Milestone Co., Ltd

Milestone.Inc was an independent Japanese development and publishing studio that was established on the 22nd of April 2003 in the Suginami-ku district of Tokyo, Japan. The studio specialised in the development of arcade titles in the shump genre that were then ported to a wide variety of home consumer systems.

Milestone’s main focus was their arcade titles which were all developed for the Sega Naomi arcade system either in cartridge or GD-Rom formats. Milestone ported the first three of their arcade titles to the Dreamcast due in part due to the ease of converting from the arcade Naomi system to the Dreamcast and because of the Dreamcast’s installed user base would be enough to see the company make profits from their ports.

Milestone found success not in just the arcade market but its ports to home consoles were equally successful and allowed the company to develop original console titles notably for the Nintendo DS system. In 2008 Milestone diversified their business interests by acquiring a subsidiary company based in Vietnam called MS Bio Energy Co.,Ltd which specialised in the bio-ethanol renewable energy market. Hiroshi Kimura Milestone’s founder and company president served as a representative for MS Bio Energy Co.,Ltd.

Unfortunately, Hiroshi Kimura & others involved with Milestone’s subsidiary company were arrested on the 5th of March 2013 for violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. Almost immediately after the subsequent arrests both Milestone & MS Bio Energy’s websites went offline and it spelled the end for both respective companies. Below is an online article from the Mainichi newspaper which details the case against Milestone’s president. Copyright THE MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS. All rights reserved.

http://web.archive.org/web/20130530121106/http://mainichi.jp/area/yamaguchi/news/20130306ddlk35040394000c.html

Milestone were prolific Sega Naomi developers with all their published arcade titles developed for the system. They were also among the last officially licensed Sega third party Dreamcast developers their sudden end is probably the strangest turn of events i’ve heard for a successful game development company becoming defunct almost overnight.

That wasn’t quite the end for Milestone’s intellectual properties as a small independent company called Klon Co., Ltd acquired & released various ports and reworks of Milestones Naomi arcade titles for the Nintendo 3DS and Mircosoft’s Xbox 360 system. All of the Milestone titles that Klon released are unfortunately considered to be inferior in some way to either the Naomi arcade or Dreamcast versions with differing levels of extra slowdown and framerate issues plaguing titles to dropping all the extras of the previous editions. In particular the Nintendo 3DS versions were heavily altered from the original versions making them play vastly differently.

Milestone ported its first three Naomi arcade titles to the Dreamcast. Their first title released for the system was カオスフィールド or Chaos Field which was released  on the 16th of December 2004 and had three separate editions to choose from.

The first was a standard retail edition sold in regular Japanese game stores which retailed for ¥4,800. Below i’ve linked to the official Chaos Field entry on Sega’s archive Dreamcast catalogue. ©2005 MILESTONE INC / © SEGA

https://web.archive.org/web/20071030184249/http://sega.jp:80/dc/041201/

Sega-Direct also distributed two exclusive editions the first of which was the standard edition of Chaos Field that came bundled with a special remix CD which featured four exclusive tracks. This version was released again on the 16th of December 2004 and retailed for ¥4,320. Below is the archived Sega Direct page relating to Chaos Field. Copyright (C) SEGA CORPORATION 1999-2004

https://web.archive.org/web/20041209232420/http://segadirect.jp:80/Catalog/CustomPages/CustomDetail2.aspx?File=chaosfield.htm

The second & final edition of Chaos Field that Sega-Direct released was an exclusive Dreamcast hardware set that included the limited edition of the game bundled with a refurbished Dreamcast system. This set was released on the 9th of February 2006 and retailed for ¥7,000 this particular set was limited to the month of February only. Linked to below is a Dengeki Online article about Sega-Direct’s refurbished Dreamcast hardware bundles. ©KADOKAWA CORPORATION 2014

http://dengekionline.com/data/news/2006/2/9/4a9a7b98db31dcb92feda4ee9efdaeed.html

To help promote the upcoming title Famitsu held a promotion were the first ten people who filled in a application form would receive a Chaos Field arcade poster. Below i’ve linked to the application entry which shows the poster in question. FAMITSU.com (C)KADOKAWA CORPORATION 2014

https://www.famitsu.com/present/gamepre/2004/09/17/631,1095429355,30936,0,0.html

Chaos Field is a vertical scrolling shoot-em up that differentiates itself from other genre titles on the Dreamcast by being almost a boss rush of sorts rather than the traditional smaller enemies & stage boss combination. Most of Chaos Field’s stages are taken up with your chosen ship engaging the stage filling boss while fighting off smaller craft sometimes reminiscent of engaging an armada.

Chaos Field’s main gameplay mechanic is based on risk reward. The game has two distinct phases the normal order field where the enemies shot patterns are less dense and has less scoring opportunities and the titular chaos field which turns the screen red and exclamatory increases both bullet patterns and difficulty but is easier to generate score multiplier opportunities.

By careful navigation of both fields will reward the combo meter staying filled and the generate high scoring runs. Chaos field is quite brutal in its execution learning how to manipulate the two fields is key not only for high scores but simply your survival.

While working on the Nintendo Gamecube conversion of Chaos Field Milestone announced that they were also working on their next arcade title known as ラジルギ. Below i’ve reproduced the announcement. ©2005 MILESTONE INC

あと、本日新しいプロダクトをお知らせする準備が整いましたので、プロダクト ページに掲載させていただきました。 そう、マイルストーンがお送りするシューティング第2弾は「ラジルギ」です! まだ詳しい情報をお伝えする準備が(上記の作業も並行して行っているため) できておりませんが、まずはスクリーンショットをご覧頂き、来月にはぜひ皆様に 試遊していただけるよう鋭意開発中で御座います。ぜひ引き続き本HPを随時ご覧 いただければ幸いです。何卒宜しくお願い申し上げます!

The game was released in arcades on the Naomi GD-Rom format in 2005 and a Dreamcast release subsequently followed a year later.

ラジルギ or Radirgy was to be the second game of three that Milestone published on the Dreamcast and like their previous title Chaos Field it too saw release in three different iterations.

The first version of the game was a standard retail version that was available in normal Japanese game stores. This was released on the 16th of February 2006 and retailed for ¥5,800. Radirgy would mark the end of Milestone releasing its titles in the standard jewel-case packaging. Below i’ve linked to the games official Dreamcast catalogue entry. ©2005,2006 MILESTONE INC./© SEGA

https://web.archive.org/web/20071030184304/http://sega.jp/dc/060201/

Sega-Direct again just like Milestone’s previous title released two exclusive editions for Radirgy. The first of which was the standard retail version of the game bundled with an exclusive Sega-Direct telephone card. this was released on the same date as the normal retail edition and retailed for the exact same price of ¥5,800. I’ve linked below to Sega-Direct’s entry for their exclusive telephone card bundle. ©2005,2006 MILESTONE INC./Copyright (C) SEGA CORPORATION 1999-2004

https://web.archive.org/web/20060109035441/http://segadirect.jp:80/Catalog/CustomPages/CustomDetail2.aspx?File=radirgy_dc.htm

The third and final Dreamcast release of Radirgy was another Sega-Direct hardware bundle which included the Sega-Direct edition of the game with a refurbished Dreamcast. This was available to purchase on the 16th of February 2006 and retailed for the reduced price of ¥10,000. Below i’ve linked to the archived Sega-Direct page about the exclusive Radirgy hardware bundle. ©2005,2006 MILESTONE INC./Copyright (C) SEGA CORPORATION 1999-2004

http://web.archive.org/web/20060111125912/http://segadirect.jp/Catalog/ProductDetail.aspx?SKU=0101002-00988&ST=PT&PT=DC&O=S&A=N

Radirgy was the start of Milestone adopting a cel shaded aesthetic for all their future Naomi titles. This was not the only difference between the previous title Chaos Field and Radirgy the later adopted a much more traditional style rather than being a hybrid boss rush that featured in Chaos Field.

Radirgy is initially quite confusing but its controls and systems are fairly easy to learn with a few credits. The main improvement is the story is intrinsically woven into the fabric of the game. The protagonist is actually allergic to radio-waves hence the games title. Radirgy is quite sedate in pace compared to Chaos Field but has a number of different systems to its gameplay. If you look past the graphics of the game the games scoring mechanic is quite advanced to initial impressions.

Milestone’s third Naomi arcade GD-Rom title was among the last to use the GD-Rom format as Sega phased it out instead opting to go back to releasing Naomi software on cartridges.

That title was カラス or Karous which like Milestone two previous titles had two separate releases. The first was a standard retail copy that could be acquired in Japanese game stores. This was released on the 8th of March 2007 and retailed for ¥5,800. Karous has a number of unique distinctions as it was the first Milestone title to be released in DVD packaging rather than the normal jewel-case design. The game is also well known as the last official third party title released for the Dreamcast. The link below is for the official Sega Dreamcast catalogue entry for Karous. ©2006,2007 MILESTONE INC./© SEGA

http://web.archive.org/web/20090820211831/http://sega.jp/dc/070301/home.shtml

Like the two preceding Milestone titles Sega-Direct had an exclusive variant of Karous available the game bundled with an exclusive telephone card design only available through Sega-Direct. This edition was released on the same day as the standard retail version of the game and for the same ¥5,800 price tag. Below you’ll find the link to the Sega-Direct archive site for Karous. ©2006,2007 MILESTONE INC./Copyright (C) SEGA CORPORATION 1999-2007.

https://web.archive.org/web/20070222150856/http://segadirect.jp:80/Catalog/CustomPages/CustomDetail2.aspx?File=karasu_dc.htm

While Karous was eagerly anticipated theres not much content relating to but it’s official site has been archived and is still navigable and has a wealth of information relating to the game i’ve linked to it below so you can see for yourself. Copyright(C)2006 MILESTONE INC. All Rights Reserved.

http://web.archive.org/web/20070210021923/http://www.mile-stone.co.jp/product/krs/krs_top.html

Karous refined the aesthetic cel shaded look of Radirgy and moved away from bright prime colours into a darker negative colour scheme of black highlighted by shades of grey and touches of white. I personally found the graphical style was a revelation moving away from the bright cartoon look to a foreboding sinister palette.

As well as the visuals the gameplay has been refined building on similar systems as Radirgy but here they work much better with the concepts of the scoring mechanic was better implemented than Milestone’s previous works.

Around the time of Karous release Milestone was preparing its next Naomi title and speculation was rife that it too would receive a port to the Dreamcast. Indeed, there was speculation that another publisher was interested in porting their Naomi title across to the Dreamcast. Unfortunately, this never came to pass with Sega finally abandoning the GD-Rom format in early 2007.

 

T-47801M Chaos Field (Sega-Direct edition)

 

Front

 

T-47801M Chaos Field front

T-47801M Chaos Field front

Back

T-47801M Chaos Field back

T-47801M Chaos Field back

 

Sega-Direct exclusive Chaos Field Special bonus soundtrack vol.2

 

Font

 

Chaos Field Special bonus soundtrack vol.2

Chaos Field Special bonus soundtrack vol.2

Back

Chaos Field Special bonus soundtrack vol.2 back

Chaos Field Special bonus soundtrack vol.2 back

 

T-47802M Radirgy (Sega-Direct edition)

 

Front

 

T-47802M Radirgy front

T-47802M Radirgy front

Back

T-47802M Radirgy back

T-47802M Radirgy back

 

Radirgy Sega Direct exclusive phone card

 

Radirgy Sega Direct phone card

Radirgy Sega Direct phone card

 

T-47803M Karous (Sega-Direct edition)

 

Front

 

T-47803M Karous front

T-47803M Karous front

Back

T-47803M Karous back

T-47803M Karous back

 

Karous Sega Direct exclusive phone card

 

Karous Sega Direct phonecard

Karous Sega Direct phonecard

 

SAMPLE COVERS

 

SAMPLE T-47801M Chaos Field

 

SAMPLE T-47801M Chaos Field cover. Around thirty titles used this style of sample there is also a top and bottom sample style which is far more uncommon.

SAMPLE T-47801M Chaos Field cover. Around thirty titles used this style of sample there is also a top and bottom sample style which is far more uncommon.

 

SAMPLE T-47802M Radirgy

 

SAMPLE T-47802M Radirgy cover. Around thirty titles used this style of sample there is also a top and bottom sample style which is far more uncommon.

SAMPLE T-47802M Radirgy cover. Around thirty titles used this style of sample there is also a top and bottom sample style which is far more uncommon.

 

SAMPLE T-47803M Karous

 

SAMPLE T-47803M Karous cover. The first and last Milestone title to be released in DVD style packaging. This style was the last sample cover type Sega issued.

SAMPLE T-47803M Karous cover. The first and last Milestone title to be released in DVD style packaging. This style was the last sample cover type Sega issued.

 

(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media

 

I’m not aware of any individual 非売品 discs for Milestones titles or expect anything to exist. The titles Milestone released were supported by other media and pre-order campaigns which i’ll list as comprehensively as i can.

As well as the Sega-Direct exclusive Chaos Field Special bonus soundtrack vol.2 an official soundtrack was released for the game by SuperSweep co.,ltd.

This official soundtrack has twelve tracks and its catalogue code is STRV-001 and it retailed for ¥2,500.

Radirgy also had an Original Soundtrack released by Scitron Digital Contents Inc.

This had thirteen tracks and first prints came with an exclusive sticker. This soundtrack was released on the 22nd of February 2006 and retailed for ¥2,000. The soundtrack’s catalogue code is SCDC-00508.

Radirgy also had at least one other pre-order exclusive and that was from Messe Sanoh. Radirgy pre-orders from them came with an exclusive Radirgy telephone card which depicts the three main heroines on it. I’ll endeavour to add this exclusive to the collection and will update the section once i have.

Karous has an Original Soundtrack “SPRING RAIN” released for the game by SuperSweep co.,ltd.

The Original Soundtrack has twenty-one tracks and it retailed at ¥2,625. Its catalogue code is SRCD-1001

Since Milestone became defunct a number of these soundtracks have been released or included in compilations Klon released some in support of their Xbox ports. While the general conciseness is that Klon’s handling of Milestone’s game software was poor the music releases that they published are the exact oppersite. The original Milestone composers directly worked on developing all the music released in support of Klon’s titles and i’d whole heartily recommend getting an album or two if the music suits your taste.

As always thank you for taking the time to read this entry on Milestone and the three Dreamcast titles. If you can contribute any information that i’ve might have missed please contact me through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s