-- To ask you more about the KH series, your latest game KH358/2 Days has been a big hit. The story/system of the game and even the graphics are better than any other DS game made previously.
Nomura: It came about just from me being so stubborn about it. Though because of that it went on sale a little later than we had planned. These days “serious games” (educational games) have become so popular. But I’ve felt inside myself that this is a problem. “Those can’t be the biggest sellers” I thought. Of course, the kind of things I make are games. I felt very strongly about this. There are tons of gamers out there who only play huge games like Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. In other words, if only we can attract their interest they’ll play my games too. So, I want to win them over. If I don’t, we’ll just end up losing.
-- I think so too.
Nomura: There is no real analysis of trends in the game market. It’s just thought that if you make a good game, a fun game, people will buy it.
-- So that’s why I don’t feel as though you’re compromising your games. Not just with KH358/2 Days, but with FF7ACC, I was surprised about how much you remade!
Nomura: Up til now I’ve never been happy with a simple port. That’s why my company is always giving me nasty looks (laugh) Of course right now we’re in a depression, so it’s difficult to “challenge” myself in this way. But, it’s because of that I think I need to do the best I can.
-- Yes you really need to. And I think the most amazing thing is that you always make good on your promises, with good results. To go as far as making a movie, I always think you must really love your job (laugh)
Nomura: With FF7AC I wanted to see if something could be done with just visuals. We talked about it in the office, but there almost was going to be nothing happening with it and it was in danger of disappearing for good. But I felt it would be such a waste, I thought “If I fail I’ll just take responsibilty for it and never direct again” (laugh)
-- So that’s what happened. And that’s how FF7AC got finished. But did it influence other development teams in any way?
Nomura: Toriyama (FF13 Director), and the Dissidia development team both wanted to make battles like were shown in FF7AC. I felt good about it. That it was able to go back into games.
-- That’s logical. Did you plan this beforehand?
Nomura: No, not at all (laugh) It’s just that with visuals only there was no limit to what you could do, you were really free, I wanted to see what would happen if I could do what I liked. In game cut-scenes you have to limit yourself to what can be shown in the gameplay. But since I made it without those limitations everyone thought “If only we could remake this in real time”. I was very happy.
-- I see! Well now I’m going to change the subject a bit, in both KH and FF7 there is one world with many stories. Are these things an expression of something inside yourself that you want to “tell” others?
Nomura: Not really. I’m not really thinking of how it’s going to develop from the start. Only, with the story I don’t want it to be just some fantastic tale, I want people to sympathize with the story, say “Ah, I know this.” I want them to feel as though it happening close to you.
-- So that’s why you create so many characters that feel “close”. But you even mange to express these connections and environments through “pictures”. How do you come up with the key visuals?
Nomura: It’s mostly just in my head. When I’m thinking about the scenario the “scenes” or “pictures” just pop up. Most of the scenes are based in the experiences that everyone had growing up.
-- In KH358/2 Days the evening and ice cream eating scenes left quite an impression. So for people to feel close to the scenario images, it depends on whether or not they’ll be able to empathize.