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Level-5 Vision 2010 Live Blog

The annual Akihiro Hino Spectacular is being held later tonight. Live coverage here.


Level-5 is holding its annual "Level-5 Vision" press conference today in Tokyo. The event, whose slogan is "Next Dimension," promises the latest announcements for Ni no Kuni (PS3/DS), Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS), Inazuma Eleven and other games. Additionally, the publisher promises new title and new project announcements.

Your andriasang.com Level-5 specialist Alex is off doing top secret espionage work somewhere, so in his place we've dispatched Sharan to Gotanda to deliver live coverage of the event. The doors open at 18:00, with the actual press conference set for 19:00 and running through 21:30.

[live_blog_ended /]

21:29 -- And with that, I'm closing off the live blog, this time for real! Check the main channel for media and more shortly!

[lb_major]21:33 -- Fantasy Life saw a platform change at Level-5 Vision 2010. The Brownie Brown-developed life simulation, originally announced for DS, has been switched over to 3DS. It will be released in 2011 and will feature image illustrations from Yoshitaka Amano and, as previously announced, music from Nobuo Uematsu.[/lb_major]

[lb_major]21:31 -- All that talk of a Level-5 and Capcom collaboration resulted in the announcement of Professor Layton X Ace Attorney. Set for 3DS, this features a scenario from Ace Attorney designer Shu Takumi. The key word for the game is Witch Trial.[/lb_major]

21:29 -- Fantasy Life is due for release in 2011.

21:29 -- Final Fantasy maestro Nobuo Uematsu is doing the game's music. Yoshitaka Amano is doing the image illustrations.

21:28 -- Fantasy Life was also shown. The Brownie Brown tie-up project has seen its platform switched from DS to 3DS!

21:27 -- "I didn't think I'd be given the okay," said Hino. He added, jokingly, "I wonder if it's okay if he doesn't make Ace Attorney 5."

[Correction: The above quote was erroneously credited to Takumi. It's actually from Hino.]

21:27 -- Takumi said the project began when they considered if they could do some sort of trial that could not be done in Ace Attorney. This is where the key word "Majo Saiban," or "Witch Trial" emerged.

21:26 -- This is the "Majo Shinban" game that appeared at Capcom's Ace Attorney portal site recently.

21:25 -- The big announcement of the night: Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney! This collaboration with Capcom is in development for 3DS and will feature a scenario from Shu Takumi.

21:24 -- Actually, scratch that! There are a few more announcements, some pretty major!

21:22 -- It looks like the press conference has come to an end, so I'm closing off the live blog. Check the "Major Points" area to the right for a summary of the major happenings while you wait for media and formal details later tonight.

21:20 -- Strange... Sharan sent me some pics of a Fantasy Life part of the presentation, and then disappeared.

21:16 -- Now Time Travelers and Kyabajoppi. The two at the top are Time Travelers.

21:15 -- Some pics of Mystery Room and ROID:

[lb_major]21:13 -- The platform for Time Travelers was at long last confirmed to be 3DS at the Level-5 Vision press conference today. Director Jiro Ishii took the stage and promised a game that places an emphasis on story. He also said the game would appeal to more people view new game design elements.[/lb_major]

21:13 -- Wow... Ishii wasn't kidding around about wanting Time Travelers to sell more. Hino took the stage and said that he wants the game to become a 500,000 or million class title.

21:11 -- I believe they've moved on to Fantasy Life.

21:07 -- He said the game will respond to such concerns from his past titles as "The content is good, but it would be nice if it sold more."

21:07 -- Next, "We're pursuing a new game design in order to appeal to more people."

21:06 -- First, it will be a game with a strong story. He says he's gathered his close staff to work on the game, and he promises that those who have enjoyed their past games will not be let down.

21:05 -- Ishii makes two promises about the game.

21:04 -- Ishii notes that his past games have exclusively used anime or live action visuals. Time Travelers will be his first CG-based game (I believe he means 3D polygonal characters.)

[lb_major]21:03 -- Level-5 announced its second 3DS game at Level-5 Vision. The company is bringing its mobile hostess simulation Kyaba Joppi to 3DS. The 3DS version, listed as an RPG, will have all new guest characters, including Lupin. A release is set for 2011.[/lb_major]

21:02 -- Jiro Ishii has taken the stage to introduce the game.

21:02 -- They showed a trailer just now. The trailer showed a high school girl in a subway. The lights go out in the subway, and a mysterious man appears behind the girl. The man begins a countdown. The girl asks "Why has it become like this?"

21:01 -- Hino confirms that the game is coming to 3DS!

21:00 -- Now back to Time Travelers.

21:00 -- The 3DS version will have a bunch of guest characters, including Lupin!

20:59 -- Kyaba Joppi is a hostess simulation game for cell phones that is available through Roid.

20:59 -- Kyaba Joppi is coming to 3DS.

20:59 -- Oops... before Time Travelers, one little announcement.

20:58 -- Developed by Jiro Ishii of Chun Soft and 428 fame, this will be Level-5's first suspense title, says Hino.

20:58 -- Next up, Time Travelers!

20:55 -- Level-5 is currently seeking iPhone and Android game submissions for the contest. The deadline is the end of December. This year, they're allowing people to submit just design documents rather than requiring full game submissions.

20:54 -- If I recall correctly, the 2000 is an indication of the prize money -- it's like 2,000 10,000 yen or something (love that Japanese counting system!)

20:53 -- Hino moves on to the next installment of the Gecon 2000 development contest.

20:53 -- Roid will also be getting a game called Inazuma Eleven Dash on 12/23. This will be available exclusively for Roid.

20:53 -- On December 9, Roid will get community features. Next year, Level-5 hopes to release a number of new games that use the community functionality.

20:52 -- First, Ni no Kuni Hotroit Stories. The first chapter will be available on 12/9 opposite the DS release of the main Ni no Kuni game. It will be pre-installed on a few of the latest DoCoMo phone sets.

20:51 -- Next, Hino moves on to the ROID part of the presentation. ROID is Level-5's mobile portal.

20:51 -- Hino admits that a good amount of time has passed since Mystery Room's announcement, but he promises that it will be an interesting game.

20:50 -- Hino also discusses the game's "Recreation Film" system. You make make some sort of recreation of the mystery, it seems, and use this to advance in your detective work.

20:49 -- Koshiro is the guy behind the music for Streets of Rage and many other classics.

20:48 -- Mystery Room features music from Yuzo Koshiro, Hino announces!

20:48 -- They show a movie introducing the game systems.

20:47 -- Hino sums up the background story, which you can see elsewhere on this site (click the "Mystery Room" link in the "Related Games" section to the right.

20:47 -- As detailed at last year's Level-5 Vision, Mystery Room is the Atamania series' first completely original game. The past titles in the casual gaming series were based on other stuff.

20:46 -- First up for part 2 of the presentation is Mystery Room.

20:45 -- Yikes! Part 2 of the presentation has already started!

20:44 -- Incidentally, if you don't want the bonus figure with Little Battler eXperience, too bad! Level-5 is not planning on selling it without the figure. The figure is not going to be sold elsewhere, so you'll have an exclusive item.

20:43 -- We'll be back momentarily when the second part of the conference begins in a few minutes.

[lb_major]20:37 -- Danbal Senki, aka Little Battler eXperience, is due for March 17, 2011 release, Level-5 formally announced at Level-5 Vision. The ¥5,980 PSP title will ship in a deluxe box that includes a plastic model as a bonus.[/lb_major]

20:36 -- But wow at that box size! With this and Ni no Kuni, Level-5 is making gaming shelves interesting again.

20:35 -- This is at the beginning of the game. Later, Ban customizes it into the elaborate Achilles form, which can be seen in the image at the bottom showing Bandai's promotional video of its toy line.

20:34 -- The model that's included with the game appears to be the robot Ban receives from the mysterious lady.

20:33 -- Pics from the LBX part of the conference:

20:30 -- Break time!

20:30 -- Hino formally announces the release date: 3/17 at ¥5,980. The date actually slipped out last week via Level-5's official site with little publicity.

20:29 -- Actually, it's LBX-AXOO, the prototype for Achilles.

20:29 -- It's large because it has both the game and a plastic model for main character Ban's LBX robot, Achilles.

20:28 -- Hino shows off the game's large packaging.

20:26 -- Next, a promotional video for the game.

20:26 -- The play models are small, but elaborately detailed, says Hino.

20:25 -- Next, a promotional video for... Bandai's play models. Are they supposed to be doing promo videos for play models?

20:25 -- I believe this was announced before, but Hino says that he's having a hand in the the script for the anime version's first and second episodes.

20:24 -- Oops... the previous video wasn't the opening, it was a PV.

20:23 -- From The Ogre theme song performance:

[lb_major]20:22 -- Inazuma Eleven 3 The Ogre saw formal announcement at Level-5 Vision. The game connects to the upcoming Inazuma Eleven movie, due to hit theaters on 12/23, and will see release on 12/16. Regarding the movie, CEO Akihiro Hino announced that it will be released in 2D and 3D. He also announced Inazuma Eleven Battle Connection, a social browser game.[/lb_major]

20:21 -- Hino kicks things off by showing the anime version's opening. [correction 20:24: it was actually a promotional video]

20:21 -- They'll be developing this as game, anime, manga and play model simultaneously.

20:21 -- Next up, Little Battle eXperience, or Danbal Senki. I'm gong to call it LBX.

20:18 -- While Sharan enjoys the live performance, here are a few pics he took of the Inazuma Eleven part of the conference:

20:16 -- I think they might be doing a live performance of The Ogre's opening theme Kiai de Hurricane, sung by T-Pistonz + KMC.

20:14 -- The movie's release is set for 12/23 in both 2D and 3D. Hino suggests you watch it in 3D, as the balls will come flying out at you.

20:13 -- Ooh... the movie is going to be released in both 3D and 2D!

20:13 -- Next, they show a trailer for the upcoming movie.

20:13 -- There will be an Inazuma Eleven browser game called Inazuma Eleven Battle Connection. This will begin service on 11/1 and will have a social component.

20:12 -- Hino discusses some of the other Inazuma Eleven developments. Inazuma Eleven's mobile service saw a premium component starting on 10/1.

20:10 -- The details Hino is sharing on The Ogre were already leaked out in advance. The game will connect to the upcoming Inazuma Eleven movie. It will add new story and maps. A release is set for December 16.

[lb_major]20:10 -- Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino announced the second Inazuma Eleven fan appreciation event. This will be held on 12/12/2010 at the Makuhari Messe. He hints that there could be a new title announcement there.[/lb_major]

20:09 -- Now they're showing the opening movie for The Ogre.

20:08 -- Hino says they'll have the second Inazuma Eleven series fan appreciation event on 12/12 at the Makuhari Messe (the same venue as the Tokyo Game Show). He hints that there could be a new title announcement there.

20:08 -- Hino discusses the success of the series. Part 3 alone has shipped 1.1 million units. The trading card adaptation of the game has topped 100 million cards!

20:07 -- Word of this came out early through Amazon. This is the first time Level-5 has formally announced it.

20:06 -- Next up, Inazuma Eleven 3 The Ogre!

20:06 -- Pics from the Layton part of the presentation:

20:04 -- After Suzuki demonstrates a 3D puzzle, he asks everyone to look forward to the game's Spring release. Hino says players will be surprised even with the game's opening animation.

20:03 -- (I'm gong to assume he's talking about the game's camera recognizing when you touch things.)

20:02 -- The main game screen is the top screen. You touch the top screen to do investigations.

20:01 -- Suzuki notes that the game has ben redone from the 3D version.

20:01 -- (If you search this site, you might find some pics of Level-5's super high tech motion capture studio)

20:00 -- He (Jun Suzuki, the game's director) notes the realism of the character motions in the event scenes. Hino says that they're using motion capture for this part.

20:00 -- Oops... the stuff being shown now is actually a promotional video, but the footage runs off 3DS hardware.

19:58 -- He shows off the game's event scenes, which feature 3D characters now.

19:57 -- Next, the game's director takes the stage for a live demonstration on the 3DS.

19:57 -- They have video messages from the voice cast.

19:57 -- Hino introduces the cast, and the theme song "Mysterious Flower."

19:56 -- They will also have a puzzle download service -- one new puzzle every day for a year.

19:56 -- As with its predecessors, the game has puzzles supervised by Akira Tago.

19:55 -- You'll follow two time lines -- the present Layton and a younger Layton.

19:54 -- The story of Miracle Mask takes place 1 year after Layton and Luke first meet.

19:54 -- Based off 4gamer's quote from Hino, it looks like the game wasn't always designed for the 3DS. "We redid it from scratch midway through," said Hino. I read this as him saying that they switched it from DS to 3DS, although I could be wrong.

19:53 -- Says Hino of Miracle Mask, "The biggest feature this time is that it's for the 3DS."

[lb_major]19:50 -- Ni no Kuni for the DS kicked off Level-5 Vision 2010. New systems like Dream World and Traveling Egg were announced, and the battle director also demonstrated the game's two player monster battle component. No new details were announced for the PS3 version.[/lb_major]

19:48 -- The Ni no Kuni casino, and the box art.

19:46 -- Let me quickly post some of the pics Sharan has sent over.

19:46 -- They're showing a trailer movie.

19:46 -- Next up, Layton and the Miracle Mask for 3DS.

19:45 -- No new announcements today regarding the PS3 version of Ni no Kuni, says Hino.

19:45 -- (Hmm... this sounds a bit like Dragon Quest IX!)

19:44 -- Hino also says that Level-5 will be offering Wi-Fi download content for a year after release.

19:44 -- The game has ridable vehicles, including ships and other things. It also has a casino!

19:43 -- Next, another big reveal from Hino!

19:43 -- When you collect an egg, you can select to send it off on a journey or break it. If you select to send it off on a journey, whatever is inside of it will grow.

19:42 -- The eggs can contain items and rare Imagine.

19:42 -- You place messages in eggs, and exchange them with other players via Tag Mode.

19:42 -- The Traveling Egg system is Ni no Kuni's implementation of Tag Mode/Street Pass

19:41 -- This means "Traveling Egg."

19:41 -- Next, Hino introduces another new element: "Tabi Suru Tamago."

19:41 -- The game has over 350 Imagine types. Hino says that while Ni no Kuni is an story-driven RPG, this Imagine element is also a huge component. It's something that can be enjoyed infinitely.

19:39 -- A pic of the Imagine battle:

19:38 -- Regarding the battles, they will be strategic, Hino says, as you'll have to consider positioning of the Imagine. You'll want to put your strongest characters up front, and move them into the back when they've been injured.

19:37 -- Pics of the MC, Hino, the Ni no Kuni presenters, and Ni no Kuni:

19:34 -- They demonstrate a battle between Imagine, with two players facing off against one another on their own DS systems.

19:34 -- The Imagine evolve as you raise them. Once they become strong, you can have them join you in battle.

19:32 -- You can raise these, make them into your allies and give them names -- like the monsters in other games.

19:31 -- Next, Hino introduces the game's Imagine support characters.

19:31 -- The Dream World is full of puzzles. In order to open even a single treasure box, you have to solve some sort of riddle or puzzle.

19:28 -- The map in the dream world has a number of gimmicks. To clear these gimmicks and puzzles, you'll need to use the game's magic book. You clear puzzles by comparing what you see on the screen with what you see in the book.

19:27 -- It seems that by staying at an inn in a certain town, you can be transported to the Dream World.

19:26 -- Errr... that's the magic book that comes with the game.

19:26 -- Hino is introducing a new element called "Yume no Sekai," or "Dream World." It uses the book.

19:25 -- He introduces the game's chief director and another staff member.

19:25 -- Hino says they're going to announce a new gameplay system of some form for the DS version of Ni no Kuni.

19:22 -- They're showing the Tokyo Game Show trailer it seems.

19:22 -- First up, the DS version of Ni no Kuni.

19:21 -- He recalls that Level-5 had its first announcement press conference in 2007. Today, they will present more than 10 titles!

19:21 -- Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino has taken the stage!

19:20 -- Here's a live blog from Inside Games: Inside Games

19:20 -- Here's 4gamer's live blog if you want to read in Japanese: 4gamer.

19:20 -- I have no idea who that is.

19:20 -- The event is being MCed by Akihisa Souguchi.

19:18 -- They just showed a opening video clip with images/illustrations of titles that have already been announced.

19:18 -- So, in this live blog, I'll be posting pics from Sharan along with other notices I see from various Japanese live blogs like 4gamer and so-forth.

19:16 -- They're playing loud music in the background.

[lb_major]19:15 -- Level-5 Vision 2010 has kicked off in central Tokyo. Expect new news on Ni no Kuni, Inazuma Eleven and Layton, along with all new announcements.[/lb_major]

19:15 -- And we're off!

19:06 -- From Sharan: "I think it's starting soon..."

19:03 -- We're still waiting for the event to start. It looks like the hall is still filling up.

18:32 -- I asked Sharan to send some pics of the event space. It looks like there isn't much indicating that this is a Level-5 press conference at present. The stage is just a red curtain right now.

18:23 -- Based off the schedule, it seems the surprise announcements will come in the second part, as that part doesn't list the presence of play sessions.

18:22 -- It doesn't sound as long as it actually is when you sum it up like that.

18:21 -- Here's today's schedule:

  • 19:00 -- Level-5 Vision Starts
  • 19:03 -- Akihiro Hino takes the stage, gives an introduction, and conducts "Presentation 1." There will be some play demonstrations during this part.
  • 20:15 -- 15 minute break
  • 20:30 -- Level-5 Vision Restarts! Hino holds "Presentation 2."
  • 21:00 -- Level-5 Vision 2010 Ends (awww...)
  • 21:20 -- Demo Play (for 60 minutes)

18:17 -- Inazuma Eleven Strikers, Little Battle eXperience and Ni no Kuni (DS version) will be playable at the end of the press conference.

18:15 -- Based off past press conferences, they stick to the time pretty well, so we're going to be relying on Sharan's iPhone for the next few hours.

18:14 -- Level-5 says media won't be available until 21:30, which is when the conference ends.

18:12 -- See the "related games" section to the right? Once the press conference start, the area immediately above that will have a section with bullet points summarizing the major announcements from the conference. If you just want the main points, view that instead of the main body of the live blog.

18:10 -- By the way... since we have some time, let me introduce a small new feature of the live blog interface.

18:05 -- (Guy's been in Japan for a few weeks and he's already been corrupted.)

18:05 -- From Sharan: "None of them cute."

18:04 -- From Sharan: "Erm... High school kids are being let in first."

18:04 -- Oops... make that 19:00. Got my 7s and 19s crossed.

18:00 -- The actual press conference doesn't begin until 17:00.

18:00 -- He's talking about doors that will let press in to line up.

17:59 -- From Sharan: "Ooo Doors opening!"

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