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Dengeki Interview with Tetsuya Nomura about Melody of Memory and the future of the series


OrpheusJoshua

Dengeki recently conducted an interview with Tetsuya Nomura on Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory and what to expect from the series in the near future. You can read the interview below, courtesy of translations from our team's Ryuji.

Quote

—The Objective in Creating Melody of Memory: A KH-esque Rhythm Game—

Interviewer: Both the game and the official soundtrack came out within the same time frame. Please tell us what kind of request you made to Indieszero (known for developing the Theatrhythm series) when developing Memory of Melody.

Nomura: Their proposal, in a few words, can be described as "Theatrhythm: KINGDOM HEARTS edition". However, I didn't want it to make it a carbon copy of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, and slap the Kingdom Hearts moniker on top of it.

Interviewer: So you wanted it to be similar, yet completely different to Theatrhythm?

Nomura: Correct. I asked Indieszero to combine the action of Kingdom Hearts with the rhythm genre. As you can imagine, it took a lot of trial-and-error, and lots of testing, because it is complicated to put those two pieces together nicely. We also wanted to make the game not look too flashy, so that people wouldn't feel sick when playing the game.

Interviewer: I see. There are Keyblade strikes and magic, so you can really feel you're actually playing KH.

Nomura: It makes me glad that you're saying that. After all, that was the main objective of this project.

Interviewer: Kairi will play a specially important role as this game's "storyteller". Could you elaborate more on that?

Nomura: In the game's story, Kairi will recap the entire story of the Kingdom Hearts series so far, in a way that even newer players can easily digest. However, it is impossible to get into the most intricate details, so if you're curious about a certain part of the story, I strongly recommend you play that game and enjoy the story for yourself in its fullest.

Interviewer: The game contains a total of 140 songs. Were any songs personally suggested by you, Nomura-san?

Nomura: None in particular. I guess my initial request was to include as many songs as possible, as I did not want to implement more in a DLC package.

—Looking Ahead Into The Future of the KH Series—

Interviewer: Next, let's talk about a future outlook for the series. With KHIII, a saga [The Seekers of Darkness' saga] ended. But there's still a lot of mystery surrounding the characters, correct?

Nomura: Of course. In the near future, I plan to change the story drastically, as in, change the structure on how it's told in a way that it can grab all the pending mysteries. The objective here is to try out a brand new story while still integrating the plots and mysteries that are currently pending.

Interviewer: In KH UX Dark Road, you delve into the past of Xehanort. So does this mean we'll see more of him in future series?

Nomura: To be fair, Dark Road wasn't a project that took future titles into consideration. It was more of a project the KHUX team was thinking of doing that's been in the backburner for a bit. Xehanort's saga ends with KH III but you can clearly see in Melody of Memory's story that his influence does shift the atmosphere, even if just a bit. However, I don't think Xehanort will become a main antagonist/main boss in future titles.

Interviewer: One of the main perks of Kingdom Hearts is how it always sets the atmosphere for a continuation. Is that something you commonly think of when developing the game? Example: When developing Kingdom Hearts I, did you anticipate the existence of Sora's nobody—Roxas?

Nomura: Whenever I think of a story, I try to make it as extensive as possible. For example, when developing Kingdom Hearts I, I was thinking of its sequel, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. However, not everything I thought came to fruition. One such case is KH Dark Road, where I haven't really thought much about it.

Interviewer: The Kingdom Hearts series started on the PlayStation 2 system. However, there were no new releases to the PS3 or the PSVITA (instead, what happened is that remasters of KH1 and 2, dubbed KH1.5 and KH2.5 were released). Why wasn't there such a jump to new hardware?

Nomura: I had some foggy ideas to release new titles on the PS3 and the PSVITA. Especially since…the PSVITA, for a portable console, packed quite the beefy hardware, and could stand up to the task. However, those plans never fully materialized, mostly because at the time, I was involved in FF Versus XIII's development.

Interviewer: Is the new KH game going to take advantage of the powerful technologies boasted by the new PlayStation 5 and XBOX Series X/S?

Nomura: We can't say we have plans to do so as of now, but if Kingdom Hearts were to come to these new generation consoles, it would most certainly be a latecomer [basically, the game isn't likely to come out in the 1st year of the consoles' release]

—The Kingdom Hearts Soundtrack Forever Etched Into History—

Interviewer: One of the most talked about topics in Kingdom Hearts is its music. Particularly, the songs composed by Yoko Shimomura. Why did you decide that she would be perfect for the job?

Nomura: I got a recommendation from the music department at Square. At the time, I had worked with her on Parasite Eve [PlayStation 1 game released in 1998 by Squaresoft. It was an unique kind of RPG, known as a cinematic RPG.], so it was fairly easy to approach her, since we were already acquainted by then.

Interviewer: Her songs are popular both in Japan and overseas.

Nomura: To be fair, I was pretty surprised. When the overseas fans called her "Goddess" and how they called me "Papa", I was honestly quite surprised such nicknames existed for us.

Interviewer: What was your first request to Shimomura-san?

Nomura: It was when I wanted to make a battle arrangement for all world songs. As you know, each KH world has a field song and a battle song. I wanted it to feel like you were in a theme park.

Interviewer: What do you think of her songs, from your point of view?

Nomura: Hmm…they sound they carry a lot of emotions…? They sound like drama…? [TL NOTE: The tenses in the original Japanese show that he's completely unsure.]

Interviewer: Aside from Shimomura-san, we also have other well-established composers for the KH series, such as Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito.

Nomura: I believe it was during KH: Birth of Sleep's development process that we asked them to compose. Ishimoto is involved with the Dissidia series, as well as The World Ends with You. He's great in creating cool-looking songs. As for Sekito…his forte is creating bright and cheerful songs. He also has a close relation to the development team in Osaka, so it's very easy to request bright and cheery songs for things such as the UI [example: World Map] or mini-games.

Interviewer: Finally, please give a comment to everyone to wrap up the interview.

Nomura: We are proud that we managed to release Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory and the KHIII soundtrack. Both me and the team hope that all players enjoy it fully. After the release of MoM, the series will probably take a little break (no announcements and/or new things) until 2022. 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of KH, so I plan to share some great news by then.

What are your thoughts on this interview? Let us know in the comments below!



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yee. It makes sense

2022 is the 20th anniversary

so they gotta do SOMETHING for it

I’m not expecting KH4, but. maybe an actual non-rhythm or mobile game? 👉👈

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Thank you for this thrilling article, Orpheus!

The future of the Kingdom Hearts series is looking bright, and honestly, I'm more than perfectly fine with the series taking a break! Nomura and his team work tirelessly to keep us, the fans, happy! So let them have their rest! After all, we have Dark Road to keep us busy!

2022 is going to be an exciting year for Kingdom Hearts, I'm certain! :D

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Honestly I don't have a problem with a drought of news. The plot is in a good place, we still have UX/DR plot to tide us over, and it'll be a good break from all the yearly releases (and good on my wallet). I'm excited for the future of the series and can patiently wait for the next Saga.

Also it's cool to get confirmation from him that he plans at least a few games ahead. 

Edited by GreyouTT

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My wallet will be grateful. Between the HD compilations on PS4, KHIII, the DLC and MoM, it's been a hell of a ride :c
Besides, I'd rather avoid a yearly release as it never did any good to a franchise

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I can totally live with the drought, plus they really earned it. I think 2022 will be a great year for the series and I’m sure they’ll be working in 2021 relaxed and steady.

The only thing I wanns know is... are we getting november and december updates for the story of KHUX? Seems it’s in it’s ending stages and I’m pretty pumped tbh :v

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To be fair I think what he means is that they aren't going to make any KH announcements until some time in 2021 when it's appropriate to start hyping up for the 20th anniversary in 2022. Considering how Kingdom Hearts first released in early 2002, it would be pretty ridiculous if they waited a whole year without saying anything and THEN started their announcement and ad campaign the day after New Years Day 2022 or something.

We'll likely go a few months into 2021 with no major announcements, apart from maybe the odd UX/DR development or two, then about a good way's into the year (for now I'm guessing about a 6 month hiatus, just to be on the safe side) we start getting the usual trickling of information before we get proper announcements in the form of teaser trailers and whatnot. As always, what was formerly known as "E3 season" will likely be the place to look for any potential big reveals like a KH4/anniversary title or a D+ series, etc etc.

That's not to say that they might not try to surprise us with something a bit smaller in the meantime tho. Like I said, there's still UX/DR to consider, maybe they'll move UX towards it's endgame in that timeframe. Plus they could really go that extra mile and make the other previous KH soundtracks available on digital platforms like iTunes and the like, since it seems to be doing well for the KH3 soundtrack so far.

We're back in the in-between period again for sure, but I honestly don't think it's going to last as long as it sounds like it is. Waiting for 2022 doesn't necessarily mean waiting a whole year before we hear ANYTHING.

Edited by Hero of Light XIV

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It's gonna be interesting to see what direction the series will go in from here on out. I'm wondering if it will be a more heavier story. But at least 2021 will allow people who want to play all of the games for the first time to catch up.

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14 hours ago, Epheymer said:

My wallet will be grateful. Between the HD compilations on PS4, KHIII, the DLC and MoM, it's been a hell of a ride :c
Besides, I'd rather avoid a yearly release as it never did any good to a franchise

Even Ubisoft broke off its yearly release schedule for the Assassin's Creed franchise to focus on quality over meeting a deadline.

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I wonder if we wont get a kh4 till another 13 years (lets hope it is shorter like 7, as in the 7 light)

Edited by Sephswaifu
Grammer check

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2 hours ago, Sephswaifu said:

I wonder if we wont get a kh4 till another 13 years (lets hope it is shorter like 7, as in the 7 light)

I don't think it will be that long (Well, hopefully). I think I read in an interview Nomura and the team expressed that they don't want it to be that big a gap of time again.

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Just now, Kittenz said:

I don't think it will be that long (Well, hopefully). I think I read in an interview Nomura and the team expressed that they don't want it to be that big a gap of time again.

Good, i hope they don't do that again

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I think this is for the best. Considering a new saga is starting soon, it would be good for Nomura to pause, reevaluate the direction of the series, and determine the best path forward. Rushing forward to please the fans is how KH3 ended up being so controversial.

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All things considered they more than took their time with kh3 in comparison to now the rest of the series has been, I think it was higher ups that gave them a deadline of late 2018 and when that couldn’t be met they had to push it back a little bit

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