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  1. Article: Shinji Hashimoto talks fan feedback, possibility of future community events, and Kingdom Hearts III with KHIsland

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Shinji Hashimoto talks fan feedback, possibility of future community events, and Kingdom Hearts III with KHIsland

KHIsland, in conjunction with FFDream, Finaland, Gamergen, and Gamersflag, have conducted an interview with Kingdom Hearts series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto at MAGIC 2017. During the interview, Hashimoto talked about topics such as the relationship between Disney, whether Marvel Entertainment could have an impact on Kingdom Hearts III, the possibility of adding multiplayer mode in the upcoming game, and communication with fans.

Below you can read extracts of the interview related to Kingdom Hearts. The full interview can be read here in French.

Translations have been provided by KH13 staff member Mio–chan.

― Will the partnership between Square Enix and Marvel Entertainment have an impact on Kingdom Hearts 3? Will we find bits of the Marvel Universe in it, just like the Disney worlds that already exist in the previous titles of the series?

Hashimoto: It’s not on the agenda for the moment. However, we may consider it in the future.

― Would it be possible to add a multiplayer mode in Kingdom Hearts 3?

Hashimoto: You should ask this question to Mr. Nomura, he will be most likely to answer this.

― Why is this so difficult to communicate and give concrete and precise information on Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts 3 to the fans?

Hashimoto: You must know that for each future titles (i.e. FFVII Remake, KH3 etc), there is an established development planning. So we must first consult it to check on the progress of the game, to be able to convey the most interesting and relevant information to the public. To give you an example, many events will take place this year. There is Final Fantasy’s 30th Anniversary event, Final Fantasy VII’s 20th Anniversary event as well as Kingdom Hearts’ 15th Anniversary event. Knowing this, it is obvious that fans are expecting a lot and we wish to show more in order to celebrate all of these events. Regarding Final Fantasy’s 30th Anniversary, we have many events planned in Japan, Final Fantasy XV’s DLCs, Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age Remaster and the new extension of Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood. We wish we could give as much information as possible but it is imperative that we have control on the calendar in order, so that we can reveal relevant information at the precise time.

― Recently, you organized a special event to celebrate Final Fantasy’s 30th Anniversary in Japan. Can we hope for a similar event in France?

Hashimoto: Outside Japan, we have two agencies: one in the USA in Los Angeles, and another one in the UK in London, who are in charge to plan and promote these kind of events. Moreover, we already gave concerts pretty much everywhere in the world on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of Kingdom Hearts: The Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World Tour -. It is just an example, but our British and American teams are considering organizing similar events.

― Can you tell us about the relationship you have with Disney for the development of Kingdom Hearts 3? Do they have a great influence, can they force you to do certain things or on the contrary block some ideas?

Hashimoto: First of all, Disney has its own policy and own rules for the management of its movies, video games, and merchandise, etc. We try and at the same time must respect them as far as possible. Otherwise, they give us free reign most of the time. They allow us to create anything we want and Disney generally accepts our ideas, to the extent that it appeals to the fans who support us in our approaches and our ideas.

― You have produced a lot of Western licenses in recent years: Hitman, Deus Ex, and Tomb Raider etc. Are western licenses as important as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, or do they only allow Square Enix developed games to last?

Hashimoto: For Mr. Matsuda (CEO of Square Enix), we must constantly renew and create new games and new licenses. Concerning Final Fantasy, we also seek to innovate while remaining in the spirit of the series. The President is always trying to give us new challenges.

― Following the reveal of The Avengers Project by Crystal Dynamics, can we hope to see future games based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but this time developed by the Japanese teams?

Hashimoto: This partnership is similar to the one we already have with Disney for Kingdom Hearts. Firstly, it is necessary to successfully launch and implement the new licence. If the latter is a success, then perhaps we will follow on. We will wait and see what it is going to do before we do anything else.

― You stated that you listen a lot to the fans’ opinions, what are your sources and how do you use those opinions?

Hashimoto: Nowadays, it is easy to establish a direct contact with the fans thanks to the social media and we can almost answer instantly to many critics. It is also much easier to fix what is wrong in a game via updates. Critics are important and we try to take them into account to satisfy as many people as we can.


Monaco Anime Game International Conferences (MAGIC) recently took place on February 18, 2017. It was during this event that Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura showed off a screenshot of Sora in his Power Form battling a Heartless in the city of Thebes in Olympus Coliseum. Nomura was also interviewed at the event by FFDream and Famitsu.

What do you think about Shinji Hashimoto’s answers regarding Kingdom Hearts III? Let us know in the comments below!

Hashimoto: Outside Japan, we have two agencies: one in the USA in Los Angeles, and another one in the UK in London, who are in charge to plan and promote these kind of events. Moreover, we already gave concerts pretty much everywhere in the world on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of Kingdom Hearts: The Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour. It is just an example, but our British and American teams are considering organizing similar events.

Seeing how Europe only got two concert locations and both in Middle/Western Europe... nope, not pretty much everywhere D: I really do hope we'll get another chance to visit a KH concert in the future and this time in Germany, too.

Also, I'm sorry, but I'm still pretty much put out that the Orchestra CD is not available in SE's European online store. Not Hashimoto's fault, obviously, but you'd think stuff like that should work on a global scale. I do understand that events might not be as easily recreated in all the other countries, but it shouldn't be that hard to make merchandise available globally. At that point, SE just forgets a huge chunk of their fanbase and "Well it's SENA/SE UK's task" is somewhat of a cop out for that (again, I know he didn't specifically talk about that in this interview, but I'm salty).

 

Hashimoto: Nowadays, it is easy to establish a direct contact with the fans thanks to the social media and we can almost answer instantly to many critics. It is also much easier to fix what is wrong in a game via updates. Critics are important and we try to take them into account to satisfy as many people as we can.

Oh if SENA just listened to their fans...

I think he answered the questions very well... not that I'm against Marvel in KH3 but I'm happier to know it's not being included for the final xehanort game

Thanks for showing this to us, abzisdaking!

 

Well, Shinji, as always, is a man of business. He knows what he's talking about when it comes to the promotion, distribution and marketing of Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and their other franchises, so I'm sure that when the time is right, more Kingdom Hearts III information will come to light, and it'll be awesome when we do get more information! :D

 

I really hope there's another Kingdom Hearts Concert, cuz I'm pretty sure that the Orchestra World Tour was a huge financial success! Next time, I hope the concert has a venue in Puerto Rico! Cuz I'd get tickets in a heartbeat! X_X

― Will the partnership between Square Enix and Marvel Entertainment have an impact on Kingdom Hearts 3? Will we find bits of the Marvel Universe in it, just like the Disney worlds that already exist in the previous titles of the series? 

Are these guys not aware that Marvel Studios is a direct subsidiary to Walt Disney Studios? contrary to popular belief, Marvel Studios is not part of Marvel Entertainment. Granted, Marvel Entertainment does look into their representations in video games, but it's Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media that have the final say anyway. I'm sorry, but the interviewer needs to be more aware of Marvel's corporate structure before asking questions about its representation in Kingdom Hearts.

― Why is this so difficult to communicate and give concrete and precise information on Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts 3 to the fans?

That's a really ignorant question. It's not hard to give information at all, it's just scheduled. Give information out too early and you destroy the value of the marketing stages towards a products release. That's marketing 101 (just look at Duke Nukem Forever as an example).

― You have produced a lot of Western licenses in recent years: Hitman, Deus Ex, and Tomb Raider etc. Are western licenses as important as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, or do they only allow Square Enix developed games to last?

Again, the interviewer is not only oblivious to Marvel's corporate structure, but they're also oblivious to Square Enix's structure. Shinji Hashimoto is representing Square Enix Japan. The Marvel partnership is with Square Enix Europe (who were formerly Eidos Interactive, and formerly SCi Games). Outside of Visual Works, Square Enix Japan has absolutely no influence in how these upcoming games will turn out. An equivalent scenario would be to talk to the Atlus team about Total War: Warhammer. Just because they're under the same Sega roof doesn't mean that they're directly affiliated. The same can be said here.

As you can see, I am not very happy with some of the questions that the interviewer has asked. Granted, not everybody is aware of corporate structures, but a little bit of knowledge beforehand is sufficient. At the very least, Shinji's answers were direct and had a lot of depth going for them. I feel as though more relevant questions could have been asked here.

I think he answered the questions very well... not that I'm against Marvel in KH3 but I'm happier to know it's not being included for the final xehanort game

I'm alright with the Avengers in KH3 but it probably won't be in it since they are looking for unique worlds.

BH6 is the superhero world :).

Well i don't know if i want Anymore Marvel Superheroes Content in Kingdom Hearts III i mean Big Hero 6 is the only Marvel Based comic to appear in Kingdom Hearts III

I'm alright with the Avengers in KH3 but it probably won't be in it since they are looking for unique worlds.

BH6 is the superhero world :).


Yeah that world is going to be amazing, a massive open-air city with hopefully loads of NPC's walking about and multiple party members

Well i don't know if i want Anymore Marvel Superheroes Content in Kingdom Hearts III i mean Big Hero 6 is the only Marvel Based comic to appear in Kingdom Hearts III

 

Big Hero 6 the animated movie isn't even based off the Marvel Comics, the only similarities is the Tokyo themes, and characters of the same name. It's entirely Walt Disney Animation Studios.