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Level-5 teams with Studio Ghibli for new RPG

New title coming to DS and other platforms.


Getting much of the attention at the announcement-packed Level-5 Vision 2008 press conference in Tokyo today was Level-5's all new DS RPG, Ni no Kuni: The Another World. The big draw for the title is the animation house that Level-5 has partnered with for its development: Studio Ghibli.

The first of three tenth anniversary projects for Level-5 (the other two are Ushiro and Danbol Senki for the PSP), Ni no Kuni is a fantasy RPG that tells the story of a boy who, hoping to get over his mother's death, journeys to Ni no Kuni, a parallel world that shares just a few common points with the real world. The game's theme is "The connection between people's hearts."

An introduction video aired at the Vision event depicted the boy entering the Ni no Kuni world after opening up a door by casting a spell from a book of magic. This book is central to the game -- so central in fact, that Level-5 is including a copy with every copy of the game, packaging both the book and game together in a large box. Players consult the real book to progress through the game.

A sampling of characters from Ni no Kuni.

The trailer showed players drawing spells on the DS's touch panel based off shapes written in the book. Other uses for the book mentioned by Level-5 include spells for clearing curses and recipes.

First gameplay shots from the DS version.

Level-5 president Akihiro Hino, during a presentation at the Vision event, placed particular notice on the connection with Studio Ghibli. The studio behind such films as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke will be handling animation for the title, some of which was shown in the trailer. In addition, Ni no Kuni will feature music from Joe Hisaishi, a composer who's best known for his work on Ghibli films.

Level-5 had product samples on display at the Level-5 Vision event in Tokyo today. To the left, Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino shows off the book on stage.

Not touched upon at the press conference is a blurb in Level-5's official documentation on the title. Ni no Kuni is due out for the DS and for "other systems," as well. What those other systems are was not specified.

As with most of the new games announced at the Level-5 Vision event, more information on Ni no Kuni can be found in this week's Famitsu, which features a lengthy interview with Hino on the title.

Ni no Kuni will be released in 2009.

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