Edge Online have posted an article containing an interview with the director of the Kingdom Hearts series, Tetsuya Nomura. Here, Nomura discusses Kingdom Hearts III, as well as Final Fantasy XV. Thanks to Edge Online, and to KHInsider for the find, this can be read below.
Tetsuya Nomura: So we received great reviews for Kingdom Hearts 2 and so of course the expectation for 3 became much higher. And to make the game appropriate in terms of story, systems and the world – to reach the fans’ expectations – it just ended up taking some time.
What’s the relationship with Disney like? Disney’s attitude to games has changed in recent years to become focused on mobile and social games. Have you noticed their attitude change much?
The relationship with Disney has [remained] the same. Actually the contact person at Disney is still the same person from Kingdom Hearts 1, and Disney has given us lots of requests in terms of the Kingdom Hearts franchise and they did mention some smaller titles for other platforms, but our common, most important goal was to [complete] Kingdom Hearts 3. So it’s the same.
Fans of the series would be quite happy for the game to be the same as the last one, but as a designer and developer don’t you want to experiment and do new things? How do you balance those desires in Kingdom Hearts 3?
As you know, it took a while to actually announce Kingdom Hearts 3, but in the meantime we announced several spin-off titles in the series, and each time for the spin-off title we did experiment and challenge with new things. So we did definitely feel like we have reached enough experimentation and experiences and also I do the development of Final Fantasy, so I feel like for this Kingdom Hearts 3 we are putting everything – all of the experimentation and experiences – into this new title.
The combat in Final Fantasy XV looks real-time instead of turn-based, is that a complete change for the series? Are you making an action game now?
The Final Fantasy series – if you look at each title – each of them has a different system and a different story, so that’s the trend of the Final Fantasy [series] in the past. And when we decided to do action-based for Versus XIII, I personally thought: Is that Final Fantasy? So that was actually one reason why the title was called Versus XIII, not the main sequel, main title, for Final Fantasy. But if you look at the other titles in the franchise, XI and XIV are MMORPG so they do use battle systems which is a command-based, turn-style battle system. So it’s not quite the typical RPG… so that’s why we decided why [Final Fantasy XV] could be action-based battle. And in the future, if other teams decide to different styles of battle systems, then that’s what they decide to do.
So why were you at Sony’s conference and not Microsoft’s? Have you chosen your favourite already?
So, why not Microsoft? Until the last minute we actually didn’t know which conference we would be in, and there was a possibility not to be in the Sony conference either. So it was simply the arrangement between the companies and also originally Versus XIII was announced for PlayStation 3 several years ago. That’s why we thought it’s just probably proper to just go to them and discuss and if they decided to put it on then we would see.
What did you think of E3? Was there anything in particular that excited you?
So of course I was aware of the specifications of each new next-gen console because we are working on them, so there was no specific impact that I got from the announcements in that [respect]. But I was more curious about the software that would be announced. Some of the contents looked really interesting to me and I was preparing for my own presentation of my own games, so I was also very nervous of what other companies would present.
Do you feel comfortable now that you’ve seen everyone else’s games and put yours out there alongside them?
The more contents I saw, with each new trailer before mine, I was getting more worried [laughs]. So of course I’ve been seeing my own trailer so many times that I’m accustomed to watching it so I can’t tell if it’s great any more because I’m so used to watching it. I know my team is working so hard and they agree, but I’ve never done that comparison of looking at my title and trailer with others so that’s why I was nervous.
What does the next generation of consoles mean to you, the games you make, and to Square Enix in general?
So in terms of my own titles that I directed, for the current generation consoles, I have to admit that our company was a little bit behind in terms of development. Talking about my own titles, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD is not yet released in the UK, Europe and US even after the announcement of next-generation consoles, and 1.5 is for PlayStation 3. But in the meantime we were already in the development of Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy XV for next-generation consoles, so we definitely have to catch up with the rest of the gaming world with those titles and in the future Final Fantasy XV most likely will be released sooner than Kingdom Hearts 3. And I think for Square Enix Final Fantasy XV will be the flagship title for the next-generation consoles, and after that we will definitely make more titles for those platforms.