Level-5 (company)

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Level-5 Inc.
Native name
株式会社レベルファイブ
Kabushiki gaisha
Industry Video game industry
Founded October 1998; 18 years ago (1998-10)
Headquarters Fukuoka, Japan
Key people
Akihiro Hino
(CEO and President)
Products Dark Cloud series
Professor Layton series
Inazuma Eleven series
Little Battlers Experience series
Yo-kai Watch series
Ni no Kuni series
Number of employees
280 (September 2015)
Website level5ia.com

Level-5 Inc. (株式会社レベルファイブ Kabushiki-gaisha Reberu Faibu?) is a Japanese video game developer and publisher based in Fukuoka, Japan, best known for their Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven, Ni no Kuni, and Yo-kai Watch franchises, among others. The company, which employs around 280 individuals, was founded in October 1998 by Akihiro Hino, after he departed from the now defunct Japanese developer Riverhillsoft.

Early in its history, the company enjoyed a close relationship with Sony Computer Entertainment, with many of its titles funded by and produced in conjunction with them. Starting in 2007, the company started self-publishing its titles in Japan, while Nintendo took over publishing on their systems internationally. In 2013, Level-5 was one of the ten largest video game companies in Japan, where it held a 3.2% market share.[1]

History[edit]

Level-5 was established in October 1998 by Akihiro Hino and his development team at Riverhillsoft, following the release of OverBlood 2 in 1998.[2] They had left so that they could continue to focus on creating 3D games. Since Hino did not originally believe that his team could become an independent developer, he formed a partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment, who would allow him to develop for their upcoming PlayStation 2 under the condition that he set up his own company.[2] The name, "Level-5", was a reference to Japanese school report cards, where "Level-5" is the highest possible mark. Soon after being created, the company had eleven employees.[2]

Level-5's first full-scale production was the action RPG Dark Cloud, developed under contract by Sony Computer Entertainment, originally for the Japanese launch of the PlayStation 2 in March 2000. However, it was delayed before the console's launch to allow further development, and eventually released in Japan in December 2000, and worldwide in 2001. Work immediately began on a sequel titled Dark Chronicle (Dark Cloud 2 in North America). While not as successful as the first game, Dark Chronicle still gained critical acclaim and sold over half a million units worldwide.[citation needed]

Midway through 2002, the company had a substantial boost in recognition as it began development on three high-profile titles:

In just four years, Level-5 went from small startup studio to one of the premier RPG developers in Japan, and have since enjoyed immense critical and commercial success. In early 2007, the company released its first fully self-funded and self-published title in Japan, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, which has since enjoyed incredible commercial success, shipping more than 840,000 copies to retail, and has officially transitioned Level-5 into both a developer and publisher of interactive video game entertainment in Japan.

Yasumi Matsuno, director of Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactics, and the Ogre Battle series, briefly joined Level-5 in June 2011,[3] who left the company after completing work on Crimson Shroud for the Nintendo 3DS.[4]

In October 2015, Level-5 founded a spin-off company in Santa Monica, California, in cooperation with Dentsu, called Level-5 abby. Its purpose is to develop multimedia entertainment for the western demographic.[5]

Roid service[edit]

In 2009, Level-5 launched its Roid (Revolutionary Original Ideas Discovery) service, a mobile phone application that serves as a content delivery platform for mobile games.[6] It is only compatible with NTT DoCoMo's i-mode mobile internet service in Japan. Users pay a monthly fee for access to exclusive games and social game functions. The platform debuted with six titles: Sloan and McHale's Mystery Story, Professor Layton and the Mansion of the Mirror of Death Remix, Chara Jo P, Yuuenchi wo Tsukurō Revolution, Treasure Island, and Elf the Dragon. The first three were developed by Level-5, while the last three were developed by outside companies.[6]

List of games[edit]

Title System Original release date JP NA EU AUS
Dark Cloud PlayStation 2 December 14, 2000 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dark Chronicle PlayStation 2 November 28, 2002 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King PlayStation 2 November 27, 2004 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rogue Galaxy PlayStation 2 December 8, 2005 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jeanne d'Arc PlayStation Portable November 22, 2006 Yes Yes No No
Professor Layton and the Curious Village Nintendo DS February 15, 2007 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box Nintendo DS November 29, 2007 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Inazuma Eleven Nintendo DS August 22, 2008 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nintendo 3DS
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future Nintendo DS November 27, 2008 Yes Yes Yes Yes
White Knight Chronicles PlayStation 3 December 25, 2008 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Paul Sloane & Des MacHale's Intriguing Tales[7] Nintendo DS May 21, 2009 Yes No No No
Professor Tago's Mental Gymnastics #1 and #2[7] Nintendo DS June 18, 2009 Yes No No No
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies[8] Nintendo DS July 11, 2009 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Paul Sloane & Des MacHale's Intriguing Tales 2[7] Nintendo DS September 3, 2009 Yes No No No
Inazuma Eleven 2[7][9] Nintendo DS October 1, 2009 Yes No Yes No
Nintendo 3DS
Professor Tago's Mental Gymnastics #3 and #4[7] Nintendo DS October 8, 2009 Yes No No No
Professor Layton and the Last Specter[7] Nintendo DS November 26, 2009 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Inazuma Eleven 3[8] Nintendo DS July 1, 2010 Yes No Yes No
Nintendo 3DS
White Knight Chronicles II[8][10] PlayStation 3 July 8, 2010 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ni no Kuni: Dominion of the Dark Djinn[8] Nintendo DS December 9, 2010 Yes No No No
Ni no Kuni: Hotroit Stories[8] Mobile phone December 9, 2010 Yes No No No
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask Nintendo 3DS February 26, 2011 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Danball Senki PlayStation Portable June 16, 2011 Yes No No No
Inazuma Eleven Strikers[11] Wii July 16, 2011 Yes No Yes No
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch PlayStation 3 November 17, 2011 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Little Battlers eXperience Boost PlayStation Portable November 23, 2011 Yes No No No
Inazuma Eleven GO[12] Nintendo 3DS December 15, 2011 Yes No Yes Yes
Inazuma Eleven Strikers 2012 Xtreme Wii December 22, 2011 Yes No No No
Girls RPG: Cinderellife[13][14] Nintendo 3DS March 8, 2012 Yes No No No
Ni no Kuni: Daibouken Monsters Mobile phone May 11, 2012 Yes No No No
Guild01 Nintendo 3DS May 31, 2012 Yes Yes Yes Yes
iOS
Little Battlers eXperience Nintendo 3DS July 5, 2012 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Time Travelers[15] Nintendo 3DS July 12, 2012 Yes No No No
PlayStation Vita
PlayStation Portable
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room iOS September 21, 2012 Yes Yes Yes No
Android
Little Battlers eXperience W PlayStation Portable October 18, 2012 Yes No No No
PlayStation Vita
Professor Layton and the Phantom Thieves iOS November 14, 2012 Yes No No No
Android
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney[15] Nintendo 3DS November 29, 2012 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Inazuma Eleven GO 2: Chrono Stone Nintendo 3DS December 13, 2012 Yes No Yes No
Inazuma Eleven GO Strikers 2013 Wii December 20, 2012 Yes No No No
Fantasy Life Nintendo 3DS December 27, 2012 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy[16] Nintendo 3DS February 28, 2013 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Guild02 Nintendo 3DS March 13, 2013 Yes Yes Yes No
Earth Devastating B-Grade Girlfriend Z: Space War iOS June 25, 2013 Yes No No No
Android August 12, 2013
Yo-kai Watch Nintendo 3DS July 11, 2013 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Little Battlers eXperience: W Super Custom Nintendo 3DS July 18, 2013 Yes No No No
Fantasy Life Link! Nintendo 3DS July 25, 2013 Yes No No No
Little Battlers eXperience: Wars Nintendo 3DS October 31, 2013 Yes No No No
Inazuma Eleven GO 3: Galaxy Nintendo 3DS December 5, 2013 Yes No No No
Yo-kai Watch 2 Nintendo 3DS July 10, 2014 Yes Yes No Yes
Yo-kai Watch Busters Nintendo 3DS July 11, 2015 Yes No No No
Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version[a] Wii U December 5, 2015 Yes No No No
Yo-kai Sangokushi[b] Nintendo 3DS April 2, 2016 Yes No No No
Yo-kai Watch 3 Nintendo 3DS July 16, 2016 Yes No No No
Fantasy Life Online iOS April 2017 Yes No No No
Android
The Snack World Nintendo 3DS April 2017 Yes Yes Yes Yes
iOS
Android
Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone's Conspiracy Nintendo 3DS 2017 Yes Yes Yes Yes
iOS
Android
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom PlayStation 4 2017 Yes Yes Yes Yes
True Fantasy Live Online Xbox Canceled N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ushiro PlayStation Portable Canceled N/A N/A N/A N/A

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Developed by Ubisoft
  2. ^ Co-developed by Koei Tecmo

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Market Data". Capcom. September 30, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Hino, Akihiro; Iwata, Satoru (2010). "Iwata Asks: Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracles, page 2". Iwata Asks. Nintendo of America Inc. Retrieved 2011-12-08. 
  3. ^ "How Yasumi Matsuno Ended Up at Level-5". 30 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "Yasumi Matsuno leaves Level 5". 8 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "LEVEL-5 abby Inc.". 
  6. ^ a b "Level-5's ROID Service Kicks Off Today -- Andriasang.com". 24 December 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Level-5 International America History & Products 2009". 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Level-5 International America History & Products 2010". 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  9. ^ "In shops now: Inazuma Eleven 2: Firestorm and Inazuma Eleven 2: Blizzard". 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  10. ^ "TGS 2009: White Knight Chronicles 2 Revealed". Kotaku. 
  11. ^ "今度の敵は未来から!? 『イナズマイレブン』感謝祭で映画版・Wii版・第4弾を発表 - 電撃オンライン" (in Japanese). News.dengeki.com. 2010-06-27. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  12. ^ "3DS Inazuma Eleven Due This Winter". 19 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Level-5 Bringing Mobile Hostess Sim to 3DS (andriasang.com, 10.20.2010)". 22 October 2010. 
  14. ^ "Girl's RPG Cinderelife - In Development". Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  15. ^ a b GUEST. "Level-5 Vision 2010 Live Blog (andriasang.com, 10.19.2010)". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  16. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (2011). "First Professor Layton Crosses One Million". Adriasang. Archived from the original on 2011-04-08. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 

External links[edit]