Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom will be a lot more fast-paced and action-oriented than the first entry in the series. Dennis Lee from publisher Bandai Namco stopped by GameSpot’s E3 2017 Stage show today to show off some of the first real gameplay video for the game, which launches in November for PlayStation 4 and (unlike the original Ni No Kuni) PC.
Showing off the game’s combat, Lee said publisher Level-5 has taken it in a new direction. Gone are any mid-combat menus, a hallmark of traditional JRPGs. Instead, players focus entirely on real-time action. Level-5 took inspiration from western action and adventure games; timing will now play a role. When defending, for example, hitting the defend command at just the right time shields you from a lot of damage. It’s not just about stats and levelling, said Lee.
Gone is the system of familiars in Ni No Kuni. Instead, our hero Evan and his teammates fight alongside Higgledies; the little sprites, which have elemental powers, lend you those powers throughout your adventure to make you stronger. At times during combat, they’ll gather together and jumping into the middle of them rewards you and your party with a buff.
As you can see, Ni No Kuni II retains a lot of the Studio Ghibli-esque charm of the first title. Yoshiyuke Mimose, a former animator from Studio Ghibli known for his work on Grave of the Fire Flies and Spirited Away, designed the characters. Lee says the art style and the character development retains the spirit of Japanese games and anime, just with faster-paced action and more customization.
The game will also feature a Kingdom Mode. Once you reach a certain point in the story, hero Evan needs to build his own kingdom. While we didn’t see this in today’s gameplay video, Lee said players would end creating their kingdom as they want it, recruiting townspeople to build buildings and do research on new features.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is due out November 10, and you can follow our full coverage of the game here. For all the features and game announcements from E3, check out our E3 news hub for a full recap of the week’s events.