12 June 2013

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Earlier today, Voice Actor Hiroki Yasumoto interviewed Kingdom Hearts Series Creator Tetsuya Nomura for the Square Enix Channel. He talked about Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX- and Kingdom Hearts III. Thanks to the lovely Goldpanner, we have a translation for this interview, which you can read below!

Introducing Tetsuya Nomura
– Yasumoto commiserates with Nomura, who is very tired and has been doing a lot of talking today.
– Nomura caught a cold just before departure, and he is losing his voice and trying not to cough.
– Nomura hasn’t been walking around E3 as he has been in interviews the whole time due to the big announcements.
– Yasumoto reads a basic intro to the KH series.

KH 1.5
– They note that KH 1.5 has already released in Japan, and will release overseas in September.
– As the trailer plays, Yasumoto gives a basic description of KH 1.5 and mentions speaking with animation supervisor Tatsuya Kando about KH 1.5 on the Square Enix Channel radio show in March.
– When Yasumoto mentions being impressed at the length of and the effort put into the Days video volume, Nomura says that they didn’t intend on making it so long from the beginning, and that they actually began work without being sure how long it would end up. He says that as it became so long anyway, he almost wishes he had just gone and made an actual film.
– Nomura affirms that it was difficult to create the HD remaster. He says that as the original title was so old, almost all the original data was gone. The programmers began the project by digging around for data, and they had to work out everything for themselves bit by bit, as they were working with other people’s programs rather than programs they had made themselves. It was apparently a huge job to recreate everything.

KH3
– While Yasumoto is excited about KH3 finally on the way after so much waiting, mentioning that KH2 was released in 2005, Nomura says he hasn’t felt aware of the time passing at all! Yasumoto says that’s probably to be expected since there have been games out every year anyway. Nomura says, however, hearing that seven or eight years have passed does make him think it’s been a bit too long. He says he has been thinking he really needs to hurry up and do it.
– When Yasumoto asks how work on the numbered titles begin, Nomura says that he thinks of a numbered title as something following the pattern of KH1, with Sora as protagonist and Donald and Goofy as friends that come with you.
– Nomura agrees that during the concept stage it is simple. There hadn’t been anything plot-wise that fit so far, so they had continued with spin offs.
– Yasumoto confirms that is has been 8 years since KH2 was released. Nomura agrees that it’s taken a bit too long.
– On the topic of gameplay and battling, Nomura says since it’s a numbered title they plan to evolve the basic style of KH2, while perhaps incorporating some of the elements of gameplay they challenged themselves to develop for the spin off titles. Apparently there will be a lot of gameplay from KH3D in particular, and he thinks you can feel the future KH3 in that game.
– When asked whether people who are completely new to the KH series will be able to enjoy KH3 without playing any other titles, Nomura is unsure! He says that when he decided to make KH3, he decided he would also have to make 1.5. Nomura hopes people will play and enjoy 1.5, especially now that KH3 has been announced.
– They talk about the difficulties of working on new hardware such as the PS4 and XBONE. Nomura says that they way they have to make the game is very different from how they have done things so far. They are using the method of making the base of the whole thing on PC and then adjusting for the features of each console, which is apparently the best way to go about ported projects.
– There are many challenges in making a ported game, but Nomura is confident he and his team will overcome them.

———————————————

—We were surprised that you would release a KHIII trailer so soon, what with KH 3D [Dream Drop Distance] (hereon KH3D) and KH -1.5 HD ReMIX- still so recent.

Nomura: I know there are many fans who are restless because we have only released spin off titles since KHII, so I decided to announce it along with FFXV. Looking at the stage of development, though, I do think perhaps it is a bit early to be announcing it.

—However, it does seem like the visuals already have a solid direction.

Nomura: Among the developers we are calling the visuals ‘Kingdom Shader’. On original worlds, this is the feel the characters will have. The Shader will adjust depending on the world, so the visuals will match with the style of each Disney World.

—Like FFXV, is KHIII being developed on Luminous Studios?

Nomura: At present, we are going with Luminous as our main and undergoing investigations. The porting to both PS4 and Xbox One, working by overengineering, is the same. For the section of battle in the trailer we showed, we didn’t have time to prepare a clip of it working on the existing equipment because of tool issues, so instead we made an FMV that would give a feel for what is possible in realtime. Even so, the way it moves doesn’t look much different at all in realtime.

—Please tell us how the action in KHIII will have evolved.

Nomura: Right now there’s a demo version that works on our existing equipment… and it’s an absolute storm (laughs). It goes even beyond ‘bold action’. In KHIII you will have a three person party, but depending on the world NPCs will also join in fighting, basically, we’re developing some very flashy action. You’ll be flying through the sky unfolding into air battles without landing.

—Just with Sora (laughs).

Nomura: I suppose so (laughs). The enemy AI is becoming rather elaborate, and we’d like for coordinated action to flow from enemies and allies alike. For example, there’s a vehicle-type enemy, and we’ve already got Sora being able to ride that enemy all around during battle.

—Lastly, a message for your fans.

Nomura: FFXV and KHIII are projects that exist as great rival projects that polish each other up as they are developed. At our private conference, despite KHIII being the lucky last and being at a low stage of development, I’m aleady feeling a response. For KHIII, developments unseen in the KH series so far involving online elements are under investigation, so please look forward to upcoming news. This year in Japan we will be exhibiting at Tokyo Game Show and at Disney’s D23 Expo Japan event, so I think there will be more information available around those times.

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