt
Industry computer and video game industry
Website http://www.workingdesigns.com/

Working Designs was a US-based video game publisher that specialized in the localization of Japan-native RPGs, strategy games, and top-down shooters for various video game platforms. Though the company had published many 'cult hits', it was known best to fans as the long-time exclusive US publisher of Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete. On December 12, 2005, Victor Ireland, President of Working Designs, announced via the company's message board that it was closing its doors. He will start a new company called Gaijinworks. Image File history File links Wdlogo. ... ... 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Redding is the county seat of Shasta County, California, located on the Sacramento River and on Interstate 5 south of Lake Shasta. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... A website (or Web site) is a collection of web pages, typically common to a particular domain name or subdomain on the World Wide Web on the Internet. ... Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... Namcos Pac-Man was a hit, and became a cultural phenomenon. ... A role-playing game (RPG, often roleplaying game) is a type of game in which the participants assume the roles of fictional characters and collaboratively create or follow stories. ... Lunar 2: Eternal Blue is the sequel to the role-playing video game Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. ... December 12 is the 346th day (347th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 19 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Contents

Accomplishments

From the company web site:

  • Shining Wisdom was nominated for several awards as one of the best RPGs of 1996.
  • Alundra sells 100,000 copies in just over a month in early 1998.
  • Sony Computer Entertainment dubs Alundra the Best RPG at E3 in 1998.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth becomes the last Saturn game ever released in the US at the end of 1998.

Effectively Segas First attempt at translating the Shining Force franchise into a Zelda like game. ... Alundra is an Action RPG for the PlayStation released in 1997. ... Magic Knight Rayearth is a role-playing video game released for the Sega Saturn It is based from the anime series of the same name (Magic Knight Rayearth). ...

Praise

Console RPG Advocacy

Working Designs was one of the few game publishers that attempted to bridge the cultural gap between the Japanese and American video game industries during the 1990s with an eclectic selection of releases from various genre. RPG genre games, in particular, were the most popular genre of console games in Japan during the 1990s, but were also viewed as being unmarketable in the United States at the same time. Working Designs would work towards bringing several of these titles to an English audience including the cult classic Lunar RPG series. The Lunar games, made by Game Arts and published in the United States by Working Designs, and later, Ubisoft, are a series of computer RPGs. ...


RPGs and anime became more commonplace in youth culture following the '90s with works such as Final Fantasy VII (Japanese release: January 1997, American release: August 1997) helping to bring Japanese-style RPGs more squarely into the gaming mainstream. Although the efforts of Working Designs to bring RPGs to American audiences during the 1990s and the early 2000s were ultimately eclipsed by the accomplishments of companies such as Squaresoft, Atlus, and Enix, they were still appreciated by a small but loyal fanbase of console RPG and anime fans. Final Fantasy VII ) is a console and computer role-playing game (RPG) developed and published by Square Co. ... Square Co. ... Atlus is a Japanese computer and video game developer and publisher. ... Enix, or more formally Enix Co. ...


Voice Acting Talent

Working Designs became known as one of the earliest American publishers to make use of full, spoken English dialogue in their products as voice acting was not a common feature in most mainstream games during the early 90's. The voice acting, made possible by their adoption of the emerging CD-ROM format, created a strong selling point that differentiated their titles from many publishers. This made a lasting impression on their audience with titles such as Cosmic Fantasy, Lunar, and Popful Mail becoming fan favorites. Voice acting is the art of providing voices for animated characters (including those in feature films, television series, animated shorts), doing voice-overs in radio and television commercials, audio dramas, dubbed foreign language films, video games, puppet shows, and amusement rides. ...


Criticism

Delayed Games

While it was in operation, Working Designs became notorious within the industry for often changing their release dates producing postponements upwards of a year or more. The final Sega Saturn game released in the US, Magic Knight Rayearth, was delayed for over three years, even though the delay was unintentional. As such, the company obtained the moniker 'Working Delays' from its fans and critics, referring to its often delayed products.[verification needed] Magic Knight Rayearth is a role-playing video game released for the Sega Saturn It is based from the anime series of the same name (Magic Knight Rayearth). ...


Expensive Packaging

Working Designs released their games with premium packaging and as such their games demanded a premium price. Intended at first to stand out from the crowd and later deliberately packaged to be collectors' items, the games were immediately recognizable and reflected the type of marketing that particularly popular title releases would sometimes enjoy in Japan. Some in the game industry and some gamers were frustrated by this approach, while others appreciated the special touches. Working Designs was among the first North American game publishers to apply foil stamps and extensive artwork to their packaging, and were supplying games with manuals printed and bound in full colour with anime artwork, conceptual drawings from the game's design at a time when a lot of manuals for games published in the USA were in greyscale. Also, every manual came with a written letter, presumably from Victor Ireland, describing the translation process and procedure of their games, usually found on the last page of the manual. Every edition of these notes closed with the signature phrase, "We're nothing without you!"


PlayStation editions of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete came with such accessories as hard-cover manuals, cloth maps, and omake boxes with cardboard stand-up figures, pendants, and other trinkets. The Growlanser Generations Deluxe edition comes with such extras as a deck of playing cards, a ring with a chain to wear it on, and a watch. Omake (お負け but often written オマケ) means extra or bonus in Japanese. ...


The expensive packaging is often cited as one of the reasons for the company's demise, as they priced their products at a premium due to the included 'extras', which scared away casual gamers.


Including Humor in Games

Working Designs would also become known for their tendency to interject humor (sometimes crass) into their translations where none had existed within the original Japanese release. The jokes were usually Americanized and would often break the fourth wall with pop culture references and modern slang. Working Designs was particularly fond of referencing This Is Spinal Tap; their old company slogan, visible on some SegaCD releases, was "Our games go to 11!", and several games' translations subtly reference the film. This article is about the film. ... Three versions of Sega CD: The Mega-CD 1 and 2 and the CDX/Multi-Mega. ...


Company Closure

Due to a series of delays, approval snags, and sagging sales, Working Designs announced on December 12th, 2005 that the all existing staff had been laid off and the company was effectively shutting down operations. Speculation on the reasons for why include the company's perceived inability or unwillingness to release games for non-Sony platforms since Magic Knight Rayearth for the Sega Saturn.


In a public statement posted on the message board hosted at Working Designs' official site, WD President Victor Ireland, though expressing much gratitude for strong core fan support over the years, stated that a series of complications related to the approval of upcoming games for the PlayStation 2 had created a loss of revenue from which the company would not be able to recover. Ireland however went on to express optimism that a possible publishing deal may occur in the future with the support of remaining WD staff, likely for Microsoft's latest platform, the Xbox 360. The statement ended by encouraging fans to contact Microsoft among other firms about their desire to see more titles like those which Working Designs had built its reputation on. The PlayStation 2 , abbreviated PS2) is Sonys second video game console, the successor to the PlayStation and the predecessor to the PlayStation 3. ... Microsoft is one of few companies engaging itself in the console wars Where they are up against sony, nintendo, and of course sharps new console which may cause a threat. ... The Xbox 360 is the successor to Microsofts Xbox video game console, developed in cooperation with IBM, ATI, Samsung and SiS. Information on the console first came through viral marketing campaigns and it was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, with detailed launch and game information divulged...


Company Statement On Closure

The following is a copy of the statement made by Victor Ireland on December 12th, 2005, announcing that Working Designs was ceasing operations:


First of all, sorry for being incommunicado for such a long time. It's been a busy time, as you'll see.


There's no easy way to say it, so I just will. Working Designs is gone. All the staff has been laid off and the office is closed and has been for some time. Yes, the website is still here, and I am going to do my best to keep it tucked away somewhere on the 'net so it doesn't become an illicit domain. (Of course, some of the haters may be of the mind that it's been illicit all along, heh!).


The most frustrating part of all of this is that I know that our fanbase is still there. Growlanser Generations sold well, but of course not better than it would have sold as two separate titles. We just spent too much time fighting the good fight to even get it out, and other games approved.


Though almost finished and substantially improved from the Japanese release, Goemon is dead for the US, and that was really the final straw. If I can't guarantee that the games I personally choose for us to release in the US can actually get approved and come out, there's no business to be done. There is a possibility that it may be released in Europe (as well as Growlanser Generations), but nothing is finalized yet.


I know many of you will have lots of questions, and there will be some I can answer, and some I can't. Sony has made it clear that they do not want the details of their dealings with any publisher made public. Suffice to say that you would buy what we wanted to sell if we could sell it.


I want to thank each and every one of you personally for being a fan, buying the games we released, and telling your friends. You HAVE made a difference, because you bought the crazy things we did. Thanks to YOU, there are deluxe packs, pack-in soundtracks, better packaging, great hint guides, and better localizations in general. We said it a lot, but it really was true. We were nothing without you.


For the future, there are still great opportunities. I have been in touch with a number of other publishers and manufacturers and I will be working with some of the WD staff to do games for other publishers for the time being, but not as Working Designs. One thing that holds a ton of promise is xbox 360 RPGs, and I've contacted Microsoft about getting what's underway in Japan out in the US and helping to get more done worldwide. We'll see what happens on that front, but please let them know that you want more rpgs here. There's some amazing stuff coming for the '360 in Japan, and I know I want it - I think you will, too.


Thanks for everything. It's a tough road ahead for games that aren't of the least-common-denominator variety. The choices you make with your hardware dollars are more important than ever for the generation that is upon us.


With that, I bid all of us...


...Good night, and Good Luck.


Release History

TurboGrafx-16 & Turbo CD

For information on the Japanese version of this console, see PC Engine The TurboGrafx 16 is a video game console released by NEC in 1989, for the North American market. ... A common, abbreviated name attributed to the TurboGrafx CD, an add-on CD-ROM accessory for the TurboGrafx 16 video game console. ... Cadash is a hybrid RPG/platform arcade game, released by Taito in 1989. ... Exile is a action/role-playing video game series for the Turbo CD. It was developed by Nippon Telenet and was ported to the U.S. by Working Designs. ... Parasol Stars is a video game by Taito released in 1991. ...

Sega CD

The Sega Mega-CD (Japanese: メガCD) is an add-on device for the Sega Mega Drive released in Europe, Australia, and Japan. ... Popful Mail: Magical Fantasy Adventure ) is a side scrolling adventure game. ... Vay is a 2D Anime Fantasy/Sci-Fi RPG for the Sega CD Console. ...

Sega Saturn

The Sega Saturn ) is a 32-bit video game console, first released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America and July 8, 1995 in Europe. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Iron Storm is a turn-based strategy game that was released on the Sega Saturn in 1996 by Working Designs. ... Magic Knight Rayearth is a role-playing video game released for the Sega Saturn It is based from the anime series of the same name (Magic Knight Rayearth). ... The Sega Ages collection are video game re-releases from developer and publisher Sega, in conjunction with developer 3D AGES (a Sega funded development studio). ... Effectively Segas First attempt at translating the Shining Force franchise into a Zelda like game. ...

PlayStation

The Sony PlayStation ) is a video game console of the 32/64-bit era, first produced by Sony Computer Entertainment in the mid-1990s. ... Alundra is an Action RPG for the PlayStation released in 1997. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Elemental Gearbolt is a video game of light gun rail shooter genre. ... Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is retitled version of Lunar The Silver Star Story which is a remake of Lunar The Silver Star a video game made by Game Arts. ... Lunar 2: Eternal Blue is the sequel to the role-playing video game Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. ... RayStorm is a action game developed by the Taito Corporation for the Arcades, and later ported to the Playstation gaming system, as well as a less-known release for the Sega Saturn. ... RayCrisis (RayCrisis: Series Termination in North America) is the third iteration released in the the Ray series of shooting games. ... Silhouette Mirage is a video game that was developed by Treasure Co. ... Thunder Force V: Perfect System (in game; PS1 version) Thunder Force V is a Scrolling shooter game developed by Technosoft. ... This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

PlayStation 2

The PlayStation 2 , abbreviated PS2) is Sonys second video game console, the successor to the PlayStation and the predecessor to the PlayStation 3. ... Growlanser Generations is both a collection of Growlanser II and Growlanser III, and is the sole American release of both games. ...

External links

  • Working Designs Homepage -Currently Down
  • Working Designs History (Official) -Currently Down
  • Working Designs Officially Dead
  • IGN profile

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