A 2006 issue of Famitsu magazine included an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, the director for the Kingdom Hearts series. The major topics discussed were Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
Were you planning from the start to have Brave Form and Master Form as dual-wielders?
After showing a dual-wielder in KH:FM’s secret movie, there were many voices saying “I want to dual-wield, too”. But it’s not fun to have a dual-wielder all the time so I used it in the form-changing system.
Is anti-form originated from when Sora got turned into a Heartless?
Story-wise, yes. Drives are very strong so anti-form exists as a side-effect of using too much power. System-wise, I wanted to create something strong but troublesome.
Did you create each world having a targetted amount of play-time to clear them?
I did at first but at the end everything crumbed down. Twilight Town wasn’t planned to be that long either. (laugh) While writing down the plot, I thought “this will get long…”
Twilight Town really emphasized on showing Roxas’ emotions, didn’t it?
Although Roxas is a new character in a sequel, he’s also a main character, so he was quite the key to whether we could put a lot of feelings in a short amount of time or not. (Er, okay, my translation sucks for this line but roughly he meant that) Looking at people who have played the game, there are many opinions saying “I pity him” and “it was sad”. It was a very short time out of the whole game so I thought it(Roxas’ story) was very well-done. The episode where they were riding the train and Roxas was the only without a ball was very sad. That was Nojima’s idea; it wasn’t in my plot.
Why did Kairi forget about Sora in the beginning?
When Sora lost his memory, so did everyone that had anything to do with him. While Sora was in the capsule and getting his memories mended, everyone’s memories (of him) started to come back too. That’s why Leon and the others at Hollow Bastion said “Until lately, we’ve all forgotten about Sora”.
Is there a reason for the King to wear the black coat?
While Sora was fighting up in front, the King was fighting in the background while being undercover. But of course it’s very easy to figure out it’s the King. (laugh) He’s wearing the coat to camouflage himself while searching for info on the 13 Organization.
In the scene where Philosopher Ansem was talking to the King, I laughed at the gap between seeing him talking seriously while eating the Seasalt Ice-cream!
That’s Nojima-san’s idea. But I was the one who put it into Twilight Town. I couldn’t forget the Seasalt ice-cream I ate at Disney Sea. I got a shock out of that salty but sweet taste and thought “This… tastes good.” (laugh) The one at Disney Sea was in a cup but after giving some thought on how the scene they were eating it should look like, I decided to make it an ice-cream stick. To me it should be a Twilight-Town-only thing, but somehow it end up as an important item.
Did you design the Nobody’s symbol?
Yes. The design concept is “a splintered heart”. On the other hand, the Heartless’ mark’s concept is “a thorn/splinter’s heart”. I made the images opposite of each other. (Again, I’m not quite sure about this translation)
If the XIII Organization are Nobodies, does that mean their Heartless are somewhere, too?
They’re probably somewhere but not that great of a Heartless. Xehanort was about the only one who has a human-shaped Heartless. (Note the “about”)
Axel and Reno from “FF7 Advent Children” have the same seiyuu, and even almost the same appearance and image. Did you intend that?
To me, Axel is an existence close to Reno, created in the same concept, but they are different people. Those two are different people but subconsciously alike. I wanted to see how it would be to have completely different characters that are really similar to each other but hold different kind of roles in different worlds.
There’s an event where Sora and Roxas battled each other but don’t you want that to be playable?
It was planned to be a playable battle but there were time constraints so I had to change it into an event. Making 13-Organization-class boss battles take up a lot of time. There was even a little challenge concept for that Roxas battle but it was quite hard to pull off so it got cancelled.
What’s your basis of showing up FF characters?
Basicly we choose out of characters that got a lot of requests. In KH, they have roles to fulfil but in KH2, the only ones like that are the Twilight Town characters. Auron and YuRiPa were requests.
Whose idea was it to turn the YRP into small faeries?
That’s my idea. I thought if we put them in full scale, the screen might get a bit ‘noisy’. So by turning them into compact size and still giving that ‘bustling’ feeling while having all 3 girls gathered, I thought that can emphasis their characters. If they’re in their real ages, it seems like they might be out of place.
In the final battle, it sure was a surprise to suddenly be able to control a certain character. (Referring to Riku)
I was surprised, too. It was a surprise from the staff that worked on that battle. I think they were answering to people’s wishes of wanting to control him. When I played to check it, the controls suddenly changed and I got chaotic. (laugh)
Around the end there was a scene where a character that’s not Sora (Kairi) held a keyblade, so does that mean they have the nature to be a Chosen One?
I wonder? There are still more backgrounds of the keyblade that haven’t been revealed. I’m still going around that, so I can’t say anything much about it. But it’s true that scene is hinting something.
In the Other Ansem Reports, it said that the keyblade “brought confusion and influence in the past”; is that part of its background?
Yes. The keyblade has a lot of mysteries. There are questions like who created it for what purpose, and Xigbar even said to Sora “Compared to the others in the past, you are lamer.” I can’t answer much about the keyblade. (laugh)
The secret movie had something to do with keyblades, too.
Yes. I wanted to hide the faces of the people who showed up in there.
Does that mean the players know of these people?
I just haven’t drawn their faces. (laugh) I can’t hide their faces with black hoods like in KH:FM’s secret movie, too. Who knows what kind of grudges I’ll invite if I just change the hood’s colour. (laugh) That’s why I chose armours. First I only drew the atmosphere and the rest is done by the staff. But FF12 has Judge in armour so I made a more heroic design for them.
Was that scene shown in the past or future of Sora’s generation?
Who knows? (laugh) I can’t tell you which generation it’s in, but I have a thought on it.
This time the condition to watch the secret movie by completing the whole Jiminy Memo is harder, isn’t it?
At the beginning of developing the last half of the game, it was made to be easily watchable. At first you only had to clear Proud Mode to watch it, in Normal is to just clear all worlds and in Easy is to complete the whole Jiminy Memo. But I thought this will make everyone able to watch the movie easily so I thought I would make them work harder for it.
The Jiminy Memo’s album has Sora’s handwriting, eh?
That’s my writing. One time, a project member came to me embarassingly. He said he wanted the album to have handwritten comments so I thought “Why not?” After that he said “If that’s so… Please write it.” (laugh)
Who thought up of the comments?
The contents are prepared by project members by making 3 plans and then we mix them all around. When I had the time, I wrote it bit by bit, but it turned out I had a lot to write. Just when I thought “I’m finished!”, they came in with “We brought more comments!” And that repeated numerous times. I tried my best to not make mistakes, but after I thought “If this was Sora…”, I started to write without caring over errors.
Jiminy Memo really has a lot of stuff in it.
The menu leaders were staff members who volunteered for the project so they were quite fussy over that. Not many people would want to even write down strategies.
There are voices from the staff, too. What about a KH sequel?
KH, KH:FM, KH:CoM, KH2… Through all these years we kept working on KH so we’re going to take a break for awhile and work on something else.
Seems like there are many fans waiting for a KH2 Final Mix.
There are many people who played KH:FM and thought the English version is “the right KH” for them, so I expected that kind of thinking. But I can’t say it’s only up to the fans’ wishes. There’s still the problem of schedules.
Does that mean your next work won’t have anything to do with KH?
Yes. But it’ll take years until it’s released. Even if I said that, I can’t say if KH2′s FM will be released after that or not. I was planning to not make an FM for this in the first place. I thought we would insert the English voices in too, but there weren’t enough space… Even if there is an FM, the staff members said there’s still no space.