Professor Hershel Layton is one of the protagonists in the Professor Layton game franchise by Level-5. He is a famous archaeologist known for being very good at solving puzzles, owning a specialized car called the Laytonmobile, and wearing a top hat. He is intelligent and polite and the perfect picture of an English gentleman. His original Japanese voice actor is Yo Oizumi and his English voice actor is Christopher Miller.
Early in life, Layton was taught by Dr. Andrew Schrader who soon became his mentor. During his time at Gressenheller University, Layton met Claire Foley. Layton had strong feelings for Claire and was given his signature top hat for becoming a professor from her. Unfortunately, Claire died in an accident and so Layton refuses to remove his hat out of respect for Claire. During this time, Layton also met Don Paolo, who was enraged when Claire chose Layton over him. It was at that point that he became an arch nemesis to Layton. Layton started working at Gressenheller University and soon met Emmy Altava who became his partner in solving cases.
*Note: The games/film listed below are in story chronological order and noted with US release dates.
The Last Specter (2011)
Professor Layton and the Last Specter takes place three years before the events of Professor Layton and the Curious Village. In The Last Specter, it is revealed how Layton met his now famous apprentice Luke. Also introduced is Layton's first assistant, Emmy Altava (Remi Altiwa in the Japanese version).
The Eternal Diva (2011 Film)
Professor Layton is also featured in Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva. A movie that takes place after the Last Specter and before the Nintendo 3DS title Mask of Miracle. The Professor & Co. are invited to an opera house before it becomes a literal game of life and death where its audience must participate in a series of puzzles or die.
The Mask of Miracle (2012)
Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle marks the franchise's 3DS debut.
The Super Civilization A (~2013)
Professor Layton and the Super Civilization A is presumably the final Professor Layton game, due for a 2013 release in Japan.
The Curious Village (2008)
In Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Layton and Luke travel to the town of St. Mystere because of a letter from Lady Dahlia to solve a mystery. The late Baron Augustus Reinhold left a will when he died and within detailed a mystery that no one has solved.
The Diabolical Box (2009)
In Professor Layton and The Diabolical Box, Layton visits his old mentor Dr. Andrew Schrader when he informs Layton that he has come in possession of the Elysian Box. The box is rumored to kill whomever opens it. When Layton and Luke arrive, his Mentor is found dead, the box missing and, aside from a few clues, another daunting mystery awaiting Layton and his apprentice.
The Unwound Future (2010)
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is currently the last game in the series chronologically. On the way to see a new invention, a time machine, Layton and Luke receive a letter from "Luke" ten years in the future saying that something terrible has happened and require his help. Layton and Luke decide to accept his request and embark on a time traveling adventure.
Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright (~2013)
Layton Kyouju VS Gyakuten Saiban (its title in Japan) is a crossover game for the 3DS starring Capcom's Phoenix Wright and Level-5's Professor Layton. It is due for a 2012 release in Japan.