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Koei Co., Ltd.
Founded 1978-07-25
Headquarters Imafuku-cho, Ashikaga City, Japan
Website koei.co.jp
Other Names ㈱光栄 (Koei Co., Ltd.)

Koei (株式会社コーエー) was a prolific Japanese game developer who had been making games for over 20 years. The company originally started out as a chemical company founded by Yoichi Erikawa and his wife Keiko, but after programming Nobunaga's Ambition, his employees liked the game and so Yoichi decided to turn the company into a game development studio. The company primarily focused on developing strategy games, many of which evolved into successful video game series such as Bandit Kings of Ancient China (AKA Suikoden), Romance of the Three Kingdoms (AKA San Goku Shi), and Uncharted Waters (AKA Daikoukuu Jidai). The company was also responsible for their mahjong games such as the Mahjong Taikai series with Chat Noir, which was only released in Japan.

In their earlier days (throughout the 8-bit and 16-bit era), the company never put credits in any of the games they worked on, save for a credit for Yoichi Erikawa under various pseudonyms (Eiji Fukuzawa and Kou Shibusawa for example). As a result, it is very difficult to know who exactly composed most of their games at the time. However, the company would hire professional musicians to compose the music to most of their games, and as a result, they are listed on the back packaging of the Japanese versions of some of these games, listed as a selling point. Some of these musicians included Yoko Kanno, Akira Ishiguro, and Michiru Ohshima. Even then, their compositions were converted into data by Koei's sound programmers, most of which are unknown due to the company's lack of credits.

In the early days of their game development, they would often release soundtrack CDs for most of their games called Soundware.

In 2009, the company merged with Tecmo to create Tecmo Koei Games. However, when Koei absorbed Tecmo, the company names were switched, making it Koei Tecmo Games. Besides their main office in Japan, Koei also had a few subsidiaries including Koei Canada and Koei Limited, the European division. In 1988, Koei had established a branch in North America, Koei America Corporation. The company mainly focused on localization, but had also developed a few games of their own such as Liberty or Death and Gemfire. The company also had an internal development team, Omega Force, which developed the Dynasty Warriors series.

The company's kanji name that they used in their earlier days, 光栄, is the Japanese word for Honor.


Audio Development


The company started out with a standard sound driver, presumably by Yoichi Erikawa. Later, the company used a better fidelity sound driver by an unknown programmer. If it was developed in-house, it may have been written by Toshiyuki Tabata, who programmed the company's PC-9801 sound driver. If it was outsourced, it may have been done by Chat Noir.


Like most other developers, Koei used their own variants of Nintendo's Kankichi-kun driver. However, they also used their own variants of Opus' DBOOT sound driver.


Most of Koei's PC-9801 games utilized an OPN driver programmed by Toshiyuki Tabata. His name can be found in the disk images for these games, which show that many versions of the driver were used from version 3.05 to version 4.13. It is possible Tabata programmed the drivers for Koei's other consoles. It is most likely he programmed their Genesis and DOS drivers, due to the identical sounds of each.

It sounds like the music was originally written as a MIDI file or some sequence, which was then converted to the sound driver, based on the off timing of some notes.


Some of their games used MIDI files. It is unknown what sequencer the unknown composers used, but it may have been Recomposer. Top Management II uses MIDI files XOR-encrypted as KOB files. This may suggest the encryption was done by someone with the surname Kobayashi.

Audio Personnel

Picture Gallery