Japanese studio Imageepoch - famous for its RPGs - has been in the news a lot recently. On the positive side, the company's latest 3DS title, Stella Glow, has been confirmed for a Western release by publisher Atlus. Less encouraging is the news regarding Imageepoch's president Ryoei Mikage, who went missing back in April. This month, his Twitter account was deleted. All of this occurred amid reports that Imageepoch had laid off staff, its office was up for rent and its telephone number had been disconnected.
Now, the inevitable has been confirmed - Imageepoch has been declared bankrupt.
The company - along with affiliate Smile Online Game - have reported debts of 1.1 billion Yen (roughly $11 million) and 3 million Yen ($30,000) respectively. Imageepoch's debt is spread across 43 different creditors while Smile Online Game's is owed to just 5.
It's been a fairly swift fall from grace for the company, which, back in 2011, made 1.751 billion Yen (roughly $17.5 million) in annual income. That figure dropped to 410 million Yen (approximately $4.1 million) by 2013, and since then the firm has fallen into progressively worse levels of debt. Imageepoch effectively stopped operating as a company back in November 2014, which would explain why services have been disconnected and the office is up for rent.
The Western launch of Stella Glow appears to be unaffected by this sad news, which is about the only positive you can take from this sorry situation. It's unlikely that Western sales of the 3DS RPG would have saved Imageepoch from the chopping block, but it's a shame that the company - and Mikage - won't be able to take much in the way of satisfaction, should it prove to be a hit in this part of the world.