Ghost-catching RPG Youkai Watch could come West next year

Popular Japanese role-playing game Youkai Watch could be coming West next year, developer Level-5's president Akihiro Hino told Japanese publication Zakzak.

Youkai Watch launched for Nintendo 3DS in Japan in July, 2013. The game follows the player character — a young boy or girl — and their pet ghost Whisper throughout their quiet hometown, solving mysteries and capturing ghosts for use in battle against other ghosts.

Speaking with Zakzak, Hino said Level-5 is currently evaluating Western markets in hopes of bringing the well-loved series to international territories. He noted that the popularity of Japanese culture could mean the game will be successful in non-Japanese regions.

"Our plan for next year includes worldwide expansion," Hino said of bringing Youkai Watch West. "I believe that there is an attraction to Japan-like fantasies. Also, I have already acquired an endorsement from a foreign toy manufacturer that says [Youkai Watch] will absolutely succeed."

Youkai Watch was an instant success in Japan and has since spawned three different manga adaptations, an anime television show and an in-development animated film set to release in Japan this December. A sequel featuring two different game versions, Youkai Watch 2: Ganso and Youkai Watch 2: Honke (similar to how Pokemon games are released in pairs), launched in Japan last month.

"Even though the ample charm of our ghosts was born in Japan, the day they make a splash abroad is drawing near," Hino said.

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