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Next Level Games

Next Level Games is a Nintendo first party studio that was originally founded as an independent video game developer by former Black Box Games employees after they were acquired by Electronic Arts (EA). Founded by Douglas Tronsgard and his three partners David Catlin, Eric Randall and Jason Carr in October 2002, the Canadian based developer specializes in creating console video games. The studio prides themselves on providing their employees with a good work life balance by fostering a healthy, positive and creative environment.

The teams first project was NHL Hitz Pro which was published by Midway Games in 2003. It wasn’t long before they were approached by Nintendo to develop a Soccer game that incorporated characters and themes from the Mario franchise. Next Level Games chose to develop the game with similar mechanics as NHL Hitz Pro with its fast paced and physical nature. With the release of Super Mario Strikers, Next Level Games became the first studio outside of Japan to be trusted with the Mario franchise.

Super Mario Strikers for the GameCube was very successful and quickly became a fan favorite by Nintendo fans. Nintendo quickly made the decision to have Next Level Games create a sequel for their upcoming home console the Wii. Mario Strikers Charged for the Wii was praised upon release and surpassed the success of its predecessor by selling over 1.77 million copies.

Nintendo continued to entrust the Canadian based developer with their franchises by allowing them to tackle the Punch-Out!! series. The game was the first title in the series to be rendered in three-dimensions, to have full motion video, optional motion controls and a multiplayer option. The game breathed new life into the series which sat idle for over a decade with the last release on the Super Nintendo.

After the release of Punch-Out!! the developer formed relationships with Activision, Ubisoft and Sega to develop multiple games for the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. After a few years of working with other publishers, Nintendo would approach them once again to revive another beloved Nintendo franchise, this time Luigi’s Mansion. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS released in March 2013 and immediately received critical acclaim by reviewers. Selling over 5.45 million units worldwide, the success of Luigi’s Mansion strengthened their relationship with Nintendo and on January 9, 2014, the studio announced that it would work exclusively with Nintendo going forward.

The first title the studio produced after the announcement was Metroid Prime: Federation Force, a respectable game that was met with negative reception the moment it was announced by Nintendo.  Fans of the series disliked that the game bore very little resemblance to other titles in the franchise and did not feature the series protagonist, Samus Aran but instead focused on the Galactic Federation’s Federation Force.  Their next assignment from Nintendo was much less controversial when Nintendo asked them to create Luigi’s Mansion 3.   Luigi’s Mansion 3 released for the Switch on October 31, 2019 and was met with critical acclaim.   The game sold over 7 million copies within its first year of release.

Nintendo was pleased with the studio’s performance since their exclusivity agreement and on January 5, 2021 announced that they have entered into an agreement with the studio to acquire 100% of their shares to make the studio a wholly owned subsidiary of Nintendo.   The Acquisition is expected to close on March 1, 2021.

Next Level Games Logo
Type Subsidiary
Parent Company Nintendo (2021-Present)
Location Vancouver, BC
Developer Next Level Games
Founded 2002
Number of Employees Approximately 100
Founders Douglas Tronsgard
David Catlin
Eric Randall
Jason Carr
Website Next Level Games

Known For:

How Next Level Games Became a Nintendo 2nd Party Studio


Video Game Story Time

Video Game Story Time is a YouTube channel that focuses on illustrated inspirational stories about the development of video games.

2022Mario Strikers: Battle LeagueNintendo SwitchSports
2019Luigi's Mansion 3 BoxLuigi's Mansion 3Nintendo SwitchAction-AdventureNintendo
2016Metroid Prime Federation Force BoxMetroid Prime: Federation ForceNintendo 3DSFirst-person ShooterNintendo
2013Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon BoxLuigi's Mansion: Dark MoonNintendo 3DSAction-AdventureNintendo
2011Captain America Super Soldier BoxCaptain America: Super SoldierXbox 360
PlayStation 3
Beat 'em up
2010Transformers Cybertron Adventures BoxTransformers: Cybertron AdventuresWiiThird-person ShooterActivision
2010Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon BoxTom Clancy's Ghost ReconWiiTactical ShooterUbisoft
2009Jungle Speed BoxJungle SpeedWiiCard GamePlayful Entertainment
2009Punch-Out BoxPunch-Out!!WiiSportsNintendo
2009Doc Louis's Punch Out BoxDoc Louis's Punch-Out!!WiiSportsNintendo
2008Ticket to Ride BoxTicket to RideXbox 360Turn-based StrategyPlayful Entertainment
2007Mario Strikers Charged BoxMario Strikers ChargedWiiSports
2007Spider-man Friend or Foe BoxSpider-Man: Friend or FoeWii
Xbox 360
PlayStation 2
2005Super Mario Strikers BoxSuper Mario StrikersGameCubeSports
2003NHL Hitz Pro BoxNHL Hitz ProGameCube
PlayStation 2
SportsMidway Games

Douglas TronsgardDouglas TronsgardCEO
Eric RandallEric RandallPresident
David CatlinDavid CatlinTechnical Director
Profile PlaceholderJason CarrCo-founder2002-Present
Rod HigoRod HigoProgrammer2002-Present
Nigel QuarlessNigel QuarlessSenior Concept Artist2002-Present
Profile PlaceholderSteven BrekelmansTechnical Director2002-Present
Melodie LiMelodie LiSenior HR Advisor2002-Present
Profile PlaceholderJim RandallSystems Programmer2002-Present
Derek StenningDerek StenningConcept Artist2002-2012
Marie WyattMarie WyattAnimation Director2003-Present
Paul MartinPaul MartinProducer2003-Present
Profile PlaceholderJon AdkinsTechnical Art Director2003-Present
Dave ForshawDave ForshawSoftware Engineer2003-2009
Bryce Holliday 2Bryce HollidayGame Director
Gameplay Director
AI Programmer
Barret ChapmanBarret ChapmanArt Director2004-Present
Mike ClineMike ClineSoftware Developer2004-Present
Profile PlaceholderAdam MuntonEnvironment Artist2004-Present
Alden PhippsAlden PhippsArtist2004-Present
Ken YeeloyKen YeeloyProducer2004-Present
Aric NorineAric NorineLead Gameplay Animator2004-Present
Profile PlaceholderTedd StreibelSenior Programmer2004-Present
Neil SinghNeil SinghUI/UX Designer/Artist
Art Director
Profile PlaceholderGary KwokRendering Programmer2004-Present
Hewan WoolleyHewan WoolleyProgrammer2004-Present
Profile PlaceholderReece MillsLead Animator & Designer2004-2015
Gary ShawGary ShawProgrammer2004-2017
Profile PlaceholderPius Jung-Kit ChanEffects Artist2005-Present
Aazim KhanAazim KhanVisual Effects / Animation & Modeling2005-Present
Profile PlaceholderAlex MacFarlaneProducer
Audio Director
Profile PlaceholderMatt McTavishLead Game Designer
Game Designer
Level Designer
Scott McFadyenScott McFadyenAudio Designer2006-Present
Diego R. PonsDiego R. PonsPresentation/Level Designer2006-Present
Profile PlaceholderAdrian David EncisoSenior Concept Artist2006-Present
Liam WongLiam WongLead Sound Designer2006-Present
Chad YorkChad YorkAudio Designer2006-Present
Angus MackayAngus MackayProgrammer2006-Present
Profile PlaceholderDarren RadtkeComposer2006-Present
Profile PlaceholderDuane BieberSystems Programmer2006-Present
Profile PlaceholderMichael PeacockComposer2006-Present
Profile PlaceholderAlbert ChauSoftware Engineer2006-2015
Jason WylieJason WylieProgrammer2006-2016
Paul GoadPaul GoadProduction Art Manager
Technical Art Director
Bjorn NashBjorn NashProducer
Art Production Manager
Mike LevesqueMike LevesqueDesigner
Systems Designer
QA Tester
Mark BianchinMark BianchinLevel Designer2009-Present
Randy CavanaghRandy CavanaghRendering Programmer2009-Present
Profile PlaceholderJason ChapmanLighting Artist2009-Present
Profile PlaceholderSean CalderLead Networking Programmer
UI Programming
Rod PradaRod PradaNetwork Programmer2009-2016
Sam KirvanSam KirvanQuality Assurance Tester2009-2016
Profile PlaceholderAnthony IammarinoArt Director2009-2017
Marc BrassardMarc BrassardLead Environment Artist2009-2017
Michelle ManMichelle ManTechnical Artist2009-2018
Profile PlaceholderChristopher RiceEnvironment Artist2010-Present
Profile PlaceholderHarold WestlundSenior Rendering Programmer2010-Present
Brian DavisBrian DavisProgrammer2010-Present
James MansfieldJames MansfieldProgrammer2010-2015
Cavin YenCavin YenSenior Level Designer2011-Present
Matt SmitsMatt SmitsGame Designer2011-Present
Profile PlaceholderRod McInnesQA Manager2011-Present
Rob DavidsonRob DavidsonProducer
Level Designer
Profile PlaceholderDevon BlanchetGame Director2012-Present
Jeffrie WuJeffrie WuTechnical Level Designer2012-Present
Noah O'NealNoah O'NealIT Administrator2012-Present
Profile PlaceholderHiroaki ChibaTranslator2012-Present
Leah HartleyLeah HartleyOffice Assistant2013-Present
Profile PlaceholderChris TurcotteSenior Character Modeler2013-Present
Profile PlaceholderJeff UegamaSenior QA Tester2013-Present
Brook JensenProgrammer2013-Present
Andre MarentetteAndre MarentetteLevel Designer2014-Present
Profile PlaceholderPaul WestlundComputer Programmer - Intern2014
Sean ThompsonSean ThompsonSenior UI Artist
Dan PratezinaDan PratezinaPresentation Animator2014-2015
Ian RookeIan RookeLevel Designer2014-2016
Alex LeungAlex LeungDesigner
Quality Assurance Tester
Anders BergmanAnders BergmanUI Artist2015-2016
Henry TruongHenry TruongAnimator2015-2016
Brad MaximBrad MaximLevel Designer
QA Tester
Desmond DugganDesmond DugganSenior Animator2015-2019
Profile PlaceholderBryan GillinghamPresentation Animator2015
Daniel GerlitzDaniel GerlitzEnvironment Artist2015
Patrick EnglishPatrick EnglishEnvironment Artist2015
Logan FosterLogan FosterEnvironment Artist2015
Chad SmithChad SmithConcept Artist2015
Profile PlaceholderKassondra Krahn3D Environment Artist2016-Present
Johnny MalcolmJohnny MalcolmMaterial Artist2016-Present
JJ GonzalesJJ GonzalesCharacter Animator2016-Present
Adam LongtonAdam LongtonGameplay Programmer2016-Present
Brett HuffBrett HuffGameplay Programmer2016-Present
Cai HockemeyerCai HockemeyerCharacter Animator2016-Present
Sota YuyamaSota YuyamaCharacter Animator2016-Present
Profile PlaceholderSam StreibelQuality Assurance Tester2016-2019
Zackary ValentaZackary ValentaProgrammer2017-Present
Profile PlaceholderCarmine CarpinoProducer2017-Present
Kurin LaingKurin LaingLevel Designer2017-Present
Katrina LinKatrina LinConcept Artist2017-Present
Jason ChengJason ChengEnvironment Artist2017-Present
Profile PlaceholderMarc WackerTechnical Artist2017-Present
Mark HenriksenMark HenriksenEnvironment Artist2017-Present
Tony HaTony HaPresentation Animator2017-Present
Matias TrincheroMatias TrincheroTechnical/VFX Artist2017-Present
Tina Sung3D Environment Artist2017-Present
Megumi MutoMegumi MutoTranslator2017-Present
Mark ScharfMark Scharf3D Environment Artist2017-Present
Profile PlaceholderDerek GoodswimmerEnvironment Artist2017-Present
Profile PlaceholderWesley YeungQuality Assurance Tester2017-Present
Jason ObertasJason ObertasProducer2018-Present
Profile PlaceholderJeff ZoemTechnical Artist2018-Present
John CadienteJohn CadienteIT Assistant2018-Present
Profile PlaceholderGareth LewinEnvironment Artist2018-Present
Kirill BazhenovKirill BazhenovRendering Programmer2018-Present
Joshua SamwaysJoshua SamwaysQuality Assurance Tester2018-Present
Andrew GarbuttAndrew GarbuttTechnical Character Artist2018-Present
Alphonse DuAlphonse DuQuality Assurance Tester2018-Present
Tom SzymanskiTom SzymanskiProducer2019-Present
Qiuhan (Leo) WangQiuhan (Leo) WangComputer Programmer2019-Present
Salim AliSalim AliJunior Designer2019-Present
Kerry McGaffneyKerry McGaffneyProducer2019-Present
Mana ShojiMana Shoji3D Animator2019-Present