Next Level Games, the team best known for developing Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Luigi's Mansion 3, and Super Mario Strikers, has been acquired by Nintendo, a first-party studio.
This news comes after around a decade of Next Level working exclusively with Nintendo, most recently on 3DS and Nintendo Switch projects. The studio is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and is home to around 120 employees.
While the acquisition has been made, the deal isn't complete until March 1, 2020, when Nintendo will control the developer's resources to create high-quality products much faster. This will be made easier since the two companies will communicate “closer,” as mentioned in a statement from Nintendo.
This acquisition is noteworthy since Nintendo doesn't often acquire studios. It's a stark contrast to a company like Microsoft, which has recently gone on a buying spree to house several more first-party studios.
This acquisition means that the games developed by Next Level will be created more efficiently since Nintendo will work more closely with the team. Many of the products that have emerged from Next Level have been of high quality, to begin with, so this acquisition bodes well, particularly if you're a Luigi's Mansion fan.
Luigi's Mansion 3 came to Nintendo Switch in 2019 and has sold a whopping 8 million copies since then, making it one of the system's bestsellers. Next Level Games is also responsible for the critically panned Metroid Prime: Federation Force, but for the most part, the team's games are positively received. For the past decade, the studio has worked exclusively with Nintendo. Before that, it served as a third-party developer, working on licensed games like NHL Hitz Pro, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, and Captain America: Super Soldier.
The team's first Nintendo game was in 2005 when it developed Super Mario Strikers for the GameCube. This has led many fans to believe a follow up could be in the works, though no plans for future projects have been officially announced. Nintendo has hit its stride with the Switch in terms of first-party games, so whatever its plans are for Next Level Games will likely succeed.