IGN have posted an article containing an interview with Shinji Hashimoto, the executive producer of the Kingdom Hearts series. Hashimoto discusses Kingdom Hearts III and Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, and hints towards a possible Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX! Comments from series composer Yoko Shimomura are also included. Here are the quotes from the interview, thanks to Luke Karmali from IGN.
Hashimoto: "While fans of Disney are usually quite young and Final Fantasy players are much older, they come together to create a Kingdom Hearts audience that’s very unique. The feelings people have towards the series are so deep these days because they spent many of their teenage years, which is a very sensitive period of your personal life, with Kingdom Hearts."
Hashimoto: "As the game was originally released more than ten years ago, it was quite difficult even to get all the data! Also, updating the screen size to look its best in the HD format was a challenge, as the ratio is completely different. That kind of detail was hard to do."
[Meeting Shimomura, I asked her whether or not she was tempted to rework aspects of the original soundtrack she perhaps wasn’t completely satisfied with. She quickly told me that this never entered her head. From the moment she revisited the tunes she knew they’d stood the test of time; they still had the ability to affect her.]
Shimomura: "I felt really nostalgic revisiting my old project, but at the same time I found lots of new things too, things that I’d forgotten doing. So it somehow felt strangely new, too. It was fun."
Shimomura: "Of course the basic music across the series is all the same in terms of themes and the like, although it does vary slightly depending on which Kingdom Hearts game it is. But I always want to bring something new to the games."
Hashimoto: "If everyone plays 1.5 HD ReMix, if everyone likes it and everyone supports us, then 2.5 HD ReMix could happen. So at this stage, we just have to encourage people to play 1.5 HD ReMix!"
[Though Kingdom Hearts III was confirmed at long last at E3 this year, Hashimoto reiterated this was more an attempt to reassure fans that the final instalment in Sora’s story is on the way, rather than suggest its arrival is imminent.]
[One thing Hashimoto point blank refuses to do is rush the game out the door. Picking up the thread of our earlier conversation, he argues that the franchise remains so important to people not just because they played through it during a formative stage of their lives, but also because Sora’s growth and development now mirrors their own. It’s this powerful feature of the series that Square Enix hopes to focus on in Kingdom Hearts III in order to provoke a reaction that is in equal parts nostalgic and reflective.]
Hashimoto: "The fact is that the main focus of the series is Sora and Riku; how their friendship develops, but also how they grow up. After so many years, the players’ personal growth is closely tied to the game’s story at this point, so that’s the most important thing about the series and what we want to put into the game. For Kingdom Hearts III, players will be able to resurrect the happy memories they have from being teenagers when playing Kingdom Hearts III. So it’s very contemplative, and will match the personal experiences of much of the audience very closely."
Hashimoto: "I can’t really say anything about the future beyond Kingdom Hearts III. I’m the producer, not the director, so it’s totally out of my hands. It’s up to Tetsuya Nomura whether or not we’ll see Sora in future Kingdom Hearts.
Hashimoto: "As I said earlier though, the Kingdom Hearts storyline is designed to mirror the player’s personal experiences. If people play HD 1.5 ReMix they remember what it’s like to be a teenager again, access those memories and experience some enjoyable nostalgia from their past. That theme is something we want to keep with future titles as well. About the characters, we can’t say anything…but that’s the theme we want to continue."