Level-5 has been the developer of somewhat-niche but beloved franchises, like Ni No Kuni and the Professor Layton games. A new report this morning, however, indicates that its North American presence may become scarce.
According to a GamesIndustryBiz report, Level-5 has "all-but-shuttered" its North American operations. Multiple sources told GI Biz that both Level-5 International America and the Level-5 Abby office began winding down operations in the middle of 2019, which included laying off the majority of both locations' staff.
Numbers are imprecise, though GI Biz reports Abby employees were given "every indication" the studio would be closing. It seems Level-5 Abby COO Yukari Hayakawa has left the company as well.
As for what this means for North American players of Level-5's games, it remains unclear. One source told GI Biz that were currently no plans for any more Level-5 games to be released outside of Japan.
Level-5 is known for a number of stylish games, ranging from the popular Yo-Kai Watch series to the RPG series Ni No Kuni, which had its movie adaptation brought to Netflix earlier this year. The Layton series also has a devoted following, with the most recent game starring Layton's daughter coming to mobile, Nintendo 3DS, and eventually Nintendo Switch.
It remains to be seen what this means for Level-5 moving forward. A Western localization of Yo-Kai Watch 4 should be up soon on the docket, but there hasn't been any news since its confirmation. For any fellow Layton fans out there like me, hopefully plans are in place to keep lines to the West open.