Studio Ghibli's animation boss talks Ni no Kuni

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Studio Ghibli, the award-winning animation company founded by Oscar-winning Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki, has never worked on a video game until now. The stunning looking PlayStation 3 role-playing adventure Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Release Date: 20/12/2012

Studio Ghibli, the award-winning animation company founded by Oscar-winning Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki, has never worked on a video game until now. The stunning looking PlayStation 3 role-playing adventure Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch finds the movie powerhouse teaming up with Level-5, the developer behind Professor Layton and Dragon Quest VIII.

In a new video diary charting the development of the game, Yoshiyuki Momose, Studio Ghibli's director of animation, has explained how they approached the project.

"This is the first time Studio Ghibli has been deeply involved in a video game," he says, describing how the film's visual style was driven by Ghibli's artists. "Despite that, we used the same approach we take on our animated films. The process was not so different from the way we usually approach animation. I directed and staged the animated cutscenes and art for the game as though we were making one of our usual animated films."

That certainly comes across in the footage that has been released, which looks like nothing less than a playable Ghibli film. Having to populate an entire videogame meant that the studio was able to experiment in ways that a feature film wouldn't allow, however. "In some instances we made characters that we normally wouldn't create, or should I say, we had the opportunity to," Momose says. "It was fun to be a part of that. Since Studio Ghibli makes animated films in the fantasy genre, people assume we've created something like this before. But it's surprisingly new for us to create characters in that style."

"Ghibli always has a heartwarming touch to their work. They're very conscious of that and I wanted to incorporate a similar feeling in my projects," adds Akihiro Hino, the CEO of Level-5. "They helped us think through the development of Ni no Kuni."

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of White Witch was released in Japan in 2011, and finally comes to the west in a fully voiced English translation on January 25th.

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