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Level-5 CEO on why Yo-kai Watch has been a big hit in Japan, series’ origins

Posted on November 5, 2015 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS, News

Yo-kai Watch has been a phenomenal success in Japan. The games and merchandise have sold incredibly well, and the series even has its own anime.

Why has Yo-kai Watch become such a hit in Japan? That question is something Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino tackled in an interview with Game Informer. He told the site:

“The reason behind the success of Yo-kai Watch, not only as the game title but as the entire franchise, I would say is the strong link between the different pieces of our franchise, centered around what we call Yo-kai Medals [which] contributed a lot. Kids in Japan ran to the store after seeing the Yo-kai Medals used in the TV series, which can not only be enjoyed as collectible toys, but are also interactive with the video game, the arcade game, and can be utilized in many more ways.”

Hino also commented on how Yo-kai Watch’s concept came about. Regarding this, he said:

“I wanted create an IP that is universal and long-lasting, while providing something new and highly relatable to kids today. Yo-kai are spooky beings which often appear in Japanese folklore, mostly related to either humans or objects we were once attached to. Though they are somewhat monster-like, I realized they had never been featured in video games. From there, I started thinking about some of the main characters, and the concept of Jibanyan – a pretty cat Yo-kai who got hit by a truck – came into my mind. In order to write a story which can be relatable to kids, we conducted robust kids research to understand them. We tried hard to capture what they are most concerned about – it was interesting to find concerns which I can relate to my childhood days, and the ones which were unique to kids today. Setting-wise, it was natural to have it take place in real world. Springdale is an ordinary town with characters who use modern devices and live normal lives, just as we all are now – which is why it is so relatable to today’s kids.”


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