Dillon's Rolling Western
Image: Nintendo

In some surprising news, it's been discovered Vanpool, the independent Tokyo-based development team behind the Dillon's Rolling Western series, has shut down.

As of 31st May 2023, the studio is no longer in operation. It shared an official statement on its website confirming this. Here's part of a translation:

"Vanpool Co., Ltd. will be dissolved on May 31, 2023. We have continued to develop games thanks to everyone's kindness, but due to various circumstances, we have decided to disband.

"We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the patronage we have received from all of you, and apologize for any inconvenience caused."

Vanpool was founded in the late '90s and featured former Love-de-Lic employees. It made a name for itself over the years assisting Nintendo and with a number of first-party titles. Some of these games included Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland and it co-developed Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash with Skip.

It's perhaps best known in more recent years for the Dillon's Rolling Western series on the 3DS, and for co-developing a number of Kirby titles on Nintendo Switch alongside HAL Laboratory. This includes the most recent release Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe.

If we hear any developments or updates, we'll let you know.

[source vanpool.co.jp]