Level-5 (company)

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Level-5 Inc.
Native name
Kabushiki gaisha Reberu Faibu
Kabushiki gaisha
IndustryVideo games
FoundedOctober 1998; 22 years ago (1998-10)
HeadquartersFukuoka, Japan
Key people
Number of employees
300 (2020[1])

Level-5 Inc. is a Japanese video game developer and publisher based in Fukuoka. The company was founded in October 1998 by Akihiro Hino after he departed from the now defunct Riverhillsoft. Early in its history, the company enjoyed a close relationship with Sony Computer Entertainment, with many of its games then funded by and produced in conjunction with them. Starting in 2007, the company started self-publishing its games in Japan, with other companies such as Nintendo handling publishing on the relevant platforms internationally. In more recent years, their games have been self-published. The company is best known for their Dark Cloud, Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven, Ni no Kuni, Yo-kai Watch, and Snack World franchises.


Level-5 was established in October 1998 by Akihiro Hino and his development team at Riverhillsoft, following the release of OverBlood 2.[3] 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.[3] 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.[3]

Level-5's first full-scale production was the action role-playing game Dark Cloud, developed under contract by Sony Computer Entertainment. Intended to be a launch game for the Japanese release of the PlayStation 2, it was delayed before the console's launch in March 2000 to allow further development, eventually being 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 games:

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 game 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,[4] who left the company after completing work on Crimson Shroud for the Nintendo 3DS.[5] By the early 2010s, Level-5 was one of the ten largest video game companies in Japan, holding a market share of 3.2%.[6] In October 2015, Level-5 founded a spin-off company in Santa Monica, in cooperation with Dentsu, called Level-5 abby. Its purpose is to develop multimedia entertainment for Western demographics.[7]

In October 2020, it was reported that the company's North American operations, including its subsidiary Level-5 Abby, had been shut down.[8]

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.[9] 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 games: 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.[9]

List of games[edit]

All games were developed and/or published by Level-5 unless otherwise noted

Game Platform(s) Initial release date
Dark Cloud[a] PlayStation 2 December 14, 2000
Dark Chronicle[a] PlayStation 2 November 28, 2002
Dragon Quest VIII[b] PlayStation 2 November 27, 2004
Rogue Galaxy[a] PlayStation 2 December 8, 2005
Jeanne d'Arc[a] PlayStation Portable November 22, 2006
Professor Layton and the Curious Village Nintendo DS February 15, 2007
Android June 8, 2018
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box Nintendo DS November 29, 2007
Android December 5, 2018
Inazuma Eleven Nintendo DS August 22, 2008
Nintendo 3DS December 27, 2012
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future Nintendo DS November 27, 2008
Android July 13, 2020
White Knight Chronicles[a] PlayStation 3 December 25, 2008
Paul Sloane & Des MacHale's Intriguing Tales[10] Nintendo DS May 21, 2009
Professor Tago's Mental Gymnastics #1 and #2[10] Nintendo DS June 18, 2009
Dragon Quest IX[11][b] Nintendo DS July 11, 2009
Paul Sloane & Des MacHale's Intriguing Tales 2[10] Nintendo DS September 3, 2009
Inazuma Eleven 2[10][12] Nintendo DS October 1, 2009
Nintendo 3DS December 27, 2012
Professor Tago's Mental Gymnastics #3 and #4[10] Nintendo DS October 8, 2009
Professor Layton and the Last Specter[10] Nintendo DS November 26, 2009
Inazuma Eleven 3[11] Nintendo DS July 1, 2010
Nintendo 3DS December 27, 2012
White Knight Chronicles II[a][13] PlayStation 3 July 8, 2010
Ni no Kuni: Dominion of the Dark Djinn[11] Nintendo DS December 9, 2010
Ni no Kuni: Hotroit Stories[11] Mobile phone December 9, 2010
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask Nintendo 3DS February 26, 2011
Danball Senki PlayStation Portable June 16, 2011
Inazuma Eleven Strikers[14] Wii July 16, 2011
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch PlayStation 3 November 17, 2011
Little Battlers eXperience Boost PlayStation Portable November 23, 2011
Inazuma Eleven GO[15] Nintendo 3DS December 15, 2011
Inazuma Eleven Strikers 2012 Xtreme Wii December 22, 2011
Girls RPG: Cinderellife[16][17] Nintendo 3DS March 8, 2012
Ni no Kuni: Daibouken Monsters Mobile phone May 11, 2012
Guild01 Nintendo 3DS May 31, 2012
Little Battlers eXperience Nintendo 3DS July 5, 2012
Time Travelers[18] Nintendo 3DS July 12, 2012
PlayStation Portable
PlayStation Vita
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room Android September 21, 2012
Little Battlers eXperience W PlayStation Portable October 18, 2012
PlayStation Vita
Professor Layton and the Phantom Thieves Android November 14, 2012
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney[18] Nintendo 3DS November 29, 2012
Inazuma Eleven GO 2: Chrono Stone Nintendo 3DS December 13, 2012
Inazuma Eleven GO Strikers 2013 Wii December 20, 2012
Fantasy Life Nintendo 3DS December 27, 2012
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy[19] Nintendo 3DS February 28, 2013
Liberation Maiden iOS March 7, 2013
Guild02 Nintendo 3DS March 13, 2013
Earth Devastating B-Grade Girlfriend Z: Space War iOS June 25, 2013
Android August 12, 2013
Yo-kai Watch Nintendo 3DS July 11, 2013
Little Battlers eXperience W: Super Custom Nintendo 3DS July 18, 2013
Fantasy Life Link! Nintendo 3DS July 25, 2013
Little Battlers eXperience: Wars Nintendo 3DS October 31, 2013
Inazuma Eleven GO 3: Galaxy Nintendo 3DS December 5, 2013
Yo-kai Watch 2 Nintendo 3DS July 10, 2014
Yo-kai Watch Blasters Nintendo 3DS July 11, 2015
Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble[c][20] Android October 21, 2015
iOS October 28, 2015
Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version[d] Wii U December 5, 2015
Yo-kai Sangokushi[e] Nintendo 3DS April 2, 2016
Yo-kai Watch 3 Nintendo 3DS July 16, 2016
Inazuma Eleven: Everyday+ Android June 30, 2017
Layton's Mystery Journey Android July 20, 2017
Nintendo 3DS
Snack World: Trejarers Nintendo 3DS August 10, 2017
Otome Yusha[f][21] Android December 16, 2017
Yo-kai Watch Blasters 2 Nintendo 3DS December 16, 2017
Yo-kai Sangokushi: Kunitori Wars[e] Android January 11, 2018[22]
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Microsoft Windows March 23, 2018
PlayStation 4
Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold Nintendo Switch April 12, 2018
Yo-kai Watch: Gerapo Rhythm Android May 10, 2018
Yo-kai Watch World[g] Android June 27, 2018[23]
Fantasy Life Online Android July 23, 2018[24]
Yo-kai Watch 4 Nintendo Switch June 20, 2019[25]
PlayStation 4 December 5, 2019[26]
Yo-kai Watch Jam: Yo-kai Academy Y Nintendo Switch August 13, 2020[27]
PlayStation 4 October 29, 2020
Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds[h] Android 2020
Inazuma Eleven: Great Road of Heroes Android 2021
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
Megaton Musashi[28] Nintendo Switch TBA
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5
Ushiro Nintendo Switch TBA
True Fantasy Live Online Xbox Canceled


  1. ^ a b c d e f Published by Sony Computer Entertainment
  2. ^ a b Published by Square Enix
  3. ^ Co-developed by NHN PlayArt
  4. ^ Developed by Ubisoft
  5. ^ a b Developed by Koei Tecmo
  6. ^ Developed by h.a.n.d.
  7. ^ Developed by GungHo Online Entertainment
  8. ^ Developed by Netmarble


  1. ^ "会社概要|株式会社レベルファイブ".
  2. ^ "株式会社レベルファイブ".
  3. ^ 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 December 8, 2011.
  4. ^ "How Yasumi Matsuno Ended Up at Level-5". June 30, 2011. Archived from the original on June 30, 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Yasumi Matsuno leaves Level 5". November 8, 2012.
  6. ^ "Market Data". Capcom. September 30, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
  7. ^ "LEVEL-5 abby Inc".
  8. ^ Galiz-Rowe, Ty (October 12, 2020). "Ni No Kuni Developer Level-5 Is Shutting Down In North America-Report". GameSpot. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Level-5's ROID Service Kicks Off Today -- Andriasang.com". December 24, 2012. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Level-5 International America History & Products 2009". 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d "Level-5 International America History & Products 2010". 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  12. ^ "In shops now: Inazuma Eleven 2: Firestorm and Inazuma Eleven 2: Blizzard". 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  13. ^ "TGS 2009: White Knight Chronicles 2 Revealed". Kotaku.
  14. ^ "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. June 27, 2010. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  15. ^ "3DS Inazuma Eleven Due This Winter". June 19, 2011. Archived from the original on June 19, 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  16. ^ "Level-5 Bringing Mobile Hostess Sim to 3DS (andriasang.com, 10.20.2010)". October 22, 2010. Archived from the original on October 22, 2010.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  17. ^ "Girl's RPG Cinderelife - In Development". Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  18. ^ a b GUEST. "Level-5 Vision 2010 Live Blog (andriasang.com, 10.19.2010)". Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  19. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (2011). "First Professor Layton Crosses One Million". Adriasang. Archived from the original on April 8, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  20. ^ "Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble". yo-kai-wibblewobble.com.
  21. ^ "オトメ勇者". Official Otome Yusha game page.
  22. ^ Romano, Sal (January 11, 2018). "Yo-kai Sangokushi: Kunitori Wars now available in Japan". Gematsu. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  23. ^ Sato (June 27, 2018). "Yo-kai Watch World For Smartphones Is The Series' Take On Pokémon GO". Siliconera. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  24. ^ Sato (July 18, 2018). "Fantasy Life Online Goes Live In Japan On July 23". Siliconera. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  25. ^ Ryan, Craddock (October 11, 2018). "Yo-Kai Watch 4 Has Been Delayed Until Spring 2019 In Japan". Nintendo Life. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  26. ^ Sato. "Yo-kai Watch 4++ Released Today In Japan, Here's Its Opening Movie". Siliconera. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  27. ^ Romano, Sal. "Yo-kai Watch Jam: Yo-kai Academy Y – Waiwai Gakuen Seikatsu announced for PS4, Switch". Gematsu. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  28. ^ Romano, Sal. "Megaton Musashi adds PS5 version". Gematsu. Retrieved November 13, 2020.

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