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Ape logo.jpg

Ape Inc. was a subsidiary of Nintendo. It was known for making the EarthBound series, as it was the developer of first two games in the series. It was founded in March of 1989 with Shigesato Itoi as the chief executive officer and CEO, along with other staff such as Tsunekazu Ishihara and Hirokazu Tanaka.

Today, the company is now known as Creatures Inc. who owns a large share of the Pokémon franchise.

84 people work at the Creatures as of November 2015.


Ape Inc. was founded as a subsidiary of Nintendo in March of 1989 with the express purpose of developing the original Mother title. Then-president of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi, organized the creation of the development studio after receiving Shigesato Itoi's proposal for an RPG set in contemporary times. Itoi was set as the C.E.O. and director of the project, alongside staff such as Tsunekazu Ishihara and Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka. Once the Mother project was completed in July of '89, early prototypes and general concept work for the sequel began. During this period Ape primarily served to assist other developers on separate projects.

The five-year long development period of Earthbound led to numerous threats of cancellation, which eventually resulted in Satoru Iwata of HAL laboratory voluntarily joining the project. Under Iwata's instruction, the entire base code of Earthbound was scrapped and the development began anew under his supervision, with the smaller HAL team working on just the programming and the larger Ape side of the project focusing on specific features of the game, such as dialogue, enemy data, area maps, etc. The two sides of the team would meet biweekly at HAL's office.

Creatures Inc. was established on 8 November 1995, with Tsunekazu Ishihara as CEO, and consisting of former staff from Ape. Creatures is also known for developing the Pokémon Trading Card Game, as well as various Pokémon toys.

Body of work

Name System Year
EarthBound Beginnings NES 1989
Monopoly SNES 1993
EarthBound SNES 1994
Mario's Picross Gameboy 1995
Tamori's Picross SNES 1995
The Monopoly Game 2 SNES 1995
Mother 1+2 Gameboy Advance 2003

Future of the company

The company was disbanded after finishing EarthBound. On November 8, 1995, the company was reformatted by Nintendo into Creatures Inc., which would assist Game Freak in the final phases of the development of Pokemon Red & Green. With the explosive success of the Pokemon series in the mid 90's, Creatures was re-purposed to supervise the management of Pokemon multimedia and spin-off titles, and is now controls 1/3rd of the Pokémon franchise. Hirokazu Tanaka would become president of the company shortly thereafter, and assist in the finance and development of the Game Boy Camera peripheral that saw release in early 1998.

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