This is a dark day for those who love JRPG’s or Studio Ghibli-like animation. While there are no doubt a wealth of games within the genre to play (and great ones, too), Level-5 has made some interesting additions. While I can’t say I know much about them personally, I’ve seen their fanbase grow in North America over the last few years.
It’s hard to compete with genre mainstays like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, but Level-5 has managed to make a niche for themselves alongside those games. Unfortunately, their fans in North America have just received some bad news; Level-5 games are staying within Japan’s borders for now.
Even worse, there is no indication on whether this is only temporary. Level-5, the developers of such beloved games as Yo-Kai Watch and Ni No Kuni, has decided to end operations in North America for the time being. Both Level-5 International America and the spin-off office Level-5 Abby “began winding down operations in the middle of last year”, but some staff will remain for essential functions. For example, in July of 2019, Level-5 International America confirmed it was closing the design department. It also goes on to say the future is unclear.
While many will hope for the return of the JRPG games Level-5 makes, the company has not announced any future releases in North America. There was an announcement for Yo-Kai Watch 4, but there has been no new information given on it. Considering the game released in Japan in 2019, that’s not a good sign.
The social media accounts of the company have also gone silent, with the only news being a bug fix. On top of that, the last two releases were in February this year, and before that February 2019. No matter how one looks at the situation, it doesn’t appear to be a positive one for the studio’s North American fans.
While there will be no shortage of games to play in the near future, it’s still a shock that Level-5’s games will stay within Japan’s borders for now. As always, for more reviews and gaming news you can keep up to date at Informed Pixel. Want to speak to the team and interact with other gamers? You can do so over on the Informed Pixel Facebook page or on the Informed Pixel Twitter account.