News Article

Yokai Watch "In Consideration in a Big Way" For Release in the West

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Level 5's Akihiro Hino outlines the formula for success

Yokai Watch — or Yo-kai Watch as the Western trademark has it — has become a major success on 3DS in Japan, giving Level 5 a timely franchise success as other brands (such as Professor Layton) take a back seat.

The company's Akihiro Hino has recently spoken to Weekly Famitsu — via Kotaku — to explain how Doraemon was a key source of inspiration, while also emphasizing the importance of the merchandising and anime, the latter of which led to a substantial spike in game sales.

We've created a lot of different IPs, and I figured it was about time that we made something like Doraemon, that could be loved by many people over a long period of time. That was the start of it. I researched what would give something appeal and longevity, and pondered what would be relatable to people and developed the open world RPG that children could play, Yokai Watch. I think title's popularity is the fruits of trial and error.

...Anime is content that is offered for free, and I strongly promote its use. The [Yokai Watch] anime focuses on problems that modern children face and is made so that the audience can laugh off such problems and be entertained as well.

Keita, the young boy at the core of the anime, is cited as important due to the fact he "isn't a child who always does the right thing", with the aim of producing a world both fantastical and relatable.

With over one million physical retail copies sold of the first game and reportedly lengthy queues and hype over the sequel, arriving this week, Hino-san also outlined the business and marketing decisions driving Level 5's latest hit forward.

When planning the first Yokai Watch, I already thought to release the sequel as 2 different versions. Children like having things that other people don't have, so from a marketing perspective, having 2 versions is a good idea. Also, a lot of people play Yokai Watch with their parents. Where people would have some hesitation about getting 2 copies of the same game, if you have different versions, it's a lot easier for them to buy both.

The key for a long-lasting hit piece of entertainment is whether the business side like merchandise, games, and movies is successful. That's why you develop commercial goods necessary for cutting edge entertainment and include the latest features in your games.

On the topic of the franchise coming West, Hino-san states that an international release is "in consideration in a big way", with trademark filings earlier in the year reinforcing that position. The company has experience of bringing titles to the West through Professor Layton titles — though they were published by Nintendo — and the Inazuma Eleven franchise. Lining up the game, anime and merchandise all at once for Western markets is likely to be a substantial challenge, and helps to explain the delay.

Are you keen on Yokai Watch coming to the West, or are you still largely unfamiliar with the IP that's increasingly popular in Japan? Let us know.

[via kotaku.com]

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User Comments (28)

C-Olimar

#1

C-Olimar said:

This game looks really fun, I'd love a European release!
Sad thing is though, as this is Level-5, each sequel will be more or less identical to the first game. And they will be released every year.

CaviarMeths

#2

CaviarMeths said:

Yeah, I really know nothing at all about this IP, but Level-5 ain't ever done me no wrong, so I may look into it if it comes to the West.

TheWPCTraveler

#5

TheWPCTraveler said:

Yeah, Yo-Kai Watch better be localized. Oddly enough, I'll buy it for its graphical prowess.

I can't stress the point that I have never bought a game based on its graphics, and on the 3DS to boot!

Peach64

#6

Peach64 said:

I'd definitely like to try it.

I bet we'll see some crazy big software numbers for it next week and hopefully a hardware bump.

Einherjar

#7

Einherjar said:

To be perfectly honest, a game with so much buzz around it in japan, it kinda baffles me that they still just "consider" it and that it wasnt released already.
The 3DS is a save bet too, so what are you guys waiting for ? :)

torotoid64

#8

torotoid64 said:

PLEASE LEVEL 5 PLEASE!!! I would majorly enjoy Yokai Watch! These are one of those 'I wish my Japanese was better so I could have a japanese 3DS and just import from there' type of games hell I'll even buy the entire Layton series (I don't own a single game) just to show support for this

Dpullam

#11

Dpullam said:

Please! Come to the west! It would be a day one buy if it did since I have been waiting ages for this game.

SamSan37

#12

SamSan37 said:

Yes please! I want the cute games from Japan coming over, not that lewd stuff..

Naoiko

#16

Naoiko said:

I'm really looking forward to playing this, so I really hope it comes to the west!

sinalefa

#17

sinalefa said:

@Einherjar

Exactly. They just need to pave the way with hype and the anime localization before the actual game, to have kids more excited for this. Just don't release it in November.

Epicnessofme99

#19

Epicnessofme99 said:

I really hope this one will come over, as many said on here I think they're waiting to pave the way with the anime before they will release the game.

Thulfram

#22

Thulfram said:

@unrandomsam The game is about a kid who finds a wristwatch in the woods. The watch enables him to see ghosts. He uses this power to help people who are haunted by bad ghosts. But with a light touch and centered on the world seen by kids.

In the hands of Level 5, it can only be wonderful and great. Just look at the art and story for Ni No Kuni, Dragon Quest IX, Professor Layton, and Attack of the Friday Monsters. Stories with positive values for and about kids.

Retro_on_theGo

#24

Retro_on_theGo said:

Going off monster designs I don't know if this would be as big a hit in America. Especially since any kids monster anime that isn't pokemon or yugioh is kind of dead here.

Fandabidozi

#27

Fandabidozi said:

Day one for me also! Been so close to downloading this already on the LL. Lot of touch screen action from the looks of it, protective screen cover to the rescue! My DS was never the same after playing The World Ends With You :(

Emaan

#28

Emaan said:

I've seen so many articles on this game and I still have no idea what it is :O

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