The September 2007 issue of Famitsu magazine included an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, the director of the Kingdom Hearts series. The major topics discussed were coded, Birth by Sleep, and 358/2 Days.
Nomura Interview - Kingdom Hearts: Coded (Mobile Phones):
--The gane is played on a horizontal screen, even though the game is for mobile phones, why is this?"
Nomura: This is not just the length screen but also a model screen specification for the most recent cellphones. It is what we assume the game to look like when it's released to the public. The method for the horizontal screen has already been talked about, it is a basic horizontal screen size.
--Are the graphics 3D or 2D?
Nomura: The background is 3D, and the characters are 2D. The development of this game is still in progress, and we plan to have the game both 3D and 2D. The reason is so that we can have the game available to a range of cellphones. The reason we developed this idea is because we wish to send this game overseas.
--How exactly will the game be executed?
Nomura: Unlike larger games in development, we always thought the world of Kingdom Hearts could be made mobile. For instance, there is a huge amusement park, and the main attraction is KHc (Kingdom Hearts Coded). It can be like an entrance to an amusement park, free of charge, allowing you to visit each world. That is the delivery plan of KHc. We plan on taking full advantage for the mobile phone.
--Will the storyline be based on Sora's adventures in Kingdom Hearts?
Nomura: The timeline is based after Kingdom Hearts II. Jiminy is analyzing his journal through a computer simulation, and the adventure will take place in that. Therefore the player is not playing as Sora himself, but Data of Sora. The world that was shown was a stage, though this was through the time of COM, and re:COM over the memory of Sora.
--What gameplay elements are there?
Nomura: This is going to be a puzzle game, mixed with action. After analyzing Jiminy's Journal, many bugs are found. The area (worlds? levels?) must be analyzed in order to find the bug that is violating the data, and then you need to remove the bug. However some (levels?) may get a bit more confusing as there will be ladders Sora will use to get to higher areas.
--When do you think this game will be released?
Nomura: You may have to wait a while, as there are still some problems with the specs of cellphones for now. (Meaning, at this time, cellphones cannot handle these graphics.) However we are not asking you to wait for 2, or 3 years. (Possibly this means around a year or so)
--Will these works be connected with the "New" Kingdom Hearts game?
Nomura: KHc features Sora. However, the DS and PSP are both completely different stories, though I cannot say what they are yet. I can say these titles are not the last of the series, and all three will connect to a New Kingdom Hearts Game sooner or later.
Nomura Interview - Birth By Sleep (PSP):
--Can you tell us a bit about the development of Birth By Sleep?
Nomura: Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is being worked on by the same team that created re: Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep's development had originally started before the development of re: CoM, but production was stopped to complete re: CoM. At first it felt a bit weird starting the project again. I believe this project started before the other two of the Kingdom Hearts games, and I also believe it will be the last to hit the market.
--The game still relates to Birth By Sleep? [KH2: FM+'s secret ending]
Nomura: The secret ending [from KH2: FM+] is actually a scene from Birth By Sleep, therefore the title of the game is also the same. However, because it is difficult to express such a violent battle as playable content, the secret ending [from KH2: FM+] is an image (scene?) of the end.(Is he hinting that this is how Birth by Sleep will end or something else?)
--How much talk was put into it, as it seems to be a game taking place in the past.
Nomura: This game goes the farthest back in the Kingdom Hearts timeline, about ten years before the original Kingdom Hearts. There is a screenshot of two children playing on the beach, and I believe the fans can understand what that means. [Sora and Riku as children?]
--In the story it's said that there are "Three Scenarios by Three Heroes". Is there a relation between each scenario?
Nomura: There are three Heroes: Terra, Ven, and another character in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. We have already prepared a story for each of them. Therefore, in a way you can say three games were made at the same time. (Laughs) It's difficult to zap through the explanation right now, as we are still creating all of the scenarios. However, the beginning will be a bit hard to understand, but by completing all three scenarios, the player will understand the entire story.
--Do the names of the three heroes represent something?
Nomura: In Kingdom Hearts, Sora meant Sky, Riku meant Land, and Kairi meant Sea. In this game, the three meanings make a large impact on the game.
--Do all of the scenarios take place at the same time?
Nomura: All of the scenarios do take place around the same time, however there are also some gaps between the timelines. Also there are times when all three heroes will meet.
--Is the playing order [for the scenarios] decided yet?
Nomura: I believe it would be better if we gave the players a freedom of choice. However this is still being talked about, but I believe it would be better to choose whoever you want out of the three.
--What is the importance of story?
Nomura: For example, the name Xehanort is bought up in Kingdom Hearts 2. The game will answer several things like, "Why is the elderly person who appears in Birth by Sleep bringing up the same name?" and ,"Why is he wearing the same clothes as Ansem in the original Kingdom Hearts?" Another thing I want to bring up, is ,"Ven has the same hairstyle, face, clothes, and voice of Roxas, but just who is he? --Is the voice actor of Ven the same as Roxas?
--Is the voice actor of Ven the same as Roxas?
Nomura: Yes, it is the same actor. Therefore the player will only look at Ven as Roxas from Kingdom Hearts 2.
--However, are Roxas and Ven really the same character?
--Moreover, what about the mystery surrounding the existence of Ven and Roxas?
Nomura: These are keys that will be revealed from playing Birth By Sleep. You will be able to separate Ven from Roxas with ease; I will hint though by connecting the story between Roxas and Sora, you will understand who Ven is.
--May I believe that the one you fight in KH2FM+, and Terra are the same person? Because they both use a very similar kind of Keyblade.
Nomura: If they really are the same person or not is uncertain, though it doesn't matter if you think they are the same person.
--In Birth by Sleep, after all three are divided, the king appears?
Nomura: It may be deeply related to the story, however I cannot tell whether or not that he is a"King" at that current age. This is because the development of Birth by Sleep will contain a very serious story.
--In Birth by Sleep, is the gameplay done by choosing action commands lined up in command list?
Nomura: I believe it is necessary to say first, The Command Menu that was shown to the public [A.K.A scans, and video] has now changed. A system close to that of re:COM has been created, feeling like a command deck. However, the present screen shots show it was a bit too close to the idea of re:COM. The battle screens you see in the images now, have already been changed. However the operating sense is similar to that of the Kingdom Hearts series. The gameplay has slight influence from the DS game "It's a Wonderful World".
--Are there any features for the Growth System? (Leveling System)
Nomura: A new Growth System has been added into the game, in which you have to match four obligations with the scenario (?). We tried this variously because it was a bit hard with the PSP. However we made the best use of its Analog.
--Are there new enemies you can confirm that are not shown in the screens?
Nomura: The new enemy is not a Heartless, or a Nobody, because the story takes place before even they appear. I can only give out more information, little by little, as time passes: an example being like the Shadow enemies that are heartless, and the Dusk enemies that are nobodies.
--With the PSP, will it be possible for two people to communicate through a connection method?
Nomura: It's too early to answer that, however, there will be some features that will be taking advantage of the PSP. [.
Nomura Interview - 358/2 Days (DS):
--Is the beginning of 358/2 Days going to focus on Roxas' birth?
Nomura: Roxas' birth will be covered in the game's prologue, however the game really begins at the time in which Roxas enters the Organization XIII.
--Will this game have an ending that has already occurred, like Crisis Core had?
Nomura: Where do you think the end is? The point is, how did it get to the point where Roxas to left the Organization? The details of that will be discussed game. (Basically, we may already know the end, we just don't know how it got to that point, like Crisis Core).
--Will we be going through Disney worlds in this story, like previous Kingdom Hearts games?
Nomura: The story does not entirely progress going from world to world, but there is a [form of?] progression in story.
--Is the 14th Organization Member [Newly Revealed] a new character in the Kingdom Hearts Series? It appears as though the character is...a woman?
Nomura: I should bring it up now, that the XIV member is not Namine, since some people believed it to be Namine by seeing the trailer. However it will be explained as to why there's no pillar for this character, as well as why she never appeared in Kingdom Hearts 2.
--In the trailer, four characters are shown playing simultaneously. Is this possible in game?
Nomura: Multiplayer can be played with up to four people [or less if desired]. Not only that, multiplayer gives a sense of freedom, as this mode has no effect on the story. But it is possible to choose less then four, for the multiplayer content.
--How does the multiplayer mode progress?
Nomura: The point is to basically complete given missions. For instance, defeating an enemy or whatever the goal of the mission is. There are various goals, both big and small. There is a constant feeling of competition in multiplayer, so sometimes the player may forget just what the goal is!
--Is multiplayer mode possible for one player only?
Nomura: Multiplayer mode is rather complicated ; we had to design a growth (leveling) system. For example, when Axel is used in Multiplayer mode, Roxas will gain some extra experience from this as well. Also, you are able to customize your character freely. (He does not go into detail about the customization part, so it is unsure what).