BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc. (株式会社バンダイナムコエンターテインメント, Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.), formerly named BANDAI NAMCO Games Inc., stylized as "NAMCO BANDAI Games" "NBGI" "BNEI", is an arcade, mobile and home video game developer and publisher based in Japan. It is a merger between the video game divisions of Bandai and Namco.
Bandai was conceived in the late 1940s as a division of a textile wholesale business, focused on development and distribution of toys. It officially spun off into an independent company on July 5th, 1950, after which it rose to fame as a world leader in the toy and prize machine industries, as well as achieving modest success in publishing video games throughout the 1980s and 1990s, with their most dominant titles being licensed games of several manga, anime, and television programs. Bandai is also well-known for its digital pet franchises Tamagotchi and Digimon.
Namco was formed on June 1st, 1955 as a developer of coin-operated amusement machines before fully shifting development into video games with its acquisition of Atari Japan in 1974. Along with publishing Atari-developed games in Japan, Namco would start producing their own franchises. To many, Namco is best known as one of the most prolific publishers of the "golden age" of video games, producing arcade hits such as Galaxian, Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Mappy, Rally-X, and The Tower of Druaga. Later successes of theirs include Ridge Racer, Tekken, Ace Combat, the Tales series, Klonoa and Taiko no Tatsujin.
The merger between the two companies was officially made on March 31st, 2006. Both companies cited advancements in technology and declining birth rates in Japan as reasons for the merge, requiring them to remain relevant in the modern age. In its current form, the company is known for developing RPG games like the Tales series, fighting games such as the Tekken and Soulcalibur series, and numerous licensed games based on manga and anime franchises such as those from Weekly Shōnen Jump.
Bandai Namco is the head developer for Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, along with Sora Ltd.. Several items and characters from some of Namco's games, such as Galaga and Rally-X, appear in SSB4 and Ultimate. A full list of Namco properties represented in Smash can be found here.
Outside of Super Smash Bros., Bandai Namco has made several games in collaboration with Nintendo, such as the Mario Baseball series, the Donkey Konga series, Star Fox Assault, the Mario Kart arcade games (in addition to assisting with 8 and Tour), New Pokémon Snap, and Pokkén Tournament, a Tekken-like fighting game featuring playable Pokémon as fighters.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Pac-Man was considered as a playable fighter, but was abandoned early in development. Though no content from Namco original properties is present in this game, content from Star Fox: Assault, a Namco developed game, first appears in this game.
The Donkey Konga series, also developed by Namco, receives representation through Donkey Kong's Final Smash, Konga Beat, as well as three stickers: Dixie Kong from Donkey Konga 2, and Funky Kong and Cranky Kong from Donkey Konga 3 (referred to in-game as Donkey Konga 3 JP).
Mario Superstar Baseball, another Namco developed game, also received content via several stickers.
In Super Smash Bros. 4
Bandai Namco was selected by Masahiro Sakurai to be the lead developer of the 3DS and Wii U version alongside Sora Ltd. Bandai Namco's mascot, Pac-Man, appears as a playable character. Pac-Man can also make characters and items from other Namco series appear by using his up taunt, Namco Roulette, and his neutral special, Bonus Fruit. The Ghosts appear as an Assist Trophy rather than a stage hazard. Boss Galagas, a type of enemy in Namco's Galaga series, as well the Special Flag, a collectible from numerous Namco games, also appear in Super Smash Bros. 4 as items. 11 music tracks from various Namco games appear, along with numerous trophies. Mii Fighter costumes based on Heihachi Mishima of the Tekken series, Lloyd Irving of the Tales series, and Gil from The Tower of Druaga are available as downloadable content.
Very early in the conceptual phase for SSB4, Sakurai briefly contemplated the inclusion of other Namco characters, but he made the decision to go with Pac-Man only almost immediately. In particular, he named Tekken's Heihachi as a character who came to mind, but wrote him off as his complex moveset would have been too difficult to effectively translate to Smash Bros.
The 3DS version features the stage Pac-Maze, which essentially simulates a game of Pac-Man, allowing each player to collect Pac-Dots and Power Pellets, run from and chase Ghosts. It even saves their high score and displays it at the top of the screen. Some trophies appear exclusively on 3DS.
In the Wii U version, the stage Pac-Land appears, based on the arcade game of the same name. Some trophies and their corresponding Trophy Boxes appear exclusively on Wii U. The NES version of Pac-Man appears as a Masterpiece.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Bandai Namco returns as lead developer alongside Sora Ltd. Pac-Man returns from the previous game as a playable fighter. Pac-Land returns from the Wii U version, while the Boss Galaga and Special flag items return, along with the Ghost Assist Trophy. 11 new and old music tracks from various Namco games (now all under the Pac-Man category) appear alongside numerous spirits. Mii Fighter costumes based on Heihachi Mishima of the Tekken series, Gil from The Tower of Druaga, and Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia are available as downloadable content. As part of Fighters Pass Vol. 2, Kazuya Mishima from the Tekken series appears as a new fighter as part of Challenger Pack 10, which also includes the Mishima Dojo stage, as well as several music tracks and spirits from the Tekken franchise.