In last week's issue of Dengeki PlayStation, a Kingdom Hearts III feature included an exclusive interview with Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura. We previously published a summary of the key points as posted by the blog Hokanko(Alt).
You can view the scans below.
Mr. Tetsuya Nomura
People’s expectations have been increased by the reveal of a long-term release date and two new worlds [KHIII]! We will ask Director Tetsuya Nomura about the highlighted informations in details.
—Two worlds and a long-term release date have been revealed in the new trailer! First, please tell us more about the first appearance of Frozen in the series.
Nomura: I planned to put Frozen in the game quite early in the development. It is a such a wonderful movie, I had the opportunity to go to its premiere. It was thE moment when I was thinking of which worlds to add so I decided to put it in the game. I knew that a lot of people asked for this world.
—What kind of scenario will occur?
Nomura: The time axis follows the main part of the movie. While Elsa and Anna’s story is in motion, there is a feeling that Sora’s story progresses too. In Frozen’s world, there is a scene where Goofy slides on a shield like a sled, that’s one of the important highlights. It’s a part of the main story, but will also be a mini-game.
—In the trailer we saw Sora attacking with ice skates-like weapon, what is it?
Nomura: That’s a Keyblade transformation, you obtain them in the Frozen world.
—In the frozen world, will characters like Elsa and Olaf join the party?
Nomura: Unfortunately Elsa will not join you. Instead, there are scenes where Marshmallow (the ice monster) will lend its strength.
—Following this, about Pirates of the Caribbean, the impact that the graphics had was mind-blowing!
Nomura: Speaking of desire, I wanted to make a breakthrough in term of graphics. In this world Sora, his friends and even Luxord are made of realistic graphics according to their surroundings.
—The pirate appearance on Sora gives him a fresh look.
Nomura: That was something that I really wanted to do. I always thought of putting pirate clothes on Sora if I ever made a sequel of the Pirates of the Caribean world.
—Why did you decided to put Pirates of Caribbean in KH2 in the first place?
Nomura: It’s just because I wanted to have one live action film in the game. While looking into which world would be best, I looked through the documents the staff made with suggestions. Many of them had controls for a pirate ship from Pirates of the Caribbean and I felt that that would be wonderful to have. With the ship you can have battles on the sea and mid-air, so in that one world you have battles in all types of terrains: sea, land and air. Of course the city of Port Royal is in there as well.
—The world is based on the third movie, At World’s End, right?
Nomura: Exactly. As most people who have seen the movie, they know that the third one is actually a sequel to the second one. In KHII, we used the first movie as a base for the world, and the logical step would have been to use the second one for KHIII, but I didn’t want to end the world with the story halfway done, so we decided it would be best to base it on the third movie. However, we wrote the script so you will still get what happens during the second movie.
—Having battles on top of the ships and using them to attack really made it feel like you have
a lot of ways to play in this world.
Nomura: As I previously stated, all the elements such as the land, sea, and sky were included, so the amount of gimmicks in the world is quite large. The Pirates of the Caribbean world was made relatively freely, so there are plenty of elements to play around. Also, the Keyblade of this world transforms into a spear and a flag.
—In this footage, are we given a gist of the Disney worlds that have been announced?
Nomura: The only world we still have to show from our announcements is Big Hero 6. Our timeline has it set to announced in the next video I think.
—In terms of Disney works, other elements shown for the first time were Wreck-It Ralph, and Remy’s Delicious Restaurant (Note: They mean Ratatouille).
Nomura: Wreck-It Ralph is a type of Link command within battle that was revealed the other day I think. “Remy’s Delicious Restaurant” was revealed for the first time in this video and is a mini-game. In Twilight Town there is a new restaurant that Scrooge opens, where Sora cooks with Remy with the ingredients he gathers from various worlds for recipes.
—In May you held an event overseas that allowed people to play this. How were their reactions?
Nomura: I invited people from the media and influencers who report information, but the enthusiasm for KHIII was amazing. Because I was able to go for a couple of hours at that event, those who participated were playing the two modes I edited carefully.
—In this demo we were able to play in the worlds of Hercules and Toy Story, but why
did you choose these two?
Nomura: That was a request from the Osaka team. Because those two worlds could be played in a state of quality that was the closest to that of the finished product.
—Was there feedback that added to elements being put into the finished product?
Nomura: There are a couple of things, but for example, the camera surroundings were adjusted further. KHIII has too much mobility for the character, which makes it hard for the camera to catch up with the movement, but this is an important point so I will keep checking on this until the last minute.
—Actually I got a chance to play the game, and not only was I surprised by the gameplay content, but also the quality of the graphics. Certainly, when watching the event scenes of the world of Toy Story, one can mistake them for the Disney/Pixar movie itself.
Nomura: I'm happy to hear you say this. This time it was difficult because we didn’t use any of our past work - it was all built from scratch. Not just with Toy Story, but also all of the worlds that have been announced were worked on to implement quality graphics, so please look forward to it.
—Were the contents packed into the Toy Story world within this demo roughly what we
can expect in the release version?
Nomura: That's right. I think that there are a variety of battle systems, but it was designed to be experienced by a single person.
—By the way, is the difficulty level of this demo akin to standard mode in the final version?
Nomura: Since I wanted to test the gameplay from the other day as much as possible before moving ahead, I set the difficulty level at a place that was less challenging compared to standard mode in order to effectively defeat enemies. It is easier to compared to the standard mode, but it is not to be confused with beginner mode. Though I wanted to test various attacks consecutively in the trial, the enemy would be defeated in an instant, but in the standard mode of the released version, during that time I've been discussing increasing the placement of enemies.
—Though aspects of character's development have not been revealed in detail yet, basically up to now one raises the level of the character and becomes stronger by remembering abilities; up to now this structure has remained the same, yes?
Nomura: That is in the same vein as KHI and KHII. The process of mastering and strengthening magic also follows in the same footsteps of the numbered titles.
—In the new trailer, we were also able to check out the Gummi Ship scenes, which seems
to be quite enjoyable.
Nomura: About the Gummi Ships, we’ve got the creator of Einhänder (a side-scrolling shooter released in 1997) making it, and I liked it, so I myself am looking forward to seeing it completed. There are battle modes and free movement modes, I call it “Open World Gummi Ship”. As there’s always been, there’s the ability to customize your Gummi Ship, please wait for more information.
—In KH3, it seems we come and go from worlds with the Gummi Ship, have you decided on the order for the worlds to be visited?
Nomura: Just as it’s been up until now, the order of worlds you can access is determined to some degree in stages*. This time there virtually isn’t any world that you can skip**. In previous titles, we prepared the worlds to allow the player a certain degree of freedom to do as they please, but nearly everyone goes to all the worlds anyways, so it’s sort of pointless.
*If you think in terms of how the worlds worked in previous games, I think you can make the sense of it like this: You start, you have a few worlds, you beat them and then a few more become available, so in that sense the worlds unfold in stages.
**For eg. if Tarzan and Alice in Wonderland worlds are both available to you, but you should go to Tarzan first to make sense storyline wise, then Tarzan would be #1 and Alice would be #2. Nomura is saying there isn't any of that kind of numbering in KH3.)
—How do you feel about online elements?
Nomura: There’s nothing right now, but I’m considering some things. There are some plans.
—For the fans it will be a long wait before its release; is there any plan of revealing things like the demo we saw at the E3?
Nomura: I have been asked this quite often, but releasing a trial version, that would be quite another story. Compared to the demo that you can play in a limited place, if we release a trial version widely to players, it will require a specific process and cost. So when you ask "Can you release a demo in events but not a trial version to players?", we unfortunately cannot afford to hand over a trial version.
—This time in the trailer, Larxene and Marluxia make their appearance once again. Are they members of the True Organization XIII?
Nomura: Well, putting all together the information that you already know, couldn’t you say that the members of the True Organization have come a long way too? So far, they have been introduced in a Disney world, and the main part of the story is still in a state in which only pieces are shown. I am planning to reveal information little by little in future announcements.
—There is a scene in which Aqua seemed to have fallen into darkness, what can you say
Nomura: Aqua did her best so far in the Realm of Darkness, but a certain event occurred...
—It appears that characters like Kairi, Lea, and Riku Replica are here too.
Nomura: This is the first appearance of Kairi in KHIII. Her hair is shorter, and she got new clothes too. The place where Kairi and Lea are training is not accessible to the player. Regarding the person who seems to be Riku Replica, I hope that he will be expected in future developments, including the moment when Riku says "the other me."
—If you are also playing Kingdom Hearts Union Cross, you will be very concerned by
Marluxia’s presence, right?
Nomura: I think you will understand if you play both games.
—It seems that it will be the culmination of the series, given the large number of characters
Nomura: Since “everyone's story gets settled” is one of the theses of KHIII, the number of characters who appear is enormous.
—I think that Utada Hikaru’s new theme song is also an important point.
Nomura: This time around, Utada-san’s productivity combined with her songwriting progress, and she was able to produce the song very early. She may have received the energy of KH fans from around the world. (Note: The term for ‘energy’ was literally ‘calories, heat’. However. ‘taking heat’ is a negative phrase in English, so I changed it to ‘energy’ to better communicate his intention.)
—Nomura-san, were there any orders/requests from you about the song?
Nomura: I sent something briefly explaining the series so far and the contents of KHIII and left it up to her after that.
—Combined with the release of KHIII, there will be a special PS4 Pro All-In-One package that will be released.
Nomura: The PS4 Pro has been in production for a while now, and we had to go over it over and over again to get the right color. When you actually pick it up, it’s got a special leather-like process. The controller also has a shiny finish, there’s a design on the touchpad part, and the buttons are monochrome. There’s not much so far, but I think it has a type. (Note: I might say ‘it has a style’ but he literally said ‘type’.)
—Please give a message to everyone looking forward to KH3.
Nomura: Sorry to keep you waiting a bit for the schedule, but the release date has been decided. Please keep playing past games and projects like the “KH Union Cross” app to prepare until we reached the release date. As a matter of fact, we are heading towards the possibility of reaching past full capacity, and due to this we are also thinking about online components, so we are planning for future online connections.
—And lastly, how is progress on the FFVII Remake?
Nomura: Though there has been suspense and misinformation concerning this, development on this is progressing smoothly and there's a lot of increasing depth. It is not that we are hiding information on the state of FFVII Remake; it is that our company is prioritizing the release of our title series KHIII. We are looking into the timing of our next information disclosure, so please wait a little more.
Let us know your views and thoughts on this interview in the comments!