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A playable demo of Studio Ghibli’s PlayStation 3 game Ni No Kuni, which is bound for the U.S. early next year, made it to the Tokyo Game Show this week — and it looks absolutely gorgeous.
Studio Ghibli, the animation film studio behind “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle,” is leading the animation for the game. It has the studio’s trademark animated style written all over it, down to crazy-looking creatures and vibrant, green worlds. The whole game evokes the same kind of style Hayao Miyazaki imbued in his best animated films, such as “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.”
Level-5, a Japanese developer responsible for the Nintendo DS puzzle series Professor Layton and the Dark Cloud, is developing the game. It’s an action-oriented role-playing game that features the main character using a magic book to draw spells. Studio Ghibli began working on animation for the game back in 2008.
Ni No Kuni, or “Another World,” came out on the Nintendo DS last year in Japan, but a localized version never made it to the United States. The Nintendo DS game was well-received in Japan and picked up a 38 out of 40 from Weekly Famitsu, a popular game review magazine in the country. It was one of the best-selling games in Japan when it first came out.
It’s rare that a game like this — which is geared toward an audience that likes shows with stylized Japanese animation — makes it to the United States. But Studio Ghibli has experienced a lot of success with its movies, which often end up as theatrical releases with top-billed voice actors. Liam Neesan, nominated for best actor for his role in Schindler’s List, was a voice actor for Studio Ghibli’s latest film “Ponyo.”
You can check out a video of the playable demo at the Tokyo Game Show below: