The deal brings together GOEA, the U.S. division of Puzzle & Dragons maker GungHo in Japan, with Signal Studios, which made the action-strategy game Toy Soldiers and the free-to-play Ascend: Hand of Kul. The companies hope this combination will help an Asian company make inroads in North America.
For GungHo, expansion into the West is strategically important. In 2016, GungHo and its subsidiary app publishers generated more than $1.3 billion in worldwide revenue. But only about 3 percent of that came from outside of Japan, according to measurement firm Sensor Tower. The United States accounted for about an estimated $20 million of its total gross revenue from in-app purchases through the App Store and Google Play.
Puzzle & Dragons continued to be GungHo’s most successful title outside of Japan in the second quarter of 2017. That game generated about 41 percent of revenue for the quarter.
GungHo Online has had a huge hit in Puzzle & Dragons, which is a perennial top performer in Japan and has also generated a lot of downloads in North America. GungHo also recently published Grasshopper Manufacture’s hack-and-slash game Let It Die for the PlayStation 4.
“Our partnership with Signal Studios will add immense value to our company’s lineup of diverse and engaging experiences,” said Jun Iwasaki, the CEO and president of GungHo Online Entertainment America, in a statement. “Signal is among the most creative and passionate studios in the video games industry, and we look forward to collaborating with them.”
The companies didn’t say what the new mobile game will be. GungHo is providing resources to Signal Studios to make the title for global audiences. Signal Studios is based in Kirkland, Wash.
“Partnering with GungHo is an exciting move for Signal and accelerates our vision of bringing a triple-A mobile gaming experience to a global audience,” said D.R. Albright III, the president and creative director at Signal Studios, in a statement. “We believe GungHo’s leadership and experience in the industry will improve our accessibility to the market and help us reach new heights as a games studio.”