Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania, the official companion book for Kingdom Hearts III has released in Japan, and translations from the book's interviews are starting to appear online. In addition to all of the Kingdom Hearts III mysteries expanded on, a full interview from the book has appeared – with the Battle Director of Kingdom Hearts III Tomokazu Shibata.
This interview is one of many from Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania and has been translated by @lunesacree. With a big thanks to them, you can read this interview below!
DISCLAIMER: This is only a tentative translation and should not be relied on for any concrete information. It is possible that there are mistakes. I tried hard to be as clear as I could just in case.
Previously worked on: KH3D, KH2.8, Front Mission 5, The 3rd Birthday
Q: What was the concept for the battles this time around?
A: To make them colorful, easy to play, and well-paced.
Q: Depending on things like the Keyblade transformations or enhancement magic, how did your adjustment change in terms of battle balance?
A: Since Sora can just crank out huge attack after huge attack, putting together the battles was a struggle. If we made the enemies unnecessarily difficult, the game would end up being unreasonable, so in the end we prioritized allowing Sora to move freely.
Q: Please tell us the reason the command system is similar to the one in KH2.
A: Initially, there was the idea to have a command deck like in KH3D, but Nomura instructed us to base the system around the one in KH2. There's a sense of playfulness we adopted into the battle system that is unlike [those in] KH1 and KH2, but for this production I wanted the style to have a simple approach.
Q: How were the attacks of [Sora's] companions in the various worlds decided upon?
A: We looked through the original movies [used for the worlds] and adopted particular traits or characteristics. For example, Woody uses a rope, Buzz a beam and Flynn a barrel. Rapunzel's hair abilities were something we fussed over, so implementing that was a challenge.
Q: If there were any rejected ideas, please tell us about them.
A: The boss in Arendelle was initially meant to be a fortess-type Heartless that was enclosed in the palace walls. It was planned that Marshmallow would force back the fortress walls while Sora would use a dive attack to strike, but unfortunately the location (lit. "setting surface") was deemed "NG" (not good), and that boss was re-used as one of the gummi ship bosses.
Q: What kind of work would you like to try next?
A: I'd like to try planning for player actions, which is something I haven't been responsible for even once [so far].
BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
The Hook Bat was modeled after a bird called the Pacific reef heron, which spreads its wings in a dome shape when it hunts prey. Creating such a simple trait for a character was fairly difficult.