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The annual Game Developers Conference is taking place this week in San Francisco, and Kingdom Hearts 3 Co-Director Tai Yasue is in attendance. Gameinformer's Kimberly Wallace had the opportunity to speak with Yasue about the game, delving into the reasons behind certain criticisms such as the low difficulty and lack of post-game content, as well as discussing his favorite moment.
One of the most well known aspects of Kingdom Hearts games is the Critical Mode difficulty option that accompanies major titles. They may be available right from the start, but more traditionally they are unlocked after completing the game once. So it came as quite a surprise when players discovered that not only was Critical Mode completely absent in Kingdom Hearts 3, but the difficulty all across the board had also been noticeably toned down.
Yasue admitted that he expected to receive a lot of feedback about the game being on the easy side, but that level was what the team was aiming for. They were targeting a specific audience, such as the younger generation who are being introduced to the franchise through Kingdom Hearts 3 without having played previous installments. Recent trends have indicated a signicficant decrease in players finishing games, regardless of the genre. If players struggle too much, they may be discouraged from continuing so the team wanted to ensure that as many players as possible would be able to play Kingdom Hearts 3 through to completion.
As for the lack of post-game content such as optional bosses, Yasue acknowledged the concerns, confirmimg that the team reads through all of the feedback and understand where players are coming from. Although they're not ready to reveal what exactly they have in store, he wants players to know that the minimal post-game content wasn't because they had to cut content, but they wanted to focus on the new Disney worlds and enhance the experience therein to the best of their abilities.
Kingdom Hearts is a series well known for its spectacles, and one of the biggest in Kingdom Hearts 3 was the 1000 Heartless (+ Nobody + Unversed) battle, due in part to the return of the Big Magic Railroad Attraction Flow. However, players will be surprised to hear that it actually hadn't been added to the battle by the time the master was completed. Big Magic Railroad was only used once before against the Rock Titan in Olympus so Yasue, feeling that it would provide a great conclusion to such a climactic moment, decided to add it in at the last minute.
But Yasue's favorite moment in the game was the ending sequence in the Keyblade Graveyard, facing a gauntlet of boss battles and reuniting with familiar characters. It was very emotional for Yasue, especially with the reunion of Terra, Aqua and Ventus. Birth by Sleep was one of the first Kingdom Hearts titles he worked on, and he recalls that working on it at the end when the three are separated was very upsetting. Many years later, he was finally able to bring them back together again, which made it a truly special moment.
Read the full interview on GameInformer.