Level-5 has revealed more details about Ni No Kuni, its collaboration with Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio behind such movies as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. The title was announced in 2008 for the DS, though a console version was apparently hinted at as well. Today, that version has been revealed.
CVG reports, via Andriasang, that the Playstation 3 version will more closely mirror the concept art created by Studio Ghibli than the DS version does. One small portion of the text has been translated as, “You’ll be able to adventure in a world that has the feel of a Studio Ghibli anime.” Other than that, the magazine apparently doesn’t reveal any additional details about the PS3 version, though this may indicate why the game has been continuously delayed.
In the DS version, players take control of 13-year-old Oliver, whose doll comes to life and gives him a magic book after his mother dies. The book allows him to travel to an alternate reality, “Ni No Kuni,” or “The Another World,” where he encounters bizarro versions of people and places he knows. The doll, who is actually a male fairy, for some reason, tells Oliver that he may be able to bring his mother back from the dead in the other world. In addition, Oliver will be able to move back and forth between the two worlds.
Both versions of the game employ Studio Ghibli’s signature art style, which is a unique mix of Japanese and Disney-style animations. The studio’s latest animated feature, Ponyo, was presented by Disney in the US and follows the adventures of a young goldfish-like ocean spirit and a five-year-old boy. Hayao Miyazaki, the genius behind Ponyo and many other Studio Ghibli classics, has reportedly not worked on The Another World, though the animation still resembles classic Ghibli productions.
Ni No Kuni will be an RPG, though based on details revealed so far, like the ability to switch back and forth between two alternate worlds, it may have some puzzle elements as well. In addition, it comes packaged with a physical copy of the magical book given to Oliver in the game, which is apparently required to play. The book is rumored to contain spells necessary to navigate the game’s battle system, so unless it shows up as a PDF on the internet (which it probably will), it may end up being a pretty effective piracy deterrent.
The release of the DS version has been moved to Fall 2010, and the PS3 version has yet to be dated or priced. It’s also unknown whether it will be a retail or downloadable title, but keep checking Kombo for more info as it becomes available. Check out the gameplay video below.