Layton 7 was always supposed to start a new direction for the puzzle-solving series, but it's changed even more since we last saw it. According to translated reports from developer Level-5's Vision 2015 event by Siliconera and Gematsu, Layton 7 will be a multiplayer card and conversation game for mobile devices.
Details are still sparse, since the announcement was relatively brief and made in Japanese, but it appears Layton 7 will cast up to seven players in unique roles, with the ultimate goal of ferreting out the secret vampire among their ranks by using cards, fortune telling, and "table talk reasoning". Sounds a bit like a digitally augmented version of the Mafia / Werewolf party game.
That lines up with the Layton 7 concept first outlined in 2013, which allowed players to act as one of several characters (including "a fine lady, a philanthropist, an elderly man, or even a zombie") and earn points for fulfilling their roles. At that point the game was also planned for release on 3DS, but no mention was made of the system during the most recent presentation.
Level-5 plans to release Layton 7 in Japan this summer on iOS and Android devices. The publisher revealed during the same presentation that it's working on another mobile-only sequel for one of its handheld franchises: Fantasy Life 2. Players will still be able to go adventuring as a custom character in one of a dozen lives, though this time they'll be more focused on collecting villagers and building up a new town of their own.
Keep in mind that all of these announcements were made for the Japanese market and, assuming Layton 7 and Fantasy Life 2 ever release outside of Japan, they could change quite a bit in the process. It's clear that Level-5 isn't planning to get out of the 3DS business any time soon, given that it's bringing the hit Yo-Kai Watch series to the West for the first time.
For about a decade, Level-5 has been responsible for some of the most unique games on Nintendo handhelds - from better known staples like Layton to unique collaborations like the Guild series. Granted, it's one of the most productive Japanese studios in general, with dozens of games released across many platforms, including Android and iOS. The Japanese mobile gaming market is vibrant and robust, and Level-5 has a good history of making mobile offshoots of established handheld properties (like the excellent Layton Brothers: Mystery Room).
So it's really just those numbers at the end that are a sticking point. I liked playing Fantasy Life on 3DS just fine, and it's frustrating that the sequel will add some mobile gaming standbys (like city building) that I don't usually enjoy in the transition. And Layton 7's design has always seemed more suited to mobile devices than 3DS, but that just makes me wonder why this is Layton 7 instead of Layton Brothers: Vampire Ball, or something.