Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

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Food's alright really, isn't it? It tastes nice, stops us from dying and helps keep TV chefs from getting into trouble - let's face it, Gordon Ramsay would just be an angry man yelling in a bus shelter if it weren't for the food industry.

The worlds of gaming and movies rarely join together with any kind of success. Rushed tie-ins, lacklustre big-screen conversions, that not-so super Mario Bros. movie. No, the spheres of gaming and film should be kept apart. Except, that is, when something truly magical happens, like the genius of the world's greatest 2D animation studio meeting the brains behind a much-loved gaming series. Like when Studio Ghibli met Level-5 and Ni no Kuni was born.

Professor Layton, Ni No Kuni developer Level-5 announces work on new PlayStation 4 game

Japanese developer Level-5, creator of the Professor Layton series and the excellent Studio Ghibli collaboration Ni No Kuni, has confirmed it is working on a new PlayStation 4 game.

Company boss Akihiro Hino revealed the project during an interview with Japanese site Nikkei Trendy (translated by Gematsu).

"It's still in the planning stages, but we are also working on a PlayStation 4 title," Hino teased. "We might be able to announce it soon."

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Update: Ni No Kuni downloads should be working properly now. The PlayStation Europe Twitter account stated, "If you purchased it this morning or pre-ordered, visit the Store & make a free purchase of the game to receive the second part of the download."

VideoNi no Kuni live stream from 5pm GMT / 6pm CET

Join us for a live playthrough from the start and win stuff.

Following on from Tuesday's DmC live stream, Eurogamer YouTube man Ian Higton will be back at the controls tonight from 5pm GMT / 6pm CET to play through the start of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. Ian will be playing from the start of the game, which is due out on 2nd February, and has some themed goodies to give away too.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch review

A collaboration between revered film animators Studio Ghibli and the games developer Level-5, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is billed as a joint effort by two of the great populists of Japanese entertainment. It's a significant move from Ghibli in particular, whose leading light Hayao Miyazaki has made his mistrust of video games clear in the past, and whose delightful films - from Laputa: Castle in the Sky to Ponyo - usually have strong moral themes: environmentalism, work ethic, the strength of family and the power of imagination.

Does Ni no Kuni - which translates as Second Country, or Another World - feel like a true Ghibli game? Very nearly. It has the wistful look, certainly, and a wonderfully evocative orchestral score by Ghibli regular Joe Hisaishi, and a scattering of gorgeous hand-drawn interludes by the animators. The story of an orphan boy called Oliver journeying to a fantasy world after the death of his mother follows a familiar Ghibli theme - a lonely child bravely growing up before his time - and is told with elegant sentiment.

In truth, Ni no Kuni doesn't quite possess the surreal wildness, the passionate message or the delicate intimacy of Ghibli at its best. It gets close on occasion, but it also has some rather workmanlike passages and conventional tropes. You're aware that Level-5 is doing the legwork while putting on its best Ghibli impression. That's not a big problem - the studio has already practised that impression in its work on Dragon Quest and Professor Layton, and it's an accomplished understudy.

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Ni No Kuni PS3 demo confirmed for this week

Ni No Kuni PS3 demo confirmed for this week

UPDATE: It's out in Europe on Wednesday.

Update: The demo will be out here on Wednesday - it is confirmed by Namco Bandai.

The demo offers up two levels and two bosses: Guardian of the Woods and Moltaan.

Original story: Be spirited away from a dreary December this week with a scrumptious demo-dollop of PS3 game Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.

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Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - Wizard's Edition announced

A lavish special edition of bewitching PlayStation 3 RPG Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is on its way, publisher Namco Bandai has announced.

Dubbed Wizard's Edition, it includes a 300+ page hardback copy of the spellbook that protagonist Oliver uses in the game, a plush doll of companion character Drippy and exclusive Goldenmite and Golden Drongo DLC familiars.

Pre-order the set from participating retailers and you'll snag two further familiars exclusive to the Western release: Flutterby and Griffy.

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Ni No Kuni UK release date announced

PlayStation 3 exclusive Japanese role-playing game Ni No Kuni launches in the UK on 25th January 2013, Namco Bandai has announced.

Publisher Namco Bandai is localising the Studio Ghibli and Level-5 collaboration, adding English voices and subtitles in French, Italian, German and Spanish.

The game also includes the original Japanese voiceover, which you'll be able to listen to with English subtitles.

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Ni no Kuni Preview: Spirited Away

FeatureNi no Kuni Preview: Spirited Away

Level-5 and Studio Ghibli's adventure is an enchanting prospect - and an intriguing collaboration.

Last week, we had a chance to try out the Western version Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, a collaboration between premier Japanese games studio Level-5 (Professor Layton, recent Dragon Quests) and celebrated anime outfit Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and dozens more classic animated films). We played the game shortly after the release of the eye-watering trailer that lays out the story of Oliver, the young boy whose stuffed toy - crafted by his deceased mother - is brought to life by his tears before the creature whisks him off on a grand adventure. It's true trauma escapism, in the style of Where the Wild Things Are or The Neverending Story.

The demo of this emotionally-charged adventure - a PS3 exclusive - was light but alluring, and showed off two different areas of the game, each restricted to a 10-minute taster. The first of these demos, appropriately titled Big Wide World, provided the opportunity to wander with Oliver and friends through a beautifully imagined 3D world: an otherwise typical Japanese RPG fairway made unique by its watercolour shading and free-flowing animations.

Strolling through the deep valley basin - not unlike wandering through the Welsh countryside - brings us to the village of Ding Dong Dell. In voicing the colourful characters that populate the town, the localisation team has drawn on its experience with Dragon Quest 8 to provide similarly charming regional accents. Outside of the village, further exploration takes place on a player-controlled boat, where enemies encountered on the rolling sea come aboard in order to do battle on the decks.

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PS3 exclusive JRPG Ni No Kuni out in Europe Q1 2013

PS3 exclusive JRPG Ni No Kuni out in Europe Q1 2013

With English and original Japanese voiceover.

PlayStation 3 exclusive Japanese role-playing game Ni No Kuni launches in Europe in Q1 2013.

Publisher Namco Bandai is localising the Studio Ghibli and Level-5 collaboration, adding English voices and subtitles in French, Italian, German and Spanish.

The game also includes the original Japanese voiceover, which you'll be able to listen to with English subtitles.

Read more

Ni No Kuni gets Western release

Gorgeous Level-5/Ghibli RPG localised.

Impossibly lovely Level-5/Studio Ghibli collaboration Ni No Kuni is heading West, according to a GameStop report.

18 unannounced Vita games set for TGS

18 unannounced Vita games set for TGS

Plus three unannounced PS3 games.

18 unannounced PlayStation Vita games will be playable at the Tokyo Game Show, Sony has announced.

Three unannounced PlayStation 3 games will also be playable, Andriasang reports.

The Vita games confirmed as being playable at Sony's PlayStation Vita Zone are:

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Level-5 shows Ni no Kuni hardback

DS RPG gets biggest game manual ever?

Level-5's forthcoming DS RPG Ni no Kuni will come bundled with a fully-illustrated hardback that will serve as a reference guide to the game's puzzles.

Games have been attempting to make us feel like we're exploring a living cartoon for a large part of the medium's history, and some have achieved spectacular results. The Wind Waker-style Zeldas seem more suited to their expressive, beguilingly childish look with every instalment. Level-5's colourful, lively worlds are often bursting with animated verve, whether in Dragon Quest and Rogue Galaxy's animé cel-shading or Professor Layton's more laid-back but equally distinctive style.