The studio that brought us one of our favourite games of 2011, Super Mario 3D Land, is rebranding itself as 1-Up Studio. The original name of the company was Brownie Brown, which sounds more like the name of a cartoon bear, but we can’t complain when they make the most compelling argument for three-dimensions on a handheld platform.
The company was actually founded by former members of Square (before it merged with Enix to become Square Enix), which of course you know from their biggest franchise, Final Fantasy. Perhaps even cooler than that is that it was actually founded as a Nintendo subsidiary, much like HAL Laboratory and The Pokemon Company.
They’ve only ever developed games in the handheld space for Nintendo, starting with the Game Boy Advance. We don’t have any news on this changing, though we do wonder about how the change in Nintendo’s hardware teams (the company has merged their home and portable hardware development groups) will affect game developers like the newly renamed 1-Up Studio. Will the closer hardware collaboration trickle down to studios that have traditionally only done handheld games and jumpstart them into the console market? Honestly, we have no idea.
Nintendo seems to like working with outside developers lately (their upcoming Smash Bros. title is co-developed by Namco Bandai) though Brownie Brown did quite a bit of that work, too. They’ve worked with Square Enix on Heroes of Mana as well as the second most recent Professor Layton title alongside Level-5.
The name change signals a much closer tie to the mothership that is Nintendo. They are changing their company structure to better focus on their collaborations with Nintendo, though it doesn’t say in what capacity. They do make sure to thank their fans and note that they “will continue to work hard at developing video game software and will take advantage of past experiences as we turn over a new leaf.” Heh, leaf.