Pokémon has been dominating the market for many years without any real competition in the West. However, in Japan, Yo-kai Watch has been just as popular among children for a long time as Nintendo’s famous franchise. This fact may come as a surprise to Western audiences, as we haven’t seen any new Yo-kai Watch games since its third installment. But now, Yo-kai Watch is celebrating its tenth anniversary, and they have launched a commemorative website to mark the occasion.
The Yo-kai Watch 10th anniversary website features a retrospective of the franchise’s history, free wallpapers, LINE application stickers, and several other small details. For example, they have announced multiple activities to celebrate the milestone. Currently, they have revealed plans to stream anime movies on YouTube with voice actor commentary, as well as audio dramas, all of which are primarily geared towards the Japanese audience. However, this doesn’t mean that there won’t potentially be something for us as well.
Since the release of the last main installment, Yo-kai Watch 4, in 2019, there hasn’t been a new game in the main series. Additionally, Level-5’s CEO, Akihiro Hino, stated earlier this year that the anime would take a short break after the conclusion of the current season, which ended on March 31st. At the same time, he mentioned that they were working on “the next amazing thing” for Yo-kai Watch, while revealing the design of a never-before-seen Yo-kai. This strongly hints that Yo-kai Watch 5 is nearing completion, and they intend to premiere the new season of the anime alongside the game’s release.
What matters to us is that this could potentially be a Yo-kai Watch game that we could see in the West. In 2020, Level-5 closed all its Western offices, but they have recently started working on titles for markets outside of Japan again. This is significant because Yo-kai Watch 3 was released in Japan in 2016 but made its way to Europe and the US in late 2018 and early 2019, respectively, to coincide with the television anime’s premiere. Considering that Yo-kai Watch 4 was released in 2019 and delays are common in the franchise due to its anime, and the game even announced its Western release, it’s reasonable to assume that the game’s cancellation was solely due to the dismantling of Level-5’s Western offices.
However, it’s important to take all of this with a grain of salt. We still don’t know if there will be a Yo-kai Watch 5, when it will come out, or if it will reach the West. But if history tells us anything, it’s that it’s not far-fetched to believe that there will be a new game, it won’t take long, and it will eventually reach us. Moreover, now that the anime’s distribution relies on streaming platforms like Netflix, which holds the rights to broadcast the anime, the global release of a Yo-kai Watch game seems more likely than ever before.
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