Bandai Namco, the Japanese video game publishing giant, has now revealed that it is working on a new development project, one that could see characters and settings from Dark Souls, Dragon Ball Z, and Elden Ring all collide in the metaverse, in a bid to allow fans to interact across its different IPs through a shared interface. The Tokyo-based publisher has stated that it will invest $130 million (roughly Rs. 980 crore) on the project, labelled “IP Metaverse”, as part of the company’s new mid-term plan, which outlines its three-year vision.
Bandai Namco made the announcement as part of its newly released mid-term plan spanning April 2022 to March 2025 with a document that draws an initial outline for what it’s calling its new “IP axis strategy” among other plans, including a new speech-bubble-inspired logo.
The “IP axis strategy,” the publisher says, is all about connecting fans and increasing the value of its properties, with the company planning to develop a metaverse for each of its IPs. Each IP metaverse will then form part of an interconnected universe known as the “ALL BANDAI NAMCO concept”.
“We are anticipating virtual spaces that will enable customers to enjoy a wide range of entertainment on an IP axis, as well as frameworks that leverage Bandai Namco’s distinctive strengths to fuse physical products and venues with digital elements,” the company said.
While the document doesn’t single out any specific IP for the metaverse plan yet, Bandai Namco has a wide range of potential candidates, including Dark Souls, the upcoming Elden Ring, the Dark Pictures Anthology, Soul Calibur, Pac-Man and other arcade classics, in addition to a number of licensed manga and anime games.
This project hopes to be a “new framework for connecting with fans” as well as “maximise IP value over the medium to long term” with the money going into “data foundation” and the “development of content.”
It is also worth noting that Bandai Namco holds the video game publishing licence for many non-video game IPs but does not own the IP itself. It is not certain that any of these licences extend outside the specific games published by Bandai Namco or whether the development of an “IP metaverse” even falls under the category of a video game. Until further details of the publisher’s project are chalked off, there’s no way to be sure just yet. If there are legal issues in the way, new deals may have to be made with all of these IP holders before Bandai Namco can put characters or locations from them in its “All Bandai Namco Concept.”