Previously, we reported that the March 2010 issue of Famitsu magazine was beginning to surface online. This has now been completely scanned by RPG Land and made available online, revealing it to actually be the December 24, 2009 issue of Famitsu Weekly. This contains much information about Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, including the game's CGI opening sequence, as well as the inclusion of Lea and Ïsa in Radiant Garden. Also included is an interview the series' director, Tetsuya Nomura, which can be read below, thanks to HEARTSTATION.ORG. The original article can be seen below, in our gallery.
Nomura: The corrections of text, etc. are in the final stages. Since there are parts of the story difficult to understand this time, they’re follow up type things. It’s regulated so that even someone unfamiliar with the series will to some extent have an easy time understanding it. I suppose by the time this interview is published, the game will be finished.
- Who is in charge of the scenarios this time?
Nomura: The original planning was done with Daisuke Watanabe (Chain of Memories) and myself. It was finished with Masaru Oka, who also worked on the scenarios in Kingdom Hearts II. When it comes to Kingdom Hearts, the style is to have multiple people drawing up the scenarios.
- It seems that a lot of the story back tracks the previous games, will people unfamiliar with the series be able to play it?
Nomura: I often received that question with 358/2 Days too! I think when you play a game from the main character’s perspective, then you can enjoy the game as it stands alone. However, depending on the person playing, they may not be able to grasp all the information on their own and will likely become curious about the series. In that sense, as expected they won’t follow the finer details revealed in the story. This type of foreshadowing, it’s intended for players who are familiar with the series titles. But a person playing for the first time can also enjoy the foreshadowing.
For example, Lea and Isa appear, but you meet them for the first time as Ven. Considering him and someone similar, you’ll probably think “There’s something special about this character.” As for those who are anxious about the foreshadowing, if it’s possible to play the past titles, you’ll enjoy it more. But I think even if you aren’t familiar you will find this title interesting.
- I see, so the fun of the game isn’t spoiled if you aren’t familiar with the series, players will just enjoy it differently.
Nomura: From the start of the Kingdom Hearts scenario, by reading between the lines, the player was able to imagine what happened and enjoy guessing about the mysteries. Even if you have played the entire series, you can’t understand everything. It becomes a balance for those people who think they might have a good feeling about what happened.
- Is there a recommended order of play for the 3 main characters?
Nomura: Story wise, Terra > Ven > Aqua, however I think you should follow your own preference since the mysteries of the story will unravel slowly for each character. If it’s in the play sense, Ven is the best to play as. Aqua is strong in certain points and Terra’s moves are heavy, therefore I think Ven is the easiest to handle.
- Are the action parts finished?
Nomura: The internal reception has been very good; I think that even beginners have nothing to worry about. Right now the development staff have finished their work and are now focusing steadily on debugging, it’s fun so it’s a good change of pace for them. But it’s a very serious time for the programmers, since they have a lot on their hands, I’m a little worried. (Laughs)
- The main visual you drew was released recently, what was your concept for it?
Nomura: The image has a lively motion feeling. All the characters are in motion, each of them moving toward their own distinct direction, that’s the atmosphere of it.
- The King is shown here, will his role in the game be considerably large?
Nomura: His role isn’t small but it isn’t as large as the 3 main characters. Of course there will be a lot of events where he is involved with the main 3.
- Scenes from the opening movie were released, what about the song used this time?
Nomura: So far we have used an arrangement version of Utada Hikaru’s “Hikari”. Scenes reflecting the motif of the secret movie from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix were put in along with scenes of Terra and company training, as well as a scene where they hold out their good luck charms.
- The good luck charms shine brightly…
Nomura: The 3 character’s good luck charms are a symbol of their bond and represent the support of their hearts. In the story, there are several scenes where this image of summoning courage is shown.
- In released images the King holds the “star fragment” that also shimmered.
Nomura: The King uses this item to travel outside the worlds. At this point it is called a ‘star fragment’, but later it will be established as the Gummi parts called Gummi Blocks.
- The King seems to come in contact with Kairi, the heroine from Kingdom Hearts I.
Nomura: Because the story takes place before Kingdom Hearts I, the part about Kairi couldn’t be ignored. However, the cause for her going to Destiny Island and her detailed history are not revealed. It draws on the mysterious special existence.
- By the way, this title’s story takes place how many years since the original Kingdom Hearts?
Nomura: It takes place about 9-10 years prior.
- The figures of the Organization XIII members seem to appear too…
Nomura: There was foreshadowing that mentioned Xigbar met the Keyblade users in the past titles, but other Organization members appear as well. However, they will only appear up to No. VIII, Axel.
- Braig’s image seems to be considerably younger than Xigbar.
Nomura: That’s an optical illusion. (Smiles) I think that when you play it, you get used to his image.
- Lea and Isa also lived in Radiant Garden apart from the Organization members up to No.6.
Nomura: That’s right, however they are merely residents at this time. They’re just innocent Frisbee playing boys.
- This time the guest character is Zack from FFVII, why was he chosen?
Nomura: Because this title takes place in the past, we wanted a character who appeared in the past FF series too, so we chose him. His image was made like that of a “Soldier Class 2nd” and his sword isn’t the buster sword. He’s a teen, just a bit older than Ven. He aims to become a hero, so he appears in Olympus Coliseum wanting to become Phil’s pupil.
- Do other FF characters appear?
Nomura: No, only Zack. I originally intended to draw a back story with Cloud, Leon, and company, but then I thought if too many characters were added then the story would become too complicated.
- Will you be able to fight against Master Xehanort and Vanitas?
Nomura: Look forward to it! (Smiles) By the way, each of the three characters will have their own respective last boss. Who ends up fighting who will be a highlight.
- This time there will be a secret movie…
Nomura: Don’t just watch the ending, but the secret movie too. I think your impressions of the story will change. Though I can’t say about the last developments, this secret movie is not connected to just the sequel but its content recaps the story.
- Will there be conditions to see the secret movie?
Nomura: As always, there will be conditions. Though there are 3 levels of difficulties to choose, it will be easiest to meet the secret movie requirements by picking the most difficult level. You cannot see the secret movie if you choose the easiest mode. You’ll definitely not want to miss it, please watch it with your own eyes.
- Let’s talk about the trailer that premiered at the end of the year event. The mobile contents of Kingdom Hearts Coded, it seems the last episode will be distributing soon.
Nomura: Coded is approaching the climax more and more. There’s a deep collection between Coded and Birth by Sleep, they’re both connected to the story taking place after Kingdom Hearts 2.
- A connection to Kingdom Hearts 3?
Nomura: What to say…? The story thus far has extended too much; I think that it’d be good to bring it together plainly for a moment. Though I can’t speak about those developments.
- How is Agito coming along?
Nomura: It’s progressing steadily, but at the moment the plans for The Third Birthday take priority. Since more information on both titles will be releasing next year, please look forward to it. After that, there is an unpublished work coming along faster than expected.
- Huh, a new work?
Nomura: I can’t say. (Smiles) The development is coming along well and the voice recording/editing has begun too. After that, though it really isn’t a new work, there is one more unannounced title.
- So finally, do you have a message for everyone looking forward to Birth by Sleep?
Nomura: Because this extremely exhilarating game is complete, I think I can use it as an excuse to feel a little stress relief. (Smiles) Since both RPG enthusiasts and those who aren’t very good at action games can customize the Deck Commands so everyone can enjoy playing it, please take a look at it. Those who have been following along with the series, please make sure to reserve this one.