OverviewToaplan Co., Ltd. (株式会社東亜プラン) was a Japanese game development company headquartered in Suginami-ku, Tokyo, with their development office in Toshima-ku, Tokyo. The company was established in 1984 as the development division of arcade distributor Toa Kikaku, and was best known for their manic arcade shoot-'em-ups such as Truxton, Zero Wing, and Batsugun.
The studio's origins trace back to Shinjuku-based Orca, where much of the early Toaplan team met. Following Orca's bankruptcy in 1984, the development team established Crux. However, Crux itself soon faced bankruptcy, and the team again moved to Toa Kikaku, establishing their development division, Toaplan.
After a few minor releases, Toaplan's first big hit was Tiger-Heli, which was also the start of a long relationship with Taito, who distributed the game. This was followed up with a number of shooters, including Slap Fight, Sky Shark, and Twin Cobra. With the release of Hellfire in 1989, Toaplan had enough clout to begin releasing and distributing their arcade titles under their own name, and would soon after begin making forays into console development and publishing as well. The company also experimented in genres other than shooters, with titles like Wardner, Snow Brothers, and Knuckle Bash.
With shooters, particularly the high-difficulty, high-intensity titles Toaplan was famous for, waning in popularity by the mid-'90s, the company was hit hard financially and was forced to close in 1994. Former Toaplan staffers went on to establish a number of other studios, including CAVE, Takumi, Tamsoft, and Gazelle, while others found their way to other prestigious studios including Square and Taito. Many of these studios continued and built on Toaplan's history of manic shooting games.
TriviaA former unofficial website about the company was available at www.toaplan.com
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