Level 5 – International America, the North American headquarters of Ni but Cooney and Yo-kai watch Developer Level-5, has all operations except closed, according to a report by GamesIndustry.biz.
Citing “a number of sources familiar with the matter”, the report claims that both Level 5 in America and the detached Level 5 Abbey office began to cease operations in mid-2019, which includes cutting back on most of the staff of both offices. Sources suggest that about 1
Sources say employees have been “given every instruction” that operations in North America will be closed, leaving one or two employees for several more months to carry out major operations.
Level-5 Abby COO Yukari Hayakawa also left the company in early 2020, although LinkedIn states otherwise.
In July 2019, GamesIndustry.biz announced that Level-5 International America had laid off two employees and moved a third to another role following the closure of the game design department. Level 5 confirmed these cuts at the time, but said “this is not a large-scale restructuring”.
As for the future of Level-5 releases in North America, one source suggests that there are currently no specific plans to release more Level-5 games outside of Japan.
Level-5 announced a western version for Yo-kai Watch 4 as early as July 2019, but has not shared any updates since the initial announcement. Western edition of its forthcoming edition Inazuma eleven title, Inazuma Eleven: The Great Way of the Heroes, was announced before the repeated delay of the game and the name change in Japan.
The last western edition of the company was Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – gold for the Switch in February 2020, which initially launched in April 2018 in Japan.
Level-5 International America, Level-5 Abby and Level-5 Japan did not respond when contacted for comment by GamesIndustry.biz.