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Kingdom Hearts χ News

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The usual maintenance for Kingdom Hearts χ has finished and updates have been made. Key Art #25 and #26 have been added to the game as this week's new cards and both feature artwork from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. A new story has been added in Daybreak Town that goes with the story told so far. As usual, new items are lined up in the shop and new events are in place.

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Kingdom Hearts χ Team member SkyKeybladeHero has translated this week's updates, which can be read below.

Spoiler

4Gamer.net has posted the official cover artwork for the Kingdom Hearts Tribute album, which was announced yesterday. The artwork features King Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy in a pose that is very similar to the famous Three Musketeers pose except with their Kingdom Hearts weapons. This artwork was drawn by official Disney artists. You can view it below. The Kingdom Hearts Tribute album releases on March 25 in Japan.

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In addition, an official website for the soundtrack has been launched and it has revealed what is most likely the back cover artwork. You can view this below.

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Square Enix has revealed a new Kingdom Hearts album will be released on March 25, 2015 in Japan. This album titled Kingdom Hearts Tribute album will include new arrangements of 10 songs from the Kingdom Hearts series. It will cost 2,160 Yen (approx. U.S $18.26). You can see what songs have been included below.

Riku / Sora / Kairi / Always on My Mind / Rage Awakened / Dearly Beloved / Hollow Bastion / Hand in Hand / March Caprice / The 13th Struggle A Piece of Peace / Traverse Town


Amazon.com have revealed that Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories The Novel will be released in English for the first time ever on September 22, 2015. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories The Novel will include all three volumes from the original Japanese release translated into English by Yen Press. It will cost U.S $15.48. When the cover artwork is released we'll let you know. You can pre-order it here.

Amazon.co.jp have revealed that the ninth volume of the Kingdom Hearts II manga will be released in Japan on February 21, 2015. It will be available for ¥ 453 (approx U.S $3.85). In this volume Sora will finally face Organization XIII in The World That Never Was as the manga finally approaches it's conclusion. Once the cover artwork has been released we'll let you know. You can read the first 62 chapters of the Kingdom Hearts II manga in English over in our gallery.

Hidemi Matsuzuka, Square Enix's merchandise manager has revealed that Kingdom Hearts face towels are now available at Artnia. The design Hidemi Matsuzuka showed was of a Dusk, however thanks to @ArikaMiz we know that there also Shadow and Flood designs available. You can view photos of these below.

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In an interview with Kotaku at last month's European launch event for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX, Tai Yasue the co-director of the Kingdom Hearts series spoke about Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX & HD 2.5 ReMIX being good training for new staff members in preparation for Kingdom Hearts III. He also discusses respecting source material and sharing ideas with the Final Fantasy XV team for the new hardware. You can read the interview below.

"We have been working on 3 and 2.5 at the same time," he explains, "so a lot of people are crossing over and doing both. There are also a lot of new people working on both. In a way, we've learned what was good about our previous Kingdom Hearts [games] by making 2.5."

"For 3, we want to evolve it in a new direction, but at the same time we don't want to change what is fundamental about Kingdom Hearts. We're hiring new people continuously, so they are learning about Kingdom Hearts through making 2.5. It's a good learning experience."

Kingdom Hearts is a unique thing to be working on, says Yasue, due to the necessity of finding a balance between respecting the Disney properties and incorporating original, creative ideas - so the training has been necessary.

"There's a lot to get used to working with the Disney content," he says. "You have to have a lot of dedication and respect for their visual IPs for example, and when you play Kingdom Hearts 2 you see that: when you summon a character or use a spell there's a lot of love and care that goes into the presentation. When you see Stitch coming out of the screen, for example, it's very true to the original movie. That dedication is something you learn through the process or remaking 2."

It must surely be restrictive working within those constraints, but Yasue enjoys the challenge that they introduce. "As Square-Enix, if someone else was making a Final Fantasy or a Dragon Quest, we'd be very protective of that too," he ventures. "So we really understand the importance of not changing the brand and respecting the fans. We want to make it true to Disney - we don't want to change it fundamentally. We always strive to make original content, but with Kingdom Hearts you have to really respect the source material, and that's something people really like about the series."

"As someone who creates games I think the constraints make you really think. They are what make you strive to come up with new ideas - ideas that are acceptable to Disney, and also fun. That balancing act leads to a lot of surprises. It's very challenging, but we work on it daily. We continuously talk with Disney and see what they think is acceptable… but we constantly want to surprise our players, too, so we need flexibility. It is challenging and makes you think."

The Kingdom Hearts team also benefits from sharing expertise with the other Square-Enix development units, including the Final Fantasy XV team, Yasue says - even though Kingdom Hearts development is based in Osaka. "We trade ideas - especially for PS4, Xbox One, new gen stuff," says Yasue. "We're trying to move in leaps obviously, so there is a lot to learn and a lot to explain to other people. That exchange of ideas and technology is very important and we're doing that inside Square Enix, with other teams."


After the usual Kingdom Hearts χ maintenance, more additions have been added to the game. This week's new cards feature characters from Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, as well as Monstro from Pinocchio. Lots of new events of different types are in place with many nice rewards to be gained. New items have been lined up in the Shop.

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Kingdom Hearts χ Team member SkyKeybladeHero has translated the Dev Team Report #09 and this week's updates which can be read below.

Spoiler


Spoiler

Square Enix has posted a list of available job positions in their Third Business Division.

Square Enix's Third Business Division handled Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. They have also recently worked on a couple of other small Square Enix titles but the Division's focus is the Kingdom Hearts series with Shinji Hashimoto, the Kingdom Hearts series' executive producer serving as the Division's executive.

Square Enix has listed 13 jobs relating to Kingdom Hearts III and we have listed them below. There also seven other job positions available but four are for the SaGa game coming to PlayStation Vita in 2015 and three jobs in Tokyo that could be for anything be it announced or unannounced.

No. 3BD / technical artist (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / menu designer (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / Battle Planner (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / production planner (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / level planner (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / Character Model Designer (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / background 2D Art designer (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / 3DCG designer (BG) (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / effects designer ( Osaka work)
No. 3BD / Art designer (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / UI Programmer (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / game programmer (Osaka work)
No. 3BD / 3D graphics programmer (Osaka work)


Update: goldpanner has translated the job summaries and these can be read below.

Spoiler

The NPD sales results for North America during December 2014 have been leaked. This has revealed that Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX sold 275,000 copies in North America during December 2014. Thanks go to NeoGAF user Nirolak for the leak.

For reference, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX sold 270,000 copies in it's first month on the market in North America in one week less. The numbers aren't bad but they did not exceed Square Enix's expectations as revealed in Square Enix's 2014 Annual Report in which Square Enix mentions all releases which exceeded their sales expectations.