Newtopia Planning (localized as ニュートピアプランニング) was a Japanese video game developer. The company has only a limited historical impact, they didn't use a logo, and, based on the publication of their games, it seems to have existed from around 1987 to 1989. Every game they developed was published by Pony Canyon, and all but one was a port of an Ultima title. Several of the games they developed lack credits, so it's difficult to know specifically who worked for the company.
Because so little is known about the company, I am forced to guess at their history. My hypothesis is that in 1986, a small development team calling themselves "Newtopia Planning" was looking for a publisher for a Space Harrier clone they were working on called Attack Animal Gakuen. Pony Canyon, who just secured the rights from Origin Systems to port Ultima titles to Japanese platforms, said they would publish the game, but only if Newtopia also handled the Ultima ports (with a little help from existing Pony Canyon employees). Attack Animal Gakuen was released to little fanfare, and once Pony Canyon's Ultima contract ended, they decided not to use Newtopia on any future games. Newtopia most likely signed a non-compete contract, since most of the staff never showed up in the credits for any future games, and the group disbanded.
On the Famicom box of Attack Animal Gakuen, the company name is spelled "NEW TOPIA," but this is probably a typo, as the cartridge spells it "NEWTOPIA," and every other box and media I've checked does as well.
The first game I played that was made by Newtopia Planning was Ultima: Exodus on the NES, but it meant nothing to me. It wasn't until many years later, when I was researching the composer of Ultima: Exodus that I began to learn about the company, and not until 2019, when I was researching for this article, that I learned more about the company.
These are the Newtopia Planning games that are important to me.
This is a list of every game I could find that Newtopia Planning worked on:
|1987-07-18||PC-9801, PC-8801, Sharp X1, MSX2, FM-7||Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar|
|1987-10-09||Famicom, NES||Ultima: Exodus|
|1987-12-26||Famicom||Attack Animal Gakuen|
|1988-12-12||X68000||Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar|
|1989-09-20||Famicom, NES||Ultima: Quest of the Avatar|
|1989-09-24||PC-9801, PC-8801, MSX2||Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress|
|1989-11-21||PC-9801, PC-8801, Sharp X1||Ultima III: Exodus|
|1989-12-21||PC-9801, PC-8801, Sharp X1, MSX2||Ultima I: First Age of Darkness|
Because Newtopia Planning always worked in conjunction with other companies, it's difficult to know which employees worked at Newtopia and which worked for the other companies. Of those who appear to have worked for Newtopia Planning, I appreciate the work of:
- Atsushi Fujimori - Graphic artist for Ultima: Exodus and Attack Animal Gakuen
- Tsugutoshi Goto - Musician (Probably worked for Pony Canyon, not Newtopia Planning)
This is a more detailed list of everyone I could find who worked on a game partially developed by Newtopia Planning.
|Name||Details||Outside of Newtopia|
|Yasuo Hattori||U3(NES, MSX2): Producer. AAG(NES): Director, music composer. U4(NES, MSX2): Producer.||No other credits.|
|Aya Nishitani||U3(NES): Special Thanks. AAG(NES): Game designer, story writer.||No other credits.|
|Atsushi Fujimori||U3(NES, MSX2): Character designer. AAG(NES): Illustrator, not pixel art.||No other credits.|
|Masaichiro Hirano||U3(NES, MSX2): Producer. U4(MSX2): Producer.||Produced Super Runner in 1987.|
|Junichi Ishii||U3(NES, MSX2): Director.||Directed Super Runner in 1987.|
|Kunihiko Kagawa||U3(NES, MSX2): Director. U4(NES, MSX2): Director. U1(MSX2): Director.||Credited to Marionette games before and after Newtopia. Then went to Locus Company, Atelier Double, then Soliton Soft. Last credit was in 1999.|
|Kouji Ichikawa||U3(NES, MSX2): Coordinator. U4(NES): Coordinator. U4(MSX2): Special thanks. U4(PC98): Special thanks. U1(MSX2): Coordinator.||After Newtopia, worked at Atelier Double, [[Opera House], Rumic Soft, Locus Company. Last game was in 2001.|
|Masuko Mori||U3(NES, MSX2): Coordinator. U4(MSX2): Special thanks. U4(PC98): Special thanks.||Did 1 game with Opera House in 1988.|
|Takeshi Yasuda||U1: Music.||Went on to work for Marionette then Opera House, both as a musician. Last game was in 1995.|
|Takaaki Ushiki||U3(NES): Lead programmer||Only other game was for Infinity in 1993.|
|Mutsuko Arata||U3(NES, MSX2): Sales promotion.||Worked for Marionette before Newtopia, and promoted Super Runner in 1987.|
|Hirorin Shimaoka||AAG: Graphic driver.|
|Life Checker||AAG: 3D advisor.|
|Tsuhkai Squash Yaroh||AAG: Programmer. Perhaps the same person as Takaaki Ushiki?|
|Otohsan||AAG: Audio driver.|
|Omaisan||AAG: Music arranger.|
|Mimi Man||AAG: Pixel artist.|
|Apple Taizou||AAG: Pixel artist.|
|Life Checker||AAG: 3D advisor.|
|Sailor Norilin||AAG: Costume of Nokko.|
|Shang Hai King||AAG: Mystery staff.|
|Homerun Ken||AAG: Setting.|
|Penpal Knight||AAG: Professional watcher.|
|Kohichi Shirato||AAG: Special thanks.|
|Minoru Kobayashi||AAG: Special thanks.|