The June 2005 issue of Dengeki PlayStation magazine included an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, the director for the Kingdom Hearts series. The major topics discussed were Kingdom Hearts II, Chain of Memories and the Kingdom Hearts series.
Dengeki – Kingdom Hearts 2 Progress Report
This interview reflects on the assets shown at E3 and talks about various features of the game, probably one of Nomura’s more revealing interviews…
Dengeki: Please tell us what the current stage of development is.
Nomura: The scenario is at least twice as long as the previous installment’s and now we are at the crucial point of figuring out if we can get it all in. Also, we are nearing the stage when we can have a round view of all the worlds.
Dengeki: We were allowed to get another feel of the gameplay this E3 and we felt that the combos are considerably speedier.
Nomura: In the previous installment the action was divided into three parts: “Battle”, “Move (or exploration)” and “Event”. This time we’ve developed it into “Event” and “Real-time”. The staff who was assigned to “Battle” now have to fully work in Real Time. The battle and exploration action all uses this procedure. Most of the staff participated in the previous installment and in Final Mix so we had to remake the know-how that had been lost since that time Also, this really is the second installment of the series but, game system-wise, it really is the third game that is being made. So various aspects of the game have benefited from that.
Dengeki: In the movie [trailer] shown at the E3, Sora was seen wearing a blue costume but, does that mean that there are other Brave Form’s than the red?
Nomura: There are quite a few. That is why Sora’s action has largely expanded and there are many types of action’s that were introduced. I can’t explain just yet but there some forms that have amusing tricks. Also, the attack pattern will vary depending on the form and it will allow players to choose a form they will like and fight using that, I hope.
Dengeki: When in Brave Form we were able to wield two keyblades but will we be able to change the keyblades we wield in that form?
Nomura: We’re planning to give you the freedom of choice of which keyblade you will use. Also, I didn’t’t want anything to be wasted so each of the “change form” may be considered as an attack in its own right. They will be integral attacks, with the importance that implies.
Dengeki: During the ROM presented at the E3, we got to fight a huge army. Will there be other phases similar to that one?
Nomura: This is indeed something I want you to await eagerly. There were situations in the previous installment that confronted you to a large number of enemies at a time but it doesn’t compare with what’s coming up next! (laughs) This time we created a program for the special task of managing numerous foes. However, I didn’t want this to completely abolish one on one fights either so managed some kind of balance in relation to the triangle button. There are plenty of patterns so please look forward to this aspect of the game.
Dengeki: About the progression of the game, will this time also be about going through one world after another?
Nomura: Well, generally speaking the progression will be indeed similar to the previous installment. However, this time there is a little catch added to it so that you won’t be able to complete the game simply by going from one place to another in a linear succession.
Dengeki: In the previous installment we used Gummi Ships to travel between the worlds. How will it be this time round?
Nomura: You can still use gummi ships but they are more complex and faster. Rather than an STG it will feel like more of an attraction ride at a fare. It moves very smoothly.
Dengeki: Will the customizable feature of the gummi ships from the previous installment be used again?
Nomura: In the previous installment it was very minute detail that could be altered but this time we are planning to throw in some of that and something new as well.
Dengeki: The “Pirates Of The Caribbean” was recently revealed. Could you tell us how a world of that movie came to be?
Nomura: I came up with a small selection of films I presented to Disney that I could use as a really eye-catching world and the one I first had in mind was refused… Then as they were asking if there was any other I would fancy, the “PotC” was enjoying a pleasant success so I decided I could try to do that one and when I introduced a new function called “Real Capture” (nbMors: something about using live action pictures rather than drawings as a basis for generating polygon models) the team leaders were also very eager.
Dengeki: Unlike the other characters, the characters created using this “Real Capture”, did they cause any problems?
Nomura: Most of KHII’s staff have previously worked on FFs that demanded pretty realistic character models already so it wasn’t too troublesome. In a demo, we tried to insert a scene from the movie itself and the graphics were very similar. Facial expressions are also very similar so please look forward to that.
Dengeki: Was the Mulan world also chosen in the same way?
Nomura: With Mulan, I felt it had a unique atmosphere so I already had wanted to use it for some time. That’s why, when we were selecting the worlds to put in KHII, it was decided quite quickly we would use this one.
Dengeki: What would be the “must see” of Mulan’s world?
Nomura: The special aspect of the world is of course its design but other than that, the battle scenes in the snow and the avalanche are worth paying attention to. Also, scenario-wise, it might get some big questions asked so please look forward to it.
Dengeki: About characters, what kind of person is that boy clothed in white of whom we don’t know the name yet?
Nomura: Right now, we’re choosing when exactly to divulge his name so… (laugh)
Dengeki: Does the name have a heavy significance?!
Nomura: …! Erm… well, excluding the previous installment and CoM, there might be some who start playing with KHII. As I wanted them to enjoy this game all the same, I hope he will be a character that will be able to introduce them to the tale in a fun way. You’ll understand more about him bit by bit soon I expect.
Dengeki: Though its name has finally been revealed, what kind of group is the “Thirteenth Order”?
Nomura: In Kingdom Hearts 2, the Nobody will appear as something different compared to the Heartless. Those who command the “Nobody” are the Thirteenth Order. Though they are also “Nobody”, they are a more special type of being all-together.
Dengeki: Is the red cloaked DiZ who appeared in CoM also a member?
Nomura: Good question. (laughs) Anyhow, he will have an important role in the tale, that’s for sure.
Dengeki: In the trailer movie we also finally got to see the face of the girl with a checkered skirt and her face looked a lot like Kairi’s but is she?
Nomura: That girl is Kairi. Next to her there was a similarly matured Selphie too.
Dengeki: Another aspect that bothers is the character of the king but will he make more frequent appearances this time?
Nomura: He will certainly appear more often. However the voice is a bit different as we’ve opted for a more serious tone.
Dengeki: Will we even be able to fight together?
Nomura: I bet you’re all looking forward to a lot in that respect. (laughs) When he takes his hood off you might understand everything.
Dengeki: If he is also wearing a hood, then does that mean that the king has some relation with the Thirteenth Order?
Nomura: Well… it might be one way… or another… heh (laughs)
Dengeki: We’re also looking forward to the Final Fantasy characters that will appear but how is that aspect of the game looking?
Nomura: A few of the characters that appeared in the previous installment will be back and there are some new ones as well. And at some point there seems to have been people who reached the conclusion that the reason I didn’t take characters I didn’t design originally was because of legal rights when in fact it is merely because it’s difficult to work on a character I didn’t design myself as I do not know the background work that went into it. I’m thinking a bit about giving it a try all the same. A little bit…
Dengeki: Finally, how is the future of the Kingdom Hearts series shaping up?
Nomura: At the moment the KHII story has been completed in a clean way that leaves hardly any questions open for a sequel. Now, it really is up to all of you to decide and the future will probably depend on how well KHII will sell within its first year.