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Working Designs Company Profile

1986 Working Designs is founded in Redding, California as a partnership between programmer Todd Mark and venture capitalist Sylvia Schmitt with the intent of creating and marketing accounting software for the IBM PC.
1988 Co-founder Todd Mark dies unexpectedly. Schmitt hires programmer and Redding resident Victor Ireland, who completes Mark's unfinished work, and the Master Accountant software series is released.
1990 Thanks to Ireland's personal interest in the video game market, Working Designs changes direction and prepares to enter the lucrative video game industry.
June 1991 Working Designs signs its first-ever publishing agreement, with Japanese game publisher Taito Corp., to localize and release the NEC TurboGrafx-16 title Parasol Stars in the United States. (In Japan, the TurboGrafx-16 is known as the PC Engine.) Cadash soon follows, and Working Designs becomes the fourth third-party publisher for the TurboGrafx-16 video game system in America.
December 1991 Parasol Stars is listed by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the top 20 video games released in 1991 for any system and Cadash is one of the TurboGrafx-16's top-selling games for the year.
1992 Working Designs signs a publishing agreement with Telenet Japan Co., Ltd., for the TurboGrafx-CD game Cosmic Fantasy 2. Localization work begins in April, and the product is released in September, making Working Designs the first-ever third-party publisher of CD-ROM video game software in the United States.
1992 Recording equipment is purchased and studio space is leased to facilitate the re-recording of audio for CD-ROM games in a professional environment.
1992 Working Designs signs its second publishing agreement with Telenet, acquiring U.S. rights to the TurboGrafx-16 game Exile. The product is released in October, one month after Cosmic Fantasy 2.
1993 Working Designs signs its third agreement with Telenet, licensing the TurboGrafx-16 game Exile 2: Wicked Phenomenon, Working Designs' first-ever sequel. The product is released in July.
1993 Work begins on two conversions for Hudson Soft, which will be marketed by Hudson Soft in the United States. This is Working Designs' first localization from Japanese to English to be marketed by another company.
1993 Shortly after January's Winter CES, Working Designs signs an agreement with Human Entertainment to release the TurboGrafx-CD strategy game Vasteel, which ships in June, and brings the total number of games the company markets or localizes in 1993 to eight.
May 1993 Working Designs receives verbal approval to become a third-party publisher for the Sega CD platform. Talks are already underway with Game Arts to license their role-playing game Lunar: The Silver Star for a U.S. release.
June 1993 The deal with Game Arts is finalized, and conversion work on Lunar begins; the product is released in December.
November 1993 Vay is announced as Working Designs' second Sega CD product. The game is licensed from SIMS Co., Ltd. of Japan, and ships in July 1994.
December 1993 Lunar receives a number of awards from video game magazines, the most notable being named GameFan's "Best RPG of 1993" and Sega's "Best RPG." This marks the second consecutive year in which a Working Designs RPG has received recognition as the "Best of the Year."
March 1994 Lunar passes the 50,000-unit sales mark, making it the best-selling RPG ever released for the Sega CD, and the #3 best-selling Sega CD game in all categories.
May 1994 Working Designs officially becomes a publisher for Sega's new Saturn video game system.
June 1994 Working Designs' third Sega CD product, the action/adventure title Popful Mail, is licensed from Sega of Japan.
July 1994 Vay is released to the retail channel amid great reviews and "Best RPG of 1994" awards from a number of publications.
1995 Popful Mail is released for the Sega CD and quickly garners rave reviews.
March 1995 Working Designs becomes a PlayStation third-party licensee, but no games are initially approved for publication, due to Sony Computer Entertainment America's lack of interest in the RPG market. This attitude changes (along with upper management) in December 1996.
September 1995 Lunar: Eternal Blue is released for the Sega CD, and becomes the platform's best-selling game of 1995.
April 1996 Working Designs releases its first Saturn product, Iron Storm, which goes on to win a number of awards from video game magazines, including "Best Strategy Game of 1996."
May 1996 Magic Knight Rayearth, a Saturn action/RPG based on a popular Japanese anime series, is licensed for a U.S. release, but suffers numerous delays because of conflicts regarding the names of the characters, along with missing program code, which makes the localization process an excruciating one. The game is ultimately put on hold for two years until the problems are solved.
June 1996 The action/RPG Shining Wisdom is released for the Sega Saturn, and is later nominated for a number of awards, including "Best RPG of 1996."
December 1996 Dragon Force is released for the Sega Saturn, and wins numerous year-end awards, including "Best Strategy Game" and "Best RPG" from a host of publications. (Dragon Force also makes the top-five lists of five editors in "The Great Saturn Send-Off" feature, posted to ZD's videogames.com web site in January 1999.)
December 1996 The Saturn RPG Albert Odyssey Gaiden is licensed from Sunsoft and localization work begins (which includes dropping Gaiden from the title).
December 1996 Lunar: Silver Star Story for the Sega Saturn, an update of the Sega CD classic, is licensed from Game Arts and scheduled for an October 1997 release.
April 1997 Working Designs taps into the growing "retro-gaming" genre and licenses Sega Ages, a compilation featuring three classic Sega arcade games: After Burner II, OutRun, and Space Harrier. The product is released for the Sega Saturn in June.
June 1997 Working Designs ships the Taito-developed shooter RayStorm, its first PlayStation product and its first game under the action-oriented "Spaz" brand label.
July 1997 Albert Odyssey is released for the Sega Saturn and is cited by Game Informer magazine as "The Funniest RPG Ever."
November 1997 Recognizing the rapid decline of the Saturn market in the United States, Working Designs reluctantly cancels the Saturn version of Lunar: Silver Star Story and transfers the project to the Sony PlayStation, on which the game can be enjoyed by many more gamers. The title is also changed to Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, as the PlayStation version contains exclusive features not found in the Sega CD or Saturn versions of Lunar.
January 1998 Working Designs releases the action/RPG Alundra, licensed from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (Japan), which breaks the 100,000-unit sales mark in just over a month.
January 1998 The PlayStation shooter/RPG Elemental Gearbolt is licensed from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (Japan).
February 1998 Working Designs licenses the PlayStation action/platform game Silhouette Mirage from Treasure, the Japanese development group which produced the legendary Genesis platformer Gunstar Heroes and several other classic titles.
March 1998 Alundra receives an award from Sony Computer Entertainment America for Best Overall PlayStation Packaging at the annual Publisher's Conference.
April 1998 Working Designs ships the Alundra Official Strategy Guide, the company's first-ever strategy guide, which features full-color pages, an offer for a free Alundra poster, and two sheets of Memory Card and character stickers-which are among the most impressive bonuses ever included with any strategy guide.
May 1998 Alundra receives the Best RPG award from Sony Computer Entertainment at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
July 1998 Working Designs announces its plans for the deluxe packaging of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, which include a music soundtrack CD, a "Making of Lunar" movie CD, a cloth map, and a hardbound art book/instruction manual. This is a first for any game in the console market.
August 1998 Elemental Gearbolt is released for the PlayStation and receives instant recognition for its unique combination of shooting and RPG elements.
November 1998 Thunder Force V, Working Designs' second "Spaz" product for the Sony PlayStation (and the latest in the cult-classic series of side-scrolling shooters from Technosoft), is released.
December 1998 Working Designs ships its final Sega Saturn product, Magic Knight Rayearth, which immediately sells out at retailers nationwide, as game-starved Saturn owners (and game collectors) eagerly snatch up the last Saturn game ever released in the U.S.
April 1999 Working Designs ships its first-ever PlayStation demo disc, the limited-edition Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete Demo CD, to gamers who have pre-purchased the game from Working Designs, Electronics Boutique, or Babbages/Software Etc.
May 1999 With anticipation for the product at a fever pitch, Working Designs ships Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete to retailers, where it quickly becomes the most successful title in the company's history; NPD/TRSTS sales reports declare Lunar the best-selling PlayStation game for the month of June 1999 and the fifth-best-selling game across all platforms. Lunar ends the year as the #2 PlayStation RPG, with sales trailing only the behemoth Final Fantasy VII.
May 1999 Working Designs announces two additional PlayStation titles at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles: Vanguard Bandits, a strategy/RPG title from Human Entertainment (the developers of Working Designs' earlier TG-CD title, Vasteel), and Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete, the obligatory follow-up to Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, with over an hour of animation and a host of gameplay improvements.
October 1999 In a revolutionary marketing move, Working Designs decides to voluntarily cease shipments of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete to stores on December 31, 1999, thereby turning the game into an instant collector's item. The advertising campaign announcing the decision stirs up controversy with its light-hearted mockery of game collectors who spend their time and money on the eBay auction web site, but the ads also spur a renewed interest in Lunar.
December 1999 Working Designs ships Silhouette Mirage with a host of improvements and features not found in the Japanese original, including a five-minute promotional video clip for Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete.
January 2000 Working Designs announces the most massive undertaking in company history: Arc The Lad Collection, featuring all three chapters in the Arc The Lad series, which were released as individual games in Japan, and which were the most popular Japanese RPGs never brought to the United States (until now). Arc The Lad Collection is scheduled for a first quarter, 2001 release.
March 2000 Working Designs makes a pair of announcements about the upcoming Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete. The first announcement details the game's revolutionary pack-in items: three game CDs, a "Making of Lunar 2" movie CD, a Lunar 2 soundtrack CD with arranged and expanded music, a paper map of the world of Lunar, four character mini-standees, and a full-size gold metallic replica of Lucia's Pendant, a beautiful necklace worn by the game's female protagonist. The second announcement regards the most revolutionary preorder premium ever distributed by a video game company: consumers who make a $20 deposit receive a free "punching puppet" of Ghaleon (the Lunar series' enormously popular anti-hero), with design work by Toshiyuki Kubooka, character designer for Lunar: SSSC and Lunar 2: EBC.
June 2000 Vanguard Bandits is released to a host of appreciative RPG fans. According to Game Informer magazine, "plenty of play and an intriguing story" make Vanguard Bandits "an excellent addition [to] the PS-X's strategy library."
July 2000 Ghaleon punching puppets arrive at Software, Etc. and Babbage's. Fans scurry to preorder Lunar 2: EBC so that they won't become "while supplies last" casualties.
August 2000 Working Designs announces the October 26 release of Gungriffon Blaze and Silpheed: The Lost Planet, its first two PlayStation2 titles. Both games, licensed from Game Arts, will be released on October 26, along with Sony's new PS2 console.
October 2000 RayCrisis is released for the Playstation. It is the final "SPAZ" game to be released, as the label is being retired in favor of a return to the "Working Designs Ultra Series" brand.
October 2000 Working Designs releases Gungriffon Blaze for the Playstation 2 launch. Silpheed: The Lost Planet is delayed in order to fix slowdown problems present in the Japanese release and to add analog support.
May 2001
Working Designs releases Silpheed: The Lost Planet for the PlayStation 2 after many months making the game up to Working Designs standards of excellence.

Working Designs Gameography
1 Parasol Stars Taito Corp. Action/Platform NEC TurboGrafx-16 May 1991
2 Cadash Taito Corp. Action/Platform NEC TurboGrafx-16 August 1991
3 Cosmic Fantasy 2 Telenet Japan RPG NEC TurboGrafx-CD September 1992
4 Exile Telenet Japan Action/RPG NEC TurboGrafx-CD October 1992
5 Dungeon Explorer II* Hudson Soft Action/RPG NEC TurboGrafx-CD May 1993
6 Elfaria** Hudson Soft RPG Super Nintendo Unreleased
7 King of the Monsters 2 Working Designs/SNK Action NEC TurboGrafx-16 Unreleased
8 World Heroes Working Designs/SNK Action/Fighting NEC TurboGrafx-16 Unreleased
9 Vasteel Human Entertainment Strategy/RPG NEC TurboGrafx-CD June 1993
10 Exile 2: Wicked Phenomenon Telenet Japan Action/RPG NEC TurboGrafx-CD July 1993
11 Lunar: The Silver Star Game Arts RPG Sega CD December 1993
12 Vay SIMS Co. RPG Sega CD July 1994
13 Popful Mail Sega of Japan Action/RPG Sega CD February 1995
14 Lunar: Eternal Blue Game Arts RPG Sega CD September 1995
15 Iron Storm Sega of Japan Strategy Sega Saturn April 1996
16 Shining Wisdom Sega of Japan Action/RPG Sega Saturn June 1996
17 Dragon Force Sega of Japan Strategy/RPG Sega Saturn December 1996
18 Sega Ages Sega of Japan Action/"Retro" Sega Saturn June 1997
19 RayStorm Taito Action/Shooter PlayStation June 1997
20 Albert Odyssey Sunsoft RPG Sega Saturn July 1997
21 Alundra Sony of Japan Action/RPG PlayStation January 1998
22 Elemental Gearbolt Sony of Japan Shooter/RPG PlayStation August 1998
23 Thunder Force V Technosoft Action/Shooter PlayStation November 1998
24 Magic Knight Rayearth Sega of Japan Action/RPG Sega Saturn December 1998
25 Lunar: SSSC Game Arts RPG PlayStation May 1999
26 Silhouette Mirage Treasure Action/Platform PlayStation December 1999
27 Vanguard Bandits Human Entertainment Strategy/RPG PlayStation May 2000
28 RayCrisis Taito Shooter PlayStation October 2000
29 Gungriffon Blaze Game Arts Action PlayStation 2 October 2000
30 LUNAR 2 Game Arts RPG PlayStation December 2000
31 Silpheed: The Lost Planet Game Arts Shooter PlayStation 2 May 2001

* Translation only; published by Hudson Soft.
** Translation only; scheduled to be published by Hudson Soft, but canceled.

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