[Top 15] Best Japanese Game Developers (Ranked)


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Aug 19, 2022
Like all forms of art the development of gaming from simple electronic games into the leading entertainment industry of today has been a cross-cultural and global effort.

From the golden age of the arcade to the birth of home consoles, games have been distributed worldwide and many western players have fallen in love with the countless vital contributions of Japan’s development scene where fresh takes and new ideas are abundant.

That’s why today us at Gamers Decide are ranking the finest studios Japan has to offer from the chart-stomping titans to the loveable underdogs, perfect to help you get started on your gaming journey through the east.

15. Arc System Works - Established 1988


Lovingly referred to as ArcSys, this studio was established in 1988 and found work providing vital public services such as porting classics such as Battletoads for Sega.

After years of impressive licensing work even handling Sailor Moon, today they are famed for their distinctive and highly respected fighting games. With a catalog showing both extreme style and depth, over the years they have grown their original properties into competitive mainstays.

Fighting fans love their games for their unique and eye-catching anime aesthetic, with a forward thinking approach to onboarding casual players.Impressively they are one of the only studios to have multiple games at once premiering at the popular esports event, Evo.

Most Famous Games:

  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z
  • Guilty Gear: Strive
  • BlazBlue: CrossTag Battle
  • Granblue Fantasy Versus
  • Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

14. Grasshopper Manufacture - Established 1998


Founded back in the nineties by the enigmatic Goichi Suda, this group of zany wildcards is known for their outlandish and eccentric original series such as No More Heroes and the PlayStation 2 classic Killer7.

Grasshopper has a colorful catalog of games ranging from character action to mystical thriller, always leaving a lasting impression with their self aware humor and highly stylised stories sporting a flavorful tone that falls somewhere between Tarantino and Kafka. Always kickass, often bewildering, players looking for eccentricity will love Grasshopper's major oddball vibes.

Most Famous Games:

  • No More Heroes
  • Let it Die
  • Killer7
  • Killer is Dead
  • Lollipop Chainsaw

13. MonolithSoft - Established 1999


While in their infancy Monolith focused on narrative heavy games and outsourcing, today the team is known for the ambitious and mystifying Xenoblade RPG titles commonly found on Nintendo systems.

Monolith have been steadily growing a sterling reputation as open world pioneers, able to craft expansive and stunning worlds players can explore with a cast of loveable characters (featuring only the best hyper-british voice acting) and a story ripe with high-stakes ancient demigod drama.

From cult classic underdog to top tier craftsmen, they are a go-to if you're looking for an epic journey through an imaginative world.

Most Famous Games:

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X
  • Project X Zone
  • Xenosaga I & II
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

12. GameFreak - Established 1989


GameFreak is a company requiring no introduction for their omnipresent Pokémon franchise (That happens to be the biggest selling media property of all time!) easily a feat alone worthy of placing them on this list.

Established in the early days of the console boom, they exploded into popularity when Pokémon became a worldwide sensation and helped Nintendo launch portable gaming into the mainstream.

The Pokémon games are beoved for their adorable charm, irresistible tunes and the most addictive “morally speaking this might all be a gray area, actually” monster capturing system in gaming.

Still, it’s impossible to deny just how appealing a mascot Pikachu is.

Most Famous Games:

  • Pokémon Red & Blue
  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus
  • Pokémon Sword & Shield
  • Pokémon X & Y
  • Little Town Hero

11. Koei Tecmo - Established 2009


Sporting a complicated d lineage with the now defunct company Tecmo, Koei have been providing quality Japanese titles across an impressive span of styles and genres since its inception.

From the brutal limb-lopping action of Ninja Gaiden to the sprawling "It's Lu Bu!!" battlefields of Dynasty Warriors, they specialize in high quality action and power fantasy delivered with quintessential Japanese flair.

Lately they've been working with major licenses such as Zelda, Persona, and even Final Fantasy, meaning there's something for nearly every gaming fan from Koei Tecmo.

Most Famous Games:

  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Nioh 2
  • Dead or Alive
  • Dynasty Warriors 8
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

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I'm interested in some discussion of what your favorites are?

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