Level-5, the developer behind the Professor Layton, Yo-Kai Watch, and Ni No Kuni series, has reportedly essentially closed down their North American offices.
According to a gamesindustry.biz report, Level-5 International America and Level-5 Abby began the process of shutting down last year, which began with laying off most of the staff for both offices. No one is quite sure how many people were laid off or how many are still employed, but the guesstimate is that about 10 employees for each office were laid off. There hasn't been a clear date given as to when the last Level-5 employees in North America would be let go, but there's apparently still essential services to be done as the company consolidates between their Japan office and Dentsu, which is their international advertising and branding company.
In July 2019, Level-5 International America stated that they would be closing their design department, but that it also didn't mean that it was something that would be echoed on a larger scale, as it was "not a large-scale restructuring." Still, there hasn't been any activity on their social media accounts since July 2020, where they announced a patch for Layton Brothers Mystery Room. The last update before that was in October 2018, where they were announcing job openings for a translator.
So what happens in the future? Well, apparently one source for gamesindustry.biz suggested that there would no longer be any Level-5 games released outside of Japan, which is definitely a strange route to take, given how popular their games have been worldwide. It is also possible that they could follow the path of developers like Falcom who license their games for localization and publishing abroad
What do you think of this news? Does the lack of a possible Dark Cloud 3 distress you as much as it does TechRaptor's founder? Do you delight in his pain? Are there specific Level-5 titles that you want to play? Let us know in the comments!