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Level-5 (video game company)

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Title: Level-5 (video game company)  
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Level-5 (video game company)

Level-5 Inc.
Type Private
Industry Video game industry
Founded October 1998
Headquarters Fukuoka, Japan
Key people Akihiro Hino
(CEO and President)
Yasuhiro Akasaka
(Lead Director)
Products Dark Cloud
Dark Chronicle
Professor Layton series
Inazuma Eleven series
Little Battlers Experience series
Ni no Kuni
Fantasy Life
Employees 280 (as of September 2014)
Parent Independent
Website http://www.level5.co.jp/

Level-5 Inc. (株式会社レベルファイブ Kabushiki-gaisha Reberu Faibu) is an independent video game developer and publisher based in Fukuoka, Japan. The company, which employs about 280 individuals, was founded in October 1998 by Akihiro Hino after he departed from the now defunct Japanese developer Riverhillsoft. Hino designs, plans or produces nearly all of Level-5’s games, and is also the President and CEO of the company.

Since its inception, Level-5 has enjoyed a very close relationship with Sony Computer Entertainment, with many of its titles funded by and produced in conjunction with the publisher. Since the release of Professor Layton and the Curious Village for the Nintendo DS in early 2007, however, the company has begun diversifying its product portfolio and focusing more on self-funding and self-publishing its titles in Japan with Nintendo's overseas subsidiaries distributing Level-5's games on Nintendo systems. Level-5 is one of the ten largest video game companies in Japan, where it held a 3.2% market share in 2013.[1]

History

Level-5 was established in October 1998 by Akihiro Hino and his development team.[2] They had left Riverhillsoft following the release of the PlayStation, so that they could focus on creating 3D software. Since Hino did not originally believe that his team could become an independent developer, he formed a connection 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 on December 14, 2000, and elsewhere in 2001. The game was an immediate success for the company, selling just under a million units worldwide. Work immediately began on a pseudo-sequel titled Dark Chronicle (Dark Cloud 2 in North America), that, while not as successful as the first, 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:

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 joined Level-5 in June 2011 [3] who has since left the company as of November 2012 after completing work on Crimson Shroud for the 3DS.[4]

ROID

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.[5] 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.[5]

Games

PlayStation 2

Dark Cloud series

Other games

PlayStation Portable

Little Battlers Experience series

Other games

PlayStation 3

White Knight Chronicles series

Other games

PlayStation Vita

PlayStation 4

Nintendo DS

Professor Layton series

Inazuma Eleven series

Atamania series

Other games

Wii

Nintendo 3DS

Professor Layton series

Inazuma Eleven series

Little Battlers Experience series

Yo-Kai Watch series

Other games

Wii U

Xbox One

Arcade

iOS

Android

Microsoft Windows

ROID

Cancelled games

Films

See also

References

  1. ^ "Market Data".  
  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
  4. ^ Yasumi Matsuno leaves Level 5
  5. ^ a b Level-5's ROID Service Kicks Off Today
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Level-5 International America History & Products 2010". 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  7. ^ "TGS 2009: White Knight Chronicles 2 Revealed". Kotaku. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Level-5 International America History & Products 2009". 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  9. ^ a b "In shops now: Inazuma Eleven 2: Firestorm and Inazuma Eleven 2: Blizzard". 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  10. ^ "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". News.dengeki.com. 2010-06-27. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  11. ^ a b GUEST. "Level-5 Vision 2010 Live Blog (andriasang.com, 10.19.2010)". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  12. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (2011). "First Professor Layton Crosses One Million". Adriasang. Archived from the original on 2011-04-08. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  13. ^ a b 3DS Inazuma Eleven Due This Winter
  14. ^ Level-5 Bringing Mobile Hostess Sim to 3DS
  15. ^ "Girl's RPG Cinderelife - In Development". Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  16. ^ "Level-5 International America History and Products - 2008". Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  • A Japanese Kid's Dream Come True: Level-5 Shows off Ni no Kuni at Tokyo Press Conference

External links

  • Official website (Japanese)
  • Official website (Level-5 International America) (English)
  • Level-5 profile on GameSpot
  • Level-5 profile on MobyGames
  • Level-5 profile on IGN
  • Level-5 profile on Giant Bomb
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