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 two interviews with Sound Director Yuki Hirose and Dialogue Editor Asako Suga. 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: Yuki Hirose (Sound Director)
Previously worked on: All of the KH series, Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song, Bravely Default Series, The World Ends With You -Final Remix-
Q: Was there any difference in creating sound effects for the PS4 and Xbox One versions?
A: The process of actually creating them is the same, but because the compression format for each console is different, there's a difference in how you hear the sounds, I think. By the way, since the co-director, Yasue, wanted me to put it in no matter what, I changed the way you hear the sound between the PS4 and Xbox One in a certain scene during the end of the battle with Master Xehanort.
Q: Please tell us something that was made possible due to the improvement of hardware.
A: Things like the sound effects and voices underwater, or the way the voices change when you inhale helium, were possible because the usable amount of memory increased, so there were a lot of parts we could work on in real time. The biggest thing is that the amount of sounds that can play at once increased, so depending on the way you play the game, there are some cases where over 100 sounds can be heard all at the same time.
Q: Are there any elements that weren't changed from KH2?
A: It was already decided years ago that until the Dark Seeker arc was over, the main system sounds, like confirming or canceling [something], wouldn't be changed. With updates, the quality of the sounds increased, but the basic sounds are the same.
Q: Please tell us which sound effect you especially like.
A: The sound effect when you choose "New Game" from the title screen changes with each game, but in this game it sounds especially beautiful, so I like it very much.
Q: Which part did you work on while thinking about its connection to the story?
A: I decided that until the ending, with each stage of the scenario, I would put Sora's theme in the BGM. For things like the Gummiphone's ringtone, or the record that plays in Toy Box, I made arrangements that would allow you to feel Sora's presence in important places.
BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
In KH, there's a mysterious rule that the sound of the waves can only be heard on the title screen in the numbered games. Because of that, for the first time in decades, the sound of the waves can be heard behind "Dearly Beloved" in this game.
*Interview: Asako Suga (Dialogue Editor)
Previously worked on: All of the KH series, FFVII Advent Children, Crisis Core: FFVII, Dissidia FF NT, World of FF
Q: In which order did you do the voice recording?
A: It's normal to do recording in accordance with the progression of the story, but in the case of the KH series, it's already decided that first the stories for each world are recorded, and then the main story after that, so that's the order we went in.
Q: Was it difficult to work on the international version at the same time?
A: Up until now, we always completely recorded the Japanese voices first, and then translated them into English and recorded [again], so we had plenty of time to prepare, but this time around we did both simultaneously, so it was a race against time. With the cooperation of the localization team and Disney, even when we had no time, we had to make preparations for higher quality than ever before, which was tough.
Q: How big was the total amount of dubbing?
A: There was really a lot, so I don't think I can even begin to count [laughs]. I'm sure of the fact that it was the most in the series.
Q: Please tell us which line you particularly like.
A: At the Haunted Mansion in Twilight Town, I like Ansem's "no, no, no!" when he's responding to Pence. Since it's a line that is unlike how Ansem has been so far, when we were recording it in the studio everyone burst out laughing. I listened to it again many times during production, but every time I recalled that time I laughed.
Q: Which point in this production do you want us to hear?
A: The ad-libbing, so much of which was put in that it surpasses the originally intended lines. There are a lot of short lines, but in situations like Olaf's ribbing of Donald, or the last scene in San Fransokyo, there are some ad-libbed lines by the voice actors that were used as actual lines. There are a lot of interesting voices all piled in together, so I'd like you to enjoy listening to even small parts.
BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
In the first scene in The Caribbean where Sora is singing by himself, during recording, the song wasn't finished yet, so for some reason the melody became "Hi-Ho" (note: from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). It was so funny that we kept it [in the archives].....but, as I pray for the day I can show it to you all, it's being carefully stored.2
Here are the other news stories that have previously come out of the Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania:
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania will be 736 pages long
- At least one other Kingdom Hearts title will release before a "KH4", according to Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania
- *Spoilers* Nomura has commented on a number of mysteries from Kingdom Hearts III
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania interview with Kingdom Hearts III programmer, Tamotsu Goto
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania interview with Kingdom Hearts III programmer Masashi Nakamichi
- Concept art and renders have been found in the Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania interview with Kingdom Hearts III programmer Kengo Naka
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania interview with Kingdom Hearts III technical director Takashi Isowaki
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania interview with Kingdom Hearts III battle director Tomokazu Shibata
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania interview with Kingdom Hearts III Scenario + Cutscene Director Masaru Oka
- *Spoilers* Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania gives more insight into the Secret Reports
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania gameplay interviews
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania Animation Directors interviews
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania Environment Art Directors interviews
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania Characters Art Directors interviews
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania Visual Effects and Interface Directors interviews
- Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania Visual Works interviews
- Kingdom Hearts III Co-Director Tai Yasue discuses Keyblade transformations, new connections with Kingdom Hearts III and Kingdom Hearts Union x [Cross], and a new view on the Attraction Flow rides