A 2005 issue of Hyper PlayStation magazine included an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, the director for the Kingdom Hearts series. The major topics discussed were Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts and Chain of Memories.
After 2 years of waiting, KHII is finally making its way to stores! How are you feeling about this right now?
Its all fine right now. When we were at the Tokyo Game Show, and at the time that we gave the release date, there were so many mixed feelings that I saw from the crowd. Some people were saying “WHOA!! It’s that soon!! It’s almost here!!”, but I did have some people, who unfortunately did not have those same feelings, and were a bit disappointed.
When did the team realize that they would be able to set a release date?
Well both the team and I were VERY skeptical about the release date, because we needed to add a little more touches, and also know if we WILL be able to release it then. Then, we were able to finish the things that we wanted to, and our determination got us through, and then we were able to set a date.
What are your feelings now about the collaboration between you and Disney?
Well, unmistakably Disney characters are something that most likely, the whole world knows about. For a game to go that way with Disney, has never been achieved before. I wanted to make a game idea with this company in mind. This idea was of course to have Disney characters living in another world and how would they react to the other things that are, of course, different to their own world. What the game’s approach had become was something that we soon became satisfied with. Both the characters from Disney and from us, we wanted them to live in similar lifestyles as they would, and our characters to be compatible to the Disney character lifestyles.
With the fist game being a success, what do you have in mind for this for KHII?
I think that this will be a very great game. We’ve added things that no one really expected, like POTC and Steamboat Willie, and by adding those things to the game, it has made it very enjoyable. We were very nervous about the first game, because of the joining of Square and Disney, and of course we worried about which worlds would be appropriate, and what the content would be and such things like that. However, this time we knew that because of its success, we will be able to create a fun and great game.
There is a definite image that comes to mind with both POTC and Tron. Like, a visual impact that is close to live action movies, Tell us about it.
People have said that it would make this too much like FF, but you need to add some kind of realism to the game, because all fun and games, sometimes turns into no fun at all. That is what the basic idea of the worlds are.
Mr. Nomura, please tell us:
I loved working on the Lion King. Lions are my favorite animal, and I loved the story and everything from Lion King, so naturally, Lion King was my favorite.
What are some changes with Sora and the gang that occur in the game?
Sora mostly changes from the fact that the engine has changed, with the implementation of both the Drive Engine, and that Sora changes more in worlds such as the Lion King world.
What other Disney productions would you have liked to put in?
I would have wanted to something with Fantasia and mainly the sequence with Mickey when he was the wizard’s apprentice.
What do you think captures the games “magic”?
I think that Mickey is what really captures the magic for this game. He hasn't really been seen a lot in KH, so with that, we made KHII have more of Mickey in it, to give it that Disney magic.
About the XIII Order, what made you design and create these characters?
We couldn’t really add them in KH, because of both the story and the themes. KHII and CoM is a bit darker, so it seems more appropriate. In CoM, only 8 of the 13 were revealed, to further the plot for KHII.
This time, a new enemy, the “Nobody” has arrived. Tell us about them and their purpose a bit more.
I wanted to complete the perspective to both the heart and body relationship. The Heartless are made of those who surrender their hearts, so it kind of makes sense to do something with the body, hence “Nobody”. Each of the XIII Order members control their own special Nobody, for example, the Dragon Nobodies are control by Xaldin. But, whenever you go to a different world, you are suppose to think “Oh, there’s a different XIII Order person, I wonder what their Nobody is…”
What kind of a person is the Mysterious Boy (BHK)?
Well, he is playable….(laughs). Everyone of course wants to know about him, and want to control him. He is playable and has emotions and his voice and everything that you would need to figure him out.
What is noticeable about BHK’s friends?
They all live in Twilight Town, as they live there they always have lots of fun. These kids have a lot of similarities to Sora, Riku and Kairi. This time, of course you start with the exploits of BHK and his friends. You will be able to play through Twilight Town just as you did with Destiny Islands, but it will be focused a bit more.
Riku and Kairi and The King, are they more emphasized in the game?
Mickey of course has a very important role (laughs). However, not a lot changes throughout his character. This time, everyone should still have the same feeling of the king as they did before. Kairi has grown up, so she has more mature emotions and feelings. And what shall we find with Riku? This will be a big point through the game. And with that, I hope you have fun! (laughs)
What is the mystery behind II?
There are new themes, new situations and such, and all will be explained when the game is released.
How will the change between Drives occur?
The drive changes will be in Full Real Time, and right in the middle in the action. When you are doing these attacks, they always will have an effect on you somehow, and you are able to execute combo attacks.
The 3 forms have been confirmed, are there still some more left?
Yes, there are still a couple more forms left, and the last one will be amazing (laughs).
There is of course the Triangle Button Command.
Yes, there definitely the triangle commands, and this will all take place in real-time, and it of course is always based on the situation. I had this in mind for the first game, but we just never really got to it.
How is the Gummi Ship?
The ship is strengthened, but looks the same as it always has. There is lots more action, and the whole sequence is very up beat, and face paced. We know have a small helping system. If you are having trouble, Chip and Dale will give you advice.
Now, finally is our User Message.
Playing Kingdom Hearts II will be very enjoyable indeed for people who have played before. It has many twists and situations that are quite different from I, and I really hope that you enjoy the game!