The October 2007 issue of Famitsu magazine included an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, the director of the Kingdom Hearts series, and Hajime Tabata, the co-director of coded. The major topics discussed were coded and Birth by Sleep.
--This time there is high quality graphics, but do you think it will be a success on the mobile phone?
Tabata: I don’t know yet, though it’s development specs are very close to Final Fantasy XIII Agito’s.
--About the game’s concept?
Nomura: It is not a concept limited to this game, but we wanted to create a fun playground. Though Tabata mentioned he wanted to make it like Disneyland. There are various attractions (contents), that’s the image of this game.
Tabata: The very beginning of it started late one night, Nomura was explaining the contents of the mobile phone on a white board and the idea arose.
Nomura: At that point, I wasn’t thinking about continuing the Kingdom Hearts series. But I had this concept… And it began from that sort of talk…
Tabata: That concept was really interesting. Though it’d take great effort, we said let’s do it with Kingdom Hearts, so it came to be.
Nomura: This title will be distributed in a format that will spread the story, but we’re thinking of various components that will adapt to these circumstances. Like with Before Crisis -FFVII- and Monotone, various battle systems and episodes were implemented. Incorporating the know how gained from those games plus new experiments, I think this mobile game will be a compilation of these features.
--This game sounds like a great idea. As for the setting, is it taking place after Kingdom Hearts II?
Nomura: Yes. But because the stages of the story are made mainly of data from Jiminy’s Journal, Sora appears as he did in the first Kingdom Hearts. This Sora is not the genuine Sora, it is made out of data. Even so, it’s organic existence is not a matter of concern, the data version contains Sora’s memories of the adventures up to now and it will solve the truths of the past.
--So it seems with the sensation of a genuine Sora, we’ll be able to enjoy the adventures with the unchanged Sora. Will the story in the real world develop too?
Nomura: I think there might be some development in the real world. There is story hypothesizing, but how far it will spread from there depends on how much the fans play.
--In Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories we adventured around the worlds of the first Kingdom Hearts. If the story revolves around the worlds made of data that are created from the same adventures written in Jiminy’s Journal, how will this game greatly differ from it?
Nomura: It’s different from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories where the contents were reliving the worlds from Sora’s memories. This game tells a new side of the story in the data world that is eroded by bugs. By this process, the mysteries about where the King was and what Riku was doing during the Kingdom Hearts time frame is explained.
--Considering the lines “free them from their torment”, have the people being referred to appeared in the series before?
Nomura: As expected, I can’t answer that right now. An appearing enemies will be heartless made from data, but who could the real enemy be? Matching those parts together, I can’t say anymore about it yet.
--How will the battles be?
Tabata: The battles are characteristic of the Kingdom Hearts series, but I sense the button operations on the mobile phone will be simple. A new element will also be implemented. An example being Debugging Mode, it uses a system with a certain sense of trickery in order to exterminate the bugs.
--What kind of elements that make use of the communication functions were you thinking of?
Tabata: The intention is to be able to go back and forth in the worlds between players. For example, Player A eradicates the bugs in their world, and then even if they could not go ahead earlier, they can solve a problem from Player B’s world, and then return back to their world. This sort of system where people meet mutually is under development.
--The erosion of the bugs spreading day by day, is that the sort of image we’ll see?
Tabata: Perhaps it’ll be something like that. One of the concepts was to have it so the player could check once a day on the state of things.
--Please say any last statements.
Tabata: Out of the series, this game can be played very casually. I think the people experiencing Kingdom Hearts for the first time can enjoy it too.
Nomura: Including this title, the intention is to prepare a fun playground everyone can enjoy. I think it’ll be available a little earlier, so there’s always the opening day to look forward to.
--Whereabouts do you believe the quality of the cellphone game will be? Will it be the same as the other two games?
Tabata: We plan on getting the game in par with Final Fantasy Agito XIII, however that’s still being thought on.
What is the concept of this game?
Nomura: I wanted to make this like a playground for fans. Like Disneyland where there are many attractions for people. I wish to do the same, but with content instead.
Tabata: Actually to start it off, Nomura was drunk at midnight and began to explain the idea, with the help of the whiteboard and it’s contents for the mobile phone. There was a lot of planning going on for that midnight.
Nomura: It wasn’t even thought about being part of the Kingdom Hearts series then, however whenever there’s a plan for the game it’s best to start from story.
Tabata: At first the plan seemed terrible, but at the same time interesting, after all Kingdom Hearts is special.
Nomura: We thought about various elements, that could be added into the story, to help extend the game. Such as in Before Crisis FFVII, and Monotone there was a new battle system, as well as chapters to help work the system, and the game. We might make it the same for Kingdom Hearts Coded.
--Is there big plans for this game? Since the setting of it takes place after Kingdom Hearts II.
Nomura: Yes, however I should point out that Sora from Kingdom Hearts, is only appearing in those clothes because of the Jiminy Journal is taking data from the very beginning. Therefore the Sora is not the original, but a data copy. The memory is also erased from Sora, and he has to go through his adventures again to solve the mystery of the Data bugs.
--Then this means they can enjoy adventuring with Sora, without worrying about a change in personality from the original Sora. Will there be a developing story in the real world too?
Nomura: At first I wasn’t sure, but I believe events in the real world will be talked about as well. There is also a story in development about the real world as well, which will be done for the user.
--There was an adventure in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, in the Kingdom Hearts series, will the Data World be following Kingdom Hearts series as well?
Nomura: Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, was created to relive the worlds created by Sora’s Memory. This game differs from Chain of Memories, as there will be a brand new story, since the bug has corrupted the data. Questions will be answered to, such as where the King had gone, and also what Riku has been doing.
--In the Jiminy Journal it’s said “We must return to free them from their Torment” who is ‘Them’? Are they characters we’ve seen before in previous Kingdom Hearts games.
Nomura: I can not tell you now. Actually it’s not even possible to really explain it yet as it is about the true enemy of the game. Even though there are heartless in the game that are made out of data, they are not the real cause.
How does the battle work?
Tabata: Kingdom Hearts series button layout makes it simple to recreate it for the cellphone, and it will have that same combat feel, however at the same time I will be putting in new elements. One example is the “Debugging Mode” which was created to eliminate the bug.
Will you be using any other elements that might make use of the telecommunication facility?
Tabata: I will, such as being able to go in the world of the player. What I mean is that, it’s possible to intefere with other players, as they all share the world together. An example being that if there is trouble in the world of Player B, I can go there and help them solve the bug, and then return to the world of Player A.
--The invasion do the bug is one thing, where there be other problems within the game?
Tabata: It is likely to be the first aspect of the problem, and is also one of the concepts of the game. there may be other problems as well, but you’ll have to wait to find out what they are.
--Will just about anyone be able to enjoy this?
Tabata: The Kingdom Hearts series became a game for people who played the series before can understand the next one. I believe people who haven’t even touched Kingdom Hearts can play this game for the first time, and enjoy it.
Nomura: I will be preparing the playground for people to enjoy the game. I think everyone should look forward to the day it is released. (Laughs)
--Development team from Kingdom Hearts RE:Chain of Memories, therefore the team in Osaka is handling the game as well.
Tetsuya Nomura: Development started earlier, however due to RE:COM needed to be improved a lot, the production of BbS was interrupted.
--Then we can consider it possible that the secret movie of KH2FM+ will play an important role in BBS?
Tetsuya Nomura: Yes.
--So does this take place before the first Kingdom Hearts game?
Tetsuya Nomura: Yes, however it does nott start immediately before Kingdom Hearts.
--Is there a representation to the name of Terra, and the other characters?
Tetsuya Nomura: In the origin of the names Earth is Terra, as Wind is Ven. However the real name of Ven is loner, this is just an alias.
--The figure and age of the old man who is called Master Xehanort, is different from the Xehanort of Kingdom Hearts II. Also what is the relationship with the person who looks just like Roxas?
Tetsuya Nomura: There is a mystery to who each character is in the story, which I can not reveal right now.
Is the master who taught the three from the current series?
Tetsuya Nomura: I can’t say.
--The story will advance around these three people?
Tetsuya Nomura: Yes, it is also pretty complex in this game, and can become very series. Watanabe who took care of the scenarios is skillful in this. Also he is supervising some of the scenarios of the other two titles. This game will also be a bit challenging since the game will be featuring the aspect of three people.