Following a business crisis that sees both Level-5 International America and Level-5 Abby working on “skeleton crew” around 2019, both US-based offices are now officially shutting down.
In a revelation disclosed by people who have solid knowledge on the issue, the two agencies are said to have laid off the majority of their employees since last year.
In 2019 alone, both Abby and International America parted ways with 10 of their respective employees. At around July of the same year, Level-5 International America has announced the dismissal of its two employees from the design department. Although, at the time, was claimed not to be a case of “large-scale restructuring.”
No definitive info
There has been no concrete information as to the overall number of people who lost their job from both offices. Likewise, there is also no information as to how many employees had remained in employment prior to the closure.
The reason for the massive lay-offs was not transparent, as sources claim. However, there had been solid indications that the Abby studio would be closing down. Amid the closure, the branch still to settle business with the international marketing company, Dentsu. Which, for that reason, would require one or two employees to carry out crucial functions in the next few months.
If the massive unemployment is not telling enough Level-5 Abby’s imminent fate, there are also claims that the subsidiary company’s COO and head Yukari Hayakawa, having left the company early in the year, could be a sign as well.
Despite the rumors, Hayakawa’s LinkedIn page still displays the role of her present preoccupation. But could also mean a case of the executive simply not having updated his LinkedIn profile, yet.
There had been attempts to reach out to Yukari Hayakawa to clarify the issue but to no avail.
Uncertain future Western releases
With the two offices officially closed, future Level-5 games titles reaching the West has become uncertain. The issue is even made bleaker with a source telling that there are currently no plans to bring the company’s games outside of Japan at present.
For gamers, the main concern would probably boil down to the highly-anticipated English localization of Yokai Watch 4. A game that saw a release, to some acclaim, in Japan in 2019. While there had been no official word of the game’s Western launch, many were hopeful.
As for game releases that did see the light of day outside of Japan recently, those games would still be February 2020’s Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold and February 2019’s Yokai Watch 3.
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