Five years ago, Akihiro Hino was coming off designing, writing, producing and directing two role-playing games, Rogue Galaxy and Jeanne d’Arc. He was young, ruddy and full of life. Then, the unthinkable happened. His games started taking over the entire country.
In 2007, Hino designed, wrote and produced Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The game was a smash. It wasn’t Hino’s first high profile title, directing Dragon Quest VIII for Square Enix. But that was gun-for-hire work. Layton was different – it was his baby and the product of his own studio. In the past five years, Level-5 grew to become one of the biggest studios in the country.
Also in 2007, Hino followed with Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, which he also designed, wrote and produced as well as Dragon Quest IX and Inazuma Eleven, both of which he only produced.
The following year, Hino designed, wrote and produced two titles, White Knight Chronicles and Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. He also directed White Knight Chronicles.
Not only does Hino work on every Level-5 game either as designer or producer, he is president and CEO of the 200-employee strong company. When Hino showed up at the recent 3DS event in Tokyo, he looked like he was in need of a good nap. Japanese netizens point to his insane schedule and workaholic tendencies. “In the game industry, all-nighters are standard stuff,” wrote one commenter, while another added, “Dude looks like he’s on death’s door.”
Perhaps after releasing Professor Layton and the Miracle on the 3DS, Hino can work on designing, writing and producing a totally new project: nap time.