Famitsu have recently posted their full interview with Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura online! This interview was previously published in the July 5 issue of Famitsu Weekly; however, it was not published in full.
We have already translated some parts of the interview (which you can read here and here); find the rest below!
—There was also a scene when they slide on a shield like a sled on the snowy mountain [during the Frozen segment of the recent trailers].
Nomura: There are battles while sliding down the mountains. In a FFVII snowboard style, you can challenge yourself and aim for a good score once you complete the story of the world.1
—Characters look just like real-life people, but was it difficult to balance their graphics between the photo realistic world and the worlds of KH?
Nomura: That was a difficult aspect indeed. According to the photo-realistic direction, Sora, Donald, Goofy and Luxord have a model made with special details on them. Jack and the other are still a work in progress, they are yet to be complete.
—The team troubled themselves to change Luxord’s model, just for the sake of this world?
Nomura: Once, we tried to put down Luxord’s model used in another world, but it looked really out of place.
—Every world seem so faithful to their respective work, there is no displeasure while looking at it. I can’t wait to see their appearance in other worlds as soon as possible!
Nomura: Big Heroes 6 is yet to be shown. Please look forward to it.3
You can read the rest of the interview in full below.
—You don't have to think hard. Among the Situation Commands that came up, the 'Attraction Flow' amusement park rides were particularly gorgeous, and some even had mini-game elements - it was fun just pulling out those skills.
Nomura: In this trailer, there's a Monster's, Inc. water slide where that's also true (Note: talking about the fun element). Attraction Flow is different depending on the place, the conditions for 'Firaga' are that you have to be attacking with fire-type [attacks], there are various conditions that have to be met for Situation Commands to be used.
The Big Hero 6 world hasn't been revealed yet. Please look forward to it.
—In this PV, there's a scene of skating and sliding around, is this one of the transformations?
Nomura: It's a Keyblade transformation you get in the Frozen world. [/b]You can slide around anywhere, not just on ice, and set up melee attacks by sliding in at high speeds.[/b]
—This time around, you can use magic as a means of moving around, you can quickly approach enemies with Chute Rock, right? In this demo, the tempo of moving around felt really good and playful.
Nomura: We're really conscious of that. In the Pirates of the Caribbean World, if you fly toward a certain enemy with Chute Rock, you'll be able to ride around on that enemy.
That's a trailer scene, for sure!
Nomura: Pay attention to the content you brought up; particularly, I think Pirates of the Caribbean has a lot of sights to see. From diving into the sea for a battle and controlling the ship to riding a Heartless for an aerial battle--this world has land and sea and air (Note: he used the term 'Rikukaiku' which is particularly notable given our three heroes names!), and everything is seamlessly connected in the stage of battle. There's ship sailing, exploring an uncharted island - it's a world where you can do anything.
—By the way, Sora is growing up rapidly, what effect does this have on leveling/training?
Nomura: It's a legitimate evolution of the conventional level-up and synthesis systems. Although there have been portable games with different leveling systems, KH3 is a main series numbered entry; this entry is packed with play, and there's enough volume that its simple. (Note: I think he's getting at the idea that there's more than enough play time to figure out the leveling, even if it's a little different than the systems we've been playing with lately.)
—In this trailer, Kairi makes an appearance, gathering Sora, Riku and Kairi together. Could you please tell us about their design?
Nomura: Sora has less accessories now. Previously, he had a chain hanging alongside very large pockets and belts, which was the point of the design. However, [/b]this time, since he's going to be involved in more dynamic action, I wanted him to have a greater sensation of activeness.[/b]
—As Sora grows his hair continues to shoot upward.
Nomura: When Sora was a child his hair flowed downward, then in “KH” and “KHII” his hair stretched out from the sides, but this time his hair forms more in the back. Or better said it starts from the side and folds up in the back (laughs).
—So it is something like that? (laughs). Riku and Kairi also got fresh haircuts.
Nomura: Riku understands the process and details of cutting and changing his hairstyle from a long one, but since Kairi appears to not had an image change in a long time it may be fresh for her.
—What about Riku's and Kairi's [outfits]?
Nomura: I'm having their "taste" to match Sora's in some parts. Sora gets a red and black color pattern, while Riku gets blue as a base and, added around the shoulder, some yellow tones to differentiate it. As for Kairi, pink was the main color of choice. That's the kind of image in mind when I thought of the logical next step. This time, everyone got their new clothes from Yen Sid, including Mickey, and as expected, the ones who actually made it are the 3 fairies. Thus, I wanted all of them to have something in common. In this case, it's the checkered pattern [plaid].
—Riku’s Keyblade changed too. The cutting edge of his previous weapon seemed broken.
Nomura: It broke for a certain reason, and he obtained a new Keyblade from Master Yen Sid.
I noticed that houses key used a lot of this type of design nowadays, so I took it as a reference.
—Sora and his friends appearance change this time too, those from the “Monsters, Inc.” world had such a great impact!
Nomura: These changes are based on Pixar designers’ intentions. We made slight changes at the last minute by ourselves, like enlarge Donald’s white part of his eye, and change the color and size of Goofy’s left and right eyes. We followed this direction with the original work of Halloween Town as well. We initially create a dragon-based design for Sora. We then modified some parts like the color of the body and the borders around the eyes, giving him a cat-like mouth and therefore got closer to a Halloween Town look.
—It looks like you interacted a lot with Pixar while creating the models for the Toy Story world too.
Nomura: Yes. Among those circumstances, we also had time to design characters in a pixel art style. It felt like those pixel art became three-dimensional. From there we adjusted its realism, and went to the toy figure-like shape that you know now.
—Moving on, I'm going to ask you about some key scenes in the trailer. Roxas's resurrection has been touched upon; both Sora and the New Organization XIII seems to wish for his return, right?
Nomura: Specially Sora, who has a connection with Roxas. However, that's not something I can answer at the moment.
—Also, about Ienzo, Hayner and the rest, I wonder how they'll cooperate... There's something else I'm wondering about. The word Larxene used "New Seven Hearts".
Nomura: It's referring to the Seven Princesses of the next generation. It has to do with what Master Xehanort did in KH3D. In case the 7 Guardians of Light don't gather, they would instead use the Seven Princesses... that's the reasoning. Those Seven Princesses are being replaced while Kairi is the only one that keeps being one. As for the remaining 6 candidates, people like Rapunzel, Anna or Elsa are being targeted for that.
—There's also a lot of mysteries surrounding the resurrection of the New Organization XIII. Vanitas seems to be one of them, why is that?
Nomura: While the Vanitas appeared in KH3D was an illusion, this time he's real and makes an appearance. Vanitas and the other members have resurrected in
an unusual way. Some of the members returned to their human forms only to then again turn into Nobodies, while other have resurrected by using other means. For example, Lea and Ienzo, who are collaborating with Sora, have just resurrected as humans.
—Lea and Kairi are training together to be able to use the Keyblade. Where does the scene with them in it in the trailer happen?
Nomura: It's a world you can't go to, but I can say that the place they are in is a new location. Matching the progress of the script I wanted to show their progress one step at a time. Previously, at the Kingdom Hearts concert, there was a speech of Kairi talking about their training together. That speech is also used in a scene inside the game.
—There was something else that intrigued us on the PV. We saw the current Riku, and a Riku from the past sitting next each other…was that Repliku?
Nomura: Was it? Maybe it’s an illusion (laughs).
—Aqua's change of appearance was also a huge shock. Her eyes turned golden and it looked as if she completely fell to darkness.
Nomura: It seems everyone was even more surprised about it that I expected. That scene happens when Riku and The King end up in a dangerous situation and then Aqua appears in that state. Not only hers, but the mysteries related to a lot of other characters are cleared up, so writing the script for all that was really hard.
—Some time ago you told us about a Secret Movie being produced. Are there any new developments about that?
Nomura: We're already making it but it hasn't been finalized yet.
—The series has progressed a lot since the first title came out. The story has become pretty complicated and the memories about the story have become a little blurry. Also, I think many people have only played the numbered titles. Have you thought of anything to help them catch up?
Nomura: Well, since there are so many character and relationships within the games, if we stopped every time a new character appears to introduce them, the story wouldn't move on.
We are making videos summarizing the story of the game into 5 chapters with narrations from Chirithy. They will be released shortly after E3 in our official website. So I hope you watch these videos, play the HD remasters until the release date of KH3. Also, the videos need adjustments for it, but we're looking into adding the videos to the KH3 game.
—From the production announcement in 2013 until this point, I think that there was a lot of hardships. Like switching game engine from an in-house production to the Unreal Engine 4 for example.
Nomura: That’s right. However, Unreal Engine 4 has a great amount of libraries and to be able to use them, Epic Games worked hard, so it was easy to do in that sense. Of course, there are merits to make something with your own game engine. In that case, as the development of the game and the expansion of the engine are linked, the range that we mustn't lose of sight become wider. Even though the development period has been extended due to the engine change, I think it’s a good thing that we switched to the Unreal Engine 4.
—Hikaru Utada who suspended her singer career resumed her activities, the decision to which song would be in KHIII was a huge topic. About the theme song “Chikai”, did you gave any directions?
Nomura: From here I did not give any concrete order. With the current synopsis, we know that the battle that kept continuing will end in KHIII, and the answers will come out to each character that had various issues, that’s what it (the synopsis) tells you.
—I'm sure that now that you have announced the release date you are working towards finishing making the game, but can you tell us what's the current state of the development?
Nomura: It's hard to give you an actual percentage of how complete it is. Right now the game's volume is way too high and space is becoming a problem where's we're running out of it.
—What's the cause for that?
Nomura: There are many reasons. One of the bigger ones is that movies take up a lot of space. When you're running a cutscene in real time there's very little data to load but, let's say the previous scene I talked about with Kairi and Lea, it happens in a completely different place, so you'd have to load in all that environment, and since it isn't loaded and it would result in very long loading times between key cutscenes. So, in order to solve that, we make a part of some cutscenes into videos. However, since they have to be in high resolution, they take up a lot of space. That has become a problem beyond our expectations.
—Speaking about space problems, switching between Japanese and English voice acting is also a problem, right?
Nomura: That's right. It's not only about the voices, there's also lips sync to worry about and we have to put that in. Up until now, in "Final Mix" titles the English voices were used and as far as I know, many people want to play KHIII that way. Dealing with the exchange of voices is being really hard.
—In KHIII, will there be a "Final Mix" expansion like there was with previous titles?
Nomura: It's not under consideration at the moment. We're having space problems after all (sarcastic laugh). We have plans to make updates as DLC, so if we do it, it will be that way and not as "Final Mix". We haven't thought of the details yet, but it won't be things like the DLC Keyblades, but things that expand the ways to play the game. The content will be released in packages instead of having a Season Pass. Although now, we are focusing on finishing the main title.
—There are some questions I have about other titles. How is development looking for the FFVII Remake?
Nomura: We are weighing the timing of the next informational release. Since moving the project in-house, production has been going smoothly. At this time our scenarios properly leave behind a deep atmosphere.
—The release date of “The World Ends With You - Final Remix-” was set for September 27th, 2018.
Nomura: Of course, "Final Remix" has been upgraded not only in the quality of its graphics/images but also in terms of content from the original version. I think that you can also enjoy the added scenarios from "Solo Remix" alongside those who have played past works. In the added scenario, it was revealed that the death god Koko was in various ways behind the story. The girl who appeared in the ending of "Solo Remix" shows up. By the way, this girl came to Shibuya due to certain circumstances… I think you will enjoy playing this game until the release of "KHIII.”
—Is "Dissidia FF" in the middle of production for the next new character? Though it was said that the first character of the “Dissidia FF” series said to be released was a woman.
Nomura: When E3 ended, I had to paint that picture for publicity (sarcastic laugh). Regarding casting, I felt that the image of the character changed with the voice and acting, so I was worried. It may seem like an surprising cast once it is announced. As new characters will be announced soon as they are based on the pace of the past, I hope you will look forward to it.
—Finally, can you tell us about the future of KHIII? For example, will there be any trials or demos like the ones in the Premiere to be distributed to the public?
Nomura: Since there is a lot of work to distribute and create a demo or a trial, there are no plans for that, but Japanese people will be able to try the game at the Tokyo Game Show. So I hope you get to play it there and keep your expectations high. I'm sorry for making you wait a little longer than expected. We already have a release date, so now we just have to move towards it. We'll just make you wait just a little longer.15
In the light of these new remarks, what are you most excited about in Kingdom Hearts III? Let us know in the comments!