It seems cutbacks have led to the Level 5 North American branch allegedly running with a “skeleton crew” of staff members. New broke through GameIndustry.biz, as the website spoke with multiple sources about operations in Level-5 Abby and Level-5 International America. The site then learned the team was supposedly greatly cut back. [Thanks, GameIndustry.biz!]
The report went on to say that its sources “estimate that around ten employees were laid off at Abby in August of 2019.” Around the same number of employees were apparently let go at Level-5 International America. While there were “no clear reason for the lay-offs” from sources, employees were “given every indication that the studio would be closing down.”
The article went on to mention that, while a Western localization for Yokai Watch 4 was announced back in July 2019, no further details have been disclosed. Additionally, the report brought attention to the fact that the North America social media accounts for Level-5 have been mostly been inactive.
Back in September 2020, Level-5 President Akihiro Hino announced that the company would be prioritizing development of Yokai Watch spin-off Yokai Academy Y, which is scheduled to release in October 2020 in Japan. A mobile title for Ni no Kuni is currently in the works as well. Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds will be an MMORPG set in the fantastical world of Ni no Kuni. Both of these titles have only been confirmed for a Japanese release.