The developer best known for the Professor Layton series and Ni No Kuni series has ceased its operations in North America.
This news comes from sources, courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz. Level-5’s two North American companies, Level-5 International America and the satellite office, Level-5 Abby, have slowly been shutting down since late last year. Interestingly, in July of 2019, the company announced it would be closing down the design department of Level-5 International America. Since then, an unknown amount of people have been laid off, leaving only a “skeleton crew.” Sources also say that the COO of the North American branch, Yukari Hayakawa, reportedly also departed the company earlier this year even though her LinkedIn page still lists the job.
It is unknown if Level-5 has completely given up on North America or the west entirely. A source says there are no plans to release any more Level-5 games outside Japan. This adds up since Level-5 has made no announcement on any localizations. Even the ambitious Yo-kai Watch 4 which launched on Switch in 2019 has no news. Their social media accounts have also been silent.
It is possible that Level-5 could always rely on an external publishing partner to release in the west. The company has always relied on Nintendo when it comes localization and exclusivity. Their most recent North American releases have been Yo-kai Watch 3 exclusively for 3DS in early 2019 and Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold exclusively for Switch earlier this year. Both games were published by Nintendo outside Japan. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and Layton’s Mystery Journey were also ported to Switch, late last year.
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