In a surprise move, Nintendo has purchased the game studio behind Luigi’s Mansion 3, as the concentration of developer ownership continues into 2021.
The company has acquired Next Level Games, a Canada-based studio which has mainly worked with Nintendo in recent years. It’s also the studio behind Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, which were available on the Nintendo DS.
Before that, the developer had worked with larger publishing houses like Ubisoft, Activision and Midway Games dating back to 2003’s NHL Hitz Pro for the GameCube, Xbox and PS2. The acquisition is significant given Nintendo rarely takes this route. The last independent studio it bought was Monolift Soft, the maker of Xenoblade Chronicles, 13 years ago.
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Nintendo expects the sale to be completed in March, “pending satisfaction of all relevant terms and conditions. The idea is to facilitate “an anticipated improvement in development speed and quality.”
It’s perhaps not too surprising Nintendo has decided to go this route, considering the success of Luigi’s Mansion 3, the adventure game, which has shifted just over 8 million copies since it went on sale in October 2019. Bringing the studio under internal control gives Nintendo more power to ensure more sequels can flow smoothly from the studio.
In our review of Luigi’s Mansion 3, we afforded the game a 4-star rating and praised the ease of play, quirky environment and fun gameplay.
Our reviewer wrote: “If you are looking for a challenge then Luigi’s Mansion 3 might not be for you. The game is only mildly difficult but – for most – that won’t really matter. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is an absolute delight from start to finish, bursting with charm and re-playable mechanics.”
The move comes with the gaming giants snapping up several of the major studios over the last couple of years; most notably Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda in 2020, giving it control of the future of the Doom, The Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises among others.