Well, this is annoying… One week into the new year, and we already have news of a delay on a highly anticipated title – this one just a couple of weeks away from release.

The official Facebook page for the Level-5 RPG Ni No Kuni has posted a status update within the last hour detailing a one week delay to the European version of the game. The U.S. release, set for January 22nd, will go ahead as planned. The reason given is a shipping delay between Namco-Bandai’s U.S. and European distribution networks.

Those that have been following Ni No Kuni have been doing so for years (indeed, it was originally announced back in 2008), so this delay of a week shouldn’t be too much of an annoyance. It is rather galling that it should be pushed back so close to release, though, especially as we’ve just entered the new year and many will be looking forward to 2013’s new releases (incidentally, I’ll be posting about some of my most-anticipated titles for the start of the year soon), and I think many will be wondering if distribution shouldn’t have been locked down at this point – the game was due on store shelves on the 25th of January, after all.

To make up for the delay, the Facebook post detailed a free download of a new familiar (used in the game’s battle mode) that will be available to download on release day, which is now listed as February 1st. The full post from the Ni No Kuni Facebook page follows below.

“Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch will be available at retailers and through the PlayStation Store on the 1st of February 2013.

The European release date has been postponed for a week due to a shipping delay between Namco Bandai’s U.S. and European distribution networks. The game will still be in stores and available for download on January 22nd in North America.

We know how much you are looking forward to this title and we want to give you a present to make up for the extra week of patience. So we asked the wizards at LEVEL-5 to dig into their creature cage and they pulled out an adorable Draggle familiar: this lovely pet will be free to download throughout Europe on the day of launch.”