Nomura @ E3, Part 1: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts III

Tetsuya Nomura just concluded an interview on Square Enix’s E3 2013 livestream, in which he discussed his work on both the Kingdom Hearts franchise and the new Final Fantasy XV (previously known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII). For part one, we’ll be focusing on the Kingdom Hearts questions asked by the interviewer.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX

  • The title of the franchise was meant to be appropriate to Disney. Nomura was inspired by amusement parks and wanted to call the game series “Kingdom” after Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Hearts play a big role in the story, so they combined the two together.
  • Shinji Hashimoto was friends with a Disney employee, as both Disney and Square shared offices in the same building. After chatting and deciding to collaborate in the future, Hashimoto asked Nomura if he was interested in developing a game. Nomura calls the relationship between Disney and Square Enix “good,” since it’s now ten years strong (and they also have the same counterpart at Disney that they’ve had since the beginning of the KH series). Although they’ve had heated discussions, they always resulted in many games in the franchise.
  • Since the first Kingdom Hearts was created over a decade ago, the original data was missing. They had to research and dig out from the games available and re-create everything for HD, including graphics. Nomura remarks that this wasn’t easy.
  • What makes the HD 1.5 ReMIX a definitive KH edition is the presence of Final Mix, previously a Japanese exclusive. Nomura intended to make Final Mix available worldwide for a while now. Many elements of that game were not seen in other territories, and the HD 1.5 ReMIX was seen as a good chance to do so. Remastered HD titles shouldn’t happen very often (or so Nomura feels), so they added two games and one movie as a package so that many people can share in the world of Kingdom Hearts.
  • Some of Nomura’s favorite characters include Xehanort (the overall villain in the Kingdom Hearts games so far) and Ansem (the Seeker of Darkness, or Xehanort’s Heartless) from the first game.
  • As mentioned before, the team has always talked about putting the Jungle Book into a Kingdom Hearts game, but each time they tried to insert it, it was inevitably cut out.
  • The 1.5 ReMIX exists because of Kingdom Hearts III. Nomura is determined to make Kingdom Hearts III, and he wants everyone to play 1.5 in preparation for the third title.

Kingdom Hearts III

  • Nomura isn’t allowed allowed to say which new worlds will feature in Kingdom Hearts III. Each time they select worlds, they want to have stable choices that are necessary for the game and its story, but they also want to insert surprise factors. There will be such a surprise factor in KH3, as well.
  • The battle system in KH3 will be similar to the system from previous core games (KH2’s was noted by Nomura as especially well-received), but like the experiments made in the recent titles after KH2, the battle system will also include new elements.
  • Final Fantasy characters are under consideration. Nomura feels that it’s time to include them again, since recent KH games haven’t really featured them. They are taking a playable King Mickey into consideration and listening to the fans, though Nomura notes that Sora is the main character. (He adds, though, that it would be fun if other characters were also playable.)
  • Mutliplayer is likewise under consideration. They are looking into online possibilities, and more will be announced later.
  • Summoning will return, but in a different way from previous Kingdom Hearts games. Nomura notes this contrast by pointing out that in other KH games, Disney mascots could be summoned to aid you in battle. Is it possible that we might get different summons this time around, or will summons be completely different in their mechanics, as well? Only time will tell.
  • The game will conclude Organization XIII’s story. Nomura isn’t sure if this will be the end of all Nobodies, but he points out that Master Xehanort organized them, so the battle against him will be the end of Organization XIII for sure.
  • Nomura doesn’t want to say too much about this (so that we may all look forward to the game), but Kingdom Hearts (as a location/entity in the franchise) has appeared in the games before, so it might appear again this time.
  • Nomura points out the “shader” technique seen in the trailer. He’s referring to texture and surfaces used to make characters and worlds look similar to Disney characters/worlds that people are familiar with. In KH3, they will change shaders for different worlds so as to look natural, in an effort to match those worlds.

Stay tuned for part two, featuring Final Fantasy XV!


About the Author

John Sotomayor John Sotomayor is a writer from downstate New York. He graduated from university in 2012 with majors in creative writing and Asian studies. John is currently working on a number of creative writing projects (novels, short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics) and is also a published science writer. As a gamer, John enjoys JRPGs, particularly the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts franchises. He also likes dogs, comic books, Joss Whedon shows, and the San Jose Sharks.