Level 5 is being particularly coy about releasing details regarding their relatively unknown upcoming title, Ni No Kuni. The game was first announced last year and the western world has yet to really hear much since. The DS version of the game was released last December with the PS3 version to follow later this year.
I may be the only one, or one of few, who feels that this game should be receiving a bit more coverage than it has been. For starters, Level 5 is teaming up with world-famous Studio Ghibli on this project. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Studio Ghibli , shame on you, it is essentially the Japanese equivalent to Disney. Award winning director Hayao Miyazaki is the mastermind behind some of animations most awe-inspiring titles like “Howl’s Moving Castle”, “Ponyo”, “Castle in the Air”, “Princess Mononoke”, and “My Neighbor Totoro”. His art style is incredibly distinct and his story lines leave nothing to be desired, so do yourself a favor and check out these cinematic masterpieces.
It could be that Level 5 is playing their cards closer to their chest this time around, especially after the relatively lack-luster reception of White Knight Chronicles. WKC was met with lukewarm reviews and the fans didn’t seem to care all that much about it. It could have been that there was such a discrepancy between the official announcement and the actual release that turned a few fans sour to the whole idea.
White Knight Chronicles aside, Level 5 is among the most esteemed developers in the industry and has always produced an incredibly unique experience for gamers. Their success was clearly established very early in the life of the PlayStation 2. Dark Cloud released soon after the launch of the PS2 and gave gamers their first “next-gen” action RPG experience. 2 years later, they released, what remains to this day, my favorite game of all time, Dark Cloud 2. The gutsy shift to cel-shaded graphics in a time when video games were pushing the limits of technology and appearances really paid off for Level 5. For the time being, they cornered the market on cel-shading and even turned the long time Dragon Quest franchise into a cel-shaded experience with Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. Finally, toward the end of the PS2’s life, Level 5 dropped another sleeper hit on the gaming world with Rogue Galaxy and set gamers loose on an interstellar cel-shaded pirating adventure.
Since then Level 5 has peeked it’s head out every once in a while to remind us that they haven’t gone anywhere, but we haven’t really seen their true colors for quite some time. Let’s just hope that Ni No Kuni (The Another Country) will repair the damage that may have been done WKC. and bring Level 5 back to life on the major consoles.
Here is the Ni No Kuni trailer. Let’s get the buzz going for this game!