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Elden Ring maker buys one of Japan's biggest board game companies

Arclight, a major importer and localiser of Western board games, has a new corporate owner.

A player character holds a lit torch to illuminate a dark dungeon tunnel in Elden Ring
Image credit: Bandai Namco

One of Japan’s largest board game publishers, Arclight, has been purchased by the same entertainment company that owns the maker of Elden Ring, Bloodborne and the Dark Souls video game series.

Arclight announced its purchase by Kadokawa Group in an April 26th press release (thanks, BoardGameWire) for an undisclosed amount, and a separate press release from Kadokawa Group simply mentions the purchase of stocks in the board game publisher with a long and storied history within Japan’s tabletop scene.

Kadokawa is currently valued at around $2 billion thanks to a massive portfolio of business in traditional publishing (magazines, books and manga), anime, cinema and video games - most notably owning FromSoftware and its mega-popular action RPG titles.

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Elden Ring skyrocketed the studio’s household name status and has led to a multi-part board game series currently in development by UK studio Steamforged Games, along with an official Japan-only tabletop RPG adaptation and - most recently - a webcomic announced back in February. As BoardGameWire mentions, this acquisition opens the door for other Kadokawa properties enjoying the tabletop adaptation treatment.

“Light novels, which now have a large readership, can also be said to be derived from analog games,” said Masayuki Aoyagi, Kadokawa’s chief publishing officer. “By welcoming Arclight, with whom we have been collaborating for many years, to our group, we aim to accelerate our analog game development business, discover new creators at game markets and expand our domestic analog games to the world through linkage with overseas game markets.”

Arclight organises the Tokyo Game Market and owns 32 Hobby Station retail locations in Japan, which sell trading card games and other titles. Since its inception in 1998, Arclight now imports and localises board games and other products from across the world, including Gloomhaven, Everdell, Root and Wingspan. It also helps new tabletop games travel in the other direction, most recently partnering with LionWing to localise Kedamono Opera for an English-speaking audience.

Arclight’s president Kohsuke Fukumoto said in the press release that he was “convinced that we could grow our business” by merging with Kadokawa, increasing the company’s ability to “expand overseas and link our business with IPs.”

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