Square Enix Members Interviews Tetsuya Nomura at E3 2013

Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura sat down with Square Enix Members at their Square Enix Presents booth at E3 and answered questions surrounding the series and most importantly Kingdom Hearts III!

The transcript was typed up and provided by KH13.com:

Tetsuya Nomura: Hi.

— We’re going to start off with a little bit of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX chat. Can you explain how you came up with the idea of Kingdom Hearts and how the name originated?

Nomura: Originally, I wanted to find a title that fits Disney, because it’s a Disney video game. When I thought of this game I thought of amusement parks and I wanted to make something kind of like through Disney Land. So, “Kingdom” was the first name that came to my mind. The development team was calling it as a kingdom. But I couldn’t get the IP of “Kingdom”. So, we thought about “Heart” as a core part of the story, and we combined them together.

— How it’s meant to work with Disney?

Nomura: Originally our producer Hashimoto became friends with Disney (they shared the same office building), and chatted with people from Disney. We decided it would be great to make a game together. This is how the franchise was born. Our relationship with Disney has been good, working together for 10 years, and we still have the same counterpart at the Disney site. We have heated discussion (laughs). But the relationship has been good.

— Can you let fans know what’s been involved in the process of remastering Kingdom Hearts for the HD 1.5 ReMIX?

Nomura: KH1 was created a long time ago, so actually the original data was missing. We had to research and dig out from the games and recreate everything. Then, we had to redo the graphics, and it was actually not that easy.

— What makes this a definitive Kingdom Hearts experience? Especially because this version was never released in North America, it’s going to be the first time for people to experience this package.

Nomura: The Final Mix version of KH was available in Japan, just not NA and Europe. I had a vision that I eventually wanted to make them available everywhere– all over the world. There are many additional elements in FM that were not seen by the other territories, so this became a big chance. We added two games and one movie as a package, as HD 1.5 ReMIX, and now everyone over the world can share the complete KH world.

— What is your favourite character and enemy in the Kingdom Hearts universe?

Nomura: Master Xehanort is definitely one of my favorites. And in KH1, Ansem was my favorite.

— Was there any characters or worlds that were cut at any time?

Nomura: The Jungle Book is one world that we always try to insert, but due to various circumstances it always ends up being cut.

— What does HD 1.5 ReMIX remix mean in relation to Kingdom Hearts III?

Nomura: Because we decided to make Kingdom Hearts III, we decided to make HD 1.5 ReMIX. So basically, it shows my determination to Kingdom Hearts III. To the fans, I want to make sure that everyone plays HD 1.5 ReMIX in preparation for Kingdom Hearts III

— Pre-order Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, and get a free 24-page art book which includes new sketches. Also, get a never before seen sketch by Nomura-san!

— On to the Kingdom Hearts III questions, what new worlds can we expect in Kingdom Hearts III?

Nomura: (laughs) I’m not allowed to say what will be coming in Kingdom Hearts III, but each time when I select the worlds for the game I choose some stable choices that are accessible for the game and the story, and I try to insert surprising factors. I want everyone to be surprised to see that particular world. For Kingdom Hearts III I want to make sure that there will be a lot of surprises.

— Can you speak of the new battle system at all?

Nomura: For the previous KH’s titles, especially for KH1 and KH2 (core games), I want to make sure that evolution is occurring. For the spin-off games, I wanted to experiment with new challenges and new skills. Because this is a core game, I feel like there are appropriate game styles. KH2 had a game system that was well received by the KH players, and Kingdom Hearts III will follow this system. However, due to the experiments in the spin-off titles, we would like to incorporate the well-received changes of these games.

— Will we see any new FF characters? Will we get a chance to play as King Mickey?

Nomura: The appearance of FF characters is pending. For a while, the previous titles didn’t have any FF characters, and I think it’s time to include some. I know everyone wants to play as King Mickey, so I will take that into consideration. Of course Sora will be the main character to play; it would be nice if other characters are playable as well.

— Any plans for multiplayer in Kingdom Hearts III?

Nomura: Multiplayer elements are also under consideration. We are also looking into online capabilities. We will announce more details regarding this at a later time.

— Will summoning be returning to Kingdom Hearts III?

Nomura: Yes. Summon is going to be available, but in a very different form. In previous titles, Disney characters could be summoned. But in Kingdom Hearts III, it will be a completely different system.

— Is this the end of Organization XIII and Nobodies as characters?

Nomura: Yes, the battle against Organization XIII will end in this title. I don’t know about Nobodies. But, Master Xehanort is the one that organised the Organization XIII and the battle against him will be the end.

— Will we actually get to see Kingdom Hearts?

Nomura: I don’t want to say too much, but Kingdom Hearts has appeared occasionally in the last 10 years of the franchise and I think it will appear again…

(Nomura remembers something he wanted to say about the worlds in KH3.)

Nomura: For Kingdom Hearts III you may notice there is a technique called “shader”. Using this tool, restriction of characters have been definitely changed, and the texture which is to be put on the surface of the model has been used to describe the Disney characters and to make it similar to the Disney characters that people are familiar with. For Kingdom Hearts III, we will use a different “shader” for different worlds, so it would look natural to match these worlds.