Studio Alex was a separate company formed by Kazunari Tomi, a former employee of Nihon Falcom. Primarily a consulting firm for other companies, they developed the original 3 Lunar games (2 for Sega CD, 1 for Game Gear), with GameArts as a co-developer/publisher. So they were actually two seperate companies, with Lunar as a co-owned IP (similarly to Nintendo/Camelot's Golden Sun)
However things didn't go so well between the two. Studio Alex filed suit against GameArts for copyright infringement for not paying them proper royalty fees for the Lunar's post-Sega CD (the Saturn/PlayStation remakes, US versions and Windows version) since they were derivative works.
GameArts counter-sued, stating that Studio Alex missed it's deadline for the Saturn game Magic School Lunar, costing them an additional 75 million yen as a result.
Studio Alex lost the initial suit in 1997 and continued until 2003, when they finally went bankrupt, and took a lot of the primary force behind the original Lunar games with them. Now, GameArts is the sole holder of the license, and in 2005 released Lunar DS, a critical and commercial flop that basically killed the series outright.
According to this, it seems as Falcom is the mother company for yet another great development company. Everyone can agree, Lunar as a series is just fantastic. I was really surprised to learn that.
...and on a side note, does anyone know of other companies with a Falcom history?
That's pretty awesome to learn. That makes the greatness of Falcom even greater. The only other related series that I know of that has ties with Falcom is their Japanese Genso Sangokushi release of UserJoy's Fantasia Sango series.
It'd be interesting to see a Falcom family tree. : )
I don't mean to be a party pooper, but has anyone actually verified this Studio Alex/Falcom link? So far all our info is a single post on HG101 that's been taken as fact.
SkyeWelse, I'd say the Lunar/Genso Sangokushi scenarios are quite different - Falcom did nothing other than localise the first two GS games, whereas according to this info Studio Alex actually has ex Falcom employees in it.
It would be interesting to learn more about Falcom staff though and find out exactly who was responsible for creating various things as you can usually spot a persons style when you look carefully.