From Koei Tecmo Wiki
Koei's current logo.

Koei Company, Limited (株式会社コーエー, Kabushiki-gaisha Koei) was a Japanese video game publisher and developer founded in 1978. It first found success as a video game company for its historical simulation titles, but gained popularity worldwide for their quasi-historical Warriors franchises.

A running trend in all of their games is having one of their characters say, "It is a glorious honor" or "It is an honor" (光栄です, Kōei desu), at one point in a game's own script.


Koei was originally an industrial chemical company established on July 25, 1978 by Yoichi Erikawa and his wife Keiko Erikawa in Imafuku-cho, Ashikaga City. It had been established a year after his family's rural dyestuffs business filed for bankruptcy. Yoichi was a student at Keio University at the time. He worked part-time during his late twenties to support the company, at one time being a clerk and working at a record store to pursue his interest in music.

For his birthday in 1980, Keiko gave her husband a Sharp MZ as a present. He was delighted by the device and became immersed in programming and computers. Yoichi actively pursued whatever he could to fuel his interests. By December the same year, he decided to reestablish Koei with his wife to be a computer game company. The company's first software was Kawanakajima no Tatakai, a cassette tape historical simulation game surrounding the battles at Kawanakajima. Several other titles were developed as time passed, eventually leading to the company's popularity in Japan. Adult games were produced during this period as well, although Yoichi at present will embarrassingly admit to being too adventurous in creating them.

Named after an anagram of the university where the founders had graduated from, the company became popularly known as a historical simulation creator when Nobunaga's Ambition, Genghis Khan, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms were released in rapid succession. Yoichi sought to express his interest in global history and created other games to depict his own interests. These historical simulations were considered revolutionary at the time of their release for having long, intricate presentations which greatly fueled the company's success.

Aside from historical simulations, Yoichi wanted to include his interests in table-top games and horseback riding. These ideas led to the Mahjong Taikai series and the Winning Post franchise, both of which enjoyed modest success in Japan. These games doubled as business simulators which appealed to his concept to "entertain and educate" with the company's products. His English Dream titles followed the idea more literally.

The company's interest in merchandising began during the mid-1980s when they first sold guidebooks and comics. Yoichi even authored books himself to further explain historical or fantasy subjects which had garnered his interest. Koei officially opened its own publishing business in 1988 after the establishment of their overseas subsidiary KOEI Corporation in California. When light novels became popular in the late 2000s, the company took advantage of this trend by opening its GAMECITY Bunko label which lasted for up to two years.

In 1994, the first Angelique game was released to the video game market. It is widely known as the first game to be created by women and for women, and is regarded as the progenitor of the otome game genre. Angelique also started the company's other focus to cater to female audiences, something which most video game companies were not committed to doing at the time. Keiko is a strong believer in marketing towards women, thus leading to the creation of the Neoromance series in Japan.

During the late 90s, developers of the company sought to break the mold of its own reputation as a simulation creator. They created the sub-division known as Omega Force with the primary objective of developing action titles. They first created two fighting games, an action-adventure game, and a shooting game which had modest success overseas. The team's leap to popularity happened when Dynasty Warriors 2 was released for the PlayStation 2. It was considered ground-breaking for its time and eventually led to the creation of the Warriors franchise. From an international perspective, Koei is best known today for making several of these hack-and-slash titles for collaborative IPs or different historical settings.

After officially merging with Tecmo in 2009, the company rebranded itself as Koei Tecmo. The Koei side of the company continued to serve as the main face until being fully integrated to improve the development team's overall efficiency. For its overseas branches, it had used the name Tecmo Koei Games before changing it for consistency. Much of its English-speaking services ended on 2012 only to be revived in 2016 upon the release of Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII.


The company's namesake is derived from the phrase or prayer, "Let success and prosperity shine on this company" (光り栄える会社に). The alphabetical notation was originally KOEY, though the last letter had been replaced with an I when the founder realized foreign customers had a hard time pronouncing it.

  • 1978~1984 - KOEY My Comsystem or KOEY Micom System (光栄マイコンシステム); abbreviated as KOEY
  • 1984~1998 - KOEI (光栄)
  • 1998~2009 - Koei (コーエー)


Subsidiary Companies

  • Koei Games Co., Ltd. - Established in July 25, 1978. Responsible for planning, development, and sales of game software, CDs, printed materials, and other goods.
    • Koei America Corporation - Established in January 1988 at North America; located in California, United States. Used to produce game software under the leadership of Stieg Hedlund, but ended up focusing more on localization, sales, and marketing after his departure.
    • Tianjin Koei Software Division - Established in August 1988 at Asia; located in Tianjin, China. Involved with development of game software.
    • Beijing Koei Software Division - Established in September 1992 at Asia; located in Beijing, China. Involved with development of game software.
    • Koei Korea Corporation - Established in January 2000 at Asia; located in Seoul, South Korea. Responsible for localization, sales, and marketing of game software.
    • Taiwan Koei Co., Ltd. - Established in November 2000 at Asia; located in Taipei, Taiwan. Responsible for localization, sales, and marketing of game software.
    • Koei Canada, Inc. - Established in June 2001 at North America; located in Toronto, Canada. Used to produce game software, but got shut down in March 2013.
    • Koei Limited - Established in August 2002 at Europe; located in London, United Kingdom. Responsible for localization, sales, and marketing of game software in Europe.
    • UAB Koei Baltija - Established in October 2003 at Europe; located in Vilnius, Lithuania. Involved with development of game software.
    • Koei Entertainment Singapore Pte. Ltd. - Established in August 2004 at Asia; located in Singapore. Involved with development of game software.
    • Koei France SAS - Established in January 2005 at Europe; located in France. Served as a secondary company for localization, sales, and marketing of game software in Europe.
  • Koei Music Co., Ltd. - Established in October 1989. Responsible for the creation of music used in game sofrware.
  • Koei Ad Co., Ltd. - Established in September 1991. Responsible for the creation of advertisements used to market game software.
  • Koei Net Co., Ltd. - Established in July 3, 1992 as Koei Soft. The subsidiary was renamed in December 1997 after Nippon Dexter Co., Ltd. had been acquired by Koei. Responsible for distribution and sales of PC software, home video games, and peripheral devices.
  • Koei Capital Co., Ltd. - Established in December 1995. Responsible for overseeing the company's investments and capitalist ventures.
  • Koei Liv Co., Ltd. - Serves as the company's foray into real estate management.
  • Ergosoft Co., Ltd. - Served as a subsidiary from 1993 to 2009.

Product Features


Back in the day, the price of Koei's titles were usually higher than those of their rivals due to Keiko Erikawa's belief that her husband had put his heart and soul into making them. As the company's products became available on Windows 95, older titles began to be sold at discount prices.


Koei would often sell audio CDs containing arranged tracks of their games' music separately or as a bonus alongside the corresponding title. This practice soon ended once CD-ROMs became the main medium.

Power-Up Kits & Expansions

In the late 90s, the company created expansion packs for many titles in order to prolong their shelf life with consumers. They would often include various enhancements and necessary changes. This practice continues to persist in the present day.

Anti-Piracy Measures

From 2004 to 2005, a network authentication system was implemented to discourage piracy on the company's PC titles. However, it had been eschewed entirely due to the need of having a consistent internet connection which not many customers had at the time. On another note, those with pirated or second-handed products would not be able to download update patches necessary for fixing bugs or glitches.

Voice Acting

For most of their games, Koei generally prefers hiring Japanese voice actors from Aoni Production and English ones from Voicegroup, Inc., though they have been known to employ talent elsewhere.


Gamecity's current logo.

Introduced since 2000, Gamecity started out as an online service for fans of Koei, offering them a variety of options to make use of.

  • Information Center (インフォメーションセンター) - Served as the site's main hub and contained a brief explanation of each option offered at the time. Later phased out in 2002.
  • Registration Center (レジストレーションセンター) - Enabled consumers to register as official members of the site, giving them the privilege of using exclusive content. It was later integrated into the Members Salon page in 2002.
  • Post Office (ポストオフィス) - This part of the site provided greeting services using email. It allowed fans to send HTML emails using their favorite image or interact with Gamecity's chosen mayor. Later phased out in 2002.
  • Game Plaza (ゲームプラザ) - Allowed consumers to download both paid and free PC games. Also introduced new titles from time to time.
  • Joy Palace (ジョイパレス) - Offered miscellaneous forms of entertainment like fortune telling.
  • Museum (ミュージアム) - This section was intended to feature information and visual data concerning the game's various titles. However, it had since been omitted in later iterations of the site.
  • Koei Fan Club (コーエーファンクラブ) - An exclusive section of the site where members were able to interact with one another via bulletin board and use a number of exclusive services or products. The annual membership fee was ¥1,000. Players had the opportunity to beta test some of the company's online titles or download trial versions of PC games. It was later integrated into the Members Salon page in 2002.
  • Shopping Mall (ショッピングモール) - This was where visitors mail ordered games or bought downloadable titles. Members automatically received a 5% discount service for any purchases made. It had since been replaced with the Online Shopping page in 2002.
  • Koei Catalog (コーエーカタログ) - Added in 2002. Featured a catalog of games sold by the company. Also included news information on the company's multiple successes and achievements.
  • Online Shopping (オンラインショッピング) - Added in 2002. Included a variety of goods including fan merchandise like books and CDs.
  • Net Entertainment (ネットエンターテインメント) - Added in late 2002. Served as a portal site to Koei's online games like Nobunaga no Yabou Online and enabled players to start new accounts. Also contained information on patch updates and bug fixes.
  • Members Salon (メンバーズサロン) - Added in late 2002. This particular page provided news information on events involving the company and its numerous IPs. Aside from offering existing options like the Koei Fan Club, it also featured troubleshooting services and frequently answered questions.



See Also

External Links