Gamespot recently interviewed Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura about the development cycle of Kingdom Hearts III, Aqua's reveal, and even who his favorite Marvel character is.
You can view the transcript of the interview below.
Kingdom Hearts 3 has been in development for quite a few years now. How does it feel to finally have a release date announced?
Nomura: Until now the thing that I was told the most was to just release the game, like, "Don't worry about it, just release the game," or, "When is the release date?" So now that we [have] arrived, to finally be able to say our release date or announce a release date, I feel that they gave me the opportunity to actually say what I want to our fans and have them listen to what I want to say. So I'm really happy about that.
Did it feel like you always needed to do more to achieve what you want or was it just the case of development issues that resulted in the lengthy development time?
Nomura: Just one year into development we had to change the engine that we were working off of. This was a directive from the company that set us back a year and that was definitely a blow that we took. And then as we started development after that, we were gradually increasing the number of staff we had on our team, but the increase in staff just did not go as I had planned, so we couldn't really get full momentum for a while. So it's not that we had difficulty in development of the title, it was just a lot of company decisions that we just couldn't avoid.
Given how long the game has been in development, fan expectations for it are incredibly high. Do you ever worry about not meeting those fan expectations and how does that impact you as you're developing the game?
Nomura: I just naturally don't really feel pressured and that's always been fortunate for me. That's been leading me to successes, but at least for Kingdom Hearts 3 the fan excitement was a lot more than I had expected. So [for] the first time in my life I did feel some kind of pressure from it. But when I thought about why I didn't really feel pressure until now, I realized that it was because I always had the confidence that my game is going to be good and fun. Because I have confidence that Kingdom Hearts 3 will be great as well I think that's probably why I don't feel too pressured or I don't feel too scared about fan expectations or meeting expectations.
I also have experience working on Final Fantasy titles as well, but Kingdom Hearts is a very unique one where a lot of people that are on the title really love Kingdom Hearts 3. They're overflowing with love. They're just like our fans as well. So because their love towards the title is so high, they've been creating the game with that much love and so I think that we are able to push out a game that meets expectations or even more than what you might expect.
You've grown up as a person and as a designer alongside the players and it's been so long since the last Kingdom Hearts was released. How has your perspective on making the game changed over time? Do you still have that passion for it? Or is it just like you feel more of a responsibility to people to make it and end it?
Nomura: I'm getting older now, so my body really can't take all that difficulty anymore. When I was younger I was definitely more aggressive and I was the one pulling everyone forward, but now there's a lot more energetic staff around me who are more aggressive, so I feel like I'm more like a sage now. Like I'm in the sidelines just telling people what to do. The Kingdom Hearts series has become a huge title nowadays and back then it was more like I was making it secretively in the corner, but now that a lot more people are involved I do feel that it's not my title anymore, it's everyone's title. And just talking about all this … It actually kind of makes me really sad.
People are putting a lot of big things on you between making the sequel to Kingdom Hearts and the Final Fantasy VII remake. Is it a similar thing for that as well where you're letting other people guide you? Are you trying to train up the next generation to take over the things that you gave the world and created for Square Enix?
Nomura: I'm not really good at teaching people, so I haven't been really telling people what to do, how to make games, or how to do it best. But because of where I am right now, all the decision making is up to me and because I've had a lot of game creation experience, I can finally feel that I could actually decide on one thing and I could actually make myself stop from deviating from what I've already decided. In a sense, I think all that experience does help me to become more mature. But there's still a lot of things that I can't readily decide as well.
It's not that I've been educating all my teams, but the coder, Tai Yasue, has been with me so long that he knows what I'm looking for. He knows what I don't like and he knows if whatever he has on his plate is something that I can approve or not. In that sense, [it could be said] I have been educating him.
The staff that I have, they actually have this image of me that, "Oh, Nomura-san won't approve if it's like this. It needs to be better." They just have high expectations for themselves or they think that I have really high expectations for them. So when I actually go ask to see something early in development, they say, "Oh, I can't show it to you yet. It's not finished at all." So what they usually tend to do is that they would take whatever order I give them and just create something that's of a higher quality than what I've asked them to do. So if you look at the trailer, I think it's pretty apparent, but they have been pushing out things that are really high quality. I'm very grateful for that.
One of the big things that fans are responding to in the new trailer is Aqua and her seemingly falling to the darkness. A lot of people are quite excited and also showing trepidation about seeing that. Can you talk about the decision to change and grow her character in such a way?
Nomura: First of all, I didn't really think that people would be the most surprised with Aqua. I did receive a lot of questions about her during interviews and I've seen that it's become a hot topic online as well. The way that I write my scenarios, I don't really have clear thoughts of what I'm gonna do at each moment. I always start off with having a goal at the very end and maybe have smaller goals in between that I know that I have to go through to be able to achieve that larger goal, and then I'll start writing scenarios that go in between to make sure that I reach that goal at those points. So it's an ongoing process for me, but while I'm writing towards those smaller goals, I already know what happens, so in my mind I already have this expectation of what will happen next. But once in a while, I will come to a point where I would actually want to go against my own expectations and that's basically why Aqua became like that.
In another interview you said the reason why it's shocking to other people is because they don't know the path that you've created and you know where it's going to end, so you know how to get there. How far have you created that path? This is supposed to be the end of Sora's story. Do you have another story that goes beyond this or is this the end for you as well?
Nomura: The way that I make games is that while I'm creating the current title, I'm always thinking about what's ahead of that. That hasn't changed from [the first] Kingdom Hearts, so it's the same for Kingdom Hearts 3 as well and it's all in my mind. But that doesn't mean that we will be able to create that game or we will eventually create the next game. I do this so that it doesn't contradict what I see in the future of Kingdom Hearts. Like I said earlier, it's just not that it's a definite yes or no as to whether or not there will be [another Kingdom Hearts] title, but I do have something in mind.
We've seen a lot of new characters and returning favorites, but we haven't really seen a lot of the Final Fantasy characters and obviously they played such a huge role in the earlier games. Are you just not showing them off right now or do you feel that you don't need to bring them back for the new game?
Nomura: They obviously appeared from [the first] Kingdom Hearts, but at least for Kingdom Hearts 3, there's going to be a lot of [original] Kingdom Hearts. So most of the main characters from the Kingdom Hearts titles will appear and they will all have their problems that they need to resolve in the game. Because of that, Final Fantasy characters that actually do not have problems of their own … it's just a little bit difficult for them to appear in the game. But, obviously, the trailers that we have been showing until now is not everything. So all I can really say to that is just wait for a little more update to that.
Actually, in interviews throughout E3, I think every single interviewee has asked me about Final Fantasy characters and so I realize that that probably means that everyone's actually looking forward to them. There weren't that many titles out in the world that had all these Final Fantasy [characters] comes together in one [place], but nowadays there's just so many games out there that incorporates all these different Final Fantasy characters together, so I actually felt that it might not even be necessary to have another one of those in my game. But now that I've been talking with everyone, I've realized that maybe it is necessary, so I'm a little surprised by that.
Returning to Aqua and changes made with her, is that something that you want to do further with other characters? Do you want to kind of change perspectives on characters and maybe turn things upside down in the same way that you did with Aqua so people aren't as comfortable with everything?
Nomura: It's not to say that there will be similar situations for other characters as Aqua, because I think that actually if I did that too often in the game, it will just lose the surprise element or it'll just feel very boring. But I can say that there will be a lot of surprises in the game, and future trailers may reveal it, but there are some surprises in there that I don't even know if it's okay to even put it in a trailer. Maybe we should just leave it in the game without revealing it beforehand so it'll be like a surprise in the game. I think all I can really say is to just please look forward to that. But let's say, so it's not like I'm changing your perspective on a character or not, but there will be some moments in there that you will definitely be surprised.
One of the other major questions people have is: are there limits to the characters you can now pull from, because Disney is changing massively and there's new characters being added to their roster. We now have Star Wars characters and Marvel characters [at Disney]. Are they [franchises] that you can pull from?
Nomura: So Star Wars and Marvel are under Disney, but they are a completely different company, so it's just completely different. It's not that we could just freely ask for those characters as well. And I do get asked this questions once in a while, as well, but even to have Pixar characters in Kingdom Hearts, they actually started negotiating for it over 10 years ago. It wasn't like a simple ask and it took that long to [get to where] we're finally able to realize it. Currently, there's really not an option for me to use [Star Wars and Marvel characters].
If you were given the opportunity to have a Star Wars or Marvel character and you would granted it instantly, who would you pick?
Nomura: If I answer to this question, I think a lot of people will actually be like, "Oh my God. It's confirmed. It's going to come," but it's not like that. But just simply as a character, I really love Tony Stark.
The game was recently delayed and it was a message that was delivered at a concert to fans first. Can you explain a little bit about why the delay was revealed that way, and can you tell us what state the game's currently in and why the delay was necessary?
Nomura: As for the reason why we announced it at the concert, it was because this title is a multi-platform title, and so we wanted to be fair to everyone, and so that is why we decided to announce there. As for the reason for delay, because we really wanted to release the game as simultaneous as possible, this was a big request from our overseas team, our Western teams, so we had to think of that for this title. Until now, we would decide on a release date for Japan, and then the rest of the world would follow, so we would only have to think about situations in Japan. But now that we're looking towards a global release, we have to think of distribution and software production lines in global terms. If it was only like about 10,000 or like 50,000 units, then I think it would have been a little bit more of a simple matter, but since we're trying to produce more at once, we really had to think about those issues.
For instance, like one country might be able to distribute a game towards the end of the year, but another might not be able to because of their holiday season. So the higher-ups actually were very cautious about this, and they really wanted to make sure that we did not run into any issues, and so that is why we decided that this date that we have is the safest to be able to achieve a global simultaneous release, or as close as possible. And of course, with developers, it's much easier to push the release date a little back than to make it earlier, and so that is why we decided on this date.
Kingdom Hearts means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, it represents their childhood or it's a story about friendship. What does Kingdom Hearts mean for you?
Nomura: It's probably the title that represents who I am. When I was a starting as a developer, like I wasn't an industry veteran yet, when I was creating Final Fantasy titles with Mr. Sakaguchi, the father of Final Fantasy, and at that time, he said that Final Fantasy is a game that has everything in it. I don't think that there are that many people left in Square Enix that have actually worked with him on Final Fantasy. Of course, Final Fantasy is still continuing on--they still are committing to push out titles. But when I started creating Kingdom Hearts, that was when I kind of had this time away from Final Fantasy. And of course, I am working on a Final Fantasy title right now, but it was at a time when I was not working on a Final Fantasy title, and I really wanted to realize what Sakaguchi-san said about Final Fantasy, that it is a game that incorporates everything, to Kingdom Hearts. So I brought that idea to Kingdom Hearts. Currently looking at the newer Final Fantasy titles, to be honest, I don't think it really incorporates that idea of having everything. So I think that Kingdom Hearts, to me, is a game that has everything in it.
Kingdom Hearts III will release on January 25th, 2019 in Japan and January 29th worldwide.
What do you think of the interview? Let us know in the comments below!
- Jun 24 2018 08:40 PM
- by Leamax
Kingdom Hearts Treasure Chest available to pre-order on Square Enix Europe; includes Kingdom Hearts III Bring Arts - Sora 2nd Form
Square Enix Europe has announced an exclusive Kingdom Hearts Treasure Chest. Each chest contains 7 merchandise items (3 Accessories, 2 Kingdom Hearts figures, Kingdom Hearts Plush, and the limited edition Kingdom Hearts III Bring Arts - Sora 2nd Form). There are only 500 chests that will be sold.
Each chest has a price of €250.93 (approx. $290.00 ) but has a special discount price for €159.99 (approx. $185.00). Pre-orders are now available, will end on July 4th at 23:59 GMT.
The chest is currently only available for Square Enix Europe. You can pre-order the chest here.
What do you think of this treasure chest? Will you be one of the lucky 500 to buy one? Let us know in the comments below!
- Jun 21 2018 04:49 PM
- by Leamax
Amazon Japan has listed a exclusive Kingdom Hearts III pre-order bonus. This pre-order bonus is a exclusive PS4 theme. This bundle will cost 9,504 yen (about $86.00) and will be delivered on January 25th. *Only available for the PS4.
You can view the theme in the galley below.
Kingdom Hearts III released on January 25th, 2019 for Japan and January 29th worldwide.
What do you think of the theme? Let us know in the comments below and check out our E3 coverage for more information and recaps here!
- Jun 17 2018 05:56 PM
- by Leamax
Amazon has listed a Kingdom Hearts III Deluxe edition [Digital] for Xbox One. The edition will cost $79.99. The release date is currently a placeholder date [December 31, 2019]. Pre-orders are now being accepted.
No additional information about this edition is available. A PS4 version hasn't been listed as well.
Thanks to @Wario64 for the tip!
Kingdom Hearts III is set to release on January 25, 2019 in Japan and January 29, 2019 worldwide.
What do you think of this listing? Let us know in the comments below and stay up to date with the latest Kingdom Hearts III news from E3 with our coverage here!
- Jun 11 2018 12:36 AM
- by Leamax
Kingdom Hearts III will be featured in the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu. The article will contain a recap of the Kingdom Hearts III Premium Event.
UPDATE: [May 30, 2018]: Scans for the June 14th issue are now available. You can view them in the galley below.
UPDATE [June 9, 2018]: Translations for the article are now available! You can check them out here!
- Jun 09 2018 09:20 PM
- by Leamax
Wreck-It Ralph has been revealed to be a summon in Kingdom Hearts III at the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event today.
In gameplay videos released by several gaming outlets, gameplay footage was shown that featured Ralph being summoned by Sora in the world of Toy Box.
A full gameplay analysis will be available soon, so keep an eye on KH13.com for all upcoming news from the Premiere Event! Check out screenshots of Ralph in action below.
Are you excited to see Wreck-It Ralph in Kingdom Hearts III? Let us know in the comments below.
For everything on the Premiere Event, check out our coverage here.
- May 18 2018 09:10 AM
- by George Foster
Drake Bell, an American singer and actor, recently hinted with two retweets that he is apparently going to take the role of Young Master Eraqus, concerning the voice recording of Kingdom Hearts III.
Recently, James Woods, the voice actor for Hades, also confirmed through his Twitter account that he was working on a new Kingdom Hearts game. In addition, a rumor recently surfaced which involved the Spanish voice actors of Hiro and Baymax in Big Hero 6, hinting toward the possibility of them being involved with Kingdom Hearts III.
Do you think there are soon going to be new reveals about Kingdom Hearts III voice actors? Share your opinion with us in the comment section below!
- Apr 10 2018 12:39 PM
- by Yoshirai
The Japanese Kingdom Hearts Portal Site has been updated with a new layout and features. The site now includes information such as merch news and new trailers, the line up of Kingdom Hearts games, and a timeline of the events within Kingdom Hearts. The portal site will be updated periodically.
You can check out the tweet from the Japanese Kingdom Hearts Twitter below. Translations for the tweet are listed below as well. (Thanks to KH13 staff member Mio-Chan for the translations!)
“Kingdom Hearts series portal site has been updated! We will continue to send out information periodically, so please look forward to it.”
What do you think about this update? Do you hope the English Kingdom Hearts Portal Site will be updated as well? Let us know in the comments below!
- Apr 02 2018 09:38 AM
- by Leamax
Kingdom Hearts III Bring Arts Riku now available on Square Enix Store Japan, NA, Europe, and AmiAmi; releasing on July 7th, 2018, in Japan, August 2018, in NA, and September 2018 in Europe
Kingdom Hearts III Bring Arts Riku is available for pre-order on Square Enix Japan and AmiAmi. Square Enix Japan has the figure listed for 7,344 yen (about $70.00) and releasing on July 7th, 2018 while AmiAmi has it discounted by 25% for a price of 5,500 yen (about $52.00) with a July 2018 release date. You can view the gallery of the figure below.
Specifications for the figure are available on AmiAmi. You can view them below.
Pre-painted Complete Action Figure
Size: Approx. W58mm x D39mm x H164mm
-Bring Arts base
-Optional hands x4
A description from Square Enix Japan is also available. You can view it below. (Thanks to KH13 Staff member NihonScribe for the translation)
From the 6in. Bring Arts line, Riku makes his appearance!
Kingdom Hearts series' numbered title, Kingdom Hearts III's Riku debuts in Bring Arts!
From throughout his adventure in the Dark Seeker Saga, Riku has been faithfully reproduced, showing his daring growth. Up until his hairstyle, facial expression, and costume folds were decided, all were tenderly molded and expressed in detailed color, leading to an impressive finish. Besides securing adequate range of motion, there are two replaceable expression parts and 6 different wrist parts included, allowing for a variety of poses you can enjoy when recreating scenes.
Square Enix announced Brings Art Riku back in February shortly after the two trailers were released at D23 Japan 2018.
UPDATE [Mar 5, 2018]: You can now pre-order Kingdom Hearts III Riku Bring Arts at the Square Enix Store - Europe for €61.19/£53.99, and save 10% off of the original price of €67.99/£59.99. The Kingdom Hearts III Riku Bring Arts releases September 2018.
UPDATE [Mar 5, 2018]: You can now pre-order Kingdom Hearts III Riku Bring Arts at the Square Enix Store - North America for $62.99, and save 10% off of the original price of $69.99, until March 15, 2018. The Kingdom Hearts III Riku Bring Arts releases August 2018.
- Mar 05 2018 06:48 PM
- by Leamax
Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito revealed to be working alongside Yoko Shimomura on music for Kingdom Hearts III
Giving an interview with Famitsu, series director Tetsuya Nomura revealed that Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito will be working on music for Kingdom Hearts III. While discussing the release of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Original Soundtrack, Nomura talked about their increasing output of music for the Kingdom Hearts series including important battles and showed his appreciation of their continued work on the series.
Ishimoto and Sekito will be working alongside Yoko Shimomura in a similar capacity to their previous contributions to the series in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The full quote can be seen below and thanks to NihonScribe for the translation.
In relevant Kingdom Hearts music news, the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- Encore tour was announced to start in June 2018 with Yoko Shimomura appearing at select venues.
Interviewer: And now I think Nomura has a few words to say to Ishimoto.
Nomura: You have been working on some music and various soundtracks for the "Kingdom Hearts" series, but now you've decided to work together with Mr. Sekito (Tsuyoshi) on "Kingdom Hearts III" music. Up until now the number of songs have been increasing, and because we need songs that form and go along with important battles, I hope you keep continuing with us. I'm grateful for your continued support from now on (laughs)
What do you think about this news? Do you like Ishimoto's and Sekito's music? Let us know in the comments below
- Mar 02 2018 05:57 AM
- by Axeken