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Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania Characters Art Directors interviews


Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania, the official companion book for Kingdom Hearts III, released in Japan on February 28, 2019. The 736 page long book mainly serves as a guidebook and a detailed data book for everything in Kingdom Hearts III, but also contains concept art, character renders, and special interviews with the people who worked on the game. 

Here are some interviews with Character Art Directors Takashi Itai and Toru Yamazaki along with 2D Art Director Daigo Tsukada.  DISCLAIMER: This is only a tentative translation. It is possible that there are mistakes. These interviews could have potential spoilers, please be advised. 

Thanks to @lunesacree for the translations.


*Interview: Takashi Itai (Art Director: Characters)

Previously worked on: KH Re:CoM, KH3D, KH 1.5, KH 2.5, KH 2.8, FFI (PSP), FFII (PSP), Brave Fencer Musashi 2: Blade Master, Mario Basketball 3on3, Mario Sports Mix, Fortune Street DS

Q: What kind of work were you responsible for?
A: I was responsible for all of the work related to the character shader (note: this is written in katakana and defined as "treatment of shading and the way colors look").

Q: Please tell us what you paid attention to in order to recreate the mood of the original movies.
A: I was especially careful not to take away from the soft expressions that are in the original works. Also, I built the shader to properly be able to form even very detailed shapes.

Q: Are there any particular characters you especially like?
A: Sulley and Rapunzel. I spent a long time working on them, so I'm emotionally attached to them.

Q: Please tell us the special features of the newly developed Kingdom Shader, and how you made it.
A: Since the Kingdom Shader was built for the worlds made from 2D animation, as well as the KH-original worlds, at first it was used for the expressions characteristic of Disney animation or to reproduce the textures that are in KH1 and so on. As development continued and we began to work on other worlds, its system was rebuilt in order to handle the second round of lighting and color work.

Q: How was the shader that made the picture-book style in 100 Acre Woods used?
A: Generally speaking, using the process that draws the outline around the characters, it could thicken or thin out the lines, similar to the strength of the brushstrokes when making a real picture. Also, by adjusting the lighting, we could hold back on the color saturation and give everything a soft sort of feeling.

Q: Is there anything in this production you especially want us to see?
A: When formchanging, the changing of the clothes is a trait unique to Sora, so I'd like you to see it.

BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
The camera was originally set up to have its lens aperture open when you took a picture, but because it would cause the screen to go black right at the most critical time, it was rejected.

Source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sqr2f8


*Interview: Toru Yamazaki (Art Director: Characters)

Previously worked on: KH2, KH Re:CoM, KH BbS, KH BbS FM, KH3D, KH 1.5, KH 2.5, KH 2.8, FFXI, Brave Fencer Musashi 2: Blade Master, Final Fantasy Legend II

Q: What kind of exchanges did you have with the staff responsible for the modeling of each character?
A: In the case of creating the character models and expressions, the staff and I always encouraged each other while doing our work. In any case, there's a full lineup of characters who have a leading role in each world, and the methods of expression for each of them is different, so we had to create a really huge amount [laughs].

Q: Which characters were difficult to create?
A: In Toy Box and Monstropolis, we constantly went back and forth in a process of trial and error with Pixar on [the designs of] Sora, Donald and Goofy. In Toy Box it was how to deal with the edges and the placement of the screws, and in Monstropolis it was the shape of the horns and placement of the eyes, so you can really acutely feel how fixated on it Pixar was.

Q: Please tell us if you used any references from past works in the series, or if there was anything you thought about changing.
A: We made the KH-original characters modeled in keeping with past works, but Nomura instructed us to give them a more realistic impression, too. It would make me happy if all the players could come to like the reborn characters, who still have their old impressions.

Q: Please tell us the point you fussed over the most.
A: The townspeople who appear in several of the worlds. In order to create a deeper, more expansive feeling for the worlds, I made models with different expressions in different places.

Q: What parts of this production do you especially want us to see?
A: The Keyblade transformations, which are made up of models, motion, materials, and effects brought together by each action. Watching them is really fun, so please play while changing out various Keyblades.

BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
When production began, the demo image that Visualworks (note: Square's video production studio) made for us of The Caribbean was so well done that I mistook it for a real photo. Disney asked if it could be recreated on a real machine, and when the person in charge said firmly "it can be, with a 20% reduction" my eyes shot wide open in shock.

Source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sqr1nc


*Interview: Daigo Tsukada (Art Director: 2D Characters)

Previously worked on: All of the KH series, Dissidia FF, The World Ends With You

Q: How did you decide on the Keyblade designs?
A: First, we watched the movies for each world over and over and turned them upside down checking for motifs we could possibly use. The nice point of this series is that we can fully appreciate Disney movies while we're at work [laughs]. After that we assembled all the motifs like a puzzle to try and arrange them into the shape of a key, but because in this game the Keyblades transform, while cursing the planning team, we kept conscious of a shape that was easy to disassemble and went on.

Q: Were there any unexpected designs you put in?
A: The orb in the center of the King's Keyblade was designated as having a special feeling, so in order to do that, it was filled with things from outer space. Someday, if something amazing were to happen that was connected to that, it would be nice, I think, but will it really [laughs].

Q: Why did Riku's new Keyblade end up being a dimple key? [NOTE: a dimple key is a uniquely shaped key that is extremely difficult to copy and uses the flat side of the blade to open the lock]
A: When Nomura was confirming the direction of the design, he sent me a picture of a dimple key, so I thought "this time it's going to be this!". He requested a more unrefined shape, so I more or less left the dimple key shape alone. Unlike the other Keyblades, it has an ordinary sword-like shape, so I could design it easily.......but the fact I thought that is a secret.

Q: What point was the biggest struggle?
A: When we were deciding on Sora and the others' clothes, the direction of the designers' ideas were all different, so it was a struggle because no one could agree. Since everyone thought "I want to make something good!" I thought as long as the schedules allowed for it, butting heads like this was good. In the end, we were able to come up with and finish a good design that everyone was satisfied with in keeping with the schedule, so I thought "somehow, we did it" while rubbing my chest [in relief].

BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
Among the enemies that appear when you move around with the gummi ship, there are ones with cockpits that have proper Heartless pilots operating them. If you look closely, you might be able to see them?

Source: www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sqr2ij


Here are the other news stories that have previously come out of the Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania:

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