Okamiden stylizing DS March 15

Capcom's handheld installment in Japanese mythology series arrives in the West early next year; GameStop preorder package, Facebook contest revealed.

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Capcom may have shut down Clover Studios in 2006, but the developer's widely acclaimed Okami franchise has continued on. Today, the publisher announced that the first all-new installment in the franchise, Okamiden, will arrive for the DS in the US on March 15, 2011, having been released in Japan in September 2009.

GameStop has summoned preorder goods for Okamiden.
GameStop has summoned preorder goods for Okamiden.

Okamiden picks up nine months after the events of the original, which saw release on the PlayStation 2 in 2006. (It was also rereleased on the Wii in 2008.) The handheld game follows a new protagonist, Chibiterasu, who is the child of the original's sun-god-turned-white-wolf Ameterasu. Capcom also promises a ranging cast of new and returning characters to support the child-god as he works through a "morally impactful and fun" narrative to save the world.

The handheld game retains the series' hallmark celestial brush play mechanic, and gamers will be able to draw magical symbols on the DS's touch screen using the stylus. These symbols take the form of sumi-e artwork, a style of calligraphy that emphasizes watercolors, and this visual aesthetic is also applied to the game's environments and characters.

Along with announcing a date for the game, Capcom also revealed a limited-run preorder incentive that will be exclusive to GameStop. The first 20,000 people who purchase Okamiden in advance at the specialty retailer will receive a touch-screen stylus in the shape of the game's iconic paintbrush, as well as a custom screen cleaner emblazoned with Chibiterasu art.

Capcom is also hoping to raise awareness of its handheld title through the game's Facebook page. Gamers who pick up the Goblin Mask Facebook app will be entered to win a 3DS, a copy of Okamiden, Chibiterasu plushies, and other prizes.

For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Okamiden.

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