After sharing the recent D23 Expo trailer with a new Toy Story world, Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura broke the silence about what’s been taking so long for the development of the highly-anticipated title during an interview with GameSpot.
“A lot of people have been mentioning and making it sound like ‘Oh, Nomura’s taking too much time,’ and it hurts,“ Nomura told GameSpot.
According to Nomura, the decision to switch development to Unreal Engine 4 after about a year of development was something that happened over his head, and it caused some delays:
“There was a decision made to change to an external [engine]…Unreal Engine 4. So we switched over to that. Unfortunately there was a bit of time that needed to be rewinded and started over. So there was a bit of a setback there, but it was a decision that the company had to make, so it was inevitable.”
“We had a plan of the period that it’s going to take for us to create the content at the start of the project, and we laid out, after such and such years, we would need to add more personnel resources. We had submitted it to our headquarters and had it approved, but internal personnel is very limited, and there are various different projects that happen within our company, so unfortunately timing did not work out. So we had to make due with the timing that was appropriate for the company…the company makes the decisions, so unfortunately sometimes it is out of my control.”
The director emphasized that the problem wasn’t because of any choices made by him or the development team:
“I wanted to emphasize that it wasn’t a problem on our development teams. It just happened that way, and there were some decisions that the company had to make, and it just didn’t work out for certain timings that we were hoping to hit.”
“It’s kind of out of my hands. I mean, yes, time has passed. But it’s out of my hands.”
Nomura also said they likely won’t be saving any surprise worlds for players to discover on their own:
“I don’t think we’ll be keeping any worlds secret until the game is released. I think we will be introducing them leading up to launch. Nowadays games can add content on after the fact through DLC content, so there’s no need to hide any worlds.”
He was asked whether there are plans for DLC for Kingdom Hearts III:
“Nothing is set in stone, and I’m afraid we can’t go into details, but I have told the team: Just be prepared to be able to accommodate for something like that. We can’t suddenly develop a system where we’re accommodating for downloadable content. So it’s not confirming or denying either way, but just so that the development team will be prepared, I have informed them of making the preparations.”
And lastly, about working on his first full-HD game with worlds that are more dense and detailed than what they’re used to:
“I feel like I’ve packed in much more fun than I had in my previous Kingdom Hearts titles.”
“Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to be our first full HD game in our current console generation. It does involve a lot of bandwidth and resources in order to create in full HD, so our directive was to have as many elements [as possible] of gameplay included in one single world, rather than having multiple different little worlds with few elements. We wanted to pack in as many gameplay elements and fun into a single world.”
“If we are able to accomplish everything that we did plan out for, I’m pretty confident that people will enjoy and be fully satisfied with the end product.”
Kingdom Hearts III releases in 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can read more from Nomura about another playable character, possible Switch version, collection for Xbox, and more in our earlier report.