AlphaDream, the developer behind the iconic Mario & Luigi series, filed for bankruptcy. The company which worked alongside Nintendo first opened for business in January 2000, and became well known for the games Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Partners in Time, Bowser’s Inside Story, Dream Team, Paper Jam, Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey.
As reported by Japanese Nintendo, “Company turnover was (around $2.78 million) in March 2014 but the company’s debts were as high as ($4.3 million) by March 2018.” AlphaDream’s most recent re-release, Bowser’s Inside Story came out on January 11, 2019, and news of their bankruptcy, which was announced October 2, left many gamers in shock.
In Summer 2018, AlphaDream, which was founded by Tetsuo Mizuno, the past president of Square, posted a hiring notice on their website, announcing that they were looking to develop games for Nintendo Switch, and hire individuals for Playstation 4, smartphone games, along with 2D and 3D graphic designers. However, new games on Switch were never released, and with the most recent news, may never come to fruition.
Many users on Twitter were scared that news of AlphaDream’s bankruptcy also meant no more new Mario & Luigi games, a thought which was absolutely depressing to the gaming world. For 19 years, these characters have provided endless hours of entertainment, and for many, the loss of Mario & Luigi feels like losing a piece of one’s childhood. There were numerous fans online who worried for the company’s employees, and hoping Nintendo can find a place for them elsewhere.
In Japan, AlphaDream, which was originally known as Dream Star when it first formed in the early 90s, found a niche in role playing games (RPG) with Koto Battle: Tengai no Moribito on Game Boy Color, and Tomato Adventure on Game Boy Advance, the latter of which was never released stateside.
In an interview with Game Informer in January 2019, Akira Otani (producer, Nintendo) and Yoshihiko Maekawa (producer, AlphaDream) spoke about why Bowser’s Inside Story was such a fan favorite. Maekawa explained, “This is a really simple reason, but we think it is because it’s the first time you are able to to control Bowser, who is obviously well-known as a rival, in addition to Mario & Luigi. And the gameplay is dynamic and [very well] realized, also.”
As for why the popular game wasn’t made for Switch, Otani said that it was an idea they floated, “but we wanted to maintain the gameplay using the dual screen of the original. That’s the main reason we decided to port to 3DS.”
Otani also explained why they skipped over making Partner in Time for more Mario & Luigi.
“The biggest point was that Mario & Luigi 3, [and] Bowser’s Inside Story, [were] the best received title in the series, so we really wanted to do a remake of that. And we also really liked the idea of portraying Bowser and Bowser Jr. as a parent and child in the new mode, which is similar to the mode we added to the Superstar Saga remake. Also, the character Fawful, [which] was received very well overseas, so we wanted to bring him back and we wanted to show the continued saga with him that we started with Bowser’s Minions in the remake of Superstar Saga.”