Akihiro Hino co-founded Level-5, one of the most revered game studios in the world, and he also created the Ni No Kuni series. When he speaks, it’s worth listening. Polygon asked Hino if his upcoming Ni No Kuni 2 differed in any way from its predecessor, and Hino replied that yes it did, in many ways.
“There’s a lot of changes but I think the biggest one is a shift in perspective,” he said. “In the first game a lot of the perspective was from the point of view of a child whereas now we are looking at it from a more adult perspective. Our protagonist starts as a young adult who has no leadership skills or experience in a position of a leader. He must learn.”
One of the biggest differences between Ni No Kuni and its sequel is that the former used a turn-based combat system and in this version you’ve got to fight in real time. “This opens up possibilities,” Hino thinks, and he adds that the change does not mean battles have shifted from strategic thinking to mindless combat. “Supporting characters and spirits called Higgledies add strategic elements that play out in parallel. This is something much closer to real-time action.”
Hino also says you’ll meet a wider and more diverse cast of characters in Ni No Kuni 2. “In the previous Ni No Kuni the supporting characters were two young kids and one adult but I wanted to balance that spectrum with more variety, different kinds of adults, men and women. So there are a lot of relationships and points of emotional contact that people can relate to and feel injected into the story.”
With all these changes, Hino was asked if his vision for the series had changed any in the seven years since the original Ni No Kuni came out. “I’d like to think there’s no influence or effect over time but the act and process of developing something new is, by nature, about tapping into myself. I think I’ve definitely drawn from myself and my own experiences for Ni No Kuni 2.”
Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom will be out November 10 for Playstation 4 and PC.