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    Would anyone like me to do a blind let's play of Pokemon SoulSilver? I haven't got a mic yet, but I will have by half way through the series hopefully.

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Pre-orders for new goods opened up in the Square Enix store today, including a collection of Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ mobile phone cases. The three iPhone 6 cases feature gold and silver motifs, and will ship on March 5th. The cost for one is 4,100 Yen, or about $35 USD. This is the latest piece of Unchained χ merchandise, after the Chirithy plush previously shown at Jump FESTA 2016. You can check out the cases below:



iphonecase1 iphonecase2 iphonecase3


Another piece of cut content for Kingdom Hearts II has been found in the game's code by YouTuber Keytotruth. An unused song has been discovered which seems very reminiscent of the Final Fantasy IX theme Eyes to Eyes ("Stolen Eyes") by composer Nobuo Uematsu. The instruments used for this theme are different from the Final Fantasy IX version suggesting this was used as a placeholder and the initial composition was early in development. You can listen to the unused song below.


The Tokyo Game Orchestra is scheduled to perform a concert that features music from the Kingdom Hearts series and the Final Fantasy series. The concert will be held for two nights only, with one performance in Nagoya, Japan on April 9th and the other in Tokyo, Japan on April 23rd. More information regarding these concerts can be found below. Thanks to goldpanner for the translations.

For two nights only, experience the music of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts in the Key of Life concert, performed by the Tokyo Game Orchestra and conducted by Teruya Muneo!

Nagoya:
Saturday, April 9 at 6:30 PM
At the Nagoya Civic Assembly Hall
Ticket Prices: ¥4500 - ¥8500

Tokyo:
Saturday, April 23 at 6:30 PM
At the Shinjuku Cultural Center
Ticket Prices: ¥4500 - ¥8500

The conductor of the Tokyo Game Orchestra is Teruya Muneo, and the concertmaster is Nakagawa Kimiko.


Classic FM is holding their annual Hall of Fame poll where people from all over the world can vote for their favorite classical composers and musical pieces. Among these composers and musical pieces is Yoko Shimomura and her work from the Kingdom Hearts series.

You can cast your vote here. If you wish to vote for Shimomura, simply type "Yoko Shimomura" in the search bar, and click on "Kingdom Hearts". A dialog box will appear confirming your vote has been cast. You have three votes total, so feel free to vote for other favorites as well!

Last year, Kingdom Hearts finished at an impressive 30th place in the top 300 classical works collected that year. Let's help Kingdom Hearts rank even better this year!

At the Albuquerque Comic Con 2016 event in New Mexico, Jim Cummings, voice actor in the Kingdom Hearts series (Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Pete, etc.), held a Q&A panel where fans could ask questions about his works or anything in general about him. Throughout the Q&A panel, held on January 9th, a fan asked Jim Cummings about the recording process for video games (Kingdom Hearts in particular) and how it differs from TV and movies and he replied stating that he has finished his part for Kingdom Hearts III and goes into detail on the process of voice acting for the Kingdom Hearts series. You can check out the video below (Kingdom Hearts is specifically mentioned starting at 5:15) in which he replies to the fan concerned on his work for Kingdom Hearts III. Thanks goes to YouTube user StephanieWorld for capturing the footage.


This month's Nintendo Dream magazine featured a New Year's greeting from Ichiro Hazama, producer of the Theatrhythm series at Square Enix. In his message, translated by Nintendo Everything, he stated:

[...] Last year at this place, I said ‘we’ll keep continuing Theatrhythm from hereafter too!’. Well then, I wonder how about next year[‘s continuity]. Personally, I still want to continue, and everyday I have been devising various plans. I’m full with a feeling to do something to make it happen, so I’ll be glad if you can wait with anticipation. [...]


To date, the Theatrhythm series has three titles in its line-up, the most recent entry being Theatrhythm Dragon Quest. If Square Enix is looking to expand the Theatrhythm universe to encompass more of their original IPs, then Kingdom Hearts would be the next logical step.

In addition to producing the Theatrhythm series, Hazama is also the producer of the Dissidia series. Originally conceived as a Kingdom Hearts game, concern about a Disney fighting game steered the project toward the Final Fantasy cast. It seems Hazama has been eager to work more closely on a Kingdom Hearts title since first assisting with project management on Kingdom Hearts II. Could Theatrhythm be his opportunity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

In the most recent edition of Famitsu Weekly, Tetsuya Nomura, director of the Kingdom Hearts series, as well as Shinji Hashimoto, executive producer of the Kingdom Hearts series, have stated their future plans for 2016 and beyond. Tetsuya Nomura is continuing to work on titles such as Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, & World of Final Fantasy, titles that are set to release in 2016. The progress for those titles and more are going smoothly and Nomura hopes to get those two titles within the scheduled arrival date.

Other big titles Nomura is working on is Kingdom Hearts III & Final Fantasy VII Remake, where they are currently in a significant part of development, and when Kingdom Hearts III is further in development, PR will release more information to the public.

Shinji Hashimoto hopes to continue challenging himself and he has a surprise project he is hoping to announce this year. Additionally, Hashimoto hopes to offer more surprises throughout 2016 in general.

You can read all the plans Tetsuya Nomura & Shinji Hashimoto have for 2016 and beyond below thanks to @tokyofog.

Nomura: Development of World of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is the highlight, and PR for those 2 titles will start to pick up. We are moving into an important period for Kingdom Hearts III and FINAL FANTASY VII Remake development. As in previous years, this year will be one dedicated to development, but I think we’ll be able to share some news and do some PR. For other projects that I’ve continued to be involved in, be it arcade, smartphone, or otherwise, I am working hard to deliver contents that will prove to be even more enjoyable.

Current status:
For the 2 titles that are nearest to launch, development is progressing favorably, and they will most likely arrive as scheduled. Before all else, I would like to express to fans the appeal of World of Final Fantasy.

Hashimoto: While keeping in mind the changes of the times, I constantly strive to challenge myself. In 2016, I hope that we’ll be able to offer even more surprises to you all. Also, we will boldly draft plans for a new project, and we hope to be able to present it. In addition to this new project, we want to take on new, global challenges. I humbly ask for your support during this year as well.


Are you excited for the plans Nomura & Hashimoto will bring to 2016 and beyond? Let us know in the comments below!

In an interview with RPG Site, Yoko Shimomura, composer of the Kingdom Hearts series, describes the challenges she's faced while working on the Kingdom Hearts series and how that process has changed as the series continued to grow and expand. She also briefly touches on her work for Kingdom Hearts III, discussing the differences between composing for that game and Final Fantasy XV.

An excerpt of the interview can be found below:

Besides her work on new arrangement albums, Shimomura is of course knee-deep in working on Square Enix Japan’s two largest upcoming releases – Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV. While she’s had an impressive career spanning everything from her incredible, seminal work on Street Fighter II to Parasite Eve, Terra Battle and the Mario RPG series, these two titles are undoubtedly her biggest undertaking yet – and a slightly daunting one.

“Well, of course, they're completely different,” she says of the two. “The story is completely different, the image is entirely different, the tone... For Kingdom Hearts, I've been working on it for quite a while now. Because of that I can make new suggestions myself, I can change the direction and I have ideas about where to take it myself.”

Shimomura’s history with Kingdom Hearts is an interesting one. At one point in our meeting, she detours to explain that though she now has the confidence and history with the series to be bolder in pushing it in new musical directions, initially her instructions were quite different to what her gut told her to create.

“In my mind, Kingdom Hearts is very simple - very much Disney, cute and sweet,” she explains. “My original ideas for it were in that area - but on the contrary, I was asked to make very heavy stuff. There was quite the gap between my original idea and what was requested... filling that gap is really the heart of my job! That was what I did with the first Kingdom Hearts.”

One of the greatest challenges that series has provided to Shimomura since becoming a success is balancing the wishes of fans with presenting new musical themes and ideas.

“A lot of game fans feel special feelings towards the original versions of pieces, always,” Shimomura laughs, going on to explain that recreations or evolutions of tracks that fans have already built up a love for are some of the hardest to create. “A lot of the time I consider it brushing up and improving, rather than outright rearranging,” she concludes.


Are you looking forward to hearing Yoko Shimomura's latest compositions in Kingdom Hearts III? Let us know in the comments!

It's been over a month since the Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ commercial launched in Japan, and it seems that the commercial has aired not just on television, but even at Japanese Train Stations. Twitter users @mas402 and @sawa3056 were able to capture footage from a Japanese Train Station on the Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ advertisement which you can check out below.

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Even though no news on the English release has been provided yet, we can expect to see more news in the upcoming months in 2016 for Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ and it's English release. Are you happy to see Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ being promoted in Japan this big? Let us know in the comments below!

Kingdom Hearts music has been confirmed to appear at a concert titled "The Legendary Rhapsody" via the concert's official website. Music that are confirmed to appear from the Kingdom Hearts series are Dearly Beloved, Night of Fate, The 13th Struggle, and Vector to the Heavens. The orchestra that is playing the music is the Japan Game Music Orchestra (JAGMO). Ticket prices range from 5,800 yen ($48.15 USD) to 9,800 yen ($81.38 USD). The Legendary Rhapsody begins on March 5th at 15:00 JST and another part of the concert begins at 19:00 JST, and on March 6th at 13:00 JST. More details on tickets can be located here.