level 5

Ushiro [PSP – Cancelled]

Ushiro is a cancelled horror-themed, turn-based rpg that was being developed for PSP by Level 5. The game was officially announced and showed in 2008. Nothing much is known about this game apart from brief informations that appeared on 1up:

Ushiro (PSP) is a first for Level-5 — a horror RPG. You play Reiichiro Ushiro, a newly-minted shinigami spirit who has the power to give people near the brink of death a single wish in exchange for their lives. Whether listening in on conversations in spirit mode, possessing the living to do your bidding, or fighting personifications of the evil in man’s heart, you can be sure that being a not-so-friendly ghost is nothing if not hectic.

The game went dark shortly after the initial reveal, with no new developments on the title up until mid-late 2009, when Level-5 removed the game from their corporate website. It’s not clear why the game was eventually cancelled, but it’s possible that Level-5 decided to focus on their new ROID service, a smartphone app that launched exclusively in Japan in 2009 to help the studio break into the lucrative mobile market.

From the assets that did get released, we can see that the game appears to be in a working and playable state, though it’s not quite clear what percentage of the game was fully developed before Level-5 axed the project.

News of the game’s potential return began to circulate after Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu reported that Level-5 were considering bringing the project back from the dead, although this has yet to see any tangible results as yet. It’s possible that they were not referring to bringing the game back, but instead hinting towards the manga released in 2015, which is currently still active.



Ni no Kuni [DS – Beta]

Ni no Kuni​ is a RPG developed by Level-5 in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, released for the DS in december 2010. As we can read in Wikipedia, Ni no Kuni was first announced in the Japanese publication Famitsu in September 2008, while the development on the animation aspects of the game had begun in July 2008. In those 2 years,the game evolved a lot and Megalol was able to notice various differences between the beta (screens on the left)  and the final version (screens on the right). Check the gallery below for a comparison! Can you find all the differences? The beta world map is especially interesting.


Fantasy Life [DS – Cancelled / Beta]

Fantasy Life is a quest-based RPG / adventure game that was developed by Level-5 and Brownie Brown. It was released on Nintendo 3DS in Japan on December 27, 2012, and then later in 2014 in Western territories. However, the game was was first planned to be released on the Nintendo DS; a version, which was later cancelled.

Fantasy Life DS Beta Cancelled Concept Art

When it began life on DS, the game had a 2D visual style, similar to the one seen in Mother 3. It was first announced at Level-5 Vision 2009 on August 25, 2009, during which time it was being targeted for a 2010 release. The developers presented the first early screenshots of the game at the event, as well as a selection of concept art assets:

Level-5, however, made the call put the project on hold, before resuming development for the 3DS, due to sales forecasts. When it resurfaced on its new platform in October 2010, it was revealed that the game had underwent a big change in art direction. The 2D art of the DS version was done away with, and it had been rebuilt in a 3D engine.

Fantasy Life DS:

Fantasy Life 3DS:


Dark Cloud [PS2 – Beta]


Dark Cloud is an Action RPG developed for the Playstation 2 by Level-5 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2000 and 2001 for Japan and American/PAL regions respectively. As we can read in Wikipedia, Dark Cloud was the first game of the Japanese developer Level-5, headed by designer Akihiro Hino. When the PlayStation 2 was announced on March 2, 1999, Sony president and CEO Ken Kutaragi used a demo of Dark Cloud to showcase the capabilities of the platform. However, many elements of the demo were not used in the release version of the game.

In 1999, Sony had an early playable version of Dark Cloud at the Tokyo Game Show. This version focused on a character who needed to return a floating piece of land back to where it originally came from but its location had been replaced with an evil kingdom. The world building parts where demonstrated in this version. At the Tokyo Game Show in 2000 a more complete demo was available far more similar to the final version.

CallingCard noticed various differences in the early video:

  • The main character, Toan, had a fair redesign between this demo and the final release.
  • The magic carpet never appears in game as far as I’m aware.
  • The ability to jump in and out of the water as seen around the 1:00 mark was removed.
  • The world map is pretty much the same, can’t see anything new aside from the floating island town area which I don’t recall being in the game. Given that it’s just a large blank area, it might’ve been used for demonstration purposes only.
  • Georama system looks almost identical in-game as it does in beta, though the volcanoes never made it in to the final product.