Interview: Level-5 On Why Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom Is A Departure From The Original

Many people are eagerly awaiting the chance to return to the magical world of Ni No Kuni early next year, with the first collaboration between Level-5 and Studio Ghibli a real treat on the PlayStation 3, both for the story it told and the gorgeous anime inspired visuals.

We went hands on with the game at Gamescom last month, but sadly, while we would have loved to sit down in person and speak to Akihiro Hino-san directly, the game’s director and writer, this didn’t work out while we were at Gamescom. Instead we were able to send over some questions instead – it’s better than nothing! These questions were made before the hands-on session, so do not go into the RTS parts of the game, but you can read about this here.


TSA: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. First things first: What is the story?

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Hino-san: The story is about young King Evan who has lost everything. After being kicked out from where he lived due to the sudden coup, he tries to rebuild his own Kingdom through his journey with Roland, Tani and other characters.

TSA: The introduction to the first game was one of the most powerful and heartbreaking I can think of. Do we need a handkerchief handy this time around?

Hino-san: I cannot tell you in details at the moment, but there are definitely touching/heart breaking scenes in Ni no Kuni 2. You will definitely like this game on the same level as the previous game.

TSA: How does the world tie in to the original game?

Hino-san: It shares the world of “Ni no Kuni”, but the story is completely new. So even if they haven’t played the original game, all players can enjoy this game along with the Ni no Kuni fans.

TSA: Will Drippy be making a cameo?
Hino-san: Unfortunately, Drippy will not take part in Ni no Kuni 2. However, there will be some fun stuff if you have played the original game.

TSA: How different is the battle system and what prompted the changes to the battle system?

Hino-san: This time we had decided to go with real-time action based battle, while the previous game used ordinary turn-based system. This is mainly because we wanted to challenge with something different in this game. I personally think real-time action battle is something that is welcomed by RPG fans around the world these days.

TSA: What are the Higgledies that accompany Evan on his journey?

Hino-san: Higgledies are the cute looking sprites which will help Evan and his crew in many parts of the game. For example in battle, they will support Evan by casting special skills or make an enemy slow down by jumping on its back.

TSA: Do we need to have played the original game for the sequel to be appealing?

Hino-san: There are indeed some elements which you can enjoy more after playing the original game. However, you can enjoy Ni no Kuni 2 even if you haven’t played the original game at all.

TSA: One of the defining draws of the original Ni No Kuni was that Studio Ghibli had involvement with the game. I understand this isn’t the case with the sequel, but you’ve retained some of the original team? How has the team adapted to creating the game on their own.

Hino-san: Unfortunately we are not teaming up with Studio Ghibli for Ni no Kuni 2. This is purely because Studio Ghibli have changed their business structure and certain members who worked for the original game are no longer present. However, including Yoshiyuki Momose, there are many artists who worked on Ni no Kuni 1 and are currently working on Ni no Kuni 2.

TSA: I saw an article where the original Ni No Kuni was teased for PC. If you were to bring it to PC, what would the challenges be?

Hino-san: No comment for the “Ni no Kuni” PC port at the moment. If we were to bring Ni no Kuni 1 to PC, it will definitely be challenging to reproduce the warm touching atmosphere as well as the original PS3 feel.


Thanks once again to the team at Level-5 for answering our questions and we sincerely hope to catch them next time in person.

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2 Comments

  1. I really don’t understand the love for real time battles. For Me, Final Fantasy went downhill when it abandoned turn based strategy and after reading these two articles it’s safe to say; my enthusiasm has taken a pretty steep drop :-(

    • Yes, there’s something not right about it all. More of an action RPG thing, RTS sections, no Drippy, Studio Ghibli not involved (although Joe Hisaishi is doing music again, so it’ll sound good).

      It’s gone from “take my money, now!” to “let’s see if reviews can convince me”.

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