Nintendo announced today that it has entered a deal to purchase Canadian studio Next Level Games. This move doesn’t come as a huge shock, as Nintendo and Next Level have worked together at multiple points in Next Level’s nearly 20-year history. Terms of this acquisition weren’t announced today, but Nintendo expects the deal to close by March 1st, 2021.
While Next Level Games may not be an immediately recognizable name to some, there are many Nintendo fans out there who have undoubtedly played one of the studio’s games at some point in the past. Next Level has been developing games for Nintendo consoles ever since its founding, occasionally branching out to other platforms as well. Notable Nintendo titles the company has developed throughout the years include Super Mario Strikers, Mario Strikers Charged, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, and Luigi’s Mansion 3.
Most notably, Next Level seems to be the driving factor behind this Luigi’s Mansion revival we’ve seen in recent years. Luigi’s Mansion 3 was met with acclaim from fans and critics alike when it launched in 2019, and indeed, Nintendo purchasing Next Level could be an indication that the company finally wants to turn Luigi’s Mansion into a bonafide franchise after two decades of very periodic releases.
Perhaps it could also mean that we’ll see a revival of the Mario Strikers series? Admittedly, that’s probably just wishful thinking, as there hasn’t been a Mario Strikers game since way back in 2007. Still, with Next Level soon to be under the Nintendo umbrella, a Mario Strikers revival could be easier to pull off.
For what it’s worth, Nintendo’s announcement today doesn’t indicate any post-acquisition plans for Next Level and its staff, with Nintendo only saying this acquisition will “serve to secure the availability of NLG development resources 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.” In other words, we’ll have to wait and see what happens after the deal closes. Stay tuned.