Level 5 and Studio Ghibli’s fantasy Nintendo DS RPG, Ni no Kuni, was first announced two years ago in a 2008 issue of Famitsu magazine, with no release date to accompany the announcement.


Ni no Kuni is significant in part because it marks the first time Studio Ghibli, who are renowned for the quality of their animated productions, have seriously invested themselves in the development of a game. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Level 5, who originally developed the game in celebration of their 10th anniversary, have high expectations of it.


Now we know just how high. Ni no Kuni: The Jet-Black Sorcerer is slated for release on December 9th in Japan. Level 5 held a presentation on the game attended by the Japanese press earlier today, where it was revealed that the initial shipment for Ni no Kuni is in the range of 600,000 units, in line with initial orders from retailers.


Every copy of Ni no Kuni comes with a magical tome filled with spells to use in the game using the Nintendo DS stylus, and monster descriptions, essentially making every copy of the game a special edition.


In addition to Ni no Kuni: The Jet-Black Sorcerer on Nintendo DS, Level 5 and Ghibli are also developing a separate version of the game for the PlayStation 3. No release date for the PS3 version has been announced yet.


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