Yes, a thousand people. More than that, actually. The teams behind Soul Calibur, Ace Combat, Tekken, Pac-Man, Tales, Naruto, Gundam and countless other Namco and Bandai videogames will be merged together to form the imaginatively named “Namco Bandai Studio”. Starting in April, this new entity will be in charge of managing all game development responsibilities, including for current franchises and the creation of new IPs. What does this mean for you, the average gamer? Probably not much, since consolidations like this are common, like when Tales Studio got fully absorbed last year.
HOWEVER, if you take into account Namco Bandai’s love of crossover-based collaboration, and the possibilities are infinite…and terrifying. Imagine a hypothetical Soul Calibur sequel, featuring guest fighters from the next Tales RPG, plus Tekken dudes, Pac-Man, Klonoa, Ridge Racer race queen Reiko Nagase, and Missile the Pomeranian from Ghost Trick “because them Capcom guys is good people”. Premium download content turns Nightmare’s Soul Edge sword into an Ace Combat fighter jet with an Idolm@ster-themed paint job. And it all uses the Ace Combat Assault Horizon slogan, “Make Metal BLEED.”
Best. Game. Ever.