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-Nintendo apparently wants the Prime sub-series to be handled by a western developer while the main series gets weebed out by the motherland.
-Since the Project Hammer debacle, NST does not have the staff to make anything bigger than the Mario v. DK stuff they put out.
-Retro is presumably busy making moar Donkey Kong and/or helping to do coding gruntwork for some in-house studio's game (maybe Zelda).
-Nintendo has no other first-party teams in the west.
-Nintendo likes to deal with third-parties who they know well and have partnered with before, irrespective of the franchise they are loaning ('sup Tecmo-Koei).
-Next Level is a western third-party studio that Nintendo has a good working relationship with and they are cheap.