Now that Kingdom Hearts III is almost out, Tetsuya Nomura felt that he could share a few things he never made public about exactly how much of the writing he’s been doing for the series during an interview with Famitsu.
Here’s a section from the interview regarding Tetsuya Nomura’s work in writing for the series:
Famitsu: Did you also write the scenario (for Kingdom Hearts III), Nomura-san?
Tetsuya Nomura: “It wasn’t just for Toy Box (Toy Story world) but I ended up writing everything as far as the scenario goes, including dialogue. This was never made public, but that’s generally how it’s been after Kingdom Hearts II, especially so starting with Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days.”
Is that so? I was under the impression that you put the plot together and others were in charge of dialogue and other details.
Tetsuya Nomura: “It was like that at the beginning, but after Kingdom Hearts II up to now, generally speaking I would create the scenario outline, and using that as a basis Oka (Masaru Oka) would put together a draft for the scenario and dialogue while considering requests from the level design team. Then after that I would write the final draft, and that’s how it went. Before that we had other staff work on the scenario, but the Kingdom Hearts series has a complicated setting so it becomes increasingly difficult to work together the more people there are involved. In the end since I had the best grasp of things, so that’s how we got to the current style.”
However, in the titles up until now you were never credited under “Scenario” right?
Tetsuya Nomura: “I’ve been credited under ‘Story’ so I didn’t think it was needed. I’ve been in the industry for some time now, so there was also the concern of preconceived notions that could come from seeing ‘written by Tetsuya Nomura’ so I didn’t want that getting in the way of gameplay. However, the series is already 17-years-old, and it’s actually more like ‘written by some old man’ now [laughs], so this time I’m credited. As for the text, I decide on everything from scenario to item names.”
What about the social media-style loading screens?
Tetsuya Nomura: “Ah, I did write those. There are all kinds, including some that you can see after clearing the world. You’ll see things like informal hashtags and such, so please take a good look during the loading times.”
By the way, speaking of item names, I was curious about the Toy Box Keyblade that has a mysterious name “Favodeputy.” Did it not have a different name before?
Tetsuya Nomura: “Previously, it was displayed as ‘Infinity Badge’ but that was its in-development name. As for Favodeputy, that’s from Woody’s built-in voice line from the original work that says ‘You’re my favorite deputy,’ and I got the ‘favorite deputy’ part and shortened it [laughs]. There’s a character limit and I couldn’t fit the whole thing.”
Now that’s an unexpected origin story! [laughs] so on top of handling everything including the text, did you mostly work together with Oka-san on managing such complicated story?
Tetsuya Nomura: “As far as the meaning of managing goes, Oka is the one with that position, but we also had Nojima (Kazushige Nojima) as a supervisor, so I would ask for drafts for the last battle to ending, or consult with him about parts that were troubling me. We also had a coordinator that worked on proofreading to make sure there wasn’t any plot holes in the scenario that got increasingly more complicated by the end of development, so there were four of us. For a title of such scale, it was an exceptionally small number [of management].”
Kingdom Hearts III releases in Japan on January 25, 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It releases worldwide on January 29, 2019.