Madou Monogatari is a dungeon-crawler series created by Compile. The early, first-person-based entries in the series are notable for having almost no visible numerical stats; the amount of damage inflicted and received during battle is solely determined by the player character's spoken responses and facial expressions. The characters and setting of this series were used to create a puzzle spinoff named Puyo Puyo, which would go on to overtake the Madou Monogatari series in popularity. The two series were divorced following Compile's closure, after which no new Madou Monogatari games were developed until Sei Madou Monogatari more than ten years later.
Madou Monogatari debuted in Compile's MSX2 demo-disk/disc-magazine hybrid "Disc Station" with the release of Madou Monogatari Episode II Carbuncle in December 1989. The following year saw the release of Madou Monogatari 1-2-3, a 3-in-1 package of first-person dungeon-crawlers that chronicle the adventures of Arle Nadja. The game was ported to the NEC PC-98 in November 1991, mere weeks after the release of the first Puyo Puyo.
There were no new Madou Monogatari games created in 1992; instead, Compile partnered with Sega to create an arcade game based on Puyo Puyo. Madou Monogatari ARS, the second game in the Madou Monogatari series, was released in December 1993; additionally, Sega published ports of the three chapters of 1-2-3 on their Game Gear handheld.
Compile and Sega released Puyo Puyo Tsu, the most successful game in that series, in 1994. After Tsu's success, Compile shifted its focus to Puyo Puyo; releases in the Madou Monogatari series were mostly limited to remakes/reimaginings of Madou Monogatari I and small games in the Windows 95 editions of the "Disc Station" magazine. However, Compile's future offerings did not perform well enough to compensate for the growth that it underwent following Tsu's success, and thus the company restructured in 1998. One final Madou game was released after this restructure: a traditional RPG simply titled Madou Monogatari.
Compile finally collapsed in 2002. Sega, who received the Madou Monogatari characters rights in the 1998 restructure, would purchase the rights to the Puyo Puyo series. On the other hand, the rights to the games themselves, as well as the Madou Monogatari name, were eventually obtained by D4 Enterprise. D4 created no new console or handheld entries in the series, instead porting Madou Monogatari 1-2-3 to cell phones.
In 2012, Compile Heart announced Sei Madou Monogatari, a roguelike game slated to be released in March 2013. This game handles the character rights issue by creating new characters with the personality traits of their Sega-owned equivalents. D4 is credited by Compile Heart, implying that they still have some ownership of the series.