Level-5‘s North American offices, Level-5 International America and Level-5 Abby, are reportedly in the process of shuttering. A number of sources allege that operations slowly began grinding to halt last year. As of August 2019, Level-5 Abby let go of approximately 10 staffers; the International America office supposedly reduced its staff by the same number. Presently, there’s no word on how many employees remain at each studio, though sources say both are running on a “skeleton crew.”
According to GamesIndustry.biz, staff members never received an explanation for the lay-offs. However, sources familiar with the situation at Level-5 Abby claim those workers were “given every indication” that the office would be shuttered. Following the layoffs, a couple of employees remained on board for a short period of time to help with “essential functions” as operations wound down.
GamesIndustry.biz further reports that Level-5 Abby’s COO, Yukari Hayakawa, supposedly exited her role earlier in the year. The executive’s LinkedIn page, as of writing, has yet to reflect such a change, however.
Each of these claims suggest Level-5 is undergoing a restructuring phase. Because the company remains silent on the matter, there exists no clear way of knowing to what extent these changes may take shape. Thus, fans of the Ni No Kuni and Yo-Kai Watch developer are left with one key question–What might this mean for Level-5’s future with North American releases? The company’s track record for recent western releases inspires very little hope for the time being.
As GamesIndustry.biz notes, Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl, which hit stores in February of this year, counts as the most recent Level-5 title to come westward. Before then, Yo-Kai Watch 3 launched in North America back in February 2019. The likes of Yo-Kai Watch 4 and Inazuma Eleven: Great Road of Heroes still lack street dates in western territories.