Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino announced today at the Tokyo Game Show their action RPG collaboration with Studio Ghibli, Ni no Kuni (“Second Country”) will be released in North America for the PlayStation 3 sometime in early 2012, according to Joystiq.
Ninokuni: Shiroki Seihai no Joou (or “Queen of the White Ashes”) will cross over to American shores sometime after the Japanese release on November 17th, said Hino. The game was originally released on the Nintendo DS, to lackluster sales numbers, due to being released the same week as Monster Hunter Portable 3rd. The PS3 version will follow roughly the same storyline as the original but will continue past the ending of that game.
Studio Ghibli is known for their work on films such as Oscar-awarding winning Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Howl’s Moving Castle, as well as being run by Japanese animation guru Hayao Miyazaki.
Analysis: For anyone who knows anything about Studio Ghibli’s work, this is an absolutely amazing announcement. Miyazaki’s artwork is almost instantly recognizable for anyone who knows his work, and Level-5 was able to translate that into game graphics wonderfully. The power of the PlayStation 3 really brings this world to life.
There’s no telling what the sales numbers will be in the US, though, considering the steady decline of JRPG sales in recent years. I suppose it might also be influenced by how they choose to localize the title. Calling it Ni no Kuni may deter people who are uninterested in Japanese games, but calling it Second Country may also have negative impacts.