This week’s issue of Weekly Famitsu has a feature on Leve-5, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the company. In a very long interview, President Akihiro Hino shared many details about his history in game development and the history of his own company.
Most notably, Hino-san talked about Ushiro, the canceled RPG for PSP and mobile which is coming back for Nintendo Switch. Here’s a summary of what he said about the game.
One thing worth noting is how Ushiro was regularly in the “most wanted games” ranking of Famitsu and was never truly forgotten. In fact, Hino-san jokingly says that Hiroshi Hanamura, representative of Famitsu, once asked him to officially cancel the game so they can finally remove the PSP section in the “upcoming games” section of the magazine, as it kept staying there. As such, Hino-san asked him to switch the game to the Nintendo Switch section of upcoming games, surprising everyone and announcing that the game is still coming, but for Switch.
Ushiro was initially supposed to be part of Level-5’s 10th-anniversary celebrations, but now it’s late by ten years and was revived for the 20th-anniversary celebrations. Ushiro initially wasn’t supposed to be a cross-media project either, but since the game never released, they made it into one, with a novel and a manga adaptation.
Hino-san loves horror stories and he was very influenced by Kazuo Umezu, a very famous horror mangaka. As such, Hino-san always wanted to make a horror game, but it’s something slightly difficult to do with Level-5, seeing the company’s reputation of making kid-friendly games. That’s why the initial plan for Ushiro was to make something like Yo-kai Watch, but with a more serious tone and closer to horror themes. Basically, he wants to do with Ushiro what he can’t do with Yo-kai Watch. How the game will turn out is still unclear though, as actual development hasn’t started yet.
Hino-san ends this part of the interview by saying many recently recruited employees at Level-5 are interested in making Ushiro, so the game should definitely release for Switch one day.