In a recent interview with Trendy Net Nikkei, LEVEL-5 President Akihiro Hino had some things to say about his work. The interview is mostly about Youkai Watch and breaking into the Smartphone market, but there is a section about his other titles and specifically Inazuma Eleven…:
If it doesn’t bring new interest to the table, there’s no point in selling it
He was asked to give his rating of LEVEL-5’s other titles in the year 2013
Pres Hino: Our company has a lot to think over when it comes to the Inazuma Eleven, Danball Senki, and Professor Layton series. I spoke with the staff about this as well, but it seemed like we were just milking as much as we could from our past fortune. We put out new titles like Youkai Watch and Fantasy Life, but even then we thought Inazuma Eleven could be our pillar of support through it all. But that was a naive thought.
I hadn’t intended to depend on any certain series in the first place. But I thought Inazuma Eleven would be fine regardless and continue to sell. But the world isn’t that easy. If you aren’t presenting something new, customers won’t laugh at the same joke every time. I think I was being a bit naive about that aspect.
Case in point, the latest works Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy Big Bang/Supernova, Danball Senki Wars, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, etc have lower sales numbers than their predecessors. In layman’s terms, people are tired of the same thing… Even if all these series have a future, there’s no point in making more if they present nothing new.
Each of these series have their niche fans, and it’s true that many are saying “I look forward to the next game!”, but if we can’t continue presenting them something new and interesting, even those fans will part ways. If those fans are going to say “I won’t buy it this time”, then we shouldn’t force ourselves to make it. Each team is doing their best to make things right now, but there’s no point if they don’t present something new.
Inazuma Eleven Online that’s being made with NHN PlayArt is linked to this concept of new?
Pres Hino: This title is targeted for adult users. I feel that NHN would make an appealing online version of Inazuma Eleven. I’m helping them make the game with targeting the adult audience in mind.
What do you imagine next for Inazuma Eleven?
Pres Hino: I’d like to change the gameplay altogether. Along with making it interesting, the gameplay needs to be completely new. It can’t be just another game where you collect characters, have matches and have a new system. That just makes it the same as the previous games, so I’m aiming to change the essence of the gameplay next time. If we don’t change that, even if we release a Part 7, then people will say they’ll just keep playing Part 6 (Big Bang/Supernova).
First week sales of the games to put things into perspective:
1st week sales:
Inazuma Eleven (DS): 41,474
Inazuma Eleven 2 (DS): 280,597
Inazuma Eleven 3 (DS): 505,161
Inazuma Eleven 3 Ogre (DS): 175,604
Inazuma Eleven GO Shine/Dark (3DS): 135,259
Inazuma Eleven GO 2 Neppuu/Raimei (3DS): 168,179
Inazuma Eleven Go Galaxy Big Bang/Supernova (3DS): 91,643