Level-5's Akihiro Hino tells all about the breathtaking Ni no Kuni

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

A collaboration between the legendary Studio Ghibli, responsible for animated films such as Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, and Level-5, makers of the White Knight Chronicles and the Professor Layton series of games, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is shaping up to be a rich and vibrant J-RPG that could be a real hit with Western gamers.

We spoke to Level-5′s CEO Akihiro Hino to find out what’s in store for us when the game hits Europe and North American markets sometime in Q1 next year:

Will you be releasing the same downloadable content for Ni no Kuni that Japanese gamers have enjoyed?

Akihiro Hino: In terms of the DLC, regardless of it being paid or free, we will definitely be bringing it over to the States. In terms of new additional content we are still in the midst of planning it out with Namco Bandai, and within Level-5. In addition to that we are looking at enhancements to the game, so what we can say right now is that it will be more than we provided in the Japanese version.

We were big fans of the massive magic book that came with the Nintendo DS version, are there any plans to bring this to European audiences?

AH: Currently there are no plans for replicating this in the overseas bundle, but with regards to the PS3 version, we really tried to realise a true form of the magic book in a sense – you’ll see the artwork coming to life and moving around and so it adds a whole new element to the physical book that we saw with the DS version. In terms of it being bundled, we don’t have any plans for that.

Can you talk about any of the other changes you are making other than the localisation?

AH: We can’t really announce anything as of now, but we are currently in the midst of planning for additional enhancements that would be available in the overseas version so you can look forward to that. In terms of what could be probable? Additional characters may appear in the overseas version, for example.

Will the partnership between Namco Bandai and Level-5 expand beyond Ni no Kuni to possibly bring over other games like Guild01 for example?

AH: We do have a pretty deep relationship with Namco Bandai, not only with games but in other realms as well, so in terms of publishing software in the future, or just collaborations with Namco Bandai in the future, it is probable but we can’t really reveal much right now.

What was it like working with Studio Ghibli? Did they bring any fresh ideas to the table?

AH: It’s not really so much new ideas from Studio Ghibli per se, but they did have a lot of input with regards to the storytelling elements as well as maybe some of the other elements in the game itself – they had a lot of feedback with regards to directions, so the particular cutscenes or whatnot, but in terms of the game system and the more technical side of things they’re obviously not a games developer so they didn’t input as much on that side of things.

Can you give examples of how they helped with the storytelling aspect of the game?

AH: So this is just an example, but towards the end of the game there is a section where Oliver (the lead character) comes across his mother. The team debated whether Oliver would hug or embrace his mother, or not, and Ghibli had their own ideas and input with regards to that particular scene and how it was created in the end, so there’s a lot of small details that Ghibli provided us with, as you’ll see in the game.

When a game or movie is translated to another country there’s something lost in translation – not just the language but thematically. Are you happy with how these ideas and themes are communicated in the game and do you feel it will resonate as well with European and American audiences as well as it does with a Japanese gamer base?

AH: In terms of the content, graphics and so on, we received very high marks from Japanese magazines – and obviously we don’t think there’ll be much of an issue in terms of the game itself, but with regards to text translation and localisation we’re really putting a lot of effort into recreating the Japanese thematic elements as well as the universe itself – for example with the regional accents, Drippy (Oliver’s toy companion) has an Osaka accent in the original version, but he has a Welsh accent for the overseas version, as you can see in the trailer.

We were trying recreate the kind of differences that exist in the Japanese version so that western audiences can experience this. Other than that, with some of the names of some of the kingdoms and characters, and the rules we are using to create the character or place names, we’re really putting a lot of effort in to ensure it stays close to the original spirit of the game, and what we’re trying to accomplish in that particular area. In terms of the quality of the translation, we’re pretty sure that it will end up being really satisfying for overseas as well.

Lastly, just touching further on this question, a lot of overseas J-RPG fans are purists, and they would prefer that it’s all in Japanese with English subtitles. Was there any hesitation on your part to include localisation?

AH: The game will be available with both Japanese and English voiceovers, so if gamers want that experience they will be able to play with the original voiceovers with English subtitles, yes.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all failed
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    1st Line Service Desk Analyst

    £27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Computer Futures

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?