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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. Nintendo does use Ape Inc. when referring to Creatures in financial documents.[1]

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.

Ape was disbanded after finishing EarthBound. On November 8, 1995, the company was reformatted by Nintendo into Creatures Inc., with Tsunekazu Ishihara as CEO, and consisting of former staff from Ape. The company would assist Game Freak in the final phases of the development of Pokémon Red & Green, and following the success of the series in the mid 90's, Creatures became an affiliate of The Pokémon Company, which itself is a joint venture by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures, now owning 1/3rd of the Pokémon franchise and is mainly in charge to supervise the management of Pokémon multimedia and spin-off titles. 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. Creatures is also known for developing the Pokémon Trading Card Game, as well as various Pokémon toys.

The company is still copyrighted as Ape in the Super Smash Bros. series when referencing EarthBound related content. Outside of video games, Ape also produced a line of official guidebooks for Nintendo, in co-operation with Nintendo and Shogakukan, which includes Encyclopedia Mother on October 1989.

Body of work

EarthBound games

Name System Year
EarthBound Beginnings NES 1989
EarthBound SNES 1994
Mother 1+2 Gameboy Advance 2003

Non-EarthBound games

Name System Year
Monopoly SNES 1993
Mario's Picross Gameboy 1995
Tamori's Picross SNES 1995
The Monopoly Game 2 SNES 1995

See also