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1-UP Studio

1-UP Studio is a Japanese video game developer that is owned by Nintendo. The company was originally founded on June 30, 2000 as Brownie Brown in Tokyo, Japan as a wholly owned subsidiary of Nintendo. On February 1, 2013 the company rebranded as part of an internal organizational restructure to better support co-development of Nintendo games that were being developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development Division, commonly known as Nintendo EAD. As part of the restructure the development studio changed their name to 1-UP Studio Inc., relocated to a new office and Nintendo EAD employees Keizo Kato and Yoshiaki Koizumi were given director roles in the newly restructured company.

When Brownie Brown was established in June 2000, the new development studio was largely comprised of ex-Square employees, many of which worked on the Seiken Densetsu series, known outside of Japan as the Mana series. Former Square employees Kameoka Shinichi and Kōji Tsuda were appointed as directors of the new entity. Shinichi was responsible for the character designs in both Secret of Mana 2 and 3, and Tsuda was a graphic designer for Secret of Mana 3 as well as SaGa Frontier.

The studio’s first project was an RPG for the Game Boy Advance called “Magical Vacation” which was released exclusively in Japan in 2001. Following the release of Magical Vacation, the studio was contracted by Square to develop “Sword of Mana”. Due to the departure of several key members of Square’s development team that previously worked on the Mana series, it made logical sense for Square to contract Brownie Brown to continue forward with the fifth installment in the series. Many of the series resources were now at Brownie Brown such as the franchise’s character designer, Kameoka Shinichi and lead artist, Kōji Tsuda. The producer of the game was Square’s Koichi Ishii, who had directed and designed the previous installments in the series and already had a good working relationship with the staff at Brownie Brown.

1-UP Studio Logo
Type Subsidiary
Parent Company Nintendo
Location Tokyo, Japan
Developer 1-UP Studio Inc.
Predecessor Brownie Brown
Successor n/a
Founded June 30, 2000
Founders Kameoka Shinichi
Kouji Tsuda
Number of Employees Approximately 52
Website 1-up-studio.jp/

Mother 3 BoxWhen Shigesato Itoi, creator of the Mother series decided to restart development for Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance, Brownie Brown was selected as the lead development studio for the project. The game originally had a very long and challenging development cycle, starting in 1994 as a Super Famicom title. The development of the game transitioned to the Nintendo 64 in favor of the new hardware and to implement the game in 3D opposed to 2D. Over the course of its development the game would transition once again to another platform, the Nintendo 64DD add-on before ultimately being cancelled in 2000. When Itoi decided to restart development in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance a lot of faith was put in Brownie Brown to lead the development with input from Itoi. Co-developed with HAL Laboratory the team was able to finally complete the last installment in the Mother series, a game that’s development would span twelve years and four consoles before its completion.

After the completion of Mother 3, the studio started to develop games for the Nintendo DS. They released a variety of games for the Nintendo DS between 2006 and 2009, partnering with Square Enix, Mistwalker and Level-5 during this period to co-develop games in the Mana, Blue Dragon and Professor Layton’s series, along side some new IPs.

1-UP Studio Office WorkspaceThe direction of the company started to shift in 2011 with the development of Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS. The studio started to play a major collaboration role with Nintendo developed games, leading to the decision to restructure the development studio to better support Nintendo EAD developed games going forward. In February 2013 the developer was renamed to 1-UP Studio and since has played a major role in the development of Nintendo EAD and Nintendo EPD games.

Since the restructure the team has co-developed “The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes” for the Nintendo 3DS, “Super Mario 3D World” for the Wii U, “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” for the Wii U, 3DS and Nintendo Switch, “Super Mario Odyssey” for the Nintendo Switch and “Ring Fit Adventure” for the Nintendo Switch.

Known For:

The story of 1-UP Studio's director Yoshiaki Koizumi
& the creation of Super Mario Odyssey


Video Game Story Time

Video Game Story Time is a YouTube channel that focuses on illustrated inspirational stories about the development of video games.

2001Magical Vacation BoxMagical VacationGame Boy AdvanceNintendoRPG
2003Sword of Mana BoxSword of ManaGame Boy AdvanceNintendo
Square Enix (JP)
Action RPG
2006Mother 3 BoxMother 3Game Boy AdvanceNintendoRPG
2006Magical Starsign BoxMagical StarsignNintendo DSNintendoRPG
2007Heroes of Mana BoxHeroes of ManaNintendo DSSquare EnixReal-Time Strategy
2008Blue Dragon Plus BoxBlue Dragon PlusNintendo DSAQ Interactive (JP)
Ignition Entertainment
2009A Kappa's Trail BoxA Kappa's TrailNintendo DSNintendoPuzzle
2009Professor Layton and the Last Specter BoxProfessor Layton and the Last SpecterNintendo DSLevel-5 (JP)
2010Livly Garden BoxLivly GardenNintendo DSMarvelousSimulation
2011Super Mario 3D Land BoxSuper Mario 3D LandNintendo 3DSNintendoPlatformer
2012Fantasy Life BoxFantasy LifeNintendo 3DSLevel-5 (JP)
2013Super Mario 3D World BoxSuper Mario 3D WorldWii UNintendoPlatformer
2014Captain Toad Treasure Tracker BoxCaptain Toad: Treasure TrackerWii U
Nintendo Switch
NintendoAction Puzzle
2015Flipnote Studio 3D BoxFlipnote Studio 3DNintendo 3DSNintendoDrawing
2015The Legend of Zelda - Tri Force Heroes BoxThe Legend of Zelda: Tri Force HeroesNintendo 3DSNintendoAdventure
2017Super Mario Odyssey BoxSuper Mario OdysseyNintendo SwitchNintendoPlatformer
2019Ring Fit Adventure BoxRing Fit AdventureNintendo SwitchNintendoFitness
2020Animal Crossing - New Horizons BoxAnimal Crossing: New HorizonsNintendo SwitchNintendoSimulation
2020Super Mario 3D All-StarsNintendo SwitchNintendoCompilation
2021Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's FuryNintendo SwitchNintendoPlatformer

Shinichi KameokaShinichi KameokaFounder2000-2013
Profile PlaceholderKōji TsudaFounder2000-2013
Gen KadoiGen KadoiPresident2002-2020
Masaru NishidaMasaru NishidaDirector2017-2020
Yoshiaki KoizumiYoshiaki KoizumiDirector2013-2020
Profile PlaceholderKeizo KatoDirector2013-2020
Profile PlaceholderFutoshi YamaguchiAuditor2013-2020
Nobuyuki InoueNobuyuki InoueDirector2002-2014
Shota ShimadaShota Shimada
Profile PlaceholderHiroki ArayaDesigner2005-2020
Profile PlaceholderEisaku SatoPlanner2012-2020
Profile PlaceholderYuuichi KurataProgrammer2009-2020
Profile PlaceholderWataru MikamiProgrammer2014-2020
Profile PlaceholderNobuhiro ImagawaDesigner2003-2014
Profile PlaceholderYotaro DoiArtist2013-2020
Profile PlaceholderKyoko KawasakiCharacter Artist2013-2020
Profile PlaceholderTakayuki YaenoArtist2013-2020
Profile PlaceholderAsami InoueArtist2009-2020
Profile PlaceholderNaoya NiheiArtist2013-2020
Profile PlaceholderMio KikuchiArtist2011-2020
Profile PlaceholderYuka MoritaUI Design2006-2014
Profile PlaceholderHiroki MatsuuraUI Design2006-2009
Profile PlaceholderKunimitsu TanakaDesign2003-2009
Profile PlaceholderYukari SugiyamaGraphic Design2006-2009
Profile PlaceholderSeitaro WakabayashiCharacter Artist2003-2009
Profile PlaceholderNaomi OsadaBackground Design2006-2009
Profile PlaceholderMakoto TakahashiEffect Design2003-2009
Profile PlaceholderTakeo ŌinDesign2002-2010
Profile PlaceholderYuichi IwasaLevel Design2013-2020
Profile PlaceholderTakashi AbeArtist2013-2020
Profile PlaceholderJun IshiokaArtist2011-2020
Profile PlaceholderTakafumi MoroArtist2013-2020