Wat zou Akihiro Hino, de CEO van Level-5, over het succes van Layton in het Westen denken? Dit uitgebreide interview beschrijft dat in volledig detail.
In een interview met Glixel heeft hij het onder andere over hoe het idee van Layton ontstaan is en zijn mening over waarom het spel hier zo succesvol is, terwijl andere spellen van Level-5 hier minder succesvol zijn. De meest interessante delen van het interview zijn hieronder te lezen.
What was the genesis behind Professor Layton? What led you to that idea?
We started creating Professor Layton over 10 years ago. Back then, there was a moment where “brainteaser” type of games were really popular. There was a book in Japan I really liked called Atama no Taisou, which translates to something like “Brain Exercising.” I wanted to make a game that was similar to that. Since there was another Nintendo DS game with a similar title, I figured a game like that would be a big hit. But because the trademark for “Brain Exercise” was already taken, I had to try something different. I reached out to the author of the book, Akira Tago, in collaboration with him, I decided to make a new game with puzzle-solving elements, but with a story layered over it. And that’s how we made Layton.
Even as the fad of Brain Age and similar games has subsided, why do you think that Layton has able to remain successful today?
I believe that the main reason is that the Professor Layton games are designed from everybody, across the age spectrum. And the reason for that is, even if you’re a non-gamer, or you’re not good at solving puzzles, there are still aspects of the game they will enjoy. We always make sure of that.
Does it frustrate you sometimes that Professor Layton has remained so popular while some of your JRPGs have remained niche, at least in the States?
I mean, these games are focused for Japan, so it does have that kind of feel to it. With Dark Cloud, we were trying to make an original fantasy world, but Rogue Galaxy was more on the realistic side, since it’s a sci-fi game. So, maybe that fantasy feel that people associate with Level-5 was lacking compared to our other games, so that might have been why Rogue Galaxy was less successful. To me, Layton is a perfect example of that fantasy world coming alive, and that’s why it’s been able to be so successful over the years.
Here in the West, despite your continued success, it seems like a lot of game players aren’t necessarily familiar with the name Level-5, at least not yet. Do you dispute that? How do you feel about it?
Well, I think it’s worth splitting the West in two territories for this kind of question. In North America, I agree with you. We haven’t had a ton of success, besides Layton. But we’ve had incredible success in Europe. For a lot of our games, we sell more copies in Europe than in Japan, like Layton. Maybe the Dark Cloud series was a hit title in North America, but most of our stuff is more successful in Japan. It’s just how it is.