Simon Waldron, senior vice president of marketing and licensing at Level-5, spoke to License! Global magazine and shared a lot of details concerning the company’s upcoming lineup. Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven Ares and Yo-Kai Watch fans better have their ears perked.
First up, is Level-5’s original hit property, Professor Layton. The most recent entry, Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy, recently launched on mobile devices in the west and is coming later this year to 3DS. The company plans on creating lots of new ways to experience the property. Animated projects are currently in development, as well as experimental live events. Most importantly, it’s been confirmed that a new Layton video game will be released in late summer 2018.
Moving on to their hit soccer franchise, Inazuma Eleven, 2018 is set to be a major comeback. Inazuma Eleven Ares, a reboot which will retell the original story in a different way, will hit an unspecified Nintendo platform. Level-5 is looking to work with partners to help bring Inazuma Eleven to the world of apparel, footwear, and publishing. The company is also developing a new anime project for the series and is looking at additional digital components, such as online stickers.
Yo-Kai Watch fans will be thrilled to know that Level-5 plans on launching the third season of the anime across North America and Europe in early 2018. This will be supported by a new wave of toys, books and other products. Level-5 will launch Yo-kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters on Nintendo 3DS this week in western markets.
Level-5’s CEO, Akihiro Hino, has been teasing the company’s Nintendo Switch support for a while. In March, he said Inazuma Eleven Ares would “release on something other than 3DS” and followed that up in May by confirming the Japanese game developer had content in development for the platform. Last month, he even went so far as to sound out the first part of the machine’s name when talking about the home for Inazuma Elven Ares.
Level-5 has successfully utilized animation to help promote their games. The Inazuma Eleven franchise has inspired 268 episodes of TV animation and four theatrical films, with a new anime project in development for Ares. Professor Layton inspired a theatrical release in 2009. Little Battlers eXperience had 139 episodes and a theatrical crossover movie across its various iterations. Level-5’s most successful property, Yo-Kai Watch, has an ongoing TV series with over 189 episodes, as well as four films. The company launched their first CG-animated series, Snack World, earlier this year in Japan. Level-5 hopes to introduce the property to the global market in the coming future.