Very sad news today from one of Japan’s most respected developers. Level 5 is shuttering operations in America and will henceforth no longer localize their games for markets outside of Japan.
Level 5 has been solely reponsible for multiple game series with passionate fanbases. Professor Layton was their own creation, as was Yo-Kai Watch, the latter being mega-popular in Japan during the 2000s. They also brought out the Ni No Kuni series, a shining example of the JRPG genre. Both Ni No Kuni and Yo-Kai Watch have received anime adaptions, and Netflix recently announced they were producing a feature film based on the Ni No Kuni property.
This reporter has been a fan of Level 5 ever since they produced Dark Cloud 2 on the Playstation 2 back in the 2000s. Their games are usually of high quality with a special charm and attention to detail, and if their future work can’t be enjoyed by anyone outside their home country, that’s a true tragedy.
Currently, the studio is working on Ni No Kuni 3….their last release, a Yo-Kai Watch game for the Switch, was released in 2019 but was not given an English release.
Our only hope at this point is that another publisher will take it upon themselves to start localizing Level 5’s titles, but there has been no announcement from the studio on whether they will allow such a thing.