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Level-5 isn't trying to "protect" the JRPG with the "very Japanese" Ni no Kuni

Reckons it's a "new type" of RPG.

Level-5 isn't trying to "protect" the Japanese role-playing game genre with its own JRPG, Ni no Kuni, despite admitting it's "very Japanese".

In fact, according to Level-5 boss Akihiro Hino, Ni no Kuni is a "new type" of RPG - perhaps even a new type of game altogether.

"Ni no Kuni will be a representative JRPG, and for the quality it provides," he explained when asked about the identity of the game within Japanese development culture.

"That said, we never really intended to kind of protect in a sense the JRPG genre that's been known to [the] Western audience. It's very Japanese and that's what we're keeping - but in terms of the game system, it doesn't necessarily follow the formula of past JRPGs. In that sense, it keeps a Japanese feel but it's still a new type of RPG - or a new type of game."

The JRPG - and the Japanese game industry - has come in for a bit of stick in recent years, with some claiming the quality of Japanese developed game have declined and the influence of Japan in the global market diminished. At GDC in March Fez creator Phil Fish declared: modern Japanese games suck.

Hino revealed the localisation challenge presented in bringing Ni no Kuni - and its million-plus lines of dialogue - to the Western market, while also suggesting that this new release will include content changes, as well as DLC updates in the future.

"We can't go into specifics right now, but it's possible there will be additional creatures for the international version as well as potential DLC," he said.

"That said, we are planning for other enhancements for the overseas version - we are in the midst of planning this out both internally and with Namco so we can't announce specifics."

The PlayStation 3 version of Ni no Kuni was well-received on its Japanese launch at the end of last year, and the game is scheduled for a European release at some point during the first quarter of 2013. We recently went hands-on with the game, and our preview will be published shortly.

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Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

PS3, Nintendo Switch

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John Bedford


John is a freelance writer based in West Sussex.