TGS '10: Studio Ghibli Makes Its Videogame Debut

TGS '10: Studio Ghibli Makes Its Videogame Debut

The most famous Japanese animation studio of all time is set to hit the DS and PS3 with Ninokuni: Another Country.

A book which transports a child to another world doesn't win any points for creativity, but the painstaking detail and whimsical beauty of the graphics makes Ninokuni - a collaboration between Studio Ghibli and Level-5 - stand out.

Ninokuni literally means second land - and what a world has been conceived. The town playable at TGS exudes a bright and bustling flavor. Realized as a kingdom where humans and cats live and work side-by-side, the details are exquisite. The town castle is decorated with elegantly intertwined fish and stamped with pawprints (well, the king is feline) and the medieval streets are winding and filled with an array of random, yet beautifully designed objects. Nearby, thick forests teem with googly-eyed mushrooms, two-legged horned sheep, and squawking bat-fish.

Despite the cheery flavor of the game, the story has hints of darkness. The plot revolves around a young boy named Oliver whose mother has just died. While sobbing over a toy from his mother, the doll comes to life as a fairy named Shizuku. A fairy, that is, with a lantern nose who will act as Oliver's guide in Ninokuni - a place where Oliver can save his deceased mother.

Playing the demo version at TGS, we essentially thought Ninokuni didn't exactly shake the foundations of the JRPG, though visually, it's a masterpiece. Navigation was a breeze; all we had to do was follow Shizuku to get around. The demo threw a fetch quest and a few battles our way, though hopefully, the full version will have deeper elements.

You control Oliver over a world map where strange creatures roam. If you bump into any, a battle screen loads up. Young Oliver doesn't really fight, instead, a tiny, expressionless knight beams out of his chest and waddles up to the enemy. Later on, Oliver can acquire magic spells and eventually other children will join his adventures. Interestingly, other children have entirely different creatures popping out of their chests - who knows what this may signify?

It's amazing how much of Ghibli's style came through in this video game. Even the music is pure Ghibli, with resident composer Joe Hisashi lending the game his characteristically serene, yet exotic compositions. All said, though the storyline doesn't appear mind-blowing, the lure of an interactive Ghibli is enough to get people talking.

The game is slated for a 2011 Japan-side release, and will be available on the PS3 and Nintendo DS. The DS version will differ slightly from the PS3.

TGS 2010 reporting is done jointly by Fintan Monaghan and Lisa Gay.


Holy Fuck!

I love me some Ghibli and I love me some games.

So I hope this turns out to carry on the Ghibli quality I love!

So um... yeah insta-buy (or import should it not be released here).

I'm a bit conflicted over which version to get though.

It's a Ghibli production... so the visuals will (should) be stellar. This leads me to want to get the PS3 version (for the best possible visuals) but I don't have a PS3, I have a DS. >.<

Mmmm, Ghibli.

Call me shallow, but I'll probably buy this game for the visuals alone. Then again, I did the same with Okami and it turned out to be an awesome game.

Even if the game turns out to be mediocre, there will at least be a fantastic Joe Hisaishi soundtrack to back it up. Joe Hisaishi has composed some of my favorite music of all time both through his soundtracks and his solo albums titled Piano Stories I-IV. If the game turns out to be good, all the better for me.

*Drools* it looks amazing! Can't wait for this.

Will this game be the 'Okami' of this generation? I bloody well hope so.

The DS...and PS3?

An odd combination, if I've ever seen one.

Also, co-developered with Level 5? Sign me up.

Dark Cloud...Professor Layton...Dragon Quest 8 & 9...Jeanne d'Arc...

The only blemish on their record is White Knight Chronicles, and even then, the worst I've heard about that game is "mediocre".

OMG! Am I dreaming? Or is this a really strong mushroom induced hallucination?(Mushrooms wont make you bigger)

Erhm...It is Ghible...Man the visuals looks really good. I really want to try it out.

Having Studio Ghibli involved is somewhat a guarantee of high quality fun.

I guess...I finally have enough reasons to buy PS3.

so, it will be very pretty but utterly pointless and not very good?

Just comparing it to the last few Ghibli films. Wait, that's not fair, I mean the last few Miyazaki films.

Well, looking forward to this, on all count. Story included.

Ghibli's stories are rarely mind-blowing. Sometimes, they aren't even original. Ghibli's always, as far as I've seen, been less about doing something utterly new and ground breaking, and much more about having a very specific style within which they take classical storytelling and DO IT REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WELL.

And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I wish more companies would adopt that sort of philosophy.

Is there gonna be an English release? Probably, right? Studio Ghibli's had a lot of success stateside, if I'm not mistaken. I hope there's an English version, ideally before August of next year, because my daughter would *flip her shit* if she got this for her next birthday.

I just died with happiness. Thank God I bottled that fairy earlier today.

Never seen any of their work, but damn it that looked pretty.

The art direction for that game looks astounding (though I'd expected nothing less from Ghibli) I would play this game simply to experience what appears to be the best attempt at making computer graphics appear to be 2D animations.

I eagerly await a US release date.

I think it's almost safe to assume it will be released internationally.
I'll be getting it on the DS anyway. It will be a bit more polished on the PS3 but it seems to be the kind of style that will work well on both.

Onyx Oblivion:
The DS...and PS3?

An odd combination, if I've ever seen one.

Also, co-developered with Level 5? Sign me up.

Dark Cloud...Professor Layton...Dragon Quest 8 & 9...Jeanne d'Arc...

The only blemish on their record is White Knight Chronicles, and even then, the worst I've heard about that game is "mediocre".

WKC mainly it was the story that was medicore, it had really detailed enviroments and design or monsters and armor. (also an mmo-like online mode that is a lot of fun that took a hint from the .hack games and added an ingame forum) the combat at times could get a bit boring. luckily WKC2 which has come out in japan, is apparently much better, storyline wise I heard it still needs some work but is better they also fixed everything else.

Woah. A minute and a half long trailer and this is the first JRPG I've been genuinely interesting in since my childhood. Ghibli are awesome, I own a PS3, I am a happy camper.

Studio Ghibli - incredible art.

Level 5 - I've only played Dark Cloud, and I loved it.

Joe Hisashi - never heard of him, but if the music from the trailer is any indication, it's going to sound great.

This is on my must-get list.

Playstation need to release more games like this, and it will become the sales leader of the three consoles (and I may even buy one!). One of the few games that have really caught my eye to be released on it. The blatant "Japanese only" console release makes it all the sweeter. Sorry Microsoft!

This officially makes up for Jade Cocoon lacking much of Ghibli's substance. Great game idea, lackluster outcome.

If this game is even a quarter as good as it looks it'll be amazing. Come on, be good!


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