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Famitsu posted their new recent KINGDOM HEARTS 3 interview with Series Director Tetsuya Nomura online, with some additional questions that were excluded from the physical print. He goes more in detail with characters and scenes from the Frozen and Pirates trailers from E3 2018, as well as character designs for the main cast, designs in the Pixar worlds and his thoughts on the new theme song.
We've isolated the new questions and thanks to goldpanner, you can read the translations below:
-- There was a scene where you can sled down the snowy mountains on Goofy's shield.
Nomura: A battle takes place as you're sledding down the mountain. Like the snowboarding in FF7, after you pass through that part in the story, you'll be able to return to the area and play it again as a score attack.
-- The characters [in PotC] look so realistic. Was it difficult to balance the photorealism with the KH style?
Nomura: It was pretty difficult. We needed to create special detailed models of Sora, Donald, Goofy and even Luxord to make them fit into the realistic art direction. We're still revising the models for Jack and the others though, so the ones you've seen are not the finished product.
-- You even changed Luxord's model for this world?
Nomura: We actually did temporarily try putting in the same model of Luxord that we use in other worlds to begin with, but it was very odd (laugh). It'd be easier to adjust if the whole game was photorealistic, or if the visuals for all the movies we are using were more consistent, but in KH3, the style changes significantly from world to world, which is time consuming. I'm trying to be conscious about ensuring that the visuals of each world are as faithful to the source material as possible.
-- In the latest trailer, there was a scene where Sora slides around as if he's wearing ice skates. Is that one of the [Keyblade] transformations?
Nomura: It's the transformation of the Keyblade that you obtain in the Frozen world. You can skate around anywhere, not just on ice, and you can set up a melee attack by approaching enemies at a high speed.
--In this game, we will be able to use magic as a method of movement, and Shotlock to zoom up on enemies and such, right? In the demo, we felt that the tempo was so great - even movement itself was gameplay.
Nomura: That is another thing I try to be conscious about. In the Pirates world, if you jump at certain enemies using Shotlock you can ride them around.
--By the way, how will the growth system work, with Sora already so strong?
Nomura: It will be an evolved form of the traditional levelling up and synthesis systems from past numbered titles. In the handheld titles we made gameplay out of the growth systems, but as KH3 is a numbered title it is already full of gameplay, and as such large enough in volume that we want to keep that area simple.
--That makes sense. Returning to the topic of battle, in the demo, we got to experience a Link where Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph appears.
Nomura: The Link component has changed several times. Originally, it was implemented as "Summons." Then, once it had settled into its current form of borrowing the strength of Disney characters, the name became "Link." As I'm sure you know from the puzzle element you saw Linking with Ralph, KH3's Links are unique in that the Disney characters don't appear and do a technique and leave - you, the player, can intervene and control things. Simba, who appeared in the recent trailer, can be ridden by Sora - and he will perform techniques according to commands you can choose.
--The more Sora grows, the more his hair spikes point upward, don't you think?
Nomura: When he was a kid, his hair pointed down. In KH and KH2 it stuck out sideways. Now, I wouldn't quite say his hair points upwards - it points back. The bits that used to stick out sideways are folded back, or something (laughs).
--So that's how it is (laughs). Riku and Kairi look fresh too with their new haircuts.
Nomura: We've already seen the chronology of Riku's hair growing really long and then all getting cut off into a completely new style. Kairi, however, hasn't had an update to her image in a while, which is perhaps refreshing.
-- Riku's also gotten a new Keyblade. His previous one appears to have broken.
Nomura: For certain reasons, Riku's original Keyblade breaks and he gets a new one from Yen Sid. I noticed that a lot of modern house keys look like this now, so I referenced them when I was designing it.
--Sora, Donald and Goofy get different outfits in different worlds - their Monsters Inc. looks in particular stand out.
Nomura: For those, we took in ideas from Pixar designers. I did make some of my own changes at the very last minute. The white of Donald's eye was very pronounced so I made his pupil bigger, and I made Goofy's eye size and color asymmetrical. I did that because his Halloween Town form had eyes like that in past titles. Also, Sora started out with a shape based on a dragon. From there I adjusted the color of his body and the amount of space around his eyes, making it closer to his Halloween Town look, and made his mouth cat-like.
--We heard that the Toy Story world forms also took a lot of back-and-forth with Pixar.
Nomura: Yes. At one point, there was a time when they were going to look like pixel characters. Like pixel art made 3D. As we adjusted them to look more realistic, they began to look more like figurines - which is how they ended up with their current look.
--- There was another scene in the trailer that piqued our interest. The current Riku was sitting with someone who looked exactly like a younger Riku... Is that the Replica?
Nomura: Who knows? He may be an illusion (laughs).
--We are sure there have been many difficulties since development was first announced in 2013. For example, the game engine was switched from an in-house one to Unreal Engine 4.
Nomura: Yeah, that's right. However, the Unreal Engine 4 has a substantial library, and Epic Games helped us a lot with how to use it, so in some regards that part was actually quite easy. Of course, there are merits to using our own company's game engine - but if we had, then progress on the game itself would have been tied to expansion of the engine. Then, the number of things we'd have had to watch would have kept growing. For that reason, although changing the game engine did increase the length of development, I am still very glad that we are using Unreal Engine 4.
--What were your impressions upon hearing the completed song?
Nomura: "Hikari," for example, was a straightforward song, but "Chikai" isn't strong in a way that smacks you from the beginning. Instead, thanks to the complexity of its composition, it has a strength that pierces deeper and deeper into you the more you listen to it. I think it's a beautiful song.
Thanks Zip for the heads up!