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News ► GameInformer interviews Hazama, Suzui, and Nomura about Melody of Memory



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Oracle Spockanort

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GameInformer recently had the chance to speak to KINGDOM HEARTS series producer Ichiro Hazama, KINGDOM HEARTS series director Tetsuya Nomura, and KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory co-director Masanobu Suzui about how the upcoming rhythm action game came to be, why Melody of Memory is part of the main franchise and not a Theathrythm spin-off, and what Kairi's role is in Melody of Memory's story.

Five year ago, Hazama and Suzui discussed making a Theathrythm Kingdom Hearts game and had started developing planning documents to present, but they found that there were difficulties in bringing it to life. A few years ago, Nomura and Disney were in their own disucssions about a rhythm game and the decision on how to do the project fell onto Hazama and Suzui. 

When it comes to how they decided to approach melding the game mechanics of KINGDOM HEARTS and the long-running story to a rhythm game, this is what Suzui had to say:

Suzui: [...] We [wanted to] incorporate those fun elements of play and make sure that we are leveraging the game mechanics of the original game, as well as bringing in Kingdom Hearts’ stylish action and incorporating the rich story behind it, especially the world settings that we've established in our series titles. We asked, “How do we leverage and keep the integrity of that?” That was our foundation for our approach.

From there, we thought, ‘Okay, so we're going to build this from the ground up and we're going to bring this as a brand new title.’ That's why we decided we're going to change up the name and we weren't going to carry over the Theatrhythm title. We thought it would be appropriate and proper to have that Kingdom Hearts name. That's how we moved along with the development of it. We all had the same understanding amongst our team members that this is not a Theatrhythm game. Nomura-san also [felt] that way, so he came up with a really nice name for this title and a really nice key art as well, and we kind of expanded from there.

Melody of Memory does not feature any new music or remixes—instead, the game boasts a large library of iconic and beloved songs throughout the franchise. They could not put in tons of music from later titles like KINGDOM HEARTS 3 because of the sheer amount of songs, but they believe they have chosen the best songs that represent the series to its fullest. 

There is a leveling system which increases the player's HP and attack power, making game overs less likely as you progress through the game. Online battles feature "tricks", a mechanic where you trigger skills and various surprises that can trip up the other player while in online battles. 

When asked about Kairi's role in Melody of Memory's story, Nomura discussed how Kairi serves as the narrator as she reflects on the the past of KINGDOM HEARTS.

Nomura: So Kairi is going to be our storyteller so to speak – what she is doing is reflecting upon the previous iteration and the history of the narrative. She is going to be talking about all of what happens within Kingdom Hearts and she's going to be bringing you through this story. And so her positioning...  I'm afraid we can't delve too far into details, because it will be quite a bit of a spoiler and she is relevant to a very big part of the plot. But what she does tell through her recollection is not just the experiences that she went through, but it's all the experiences that her allies and the party members had experienced throughout the story as well. And once we go through the story of recollection and beyond that, we start to see a timeline that will connect to the future.

This game's story is not as long as a regular KINGDOM HEARTS game's story, and Nomura is quick to emphasize that even though there is new story in this game, this game will not significantly move the plot forward. Fans will be given a chance to see things from Kairi's point of view after KINGDOM HEARTS 3 Re Mind and give a glimpse into her past.

Read the full interview on GameInformer

 
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Muke

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I mean that idea sounds good. Would‘ve been better if they just made us play as Kairi through past events? Her knowing about literally everything makes just as little sense. She could‘ve been a phantom or something idk Nomura could‘ve thought of something
 

Dast

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I am glad that the amount of plot has been clarified so I won't be disappointed with what there is. I am looking forward to it.
 

Zettaflare

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MoM not advancing the plot much makes some sense since it deals with Xehanort's final scheme instead of the Foretellers
 

SweetYetSalty

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I'm glad they told us the importance of this story. I'm still getting the game though and I still think at least something surprising will happen. So I will not be rushing through the game for story bits Like I was for KH3.
 

ShardofTruth

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So if Melody of Memory does not feature any new music or remixes , this probably means the bonus cd for pre-ordering it together with the KHIII soundtrack contains the Dearly Beloved and probably a Chikai variation.
 

Zettaflare

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But that's not to say that the MoM won't be involved in some way, shape, or form, right? Or did I miss something?
He could show up, but I'm not really expecting it. Think that a memory version of Apprentice Xehanort will be the only antagonistic force
 

Dast

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I don't expect the hooded figure to be the MoM but I still hope there's at least a tease about what his plans will be for the future. A recap game could be good to give a hint for it as the idea is that the whole Dark Seeker saga has actually all been part of the MoM's wider plan.
 

Cumguardian69

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sixty bones for a mini-title with Kairi as a narrator instead of the main character? Jesus Christ Nomura. This type of shit is why people argue the price of rhythm games with rehashed assets.
 

welken

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And so her positioning... I'm afraid we can't delve too far into details, because it will be quite a bit of a spoiler and she is relevant to a very big part of the plot.

The main character's relevant to a part of the plot? Who but Kairi could warrant such a clarification.

It's a shame there are no remixes. KH has always had a stamp of house music since opening with the Simple & Clean PlanitB mix, and now there's Skrillex. It would've been a good opportunity to bring more electronica to the series, and would have fit the hallway-highway visuals of the game. New MIDI work from Shimomura would have been awesome, and I'm sure there are many musicians who would have loved to collaborate on KH.

Anyway, I appreciate the transparency with this release. I don't feel like I'll miss anything by skipping it and catching the cutscenes online.
 

KeybladeLordSora

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So while it will move the plot forward, it won't be in a big way.

Good on Nomura for clarifying it.

And Kairi being the narrator instead of Sora or Mickey or whatever is a good move imo
 

Sephiroth0812

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I mean that idea sounds good. Would‘ve been better if they just made us play as Kairi through past events? Her knowing about literally everything makes just as little sense. She could‘ve been a phantom or something idk Nomura could‘ve thought of something

It does make sense if you count in Naminé and I do hope Nomura remembers that as well.
Tracing of connected memories and stuff is exactly Naminé's turf so she could provide Kairi with the necessary information and pointers to the memories of the others.

They are all connected through Sora which gives Naminé the chance to access these memories of the other main characters. Most of the other characters are also connected among themselves so with their consent (which I imagine will be readily given as it serves to try and find Sora) Naminé and Kairi can travel trough/visit the memories of the others without much problems and it is easily explainable with in-universe logic.

The prize question is if Nomura remembers that and utilizes it or if he brings just yet another new concept/plot device to bear no one else has ever heard of before.
 

Sign

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It does make sense if you count in Naminé and I do hope Nomura remembers that as well.
Tracing of connected memories and stuff is exactly Naminé's turf so she could provide Kairi with the necessary information and pointers to the memories of the others.

They are all connected through Sora which gives Naminé the chance to access these memories of the other main characters. Most of the other characters are also connected among themselves so with their consent (which I imagine will be readily given as it serves to try and find Sora) Naminé and Kairi can travel trough/visit the memories of the others without much problems and it is easily explainable with in-universe logic.

The prize question is if Nomura remembers that and utilizes it or if he brings just yet another new concept/plot device to bear no one else has ever heard of before.
Nomura: "Who's Namine"
 

Oracle Spockanort

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Dast

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I think changing the narrator to Kairi was a good move too. Still, it would have been nice to see Chirithy sat on the throne :p
 

AdrianXXII

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Good to know the scope of the game. Figure that in regards to story it'll probably not add much more than 0.2 or Re:Mind did, probably less even, though we might get a new framing of past events from Kairi's pov which I'm more than interested in hearing.
 
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