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Professor Layton & Yo-kai Watch Studio Level-5 Reportedly Shuttering North American Operations

Professor Layon, Yo-Kai Watch, Level-5, close, North America

Level-5, the studio behind Yo-Kai Watch, Ni no Kuni, and Professor Layton, has shut down virtually all operations in North America, according to sources at Level-5 International America and Level-5 Abby offices reportedly began the closing process in mid-2019, which saw both offices laying off “the majority” of their staff. The total number of employees affected is uncertain, though around 10 people at each office were reportedly laid off in August 2019.

Sources say that employees were “given every indication” that Level-5 Abby would be closing its doors, but no definitive reason for the closure was given. A skeleton crew of one or two employees remains to facilitate the consolidation of business operations between “the Japan office and international advertising and branding company Dentsu.”

As far as the future for Level-5’s games is concerned, it remains unclear whether titles will continue to release in North America, with one source suggesting there is currently no specific plan to release more titles from the company outside of Japan.

The Professor Layton and Yo-Kai Watch studio has yet to officially announce the closure. During Anime Expo 2019, the studio announced plans to bring Yo-kai Watch 4 to the West but never provided a release window. The last title the developer launched in North America was Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold earlier this year.

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Michael Cripe
Michael joined The Escapist team in 2019 but has been covering games, movies, TV, and music since 2015. When he’s not writing, Michael is probably playing Super Mario Sunshine, Dead Space, The Binding of Isaac, or Doom Eternal. You can follow his news coverage and reviews at The Escapist, but his work has appeared on other sites like OnlySP, Gameranx, and Kansas City’s The Pitch, too. If you’d like to connect and talk about the latest pop-culture news, you can follow Michael on Twitter (@MikeCripe), Instagram (mike_cripe), or LinkedIn if that’s your thing.