Level 5 opening Santa Monica shop

Developer of Professor Layton series, Dragon Quest IX set to open US branch of operations in September, expansion to Europe set for next year.

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The Japanese studio behind Nintendo's popular Professor Layton puzzle franchise and a host of role-playing game hits is setting up shop in North America. Level 5 today announced that it will be branching out, starting with the opening of a new location in Santa Monica, California, this September.

Layton and Luke receive a human finger from an unknown party, sending the pair off on another puzzling adventure.
Layton and Luke receive a human finger from an unknown party, sending the pair off on another puzzling adventure.

The company's announcement didn't make it immediately clear if the new location, dubbed Level 5 International America Inc., will be a development studio or will serve more administrative functions. However, Level 5 did note that the Santa Monica office was just the first of multiple planned expansions. The company also plans to open a European arm next year.

In its 12-year history, Level 5 has produced a number of titles that have become popular outside the studio's homeland. The company has won acclaim for many of its efforts, from PlayStation 2 role-playing games like Dark Cloud, Rogue Galaxy, and Dragon Quest VIII, to original handheld properties like Jeanne D'arc and Professor Layton. Most recently, Level 5 made its PlayStation 3 debut with White Knight Chronicles and developed the Japanese DS blockbuster Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (set to launch July 11 in the US and July 23 in Europe).

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