Monolith Soft, Incorporated or MLSI is a Japanese developer founded on October 1, 1999 and located in Tokyo, Japan. The company was founded by producer Hirohide Sugiura after he left Square Co. and accepted an investment from Namco. They employ as many as 108 people. As of May 6, 2007, Nintendo owns controlling interest in the company after Namco Bandai sold 80% of its 96% stake in Monolith Soft to Nintendo. This went into effect May 1, 2007. It is now a first-party developer for Nintendo.
Motto: "Zero overtime and creative work allowed."
From the company's inception, Takahashi and Sugiura wanted to give creative freedom to pursue projects outside genre standards, in addition to hiring young staff. Kojima stated that younger developers were preferred as they could bring interesting ideas to a project. According to Sugiura, a major element during the period in which Monolith Soft was under Namco was the focus on creativity. They wanted to balance this with the financial logistics of game design rather than having budgetary concerns stifle the creative flare of the staff. Speaking about the move from Namco Bandai to Nintendo, Sugiura commented that Nintendo had increased quality control, which would moot any project that did not have the desired quality for their systems.
Rather than a fixed development structure, Monolith Soft chooses to freely assign staff based on the direction a project takes, in addition to believing in collaborations with other companies on projects rather than developing entirely in-house. According to a 2012 interview with Takahashi, a prerequisite for working at Monolith Soft is a deep passion for games in addition to general knowledge outside the field. Monolith Soft strives for a friendly working environment and reasonable hours for its staff. Overtime is also negotiated with the management and receives payment, a rarity in Japanese business. Despite the gaming industry's workforce being dominated by men, Monolith Soft has a notably high proportion of female developers working at the company, with around a quarter of its workforce in total.