Update: We have provided full translations for the Famitsu article thanks to Kayla Copeland (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can read them below.
In the most recent issue of Famitsu Weekly, a spread was dedicated to Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue which features screenshots and a few details about Dream Drop Distance HD, χ Back Cover, and Birth by Sleep 0.2 -A Fragmentary Passage-. It also provides a much closer look at the art that was initially revealed at E3 2016 on a banner for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
Famitsu also interviewed series director Tetsuya Nomura to discuss the game. Nomura revealed brand new information pertaining to each of the three titles present in the HD collection and their connection to Kingdom Hearts III. You can read the full interview as well as Famitsu's comments below.
You can find a partial scan of the article below thanks to Twitter user @bKvEBVAvUq.
[Purple text] Three Episodes Connect the Past and the Future
A completely new production will be included with a remaster of a previous title, as well as a brand-new theatrical production. The three titles together make up “The Final Chapter Prologue,” and the release date is decided for December!
The [Kingdom Hearts] series spins the tales of those who wield key-shaped swords called “Keyblades.” In [Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue] (hereby known as [KH2.8]), the story will feature the happenings of the events right before [KHIII] as we face the series' end, and the tales of the distant past will become clear. Let's take a look at what we've learned from Director Tetsuya Nomura's interview, mixed with the recent information from play impressions.
Game Data: Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Maker: Square Enix
Release Date: Planned for December 2016
Notes: Director-Tetsuya Nomura, Co. Director-Tai Yasue, Producer- Rie Nishi
--[KH0.2] Trial Version Play Impression
A taste of [KH] is even more gorgeous than before
In the trial version, we were able to play a portion in which we had to fight to repair the bridge to Cinderella's castle. We hit the gimmick gears dotted throughout the city below, and we were able to turn back time to before the bridge was destroyed, but if you operate the gimmick, it also works to unlock Aqua's potential. If you are on a slightly different level, she will jump over it even without pressing the jump button, and she will slide down hilly roads, and exploring was pretty easy to do. Just touching it was so fresh, and I couldn't stop smiling. Devil's Wave was also, of course, was crawling with the feeling of a current machine.
Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep -Fragmentary Passage-
In the PSP game [KH Birth by Sleep] (hereby known as [bbS]), Aqua traveled to the Realm of Darkness to save her friends. [KH 0.2 Birth by Sleep - Fragmentary Passage-] (hereby known as [KH0.2]) tells us what happened to her after those events. After continuing to wander, she finally arrives at Cinderella's castle, which has been engulfed in darkness. However, the bridge to the castle has been destroyed...
With magic, you can electrocute enemies with Thundaga, freeze them with Blizzaga, as well as create continuous effects on the environment, like freezing the floor, etc.
During battles, you can save up strength and change your battle style, similar to the style changes in [bbS]. In the main game it's possible it will change at random.
The Devil's Wave, coming at you with repulsive movements, is a new threat made up of the bodies of many Shadow Heartless. There are a lot of other new enemies we've yet to see.
We Ask Tetsuya Nomura about [KH2.8]
[KH2.8] will be released in December. We asked Director Tetsuya Nomura to tell us more about the trial version and details of the theatrical production, as well as movement on the series as a whole. In addition, the original interview can be found in full on famitsu's website.
((pink text)) For our 30th anniversary, Nomura has drawn us a special illustration, shown on page 94!
--Will Sora be connected to [KH0.2], too?
-[KH0.2] is amazing in quality! Is the trial version this time part of the beginning of the full game?
Nomura (hereby known as N): Yes. It's something we took from the beginning playtime of the game. It takes place in the city below Cinderella's castle.
-In the city, it seemed like time was stopped, but is everything like that in the Realm of Darkness?
N: It's just in that map. If you keep going, there's a different area and different gameplay. I think that people weren't sure what it meant to “explore the Realm of Darkness as Aqua”, but here, many worlds have...the worlds swallowed by darkness have fused together. After the part we released for the trial version, if you enter Cinderella's castle, there will be a different world, and if you leave that place, you'll come out in a different place, that kind of thing.
-The smaller enemies out in the field were new, and there seemed to be three new types besides the Shadows. The one that really left an impression was the enemy made up of a group of Shadows' bodies.
N: That kind of Shadow is called Devil's Wave. It's the enemy that appeared in the first trailer for [KHIII]. It's just not at its full power yet...
N: Since this was the opening phase. It's pretty amazing when it's at its full power. (laughs)
-That's bad, isn't it? (laughs) How much play volume do you think this will be?
N: I initially said it would be about the length of one full world, but I checked a walkthrough from start to finish, I felt that it was satisfying to play. (laughs) In the middle, I thought there might be people who will think, “I wonder if this will be over in thirty minutes or so?”, but that's not true at all. There's a story to it, and there are a lot of cutscenes, so even though there are not a lot of worlds, I think you will be able to enjoy this new [KH] to its fullest.
-Saying that makes it sound like a full-blown production!
N: Even with just the story, it's a very important part of the series. The scenes in [KH3D] and [KH0.2] should be thought of as a prologue to [KHIII]. When we were reviewing the products for [KH2.8], we decided to make [KH0.2] more of a game to play with the current generation of [KH], rather than [KHIII]. The stories for [KH3D] and [KH0.2] connect with [KHIII]. For me, [KHIII] begins with [KH3D]. The subtitle for [KH2.8] holds that meaning to it.
-Aside from [KH3D], if [KH0.2] holds part of the story in it, will the play volume of [KHIII] decrease?
N: Rather than saying it holds part of the story, perhaps it's better to say that it makes parts of the story in [KHIII] easier to understand and improves the tempo of some parts? Instead, the play volume of [KHIII] is overwhelming, and there were no parts we could cut, so there were some parts we worried about for the players. Also, for me, of all the RPGs I've made, rather than being forced to listen to a long explanation from the very start, I want the players to start playing right away, and the parts with detailed explanation in [KHIII] should be abbreviated wherever possible. Because of this, the player might wonder “Why is Sora here?” in [KHIII] because of its abrupt beginning. Of course, you'll be able to understand the basics while playing.
-Huh? So what you mean is, Sora might appear in the story right before that starts, [KH0.2]...?
N: Ah. (laughs) By the way, the opening of [KHIII] is short and you will begin playing right away, but we are thinking of people who have not played the series in a long time, or people who are playing [KH] for the first time. It's just that, since the detailed circumstances are told in [KH3D] and [KH0.2], if you play [KH0.2] while waiting for [KHIII], the story's flow will be easier to grasp, I think.
--The changes with [KHDDD] didn't end with HD
-In the trial version of [KHDDD], there was a Dream Eater in the form of a tanuki that we'd never seen before!
N: That's Pondanyan. (laughs) The Osaka team added that for us. There are other Dream Eaters added, and you'll be able to use the allies received from AR cards in the original [KH3D].
-Last time you mentioned PS4 trophy compatibility, but are there any additional details now?
N: Yes. The trophies will be an entirely separate (i.e. new) piece of content. We also lengthened the drop time, and we also are in the middle of adjusting enemy reactions.
(by Yen Sid) : Sora and Riku receive guidance from Master Yen Sid to take the Mark of Mastery test in order to prepare for the coming battle. However, someone is trying to interfere...
(by the screenshot with the Dream Eater) : In the main game, you can use the strength of Dream Eaters in battle. The mini-games you enjoyed in the 3DS game have been renewed.
(large pink text) : Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD
[KH Dream Drop Distance HD} (hereby known as [KHDDD]), is a remake of the 3DS title, [KH 3D Dream Drop Distance] (hereby known as [KH3D]). In addition to the control screen's improvements, there are more new additions. To pass the “Mark of Mastery,” Sora and Riku work to release the “Sleeping Worlds.”
(bottom text) : Stray KH Info -- All sorts of details on [KH0.2]
In the trial version, Aqua's strength is gradually improved; besides just style changes, there's also Shoot-Lock, Double Flight (double jump), Airslide, and so on, are obtainable upgrades. There are also status changes that occur with level ups. In addition, according to Nomura, there are other things in the game that can be customized.
--[KHDDD] Trial Version Play Impression
There's a Dream Eater resembling a tanuki...the discovery of a new species!
The Link Attacks that used the bottom screen of the 3DS can now be navigated with the left and right directional keys. The operation is busy, and there's a buffer, so getting used to it might be a bit difficult. The reality shift presentation is now just using one screen and doesn't feel uncomfortable. And, most importantly, there are new Dream Eaters! The one shaped like Wandanyan is a brown tanuki (with a leaf on its head), and it's too cute!
(blue text) : The stories in [KH3D] and [KH0.2] connect with [KHIII].
(caption by Riku) : Sora and Riku operate separately from one another. Their actions are on a time limit, and when time is up, you change control from one character to the other. Continue through the game while changing between them.
(bottom text) : Stray KH Info -- Battles in [KH0.2]
The battles don't use the Command Deck like in [bbS], but resemble the system in [KHIII], according to Nomura. In addition, the only keyblade that Aqua uses in [KH0.2] is the keyblade she inherited from Master Eraqus, “Master Keyblade.” By the way, there was a person who resembled Terra at the end of the trial version, but could it be....?
[ With “KH Unchained X”, “Season 2” begins]
--[KHx] Series Hereafter and [KHIII]
-News about “KHx Back Cover” has been released. The Foretellers and Ephemera are in CG, and they have voices, and it's all really fresh.
N: We're making [KHIII] with the same technology as [KH0.2]. I hope you can get the same feeling from the cutscenes in [KHIII], too. The master of the Foretellers, who was wearing the black coat, has a sort of unusual mood to him, like calling Ira, the Master of the Unicornis Union, “Iracchi,” and Aced, the Master of the Ursus Union, “Asedon.” (laughs)
-So that's his image of the Foretellers. (laughs) A few days ago, there was an announcement about the online PC service for [KHx] coming to an end, but will the story come to a solid end?
N: We've just about finished writing the scenes. Up until now, we've pretty much presented one scene broken up into two minute parts, but the final chapter will just be two parts. The divergence into [KH Unchained X] is also coming soon.
-There will be a clear divergence...!?
N: After presenting the final chapter, there should be about one month left until we close the servers in September. As of now, [KHx] has become quite easy to play, so we want to try to take that chance to continue moving the story forward.
-What will happen with [KH Unchained X]?
N: Since we want to keep it running for a long time, we're continuing our plans for new worlds and the storyline. The story for [KHx] will come to an end, but [KH Unchained X] will have new developments... A story for “season 2” will begin.
-What will happen to main characters such as Ephemera and Skuld? Also, we're quite interested to know if they will show up in the series later on.
N: I wonder, too. (laughs) First, regarding [KHx] and [KH Unchained X], the movements of the Foretellers will be important. I do hope you'll enjoy it.
-Well, for [KH2.8], it was announced to release in December. How is production coming along?
N: It might be a bit early in Japan, but it will be released worldwide at the same time. We're in the final stages of production for [KH2.8], the voice recordings for the English dub are almost done, and the deadline is even tighter than usual, but we're continuing along just fine. With this timing, we were able to release the trial play, which is just an extraction of the main file. Everyone will only have to wait about half a year more to play.
-What about development for [KHIII]?
N: [KHIII]'s production is also coming along just fine, but as I said before, [KH2.8] is in an important stage so I'd like to focus on that, therefore the update on news for [KHIII] is something I'll try to give when we're closer to the [KH2.8] release date. Please look forward to both of them.
--How about a follow-up report on the [FFVII Remake]?
-So then, we would like to hear a little more about your other titles. The release date for [World of FF] was decided to be 10/27.
N: My work on that was finished quite a while ago, but right now we're in the middle of preparing the finishing touches for the upcoming deadline, and my involvement right now is more like supervising everyone than anything else right now.
-On 8/27, there's going to be a national meeting for the arcade game [Dissida FF].
N: We're also continuing preparations for that. Since it's become a rather large events since its presentation, we want to be able to satisfy everyone even outside of the event. The food menu will also get some help from our official shop, “Artnia.”
-How is the [FFVII Remake] going?
N: We won't be releasing any information for a little while, but we are continuing with production, so please don't worry. We're working toward the next information session, and like with [KH2.8] this time, we plan to release a lot of information all at once, so please look forward to it. I'm also looking forward to the presentation.
-We can't wait for the new information! In any case, first is [KH2.8], right? This year is your twenty-fifth anniversary as a creator. I'm sure that is a huge turning point for you, isn't it?
N: Actually, I had thought I would be celebrating my twenty-fifth anniversary with my friends, but with us all being so busy, even I forgot, and I realized it a few days later. (laughs) Originally, when you hear “twenty-five years,” it seems special for being “a quarter of a century,” but next year, [KH] will be fifteen years old, and [FFVII] will be twenty, so I'm thinking those are what I should celebrate. With the [Dissida FF] event, I plan to start releasing information, so please look forward to it.
(Next to Ira) : The one who holds the key to this story is the Foretellers' Master in the black coat. He seems so unusual, telling this young man who wants to save the world, “It's useless.”
(In green and gold) : Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover
The PC game [KHx] and the smartphone game [KH Unchained X] tie together as the oldest story in the series. The theatrical production [KHx Back Cover]will bring to light the other side of the story with the conversations and actions of the Foretellers, as well as their Master, and untold truths.
“This world is filled with light.”
“The world will be concealed in an eternal darkness...”
(Next to the fighting Foretellers) : Is there a traitor amongst the Foretellers? The difference between apprehension and aggression could become the fire of the fight to collect many keyblade wielders as allies.
(In bold blue) : The [FFVII Remake] is also still in production. Information is planned to be released all in one go.
“But this time, it is not recorded anywhere in the Book of Prophecies...”
A wielder of the Keyblade, Ephemera. He tries to ask Master Ava about the “Book of Prophecies” she holds.
Master Ava is gathering keyblade wielders regardless of the affiliated union. What is her goal?
“We can no longer avoid a fight.”