Konami, Sega, Hudson, Capcom: virtually every Japanese video game maker these days is producing social games, too. The newest company jumping on the bandwagon is Level-5 whose mega hit series Professor Layton will be turned into a (mobile) social game in Japan in the fall this year. “Professor Layton Royale” will become available on Mobage, a popular mobile social gaming platform (which boasts 25 million users in Japan) run by Tokyo-based DeNA.
The plan is to release the game for Mobage on Japanese feature phones first, followed by smartphones later. Level-5 is planning to release Professor Layton Royale in English as well, once DeNA starts offering Mobage (on smartphones) in markets outside Japan, too. While you can expect the launch of the Mobage platform itself very soon, I would guess Professor Layton Royale in English shouldn’t become available before winter this year.
As a video game series, Level-5 has sold more than 12 million units globally, but what is Professor Layton Royale about? As with many social games, the title will be free to play (virtual items will be sold, too). The game assigns the player a different role as a Professor Layton character each time (detective, criminal or citizen). As a criminal, the player is supposed to avoid detectives, while detectives must find out who the criminal is (citizens collaborate with detectives in order to find out who the criminal is).
Expect many more video game franchises from Japan to go social this year.