The platform holder will acquire all outstanding shares owned by the developer’s directors and employees, in a deal that’s excepted to complete on March 1, 2021, it said.
Next Level Games is based in Vancouver, Canada and has worked on several Nintendo franchises over the past 15 years, including Mario Strikers Charged, Punch Out!!, Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Luigi’s Mansion 2 and 3.
In 2019 it released the critically acclaimed Luigi’s Mansion 3, which sold around 8 million copies during its first year – significantly more than Nintendo’s other big 2019 releases Super Mario Maker 2 (5.5m) and Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (4.4m).
In VGC’s Luigi’s Mansion 3 review, our critic called it, “a stunning, spooky adventure that puts its hero, and the game’s Canadian developer, firmly on the map.”
Nintendo said in a statement: “Completion of the 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.”
Next Level joins Retro Studios, developer of Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, in Nintendo’s roster of North American studios.
Ampere Analysis analyst Piers Harding-Rolls said the Next Level Games buyout represented Nintendo’s first acquisition since its 2007 acquisition of Monolith Soft (Xenoblade).
“There is a backdrop of increased M&A in games, but this doesn’t signify a change in Nintendo’s strategy, more a response to NLG seeking a buyer,” he wrote.