Vanpool, a Japanese game, software, and toy developer known for many collaborations with Nintendo, announced its closure today. While perhaps best known for the three games in the Dillon's Rolling Western series, they've had a hand in many Nintendo projects, contributing to Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and multiple Tingle games, among others. (At one point, they even had a Tingle horror game in the works, before that project was canceled.) Most recently they've been a support developer to HAL Laboratory on Kirby games, including Super Kirby Clash, Kirby Fighters 2, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe.
Their full history spans all the way back to 2001's Endonesia for the PlayStation 2 and includes more than twenty titles. No specifics were offered on why they closed, citing only "various circumstances" in the statement on their website. But I guess when you've worked so much with Tingle and Magolor over the years, there's bound to be some mischief behind the scenes.
It can be easy sometimes to overlook the smaller developers working alongside bigger names like Nintendo and HAL, but we salute Vanpool on their twenty-two-year run and are grateful for their contributions to so many games.
What are your favorite Vanpool titles? Prior to their days with Kirby, did you give Dillon a roll or go rupee-hunting with Tingle? Let us know in the comments!