A 2005 issue of Dengeki PlayStation magazine included an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, the director for the Kingdom Hearts series. The major topic discussed was Kingdom Hearts II.
We’re finally really close to a release but how have things been going?
The volume is beyond comparison. When I showed it to my boss the other day, he said “There’s 4 games’ worth in there.” In fact, what you have all seen so far is the mere “tip of the iceberg” if you will. Even within the worlds that have been presented there is much more to the real thing. The challenge is to see if we have managed to make that a trend for all worlds. As well as the worlds, the battles are amazing too. Even beyond what has been revealed! My boss was also thrilled. “So you’ve made this much progress”, he said. There’s so much that can be done, even beyond your expectations. I’m just asking myself if we can reveal anymore in time.
Whilst playing even the versions in development we felt a lot of progress had been made.
That is still only an appetizer. It’s really become something quite unbelievable. Even if I were to summarize it, that would be difficult.
Recently, a Tron world has been revealed.
I wanted to keep it as the last surprise world.
We were really surprised it would appear.
In fact, Tron was the first world to be chosen to appear.
What is the “must-see” aspect of it?
Sora’s story will progress within the Tron world and the feeling of the world itself is quite different from the others. Like a world of an old computer. Some sound effects are from old computers as well so the atmosphere will be really different. Something like an old computer game.
Could you explain how Tron came to be in KHII?
When I went to meet with the Disney guy he was making a Tron game on his PC. When I glanced at it I thought I could do something fun with it as well. There was a lot of material in Tron too. Though it is quite different from the rest of the Kingdom Hearts universe, I felt that if people could actually enjoy that difference it would be worth it.
One image that comes up when thinking of Tron is bike races.
I knew that. Though it might not fit exactly the image from the film, it has been made to be played with similar results.
We understand that within the world of Atlantica there will be a rhythm game but what will actually happen in that world?
The story has been laid out as a musical so even the game will be structured differently. It’s mostly a matter of timing. I didn’t want to make it only a musical but also something the player could interact with. If you do well you’ll see a proper musical scene, if you do badly you won’t.
The matter of “outcomes” raises the question whether the story will carry on even if we fail.
Yes, few will probably want to carry on if they fail too much. It’s always better to see the perfect scenes though.
Does that mean that in Atlantica there won’t be any action battles?
There won’t be any action battle but the musical will use event battles.
Does that mean there will also be scenes where we have to swim around?
There will be a little exploration. You will be swimming as part of the musical. In the previous instalment there was the view that swimming through Atlantica and fighting was difficult. That is why this time we’ve changed it into a musical world.
Timeless River will appear in black and white but was this decided from the beginning.
Is Timeless river also a special world with no action battle?
No, there will be the usual battles and, unlike the film, voices. A part from the fact that it’s in black and white it can compare with the other worlds in terms of game play. But it’s just slightly different in the sense that it can be felt like a compact, mini-game world, even though there aren’t that many mini-games in it.
In the Pride Lands, Sora & Co. are turned into animals…
In the film Lion King there weren’t any people either so I felt it wouldn’t be good to put them in there as they were. I thought that this was a world where animals talked to each other so it would have been unlikely for a human being to walk in and talk to them, which is why I changed their shapes accordingly. Concerning Donald and Goofy, their animal motifs couldn’t correspond so I had to change them into animals that can be found in Africa.
Won’t the XIII Order appear there too?
They probably won’t. And even if they did you probably wouldn’t recognise them in an animal form.
Sora holds his Keyblade in his mouth but what about Donald and Goofy’s weapons?
Donald holds his staff with his claws. Goofy will have more or less the same weapon holding tactic as he did in the previous Atlantica world. In fact, Lion King was a world I already wanted to put in the previous instalment. Only, it was abandoned because making Sora into a 4 legged animal required a different program. This time was revenge. There came enthusiastic voices from the staff so we had a go at it.
Since we can do magic and combos it doesn’t change much from usual battles then?
Yes, the only difference might be the inability to use Drive but that’s about it.
Now, the Master Form has been revealed. What sort of abilities does it have?
It is a yellow combination of Wisdom and Valour forms. However it is a bit risky because it uses up the drive gauge faster.
Are there any other forms left?
Not that many but a few.
Are they completely different from the ones revealed to date?
Those that haven’t been revealed by now are more or less bundled in as hidden ones. Even if the name Master Form sounds quite conclusive. They are forms even better than that.
Newly we have seen Seifer, Raijin and Fujin as well as Vivi. They also seem quite different from their original designs.
They are now kids but if you think about it, they were only 17-18 years old in FFVIII as well so the change isn’t that big. It’s just that KHII makes them slightly Deformed so they might look like children. Their roles don’t change that much from FFVIII. From the Garden’s disciplinary committee to the Town’s disciplinary committee.
Please tell us why Vivi was included.
I was really reluctant as I don’t like using designs that weren’t mine to begin with because I don’t understand them
properly but there were a lot of requests and so my staff convinced me to have a go. He doesn’t stand out much but though he is with Seifer he has aspirations.
Hollow Bastion is looking different from the previous instalment in the sense that a lot of the FF characters are gathering there.
It was a necessary continuation of the previous story as it is their home world.
Is it becoming a proper town?
The focus is on Leon and Cid rebuilding the place. What was once a town became what you saw in the first instalment so during the game you will still see it as rebuilding.
How many FF characters are to appear?
More than what was previously shown. Though I first talked about there being around 5 new FF characters, lately it looks as though it will be far beyond that. HB’s main characters are from FF so as the story builds, more will be introduced.
Does that mean that it will be a world we will frequently pay visits to?
HB will be to KHII what Traverse Town was to KH so yes.
Counting the new Tron world, have all the worlds been revealed now?
More or less. Twilight Town and the world from the secret movies haven’t been presented in enough depth yet so please look forward to that.