'Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch' from Namco Bandai.
Tomorrow, PlayStation 3 owners will have the chance to pick up Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. It's a new RPG from Namco Bandai. Developed by Level 5, the first came out as a Nintendo DS title just over two years ago in Japan. This new version was developed in tandem with the DS original and features the same story, but been made specifically for home console.
Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio behind a number of well-received motion pictures like 'Princess Mononoke' and 'My Neighbor Totoro', was tabbed for the game's art direction. In addition to leading how Ni No Kuni's cell-shaded graphics should look, the animation studio also provided fully animated and voiced cut scenes.
"[Studio Ghibli] spent all of those years creating those animated classics and, bringing that expertise into video games, it really allows for really more in-depth rich storytelling for characters, for frameworks, for shots," comments Namco Bandai Product Manager Dennis Lee. "It's almost like having a movie director come and set up your shots for you for your cut scenes in your video game."
Telling a story different from most mainstream video game role-playing games, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch tells the story of a thirteen year-old boy who loses his mother. His tears bring to life a toy she had made for him and it is through this magical brought-to-life toy, the boy travels to a magical realm on a quest that he hopes will bring his mother back to him. Lee believes that, even though the game's plot is not one specifically of dragons and politics like recent fantasy RPGs, Ni No Kuni should have little problem finding fans amongst hardcore gamers.
"When Level 5...worked with Studio Ghibli, one element they really wanted to push was making a story and an adventure that really reached out to as many people as possible -- very similar to how a Studio Ghibli movie, Disney animated classic, or Pixar movie is fun for the kids...but at the same time there are the kind-of adult themes in there," explained Lee.
In addition to an a-typical story and art direction by Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni also treats players to a different style of combat, which Lee talks about in his nearly 12-minute interview with News10's Game Guys where he also mentions his thoughts about whether or not there will be additional Ni No Kuni games in the future.
A PlayStation 3 exclusive, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is rated "E10+" by the ESRB.