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07-28-2013   #82 (permalink)
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Nomura On Kingdom Hearts 3's Development + Series Continuation - News - Kingdom Hearts Insider

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While it doesn't feel like it at all, it has been over a month since series director Tetsuya Nomura announced at E3 2013 that Kingdom Hearts III was at long last in development for next generation consoles. For many fans this announcement was well overdue, feeling that previous four handheld titles were not enough to hold their attention and desired to see a true end to the Xehanort Saga. At Japan Expo 2013, Final Fantasy World and Final Fantasy Ring were given the chance to talk with Nomura about the process of developing Kingdom Hearts III.

Even though the Osaka team has developed numerous Kingdom Hearts titles before like Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], and Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-, this will be their first time developing a numbered title on next generation systems from scratch. With Nomura serving as a supervisor to the Osaka development team, they have done extensive tests and made preparations to insure a smooth development cycle. He feels that because of these preparations, they are finally ready to begin full development on the game.

Of course, these kinds of plans can only be made with proper cooperation between Nomura in Tokyo and the development team in Osaka, so it sometimes requires co-director Tai Yasue and producer Rie Nishi to make trips to Tokyo to discuss the game's development, as well as frequent video conference calls to the Square Enix offices in Shinjuku.
"In fact, the co-director and producer Tai Yasue and Rie Nishi are there. They are key members of the Kingdom Hearts project, so when they need to discuss a lot of different topics with me, they come to Tokyo. This is our usual method of working. But as technology is ever advancing, our new offices in Shinjuku are now equipped with a video conference system. Now, Yasue and Nishi can send me their materials or proposals in advance, which allows me to add my comments or my drawings and show them on camera in our video conferencing. In addition, there is no time difference, so even if we are far apart, it is easy to work."
Co-director Yasue and producer Nishi have taken a proactive role when it comes to crafting Kingdom Hearts III, often bouncing idea off of each other and Nomura. The series director told Final Fantasy World and Final Fantasy Ring that they felt it was better to have the whole team thinking of ideas rather than just himself, which has only added to the unique identity the Kingdom Hearts series has gained throughout the years.

Nomura briefly mentions the inclusion of Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts III, saying that it was much harder to include them in earlier games because of space limitations of the handheld games. Because of the lack of space issues on next generation systems, it has become much easier for them to include Final Fantasy characters. "It depends on the volume of the game itself – there is a possibility that we are going to insert a lot of FF characters into KHIII as well."

In another recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Nomura further expanded on the direction he and the development team plans to take with Kingdom Hearts III, as well as reaffirming that the series itself would not see an end with the resolution of the Xehanort Saga in the upcoming title.
“As a core game, this is finally the third, and 10 years have passed. I couldn’t call this a trilogy. There have been so many spinoffs. In ‘Kingdom Hearts 3,’ the battles that the characters have been fighting for the past 10 years will come to a conclusion. That is the plan. But the series will continue. Only the particular enemy they have been fighting the past 10 years will come to an end.”
This is not the first time Nomura has mentioned that the series would continue after the epic conclusion of the Xehanort Saga, having spoken to Famitsu in July 2011 about the very same topic while promoting the prelude to Kingdom Hearts III, Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]:
"The series that has developed so far as "the Xehanort saga" should end once and for all in KH3. However, I've outlined a tentative plot that takes place afterward, so we could continue onto a new chapter. Sora would remain the main character; that wouldn't change."
When it comes to the gameplay for Kingdom Hearts III, something many fans are interested in considering that after Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, the classic command system was traded in for the more customizable Command Deck system, used in Birth By Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, and Kingdom Hearts 3D. Nomura told the LA Times that fans should turn to Kingdom Hearts 3D for an idea of how Kingdom Hearts III will function, further cementing the idea that the final installment to the Xehanort Saga will contain bold, fast-paced action that fans have become accustomed to these past few years.

None of these ideas are final and could change throughout development, but Nomura strives to deliver a fun, exciting game old and new fans of the Kingdom Hearts series can enjoy.
Kingdom Hearts III will be released for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
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