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Working Designs working defunct
Posted on Tuesday, December 13 2005 @ 16:18:35 PST

It's an unfortunate day for RPG and niche gamers. The company long known for delays over niche Japanese games for localization has closed its doors. Working Designs is no more.

"Delays are temporary, medicority is forever." Such words were Victor Ireland's, the company's president. Working Designs was notable for their delays in producing games, but the wait was often worth it. The translations were excellent and the packaging was quality, as found in their most notable series: Lunar. Their last release was Growlanser Generations for the Sony PlayStation 2.

I first encountered Working Designs and their games on the Sony PlayStation when Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete was rereleased. What I encountered was deluxe packaging that made my eyes shimmer and a magical RPG with a quality, humorous translation that amplified the gaming experience. Never did I view RPGs or other types of games the same. Their games ran higher pricewise than others, but you got your dollar's worth with deluxe packaging containing game soundtracks, leather bound manuals and other goodies such as pendants, rings, figurines, etc. Working Designs is part and parcel why more companies today pay heed to more quality packaging and translation.

What was also unfortunate to hear of was how Working Designs was driven to their defunct state. Their relationship with Sony has been corroding for a while and now ultimately fell through with Sony's lack of approval for Working Designs' latest project: Goemon. It is clear that Sony is not interested in classic styles of gaming akin to 2D gaming. What sells for Sony is what's prettier and technological. To get Growlanser Generations even published, Working Designs had to deliver a consummate package of two games that would double its price. In doing so, it sold less than it would have. Not too bright on Sony's part, but they figured they'd compromise.

But now the company that played a large part in shaping my view of gaming, involving me in gaming and keeping my love of gaming alive is no more. One can take heed, though, in Victor Ireland's words on the future. The Xbox 360 has a bright future under the Japanese sun ahead of it. The stage for Japanese RPGs is looking rich, especially with the latest Blue Dragon scans. Part of the company will undoubtedly surface elsewhere. I can only wait in anticipation of where and when.

Thanks, Working Designs.
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