An Open Letter to Ni No Kuni
Dear Ni No Kuni, please be good.
I’ve watched gameplay videos and mumbled my way through development diaries. I’ve poured over previews and whistled your theme tune. I’ve looked at scans of your reviews in Japanese magazines and marked your release date on my calendar. I’ve got one of your screenshots set as my wallpaper. I’ve done my part, now it’s up to you. All you have to do is be good. Really good.
I’ve not played a good JRPG since Persona 4… on the PS2. I’m not blaming you for this, I’m just angry. I could specify around a hundred different reasons why you are going to be good. I could specify around a hundred more explaining why you have avoided the trappings of the westernised JRPG. But I’m not going to, you know where those chumps went wrong.
I need to feel the intense burn of the level grind, the heat that radiates off my pad after spending an entire weekend clearing a game world of one particular species of monster that happens to yield the most EXP. I’ve devised a scientific formula for it, but I don’t want to bore you.
I want you to be plush and vivid. I want you to be involving and fresh. Inventive and essential and memorable and sweet.
I want everything from you.
Perhaps my expectation has run too high, but you must admit, you have an impressive heritage. You could even say you come from quality stock; then again, so did Final Fantasy X-2.
The JRPG is in a dark place. Japanese development is looking towards the boorish Americans for inspiration. They line their characters with giant suits of space armour and equip them with lasers and the ability to duck behind cover. Did Yangus from Dragon Quest VIII need a brick wall to hide behind? No, he took his punishment like a man and I expect the same from you as well.
I know this letter is futile. I know you’ve already been completed and are simply awaiting your European and North American release date – I’m waiting for it too. I feel I have to tell you how much is riding on all of this, how much faith I have in you.
I don’t want to have to play Final Fantasy VII on my iPhone, and I don’t want to play Rogue Galaxy on my PS2. I don’t want to play Breath of Fire III on my PSP and I certainly don’t want to play Shining Force on my browser. I just want you. But I want you to be really, really good.
Yours, forever and always (maybe)