In an exclusive interview, Hino told us that "I obviously didn't imagine the series would achieve the success it has." But, he attributes the franchise's achievements to Level-5's goal to "make an adventure game that anyone could play." Given the popularity of the games, Hino finds it unsurprising that a number of copycats have since followed, such as Puzzle Agent and Blue Toad Murder Files. "Doesn't it follow that if a game gets popular enough, similar games will start to appear?," he asked us.
Nintendo eventually picked up the publishing rights for a North American release, which posed a number of challenges for the localization team. Hino admits that the first game was developed "without much consideration" for international audiences. As such, "we have had to alter and even remove certain puzzles," Hino explained to us. "The reason is usually due to their use of Japanese, or because a puzzle or joke would work in some regions but not in others. Ways of thinking, language, culture, and even religion differ from region to region, so we remove puzzles we feel wouldn't work, and try to replace them with puzzles that players from that market will enjoy."