May 20th, 2009, 22:45 Posted By: wraggster
Last September, Japanese development star Level-5 announced a flood of new titles for DS and PSP. It's been a few months, but the first games from that flood are at last trickling out.
Japanese DS players will get Sloane and McHale's Mysterious Story on Thursday. This will be followed by Atama no Taisou, a brain training game that will ship in two parts for the DS on June 18. Inazuma Eleven 2 will follow these a bit later in the year on October 1.
Those are some major releases, but the most notable title from last year's announcement is still a ways out. Ni no Kuni: The Another World is set for release some time in 2009, and while we haven't heard much about it since its announcement, Famitsu came through with some much needed details in its latest issue.
You'll recall Ni no Kuni as the DS RPG that's being developed in collaboration with Studio Ghibli. It was previously revealed that the main character lost his mother, and now hopes to revive her by journeying to the Ni no Kuni world. Famitsu managed to fill in some of the missing blanks in its latest issue.
The boy's name is Oliver, and he's 13 years old. He lives in the city of Hotroit with his mother, Arie, who dies suddenly. Appearing before a distraught Oliver is a fairy named Shizuku -- actually, a doll that Oliver's mother had given him, now come to life. Shizuku tells Oliver that by going to Ni no Kuni, he may be able to revive his mother. Oliver decides to take the journey.
When Oliver and Shizuku enter Ni no Kuni, they first come to Goronel Kingdom, which is ruled by Nyandal the 14th, a lazy cat. The people of Goronel are apparently troubled by their leader's laziness, as Oliver learns by speaking with the citizens.
As previously detailed, the people Oliver encounters in the Ni no Kuni world are all variations of people from the real world. Oliver himself takes on the clothes of an adventurer when in Ni no Kuni, although it appears that his name remains the same. Layla, a lady who sells milk in the real world, becomes Kaula, the Queen of Vavalencia who has an insatiable appetite. Nyandal the 14th is, in the real world, a neighborhood cat named Frank.
Those characters were all previously announced. The latest Famitsu report offers a look at Marl, a fearless girl who loves to sing and ends up adventuring alongside Oliver. In the real world, Marl is Shelly, a girl who's sick and cannot go outside. Oliver also meets a talking rat named Magooru. In the real world, Magooru is Mark, Oliver's buddy.
As with the characters, you'll end up finding some parallels between the city of Hotroit and the world of Ni no Kuni. They're actually described as "parallel worlds." The name "Hotroit," incidentally, does appear to be a play on Detroit, as the city describes itself as the "Motor City."
As big as all these story details are, the real reason the general public (in Japan at least) has taken note of Ni no Kuni is due to its connection with Studio Ghibli. In an interview in Famitsu, Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino and Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki revealed that animation powerhouse got to work on the animation side of the game around July of last year. It's been over 10 months, and they're still working on it!
We can probably expect some of the highest quality animation yet produced for the DS when Ni no Kuni: Another World hits Japan later this year.
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