Nintendo has made a rare move to acquire a game developer, the Vancouver-based Next Level Games.
The deal between the current owner-directors and staff shareholders was conducted privately, so the cost of the acquisition is undisclosed. Although it may be possible to ascertain it from Nintendo’s next round of financial figures in early February.
Next Level Games is most notably responsible for Switch title Luigi’s Mansion 3, which launched at the end of October 2019. The title sold well globally, especially in the US, and while it doesn’t quite make the Nintendo’s own top 10 all-time best selling Switch titles, with 7.83m copies sold globally it comes in a very close 11th place (and in a lot less time than some titles proceeding it).
It makes a lot of sense then for Nintendo to formally secure the developer’s services.
“Completion of the acquisition will service to secure the availability of NLG development resource for Nintendo, including development expertise, as well as facilitate an anticipated improvement in development speed and quality by enabling closer communication and exchange of staff with the Nintendo development team,: said a statement on the matter.
It remains a closely guarded secret just how closely such companies work with Nintendo on such projects. To what extent Nintendo directs the development of such games is unknown and likely varies considerably from studio to studio. However, it’s obvious that as Nintendo employees, the team at NLG will be able to work better with their now colleagues at Nintendo.
Founded in 2002, Next Level Games has long been a Nintendo-only studio. 2013’s Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and 2016’s Metroid Prime: Federation Force (both in 3DS) are recent titles. But it’s relationship with Nintendo dates back to 2005’s Super Mario Strikers.
The studio joins Austin, Texas based Retro Studios as the second wholly-owned Nintendo studio in North America.