8 Months ago I wrote a list of 10 Movies that Need Video Games. And what movie was number 1? Any Miyazaki movie. It doesn’t matter which one, they all have great stories set in awesome fantasy worlds with amazing animation. Any one of the movies would make a great game in any genre: action, adventure, FPS, Battle Arena, RTS… but especially as an RPG. So far we haven’t seen much from Studio Ghibli in entertainment forms outside of film, but we’ve recently seen a step in the right direction with Ni no Kuni.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was developed by Level-5 and Studio Ghibli. If you’ve played the game, or even just seen a screenshot you can immediately see the Ghibli influence. The game looks like one of their films! Ni no Kuni is the first game that Studio Ghibli had a major role in. If you’re searching through their other works you can find a game called Magic Pengel, but it was a collaboration with two other studios. Ni no Kuni had it’s artwork and animation done by Ghibli, and it shows.
Studio Ghibli only produces work of a super high standard. You’ve probably seen at least one of their immensely popular movies, like Spirited Away, the only anime to ever win an Oscar. It’s anime that speaks to everyone, not just anime fans. It’s good to see the studio branching out into other forms of entertainment with video games. It’s changing the way video games are viewed by the public, and giving the industry more respect.
Why is Studio Ghibli so successful? First of all, because of their art and animation skills. Each of their movies, and Ni no Kuni have a unique animation style. It’s beautiful, and I can admit this even though I’m not a fan of anime whatsoever. Their second part of their success is the creativity in their characters and worlds. All of their movies have interesting inventions and mechanics that draw viewers in. The political devices and social commentary are in every movie they make. Their movies already include two of the most important parts of video games: graphics and storyline.
It’s great to see their animation and some of their artistic creativity in Ni no Kuni, but it’s time for Studio Ghibli to make a game of their own. They’ve already got the artists, animators, directors, producers, writers, designers, and editors on staff. All they would need to do to start making AAA title games is hire a team of programmers. This way they can start showing the video game world not just their excellent visual skills, but their storytelling abilities.
Will Miyazaki ever direct a video game? He’s mentioned he would like to. But even if just his studio, can continue bringing that degree of excellence we’ve seen in their films to the video game industry I’d be happy. Hopefully one day they tackle the huge project of developing a game entirely on their own. Something about their work, the animation and settings that they create touch me at the core. It’s time for Studio Ghibli to start making more video games.