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Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory Nintendolife interview with Tetsuya Nomura and co-director Masanobu Suzui; inspiration for 3D rhythm gamplay, Disney relationship and more

Nintendolife has recently conducted an interview with Kingdom Hearts series director, Tetsuya Nomura, as well as the co-director of Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, Masanobu Suzui! This interview segment released by Nintendolife is more of a compilation of info rather than the standard fare of questions and answers being shown. 

A major takeaway from this interview is how the team hopes this title will be a way for both potential fans to "dip their toes" into the vast ocean of the Kingdom Hearts series and get introduced while also acting as a celebration and overview of the series up to this point for fans who are caught up.

An unexpected snag for the development team was how they would incorporate 3D into this title since Kingdom Hearts is known for being a 3D series, while the Theatrhytm titles are all 2D. A surprising source of inspiration for how this would work came from the Kingdom Hearts 15th anniversary jukebox website which showed Sora running atop a musical score. Camera kinks were difficult to iron out and several prototypes had to be made but, this general perspective in the animation is what the team ultimately went with, for Melody of Memory.


"The first Theatrhythm came out in 2012 and then, of course, after that we had the Curtain Call version for iOS and then the Dragon Quest version that was released in Japan," Suzui continues, "so we were obviously busy with all of that development. But Kingdom Hearts as well has an absolutely fantastic soundtrack--some excellent music in it--so we were really excited about the possibility of being able to do a rhythm game there. About five years ago, Hazama-san [producer, Ichiro Hazama] and myself took a proposal to do a Kingdom Hearts rhythm game to Nomura-san. Yes, so that was about five years ago."


A series of questions regarding Square Enix's working relationship with Disney was also discussed. The one constant that Nomura stated was that things were always changing. Policy changes, personnel changes and the increased recognition with Kingdom Hearts as a brand have all merged to make certain things easier to do, and other things not possible anymore.


"At that time, the result was that it wasn't quite the right time; it would be a little bit difficult, so it didn't go ahead. But then a bit further down the road, Disney also came back and said 'Well, have [you] considered doing a rhythm game for Kingdom Hearts? We heard that might have been something in discussion and we're quite open to that'. And so then Nomura-san took another look at things and we decided to go ahead with it this time around."

The unusual events of 2020 were also brought up. Nomura stated that while developmental schedule changes were not drastic, they did impact voice recording most significantly, especially for overseas voice actors. 

There are a total of four main parties with three characters each that Suzui confirms. Lastly, the team chose to implement mostly original Kingdom Hearts tracks rather than Disney ones in order to better represent and celebrate the Kingdom Hearts series as a whole.


"There are three what we would call different 'styles' or different 'segments' that you would play the rhythm action in;" he tells us. "That's the Field, the Memory Dive and other Battles. There are three different ways you can play in that style. But then, to widen it out to the modes, separate to those different styles of play you've got the Online Versus mode, you've got Co-op mode, then you've got the Music Select, and then you have the Main World Tour."

Once again, you can read this interview in full, here

What are your thoughts on these comments by Tetsuya Nomura and Masanobu Suzui? Let us know in the comments below!

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> Lastly, the team chose to implement mostly original Kingdom Hearts tracks rather than Disney ones in order to better represent and celebrate the Kingdom Hearts series as a whole.


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