Saturday, 16 February 2013

Ni No Kuni - Wizard's Companian

For those who own a Playstation 3, Ni no Kuni is the game you need to be thinking of owning if you don’t have it already.  Co-produced between Level 5 (of Professor Layton fame) and Studio Ghibli (of Studio Ghibli fame), it’s something of a dream team solution in making an RPG that feels right to play and looks beautiful.  It’s a worthy addition to any gamer’s collection.  I’m not here to talk about the game though.  I’m here to talk about the book.

As the game progresses the main character is given a magical tome, the Wizard’s Companion Book, which contains over 300 pages of information about monsters, weapons and all other kinds of other info in the game.  You can browse through it for hours reading up on all the details of the game’s world, while collecting extra pages as the game proceeds.  The book is translated in its entirety within the game and as an additional bonus was included as a hardcopy with the limited ‘Wizard’s Edition’ of the game.  It’s a lovely little book, and well worth owning for those who want to enjoy the game as much as possible.  However things were a little tricky for some fans…

Only those who were particularly clued in, organised, or just plain rich were able to get the book as it was only made available at a premium price, and in quantities that meant it sold out on pre-orders alone.  Many people missed out and are now forced to squint at the book through their screens as opposed to being able to casually leaf through a real one.

I can’t help but feel someone missed a trick with this situation.  The game was heavily promoted from around 8 months before the game’s release, and fully successful in getting everyone interested and wanting to buy the game.  But once having successfully created near ravenous demand, why not try and fulfil it by supplying enough of your product?  The publisher consequently made less money than they could have done, while auction dealers now reap massive rewards as fans fight over the remnants.

As a final blow there is also a DS version of this game in Japan, unreleased in the west.  This game was reportedly deemed too financially prohibitive for release as the game is only playable with the book and could therefore only be sold as a bundle pack.  I guess throwing money at publishers is not enough proof that there is demand for this game at any price.  Sadly the DS boat has since sailed for pastures new (3D ones anyway), so I don’t see it happening now.

I don’t mean to moan as it’s a fantastic game.  Go buy it now and accept the compromise, it’s all you’re going to get.

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