Thursday, January 10, 2013

Studio Ghibli's newest movie is a game: my search for Ni No Kuni Deluxe

I have distracted this week after finding out that Studio Ghibli of My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away newest film is actually a game for the PS3. Studio Ghibli says it is not a ‘game’ but rather two entire worlds. This has been done in partnership with Level-5, who would like to do sequels as well as making Laputo into a game.

The game is called Ninokuni in Japan and Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch in North America and EU. The North America release comes out January 22, 2013 with the UK/EU coming out on Feb. 1, 2013. The animation is clearly Ghibli, much like Laputa: Castle in the Sky with some bit from Spirited away thrown in.

The CEO of Level-5 Akihiro Hino talked about the ways in which Ghibli directed the game. “One of Studio Ghibli’s unique approaches is to ‘properly portray the mundane acts of everyday people.’ Before we learned that, we would tend to move the camera around to create the coolest composition we could envision, or exaggerate the characters’ movements for extra effect. But Mr. Momose (Studio Ghibli Director) only moves the camera about when necessary, and instead composes the scenes so they are easy to view the natural movements of people that he has drawn in detail.”

The purpose is so the person playing has empathy for Oliver, the character of the game. In order to increase the empathy and have the players ‘live’ through the character the game has lengthened the amount of time the character spends in the 'real world’ before moving to the ‘magical land.’

“One of the most important elements of Ni no Kuni is being able to enjoy Ghibli’s anime, so we put a lot of effort into making it feel like you were freely moving about within an anime feature film.”

It comes out on a PS3. I don’t have a PS3, but after Sakura-con, I will be saving for one as I love Studio Ghibli and to enter two entire Studio Ghibli ‘worlds’ is a reason to get a system more known for hard core violence and speed. Who wouldn’t want to wander around their favorite film, exploring the world as well as playing the plot?

Here is video of the composer showing the game and the music. The game is in English or Japanese (with subtitles) - the first 2 minutes will show both game and music.

Which brings up the whole ‘Deluxe Edition.’ For reasons I can’t quite understand Level-5 decided to sell the Deluxe edition as a limited edition: it comes with a plush of the Ghibli character, a hardcover 300+ page color book of spells, beasts, and stories of the game, art, as well as art cards. The baffling part is that they closed the selling of it seven months before the game came out. With $60 for the regular edition, it makes the Deluxe edition almost a good value (who doesn’t want the book?).

Frustrated US gamers who wanted the Deluxe Edition bought out the ones available on as well as Amazon france. There are a few online vendors who are taking pre-orders for the game coming out in a few weeks: I think HMV as well as Amazon Germany has a few, though I am not having great success is making an order – which is why I didn’t blog this on Tuesday, when it consumed that and all following days. After several days of frustration, I put it aside for now.

Maybe it makes no sense that I am trying to spend $99 for a Deluxe edition of a game which I don’t have a game system to play. I love what I love, and this gives me a goal I can work towards (assuming I can get a preorder for the game).


Anonymous said...

Cheryl here...

I want to go with you to Ghibli land! That looks so amazing! I will help if you can get a pre-order.

Sharon Olivas said...

I hope you can get a pre-order. A fun adventure - to be in the world of Ghibli.

We'll be moving on Tues/Wed and won't have internet for a couple of days. I'll e-mail you with our new house address before we go off line.

love to you & Linda,