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Level-5 Announces Time Travelers

Mysterious new title in the works for unannounced platform. 428's Jiro Ishii serving as director.

Ishii's last directoral project, 428, received critical praise. It was released for Wii, PSP and PS3.

The title Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino was teasing via his Twitter was revealed in this week's Famitsu to be Time Travelers, an original title that will be produced by Hino himself and directed by Jiro Ishii. The magazine scored an interview with Ishii and Hino.

The two shared little in the way of solid details, but they did give the magazine a logo and first concept art. The art shows a girl standing atop a clock tower looking out over a destroyed city. Buildings and streets lay in ruins as far as the eye can see.

Explained Ishii, who is from Nishinomiya, a city that incurred over 1,000 deaths in 1995's Great Hanshin earthquake, "It has the theme of the calamity that has become a trauma within me."

Ishii is well known in the Japanese games world for his work at Chunsoft, where he directed sound novels such as the critically acclaimed 428. He left Chunsoft after work on 428 and became a freelancer.

This pairing of Hino and Ishii first came about thanks to Famitsu, it seems. Recalled Ishii, during the Famitsu Awards 2008 event, held April 24, 2009, Level-5 and Chunsoft shared the same green room. This was their first meeting, and Ishii recalled Hino's first words to him: "I played 428!".

Some time after the Famitsu Awards event, Ishii told Hino that he'd become a freelancer, and Hino suggested that they do something together. That project ended up being Time Travelers, which is in development at Level-5's new Tokyo studio (Level-5 is based out of Fukuoka).

Ishii described the "time travel" theme as being the "ultimate ingredient" for him and something he wanted to deal with at some point. "I've been thinking about this forever now."

Due to the theme, Ishii feels that the pressure is high to make something extremely interesting. "Something like Back to the Future and Toki wo Kakeru Shojo, that's loved forever."

While not delving into specifics, Ishii offered a tremendous tease. "I have ideas for a time travel story that no one has done before, not even in movies or novels."

Hino did his part to hype things up further, stating "It looks like it will become a large scale title. I'm also looking forward to it. I expect it to become a title that can be a popular series for Level-5."

Platform, release date, genre and price were not revealed. Regarding platform, Hino said something mysterious: "Centered on hardware that's not yet in this world, it will expand to other hardware."

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