I mean, just look at it. That world is just waiting for a lost gamer to wander through it’s lovely twists and turns.
Studio Ghibli is well-known to American audiences for being behind such classic films as Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, as well as My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Tales from Earthsea (an animated spin-off of Ursula K. Le Guin’s much beloved series of fantasy novels) and director Hayao Miyazaki’s art style is immediately recognizable for its simple charm and timeless characters. Marrying that art style with a video game and placing it on a platform with the juice to do Miyazaki’s imagination justice seems like a no-brainer.
Tasked with doing Miyazaki’s work justice is Level 5, a Japanese videogame company best known for developing several of the recent Dragon Quest and Professor Layton video games. They’re known for their graphic prowess and simple gameplay, a combination that seems to be a perfect compliment to Studio Ghibli’s films.
1up.com has a wonderful, in depth hands-on with the Japanese version of this Ghibli masterpiece-in-the-making:
In short, it’s very much a classic, old-school RPG in the 16/32-bit tradition. Unlike the Final Fantasies and Suikodens of yore, though, Ni No Kuni drips with lavish detail at every turn. It may not be the most inventive RPG ever made, but it could well be the prettiest.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch arrives on North America shores in 2012. It is already available in Japan.