|Kabushiki gaisha Reberu Faibu|
|Industry||Video game industry|
(CEO and President)
Number of employees
Level-5 Inc. is a Japanese video game developer and publisher based in Fukuoka, who are best known for their Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven, Ni no Kuni, and Yo-kai Watch franchises. 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 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. By the early 2010s, Level-5 was one of the ten largest video game companies in Japan, holding a market share of 3.2%.
Level-5 was established in October 1998 by Akihiro Hino and his development team at Riverhillsoft, following the release of OverBlood 2. 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. 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.
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.
Midway through 2002, the company had a substantial boost in recognition as it began development on three high-profile titles:
- True Fantasy Live Online for Microsoft, an MMORPG which was to become one of the premier titles for the Xbox and Xbox Live service in Japan before it was abruptly canceled in 2004.
- Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King for Square Enix, who had handpicked Level-5 to develop the title under the supervision of series designer Yuji Horii and his team at Armor Project.
- Rogue Galaxy, the studio’s third RPG for Sony Computer Entertainment, with a larger budget and more creative freedom than its previous productions with the publisher.
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, who left the company after completing work on Crimson Shroud for the Nintendo 3DS. 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.
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. 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.
List of games
|Title||Platform(s)||Initial 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||No||Yes||No|
|Nintendo 3DS||December 27, 2012||Yes||Yes|
|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||Nintendo DS||May 21, 2009||Yes||No||No||No|
|Professor Tago's Mental Gymnastics #1 and #2||Nintendo DS||June 18, 2009||Yes||No||No||No|
|Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies||Nintendo DS||July 11, 2009||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Paul Sloane & Des MacHale's Intriguing Tales 2||Nintendo DS||September 3, 2009||Yes||No||No||No|
|Inazuma Eleven 2||Nintendo DS||October 1, 2009||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Nintendo 3DS||December 27, 2012||No|
|Professor Tago's Mental Gymnastics #3 and #4||Nintendo DS||October 8, 2009||Yes||No||No||No|
|Professor Layton and the Last Specter||Nintendo DS||November 26, 2009||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Inazuma Eleven 3||Nintendo DS||July 1, 2010||Yes||No||No||No|
|Nintendo 3DS||December 27, 2012||Yes|
|White Knight Chronicles II||PlayStation 3||July 8, 2010||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ni no Kuni: Dominion of the Dark Djinn||Nintendo DS||December 9, 2010||Yes||No||No||No|
|Ni no Kuni: Hotroit Stories||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||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||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||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|
|Little Battlers eXperience||Nintendo 3DS||July 5, 2012||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Time Travelers||Nintendo 3DS||July 12, 2012||Yes||No||No||No|
|Layton Brothers: Mystery Room||Android||September 21, 2012||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Little Battlers eXperience W||PlayStation Portable||October 18, 2012||Yes||No||No||No|
|Professor Layton and the Phantom Thieves||Android||November 14, 2012||Yes||No||No||No|
|Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney||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||Nintendo 3DS||February 28, 2013||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Liberation Maiden||iOS||March 7, 2013||Yes||No||No||No|
|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||Yes||Yes|
|Yo-kai Watch Blasters||Nintendo 3DS||July 11, 2015||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble[a]||Android||October 21, 2015||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|iOS||October 28, 2015|
|Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version[b]||Wii U||December 5, 2015||Yes||No||No||No|
|Yo-kai Sangokushi[c]||Nintendo 3DS||April 2, 2016||Yes||No||No||No|
|Yo-kai Watch 3||Nintendo 3DS||July 16, 2016||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Inazuma Eleven: Everyday+||Android||June 30, 2017||Yes||No||No||No|
|Layton's Mystery Journey||Android||July 20, 2017||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|The Snack World: Trejarers||Nintendo 3DS||August 10, 2017||Yes||No||No||No|
|Otome Yusha[d]||Android||December 16, 2017||Yes||No||No||No|
|Yo-kai Watch Blasters 2||Nintendo 3DS||December 16, 2017||Yes||No||No||No|
|Yo-kai Sangokushi: Kunitori Wars[c]||Android||January 11, 2018||Yes||No||No||No|
|Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom||Microsoft Windows||March 23, 2018||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|The Snack World: Trejarers Gold||Nintendo Switch||April 12, 2018||Yes||No||No||No|
|Yo-kai Watch: Gerapo Rhythm||Android||May 10, 2018||Yes||No||No||No|
|Yo-kai Watch World[e]||Android||June 27, 2018||Yes||No||No||No|
|Fantasy Life Online||Android||July 23, 2018||Yes||No||No||No|
|The Snack World||Android||2018||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Inazuma Eleven Ares||Android||Q4 2018||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Yo-kai Watch 4||Nintendo Switch||Q2 2019||Yes||No||No||No|
|True Fantasy Live Online||Xbox||Canceled||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
- "Market Data". Capcom. September 30, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
- 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.
- "How Yasumi Matsuno Ended Up at Level-5". June 30, 2011. Archived from the original on June 30, 2011.
- "Yasumi Matsuno leaves Level 5". November 8, 2012.
- "LEVEL-5 abby Inc".
- "Level-5's ROID Service Kicks Off Today -- Andriasang.com". December 24, 2012. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012.
- "Level-5 International America History & Products 2009". 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- "Level-5 International America History & Products 2010". 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- "In shops now: Inazuma Eleven 2: Firestorm and Inazuma Eleven 2: Blizzard". 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
- "TGS 2009: White Knight Chronicles 2 Revealed". Kotaku.
- "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.
- "3DS Inazuma Eleven Due This Winter". June 19, 2011. Archived from the original on June 19, 2011.
- "Level-5 Bringing Mobile Hostess Sim to 3DS (andriasang.com, 10.20.2010)". October 22, 2010. Archived from the original on October 22, 2010.
- "Girl's RPG Cinderelife - In Development". Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- GUEST. "Level-5 Vision 2010 Live Blog (andriasang.com, 10.19.2010)". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- Gantayat, Anoop (2011). "First Professor Layton Crosses One Million". Adriasang. Archived from the original on April 8, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- "Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble". yo-kai-wibblewobble.com.
- "オトメ勇者". Official Otome Yusha game page.
- Romano, Sal. "Yo-kai Sangokushi: Kunitori Wars now available in Japan". Gematsu. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "The Snack World: Trejarers Is Headed To Nintendo Switch". Siliconera. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- Sato. "Yo-kai Watch World For Smartphones Is The Series' Take On Pokémon GO". Siliconera. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
- Sato. "Fantasy Life Online Goes Live In Japan On July 23". Siliconera. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
- Ryan, Craddock. "Yo-Kai Watch 4 Has Been Delayed Until Spring 2019 In Japan". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 12 October 2018.