THE BUZZ: Ni no Kuni might not be a name you’re instantly familiar with, but when the game was first announced in Japan, it was a pretty big deal. The project came as a partnership between Level-5—one of the current darlings of the Japanese video game market—and Studio Ghibli, the renowned anime studio know for movies such as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.
Interestingly, this new RPG was announced for a somewhat strange combination of platforms: the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo DS. The DS version was first to hit, and due to the vast amount of text that would need translation—in part due to an included “spellbook” that played as a companion to the game)—many believed it would never see Western release. That concern then transferred over to the PS3 version, which promised an expanded Ni no Kuni experience both storyline-wise and graphically.
Well, good news: While we may have missed out on the DS version, that won’t be happening with the PS3 release. Namco Bandai today announced that they’ll be publishing Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch here in North America at some unspecified point next year.
“With such a dream team of development talent, beautiful hand-drawn anime and an amazing fantasy universe, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch will be one of our premier titles for 2012,” said Namco Bandai’s vice president of marketing Carlson Choi. “At once epic and enchanting, this is a story that will drag you in and hold you transfixed from start to finish.”
EGM’s TAKE: It never made sense to me that the PS3 version of Ni no Kuni would miss us—then again, this generation has seen some absolute surprises in terms of games that get stuck in Japan. So, I’m glad to see this one now get confirmed for coming out way. To be fair, I’m a little disappointed that a joint project with Studio Ghibli resulted in something that seems a little to safe in terms of gameplay ideas and genre—I would have killed for a Shadow of the Colossus-esque take on Nausicaa—but I’m still eager to give the game a go.