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Dengeki Playstation had the opportunity to interview Series Director Tetsuya Nomura on Kingdom Hearts III. He discusses plans for upcoming DLC, Critical Mode, and various end-game plot points.
Read the full interview, translated by goldpanner!
--It's been almost 17 years since Kingdom Hearts released on March 28 2002. And, in Kingdom Hearts III, we have come to a point of punctuation: the end of the "Dark Seeker Saga," which has lasted for these past 17 years. The worldwide release of KH3 was a success, with over 5 million units sold. Having received such a large response all over the world, please tell us what you're feeling about getting here.
Nomura: In the way of numbers, looking at the exact data that includes digital copies, it's a great result that has completely passed my expectations. We are currently beginning work on DLC, so it doesn't feel like it's over yet. I'm actually getting less sleep post-release.
--There's a form that appears called "Rage Form," which reminds us of the "Anti Form" from KH2. What is the setup behind that?
Nomura: The forms in this title are very different from that of KH2, so we decided to change all the names. Rage does indeed have characteristics that are reminiscent of Anti, but it's basically a separate thing setup wise. Anti is based on Sora getting completely stained in darkness, but Rage doesn't go quite that far. It's based on him going into a rampage state, controlled by feelings of anger.
--There's no "Critical Mode" difficulty level in this game. Was there a reason you didn't include it?
Nomura: Critical Mode wasn't originally in the base versions of the game, they were an extra feature we added to the Final Mix versions. So, we will be following that and releasing it for download later on. It's not simply a matter of changing numbers and making things stronger; we fine-tune and debug multiple times. We are polishing things to make sure it's not simply a "more difficult mode," and is as fun as you would expect from Critical.
--Among the worlds, we felt that the plot in the Big Hero 6 world had rather daring plot developments. Most of the worlds in KH3 were new to the series. Can you tell us which world's story left the deepest impression on you, or any stories from development?
Nomura: Toy Story was the first plot we worked on. The scenario took over 2 years to complete, and we even went and consulted directly with Pixar. It's a symbol of the beginning of KH3, and as such is the one I have the deepest memories of.
--There are several Organisation members whose original names are still unknown. Will we have a chance to learn them someday, or to find out about the scar on Isa's face?
Nomura: If there is a sequel, then that chance may come. But in my heart right now my desire is a blank page.
--The process behind reviving Ventus and Roxas was fairly easy to understand, but how was Xion brought back, and how did she end up in the New Organisation XIII?
Nomura: I think it's possible to figure it out for yourself. However, I do plan to explain it in DLC.
--Many people who have finished KH3 are interested in the "girl" that Lea and Isa were looking for, and the existence of the "NAMELESS STAR" in the Final World. Can you give us any kind of hint about the truth behind these girls? Are they characters who have already appeared in the series?
Nomura: I think this is also possible to figure out for yourself if you look at all the secret reports, but yes, they are characters who have already appeared in the series. You will find out who "NAMELESS STAR" if there is a next time.
--What is Scala ad Caelum, the place which also appeared in the final trailer? It looks similar to Daybreak Town from Kingdom Hearts Union Cross - is there some kind of connection? Also, who were the black-clothed figures that appeared there?
Nomura: I've made it so that you should be able to understand the connection between Scala ad Caelum and Daybreak Town, if you look carefully. The black-clothed figures are replicas.
--Please give us a comment, if you can, regarding the post-release download epilogue and secret movie. We are interested in the existence of Yozora from VERUM REX, who also appeared in Toy Box.
Nomura: As I have done in the past, it is an introduction to the story I will tell if there is a next time. I know there is all kinds of speculation regarding the secret movie, but it's not something simple that could be understood at this point in time.
--Finishing KH3 got us even more interested in the plot of KHUX. Please tell us what is in store for us there.
Nomura: We are approaching a development that brings a new world. Along with it, the main story is going to get moving in a big way, and pieces that have been a mystery until now will begin to gather.
--Please tell us about your plans for post-release updates and DLC. Is there the potential for something like a Final Mix? What is coming next in the Kingdom Hearts series?
Nomura: Up until now, we have created Final Mixes as separate packages. However, this time I am hoping to release all extra elements as DLC. We are planning to release free DLC as updates once each piece of content is finished. We are also planning to release several features together in one batch as paid DLC. This means that it will take a little more time to work on, but I do want to finish it as early as possible this year and have the team start work on our next project. As for the future of the KH series - there have been some talks, but the ifs and whats are truly a blank page right now. My schedule is completely full for the rest of the year.
--Sky Tree, the Ambassador Hotel, Square Enix Cafe, Walkman, and the upcoming concert world tour: KH3 has certainly been showcased through a humongous number of channels. Which were most memorable to you? Is there anything else still to come?
Nomura: I was surprised by the Ambassador Hotel one. I was grateful for each and every collaboration. I think that perhaps for now, we have seen everything that can be announced.