Another World: Studio Ghibli’s CG video game

Here’s the trailer for the Studio Ghibli/Level 5 game, Ni no Kuni, for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo DS. It’s causing quite a stir in the anime/gaming community. Miyazaki’s composer Joe Hisaishi is doing the score. Looks good:

(Thanks, Andrew Clarke)


  • GhaleonQ

    The DS game is more impressive as a video game, but the animation in the Playstation 3 parallel story is quite good for something that isn’t animation-focused.

  • pheslaki

    Just in case anyone wondered what Pokemon would have looked like if drawn by Miyazaki . . .

  • NC

    I agree with pheslaki it looks like most other RPGs just in this weird CG Miyazaki bastardization. CG still has a long way to go to fully mimic traditional hand drawn animation. A lot of it seems to do with the fact that CG stills tries to mimic reality while trying to mimic 2d rules at the same time.

  • Adam C

    If you check out this trailer for the DS version you get to see a lot more of the 2D animation Ghibli did for the game:

    http://www.gametrailers.com/video/tgs-09-ninokuni/56812

  • Isaac

    The animation loses all the subtleties in the transition. Perhaps this is the equivalent of mo-cap in anime, taking formulaic anime and turning it into formulaic videogame animation.

  • Alissa

    Yes yes yes yes YES! I know what I’ll be getting for my DS and PS3.

  • Cartoon Cave Hermit

    This is impressive, and considering how much gaming tech has advanced, I think it is smart for studios like ghibli to team up with quality game developers to make new properties. I mean, they have very similar audiences, there is a lot of cross appeal amongst the 30 and under crowd who grew up on animation and video games as sources of entertainment.

    Another surprisingly stunning example of this is the recent Naruto fighting games. Now, let me just say, I can’t stand this anime, its really derivative and boring, but they have manage to pull of some amazing feats with the cel shading in the game. Also the effects work looks particularly good and not so “video gamey” as is usually the case. Take a look if your interested.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pLwdPUAUi0

  • Rat

    “CG still has a long way to go to fully mimic traditional hand drawn animation. ”

    You do realize that you’re looking at realtime 3d renders out of a videogame machine, right?

    A more accurate phrase would be “Live hardware rendering of 3d objects in videogames have a long way to go to fully mimic traditional hand-drawn animation.”

    But then again, we might as well say this as well:

    Hand-drawn animation has a long way to go before it can fully mimic the action and look of real-life. No matter how closely they try to mimic the real world, they always fall short. Bambi, for all its attempts to mimic a real deer, doesn’t even come close. The fake shadows, the lack of texture, the lack of fur, no reflections in the eyes, etc, give it away every time.

  • http://amber-gail.blogspot.com Amber

    It looks a lot like the Tales games. That being said, I really really really want to own a copy.

  • Shawn

    Wow, the DS trailer shows a lot of animation. It’s all really gorgeous, though I don’t know if I would want to watch it on my DS. The quality would be terrible. PS3 would be worthwhile, though. Also, the trailer shows one of the monster things is a hybrid unicorn + purple sheep, so I’m sold.

  • http://www.goodaboy.com Rajesh

    I think it looks great. If I had any criticisms, it would be the stiffness of it. But it may be something inherent in video game 3D technology as opposed to trying to mimic the Miyazaki/Ghibli look.

  • erlab

    Nice.

    Miyazaki has been quoted as saying that as long he is alive, he will not do any 3D animation. It only means his STUDIO won’t do that… but no one said anything about video games at another studio!

    Not sure about the Pokemon angle. That’s the only thing about this trailer I hate. Miyazaki always conceived very original material, and this is the first time in any of his works where I get the impression he’s ripping off something. Battling creatures that are owned and collected by kids isn’t an exclusive idea to Pokemon, I know… but it’s become synonymous with it.

  • Donald C

    Looks sorta like a Dragon Quest Monsters game with real time battles.
    I like it.

  • NightmareIsNear

    Looks as good as Epic Mickey with beautiful graphics and characters. Gotta get that PS3 back sometime.

  • Lovettta

    Um erlab how do you know Miyazaki has anything to do with this game. I only read his composer was involve in this. Besides his work is very personal and thus less likely to turn out generic crap like this. Why couldn’t they do something original. I swear if I kept seeing these rpg fantasy monster gotta catch them all crap! I gonna scream!

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    That doesn’t look bad, but the game play segment looks out of character.

    Ghibli films always appear to emphasize atmosphere over animation so the conversion to “game” rendering doesn’t look like a drastic demotion.

    The essential paradigm of modern games is something I’ve found doubtful. Get some interesting characters, get an interesting story going, then bring it to a grinding halt to shoot at stuff for some unspecified length of time.

    Is the acceptance of that model by so many people part of the reason that story telling most movies is so faulty?

  • Jared Pettitt

    I love the 2d, but the cel shading trying to mimic the 2d animation makes my head hurt. I think it would’ve been a lot better if they just did detailed pixel animation on the DS or something

    And the only thing Miyazaki has to do with this is… well, nothing. His studio’s animators just did animation for Level5 while they weren’t working on any movies, from what I understand

  • Jared Pettitt

    That said everything about this is essentially a license to print money in Japan

  • NC

    Wow Rat apparently you don’t quite understand the purpose of animation do you? You do realize that animation isn’t about copying reality, right?

  • J

    Yeah, Miyazaki is not personally involved with this project. However, as far as I know it’s still a pretty major project for Ghibli, not just something to keep them occupied in downtime.

    I’m glad to see the studio exploring new avenues and continuing to prove there will be a bright future ahead for them, even beyond Miyazaki’s (eventual) retirement.

  • John

    God this Japanese stuff is ugly and generic looking. But everyone says it’s art, so I guess it is…sigh…

  • Austin Papageorge

    I love Level 5 and Studio Ghibli. Level 5 always has great art style in its games. I especially enjoyed playing their Dragon Quest VIII, done for Square Enix, which has a great design by Dragon Ball Z creator Akira Toriyama. Level perfectly realized Toriyama’s art, and it looks like they are fully realizing Ghibli’s art.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    “God this Japanese stuff is ugly and generic looking. But everyone says it’s art, so I guess it is…sigh…”

    One of the things about Japanese anime/manga/video games that’s not going to turn on people based on their opinions of what constitutes “art”. I personally find this a rather fun little effort myself and hope for the best on future projects of this sort in the future.

  • Ryan G

    This looks fantastic, and I will be buying myself a copy of the DS game if it ever gets a translated release. An RPG in the style of Miyazaki characters and environments…that is an absolute win for me!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    There seems to be that mentality out there though that Studio Ghilbli is Hayao Miyazaki, even though technically it’s a studio rather than just some guy operating under that name, and there are other talented people who work at the studio whom don’t get nearly the same recognition as they should. You should be calling it Ghibli-ish characters rather than Miyazaki ones here if you have to be technical

  • http://peter-bangs.yolasite.com/ Pete Bangs

    I’ll buy this for my daughter and play it myself. Epic Mickey I’ll be buying for me.

  • http://andynortonuk.spaces.live.com/ Andy Norton

    I can understand why people seem excited about this. But as I’m not big on RPGs, I might be tempted to not invest in this game too heavily.

    But it might open other gaming opportunities for the Ghibli studio. So it might be interesting to see another studio, renowned for its animated work, to make or contribute to games jn this manner.

  • MadRat

    OK, it’s not a prefect copy of a hand-drawn cartoon but I’m impressed how close it got considering this is rendering in real time on a video game console. The music is very cinematic and the atmosphere is amazing.

    erlab: Not everything Miyazaki has done is original. Just off the top of my head, the early TV series Future Boy Conan, later the Anne of Green Gables series and Howl’s Moving Castle film were all based on English language, childrens’ novels.

    robcat2075: You have a very good point. The fight scenes are almost like the actual game pauses and different game with similar characters and backgrounds starts up.

  • Taikaw

    I’ve never been a Ghibli fan due to character design, but this actually looks pretty ok. I kinda want to see a Kingdom Hearts Ghibli version though.

  • http://- FlipFlop

    I’m not a fan of the anime-style but the in-game-graphics are not bad at all. The faces are very static which makes them a bit strange in 3d and the heads looks like if they are too large for their bodies. But I must hand it to them they did an ok job with converting 2d characters into 3d.

  • ZAR

    No PC-version?

    Well, I will watch the cut scenes and maybe some game play or a playthrough on YouTube and Sony/Nintendo can get their cash from someone else.