The company was founded as Arsys Software by former Technosoft staff members Osamu Nagano and Katsunori Yoshimura on 11 November 1985. They were primarily involved in personal computer game development, having previously created the original Thunder Force (a 1983 free-scrolling shooter game) and Plazma Line (a 1984 space racing game considered the first computer game with 3D polygon graphics) at Technosoft. Arsys Software's music composer was Toshiya Yamanaka.
See also: Star Cruiser series
In 1986, Arsys debuted with the 3D role-playing shooter Wibarm. It is considered the first 3D role-playing shooter, combining elements of run & gun shooters, top-down shoot 'em ups, and real-time action role-playing games. The game featured open-world exploration as well as 3D polygonal graphics inside buildings. It was followed by the free-roaming adventure game Reviver: The Real-Time Adventure in 1987.
In 1988, they released the 3D first-person shooter role-playing game Star Cruiser, a fully 3D role-playing shooter that anticipated the first-person shooter genre, years before Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. In addition to the first-person shooter combat, Star Cruiser also featured open-world exploration with six degrees of freedom as well as visual novel cut-scenes.
In 1989, they released some of the most technically sophisticated home video games of the 1980's, for the Sharp X68000 computer. One was Knight Arms: The Hybrid Framer, part third-person rail shooter and part side-scrolling platformer, featured some of the most advanced pseudo-3D sprite-scaling seen on a home system of the 80's. The other was an enhanced port of Star Cruiser, which took advantage of the X68000's powerful hardware to produce the most advanced 3D polygon graphics seen on a home system of the 80's. In 1990, Star Cruiser was eventually ported to Sega's Mega Drive (Genesis) console.
When Star Cruiser was released in 1988, the company only had two employees, which grew to a dozen employees by 1991, when development began on Star Cruiser 2, which was eventually released in December 1992 for the NEC PC-9821 and FM Towns computers. By 2001, the company had reduced to three employees.
In addition to its own products, they also ported games to Japanese computer platforms, such as Prince of Persia and several SystemSoft games. In 1989, they ported Prince of Persia for Japanese computers. They also contributed to the development of several games from other companies, such as the 1992 combat flight simulator arcade game Air Combat and Sony Computer Entertainment's 1997 racing simulator Gran Turismo. They also released the chiptune video game music soundtrack album Arsys Best Selection (アルシス・ベストセレクション) in 1990. The company eventually closed down in 2001.
Arsys Software won the following awards from leading Japanese computer publications at the time:
- Oh!MZ (Oh!X) - Game of the Year
Reviver: The Real-Time Adventure (1987)
Star Cruiser (1988)
Knight Arms: The Hybrid Framer (1989)
- LOGiN - Game of the Year
- Oh!X - Game of the Year