Level 5 taps Studio Ghibli for DS game

Animation house behind <i>Spirited Away</i> collaborates with Professor Leyton developer on upcoming project.

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Studio Ghibli films have thrilled fans of Japanese animation for years, but now the production house is expanding its work to the world of games.

According to scans from a report in Japanese gaming mag Famitsu that have been circulating online, the studio behind classics like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro is collaborating with Level 5 on a new DS game, Ninokuni. It will be the first time Studio Ghibli has done full-scale animations for a video game.

Set for release next year in Japan, the game will follow a 13-year-old boy overcome with grief after the death of his mother. One day, a fairy appears before the child, gives him a book, and guides him to another world. The game will be produced by Level 5 founder Akihiro Hino, whose previous credits include directing Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King and producing Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

While Studio Ghibli is best known in the West for the films of director Hayao Miyazaki, he does not handle everything the company produces. The studio also boasts the highly regarded talents of directors like Isao Takahata (My Neighbors the Yamadas), Yoshifumi Kondo (Grave of the Fireflies), and Hiroyuki Morita (The Cat Returns).

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