The Weekend – Part Three: Where the Heck is Ni no Kuni II?

This October I made a sweeping declaration: I would post every day for the whole month. Well due to extenuating circumstances over the weekend, Friday and Saturday were missed. Now, in one Sunday, I must rise up and post for the whole weekend all in one day. This is: THE WEEKEND!

Remember that time when Level 5 was like “hey, we’re making a sequel to this super cool game that you all really liked,” and they even posted an awesome trailer? Yeah, I remember that time too. I also remember how since then, we’ve heard basically nothing else about this game.

Here’s what we do know. The story focuses on Evan, the child king of Ding Dong Dell, and a stranger from another world (I assume our world) named Roland. During Roland’s visit, a coup is held and some rat-king and his army take over Ding Dong Dell. It seems that the rat-king’s goal is to ultimately conquer all of Ni no Kuni. A woman who I believe is Evan’s mother dies during their escape from the castle. Evan and Roland go on to gather together a force to take back Ding Dong Dell, consisting mostly of what appear to be sky pirates. Meanwhile, “darkness is gathering” in the form of a weird guy in a snake hat laughing over a blue fire and a weird darkness cloud spitting out some darkness babies. And eventually Evan will become a true king.

That’s about it, sadly. The one trailer we have shows nothing of the game’s actual gameplay, so I have no idea if there’s going to be a return to a familiar-based combat system or if Evan will even be a wizard at all. And while the trailer looks absolutely gorgeous and I am definitely intrigued, it’s been nearly a year since it came out and the fact that we effectively know nothing else is pretty frustrating.

Personally, I don’t mind if they change some things up. I loved the first Ni no Kuni but I certainly wouldn’t want this one to simply be a carbon copy. In particular, while there wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with the familiar system, by the end of the game I was pretty much ignoring it in favor of using Oliver and his mighty spells. If Evan isn’t a wizard, it’d be really cool to see how the combat style of the game changes – and how it affects your exploration of the game world. After all, I feel like Oliver pretty thoroughly explored what it means to be a wizard in Ni no Kuni, so let’s see how Evan can explore being a king.

Ooh, literally just thought of this – maybe the combat system will stay the same but the driving force behind it will be completely different. Like, compared to Oliver who controlled magical familiars, maybe Evan just gives orders to soldiers who fight in his name. And so as he becomes more authoritative and more of a leader, the types of soldiers you can command expands and they become more powerful and obedient to you. That could be a cool way to have the same core mechanic but to do so with a fresh lens.

One thing I hope does stay the same is the lack of black-and-white character design or story elements. I loved that both Shadar and the White Witch were more than just evil sorcerers you had to overcome. They had lives, they had stories, and particularly in Shadar’s case their actions were not as simple as “I’m trying to ruin everything/be in charge of everything.” I’m interested to see what’s motivating this rat-king, and what makes him a villain that’s going to be engaging and unique.

I also hope that the lore of Ni no Kuni is expanded upon even more in this title. In the original game, the Wizard’s Companion provided so much detail for those who wanted to delve inside and learn about the world. Doing so is going to be more difficult in this game because there will be pressure to cover points that haven’t been touched upon yet. Luckily for them, a lot of the focus of the first Ni no Kuni was on lore concerning wizards and magic. So perhaps they’ll be able to expand out from that and tell us fascinating details about other aspects of the game world. After all, some elements – the fairies come to mind – feel like they are still pregnant with possibilities when it comes to deepening the lore of the game.

At this point I turn the conversation to you, adventurers. Are you excited for the new Ni no Kuni? What do you hope changes? What do you hope stays the same? Discuss it in the comments and let’s hope that we learn more details soon! And if you haven’t read the other two posts for The Weekend, be sure to check them out here and here.

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