D23 Expo took place over the weekend and we’re still getting info from interviews with series director and designer Tetsuya Nomura. The latest comes from Mirror, who got the rare opportunity of having the man answer some questions directly from the fans.
Here are some highlights from the interview:
On plans for what happens after the Xehanort Saga, which concludes in Kingdom Hearts III, and whether he already has ideas for future mainline/non-mainline titles
Tetsuya Nomura, Director: Of course there are different plans that are in my mind and things that I would like to work on or depict in terms of narrative, but it’s not like we have anything finalised with Disney as of yet, so I’m not able to introduce it or mention it at this time, but again, I do have different ideas in my head
On the early announcement of Kingdom Hearts III back in 2013, and if he felt it was a correct time to be announced
Nomura: I understand some of the voices that are raised state that the announcement timing was a bit too early and I acknowledge that, but I do not like information going out in the form of a leak. Rather than having that leaked out unofficially, I’d rather make an official statement.
On Kingdom Hearts III’s current development percentage
Nomura: In terms of percentage of completion, and this is from previously as well, I tend to not describe it in terms of percentage because it’s difficult to sort of say it as a straight number. But we do have a plan of development and we have said a period in which the project is being developed. Based on that, we have made our announcement for the release timing.
Of course, there are things that are out of the development team and my control which includes company decisions, the decision to change the engine that we’re utilising or having personnel being shifted so that we have more resources to develop; things like that may have contributed to our development period being shifted, but that period itself we feel is still on track.
It’s not like the development team had any sort of issues or troubles amongst ourselves in terms of the scheduling, but due to things out of our control that period sort of got shifted a little bit, but I feel that we are still working as planned in terms of our development period.
On the balance of not being overpowered or too complicated with all the action from Keyblade transformations, Situation Commands, Attraction Flow Rides, etc.
Nomura: So with these various different actions that are available in the game, each of them are very unique and very different if you compare the different actions that are available. For example, with the attraction flow that you brought up, you see the train and the spinning teacups and a ship was introduced. What’s unique about those is that they’re not part of a repretoire that you accumulate and choose from.
It will depend on what situation you’re in, so depending on what enemies you’re facing and what world you’re in, what attraction will show up is unknown until you’ve actually activated it. Once you do activate it it’s a very flashy move and you can attack your enemies in that way.
In terms of the keyblade transformations, similarly it’s very unique because it’s not activated until certain conditions align and you are given that opportunity to execute the transformation. Even then, you can also choose to not activate it and continue your melee attacks, but when you do activate it as you continue hitting your enemies and your combos continue to chain, then it will transform yet again.
I tried to make it so that it’s a freedom that the player has and they can choose; each of them are sort of unique in its own way and you also have your regular attacks as well; your melee attacks, your magic attacks. Depending on what timing you’re faced with in your battles or whatever conditions that are involved in your combat kind of depends on your strategy.
We’re hoping that the conditions to activate these special moves are different enough that it doesn’t seem like one is preferred over the other and depending on various situations sometimes you have to accomplish a task and execute in that way.
I feel that it’ll allow for a wider range of options to choose from for our players depending on what you prefer is easier to use or less comfortable to work with. They’re all sort of unique so I’m hoping it will broaden the strategic element of it as well.
On the possibility of adding more Final Fantasy characters, or from other Square Enix properties such as NieR and Dragon Quest in Kingdom Hearts
Nomura: Of course, we do have precedence. There have been characters that have appeared throughout the series, so I don’t think it’s impossible but I’m not actively seeking to incorporate existing characters, only because we have such a large roster of original characters in their already.
If there is a perfect fit, I’m sure the idea might come up, but at the same time I have to consider, is it worth allocating the resources to create the character and give it a role within Kingdom Hearts? Would it merit the effort that’s put into it? We’re not really actively looking for existing characters.
On secret bosses and the return of Sephiroth
Nomura: I can’t say for certain, I hope, hint hint hint. I can’t say for certain. In terms of Sephiroth, do you feel like you want to battle Sephiroth again? (laughs)
In terms of the secret boss, we can’t say anything at this time, but in terms of Sephiroth specifically, my development team are worried that we’ve had him come back so many times so they’re maybe worried it might be redundant at this point. We’re still deliberating on it.
On the possibility of a Kingdom Hearts CGI movie, in the style of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children or Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV
Nomura: Nothing has been thought about in terms of a cinematic piece, only because it’s difficult to put into a narrative that has become as complex as Kingdom Hearts. Of course, we do have a 15 year history so it has come up in discussions about doing some sort of cinematic piece, especially from Disney.
They are interested in making a CG movie of sort, but again, it’s difficult to make the call on how we want to execute it and how to form it. I still haven’t come to a resolution about what would be the most appropriate way in which we depict the narrative, so nothing specific has been formulated.
On “belts & zippers” being prevalent in the character design, and whether that’s just Nomura’s preference or if there’s some kind of meaning behind it
Nomura: That was my preference back when I first designed the characters, so 15 years ago. At that time, people teased me about zippers and belts and whatnot and I’m the type of person if somebody eggs me on I’m gonna do it more! Nowadays, I’m not as conscious about adding them in.
I’m not the type of person that would shrink down when people tease me about it. I’m gonna fight back! I’m gonna go back at it and do it more. So, if people egg me on saying ‘oh, Kingdom Hearts III is delayed’ well, I might even delay it further! (laughs)
Read the full interview here.
Kingdom Hearts III releases in 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.