Tozai News

Tozai Games Japan Acquires Rights to Minna de Spelunker

Newly Established Office Will Release an Enhanced Version in Japan

Tozai, Inc. announced the expansion of their global gaming business with the opening of a Japanese office, Tozai Games, Inc., in August. Located in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, the new office was formed by Tozai US president and co-founder, Sheila Boughten; Tozai US senior advisor and co-founder, Scott K. Tsumura; and Takuya Banno, who will serve as president of Tozai Japan.

Prior to establishing Tozai Japan, Banno was partner marketing manager, marketing senior manager and strategy planning leader at Microsoft Japan, and president of B-Project, Inc. Banno has produced many games, including his notable work as lead designer of "Minna de Spelunker" ("Spelunker HD"), which was awarded the PlayStation®Store Top Sales Award in Japan.

Building on a long history with the Spelunker franchise, the executives will expand the Spelunker and Lode Runner brands to various platforms including consoles, handhelds and smartphones, and will continue developing the global business of importing and marketing of foreign games in Japan.

"Tozai has always been committed to preserving popular classic videogame franchises by updating them for contemporary platforms," said Boughten. "By working with our partner office in Japan, we are in a great position to leverage our existing projects and discover new opportunities."

The company also announced that they have acquired the Japanese development and distribution rights to "Minna de Spelunker" from Irem Software, and will release an enhanced version in Japan as a PlayStation®3 downloadable game. Tozai Japan will manage the intellectual property of Spelunker in Japan, including expansion to additional platforms. Tozai Japan has exclusive rights for Spelunker and Lode Runner titles via contract with Tozai US.

"Some games are too much fun to let die just because their original platforms are no longer available," Tsumura said. "Spelunker is a great example of this, and we're pleased to be in a position to continue the legacy of this outstanding series and franchise in Japan and the rest of the world."

Tozai Japan will release "Minna de Spelunker Tozai Games Version" in Japan soon. The game includes a long-awaited Championship Mode, which features 10 additional super difficult stages with 50 lives, new content trophies and a new mural. Additional Champion Mode stages will be forthcoming. Plans for the game in the US and Europe have yet to be announced.

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