Ni no Kuni will be coming to America next year and the game will be published by Namco Bandai. The publisher will be in charge of the localization of the exclusive PlayStation 3 title which will be called: “Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.”
The role-playing game has been developed by Level-5 in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, a really well-known Japanese animation studio. The latter is famous for its involvement in anime films such as: My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke and Ponyo, among others. Music, on the other hand, was in charge of Joe Hisashi.
This announcement was made during Level-5’s special event known as “Vision” which took place in Japan last week. Additionally, the company announced a new Professor Layton spin-off game, Layton Brothers: Mystery Room, that’ll be released for iOS. It should be noted that this isn’t a sequel, so we’ll probably see a proper one on a Nintendo platform sometime in the future. In any way, it seems like since the new iPhone 4 came out, many companies are developing more games for the platform and this trend will likely continue for a while.
Now, let’s describe Level-5 and some of its most important titles:
Level-5 is a Japanese-based independent developer and publisher and was founded in October 1998. Since its creation, the company has always maintained a good relationship with Sony Computer Entertainment and some of its classics were exclusively released on PlayStation consoles. The PlayStation 2 saw the released of various Level-5 titles like Dark Cloud and Dark Chronicle (also known as Dark Cloud 2 in North America) two action role-playing games that mixed city-building mechanics and time travel. Both titles were praised by critics for their amazing graphics, unique aesthetics and interesting mechanics.
But it wasn’t until Level-5 published Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King that the company became extremely popular. As most of the companies’ games, Dragon Quest VIII uses the cel-shading technique, and in this case, it was extremely suitable for Dragon Quest as the title has always had cartoony-graphics especially in comparison to the more realistic Final Fantasy games. The game was set in a fully-realized, three-dimensional world which was a blast to explore as it was strikingly huge. All the basic role-playing elements proper of the saga were present and the battles randomly occurred and were turn-based. Although extremely simple at first, the combats quickly became deeper and deeper as the player progressed with the main plot and as he or she acquired newer items or skills. Dragon Quest VIII was a smashing success and by September 2008 the title has sold almost 7 million units worldwide. The game was really well received for the simplicity of its gameplay, beautiful 3D graphics, great voice acting (something that was not present in the Japanese release) and absorbing story.
For more information about Dragon Quest VIII read my review.
Later on, the company focused on Rogue Galaxy, a science fiction title that graphically resembles Level-5’s previous titles. Finally, the Nintendo DS saw the release of the Professor Layton Saga and the superb Dragon Quest IX. It seems like we won’t have to wait long to enjoy Level-5’s latest hit. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a good one.