Level-5‘s employees have reportedly left the company in a “massive withdrawal,” with these departures having allegedly led to the delays on its upcoming projects Yo-Kai Watch 4 and Inazuma Eleven Ares. This mass exodus is said to have put the company’s plans on the backburner, with it also contradicting the Level-5 CEO’s previous claim that its delay is the result of the studio teaming with another company.
The claim was made by the Japanese site Nifty News, which noted that “due to the massive withdrawal of Level 5 company employees, the production of necessary games has been lagging behind the production.”
In a December live stream, Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino said that after timing issues with a third-party company working on Inazuma Eleven Aces, the company had started working with a different external developer. Additionally, Akihiro said in an interview with 4Gamer that he was looking to bring fans “something new” in 2019, with there being no suggestion that the company was facing internal struggles and was looking to a positive future.
Yo-Kai Watch 4 was delayed in Japan back in October, with it being pushed back into 2019 with no confirmed release date after initially being scheduled to release in the winter. Inazuma Eleven Ares received an even heftier delay, with it projected to launch in the summer around the time of the World Cup. It now looks unlikely that it’ll release sooner than May 2019.
Level-5 hasn’t officially responded to the rumor, so it’s still unclear whether or not this mass company walkout has actually taken place. No reasons were cited for the walkout in the initial report, with sales of recent releases such as Ni no Kuni 2 having been healthy. However, regardless of the validity of the report, two of the company’s major games being delayed isn’t good news, so the studio will hopefully have a brighter 2019.