Monolith Soft updates its official website every few months with a new count of total staff members. The last count was 261 employees in December, but it has since then jumped up to 272 as of April 2021.
Monolith was originally founded in 1999 by former Square developer Tetsuya Takahashi. Namco initially owned the studio until Nintendo acquired it in 2007. Since then, Monolith Soft has been one of Nintendo’s more prominent first-party development studios. While most fans know the company for the Xeno series, developers in Japan might know it more for the comfortable working environments it offers at its studios. For example, at the Kyoto studio, work starts at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Any overtime work is not accepted without permission from superiors.
However, Monolith Soft has always been a smaller company that hired few employees throughout the years. Perhaps it is to keep things tight-knit, but you can check out a timeline of Monolith Soft’s staff hires going back to 2017 to get a better idea:
Monolith Soft staff hires
- (Released Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in December 2017)
- December 2017 – 150 employees
- April 2018 – 163 employees
- August 2018 – 171 employees
- (Released Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country in September 2018)
- November 2018 – 184 employees
- January 2019 – 193 employees
- April 2019 – 209 employees
- June 2019 – 215 employees
- September 2019 – 224 employees
- December 2019 – 236 employees
- April 2020 – 248 employees
- (Released Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition in May 2020)
- August 2020 – 254 employees
- December 2020 – 261 employees
- April 2021 – 272 employees
It’s also worth noting that Monolith Soft provided development support on several key Nintendo Switch titles during the same period and earlier. Some of the titles that we know of include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The gaming industry is primarily dominated by men in Japan, as it is in most parts worldwide, but Monolith Soft has always had a higher proportion of female developers among its staff. According to the Monolith Soft website, the 272 employees currently working at the company are 27.6% female, and 72.4% are male as of April 1, 2021. The average age of the staff is 36 years.