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News ► ICYMI: Famitsu World of Tres Interview with Kingdom Hearts 3 Composers, Voice Actor, Director



trapped in revamp hell
Staff member
Nov 1, 2009

In case you missed it, goldpanner has translated Famitsu's December interview with Composers Yoko Shimomura, Tsuyoshi Sekito and Takeharu Ishimoto, voice actor Miyu Irino, and Director Tetsuya Nomura.

New elements in KHIII Re Mind—Playing with Meow Wow, Impact of Xehanort

After various talks, we got some new info on KHIII Re:mind! "I'll put this out there first of all: we are releasing a KHIII re:mind trailer in December. The trailer itself is already finished, but we can't show it here. So, instead I will talk about three elements that aren't included in the trailer," said Nomura. He then went on to explain the following new elements, along with visuals:

・Data Greeting
An expanded version of photo mode. You can freely set up characters, objects and effects and take pictures. You can select several characters to use, and give them set poses, expressions and the like. A picture of Xehanort playing with Meow Wow was shown at the event, which knocked everyone over! Even Irino got very excited, saying, "Wow! That's a rare one!" The draw is that you are able to take photos of situations that could not happen in the main story.

・Slide Show
You can display the photos you have taken in a series set to music you have selected. You can enjoy putting lots of photos to your favorite tracks from the game!

・Premium Menu
There's a setting that lets you take enemies out in one hit that makes you feel like a boss. There's also a reverse one where you die it you take one hit, one where your HP and MP slowly decrease during the battle, one that blocks the use of cure and items: various ways to put conditions on gameplay. "No cure!? That would train you to think about how you're going to clear levels…" (Irino). There are a huge variety of settings for you to try, including ones that will make the game super easy as well as super hard. Since it's not an overall difficulty level mode like "normal" or "proud," you can tweak the settings in depth in-game. But, you will need to fulfill conditions such as clear missions to unlock more settings. "I recorded lots of different battle cries for KHIII, like heh, yah, oh, and the like - I hope you enjoy hearing all the different ones" (Irino).


After the Osaka Performance: Interview With the KH Music Team

――The Osaka afternoon show has just finished. How do you feel right now?

Shimomura: To be back in Japan after touring the world, and to be back in my hometown Osaka at that, made me feel relieved. Japanese fans are a lot more quiet as they listen compared to fans in other countries, which is a little unnerving at first as you aren't sure how the performance is being received. But, when I scanned the people in the seats, I saw smiles, and some people nodding along as they listened. Seeing that was a balm to the soul. I think the concert went well.

Ishimoto: I am so nervous going onto the stage. I'm still not used to it.

――We couldn't tell at all (laughs).

Ishimoto: That's because I'm doing my best not to let it show. But, the truth is my palms are super sweaty. Sometimes I want to say a funny ice breaker, but that's not the vibe of this concert (laughs).

Sekito: Osaka is my hometown too, but I'm ignorant about music so I hadn't heard of the Osaka Symphony Orchestra.

Shimomura: Ignorant about music, he says (laughs).

Sekito: The power the Osaka Symphony Orchestra has to represent emotion through their performance is tremendous. I really wanted to tell everyone in the audience how amazing they are, but I was too nervous on stage and I wasn't able to express myself well. So, I'll say it now (laughs).

Shimomura: They really were truly amazing.

――Did you feel any differences between the Osaka performance and the Tokyo performance in April?

Ishimoto: I was too nervous to feel anything (laughs).

Shimomura: The hall we used was more compact compared to the Tokyo performance, so I felt physically closer to the audience.

――Why do you think the music of KH attracts fans from all over the world?

Shimomura: The games have grand scale stories that can get a little complex at times, but it is all built on the foundation of connections, or love, things that everyone can feel and are easy to understand. That's my own personal interpretation of the appeal or the games. Much of the music I made is like this - the fun tunes are super fun, the sad ones are sad from start to finish - fairly simple, or so I think. I feel that this straightforwardness is why so many people connect with it.

Ishimoto: I think it's the large number of worlds. The vibe of each world is very different, which gives the game the spice of variety. This element is something I think attracts people to the series, and it extends to the music.

Shimomura: Even though that large number of worlds is really hard to write music for (laughs).

Ishimoto: This game is rich in variation - it's not just a bright and cheerful game, but it's not a dark game either. It covers the wide range of human emotions, which I think draws people in.

――Lastly, you're heading towards the tour finale, the December performance in Yokohama. How does it feel?

Sekito: They often say games are a collaborative art, and so was this orchestral concert; it was thanks to the cooperation of the composers, orchestraters, conductors, performers, and those who worked on the high quality video elements that made this music event so exceptional. I hope that this leads to many more people taking interest in orchestral concerts, and attending the regular performances by this orchestra. I believe that when you listen live, you don't only hear the music with your ears, you also feel it with your skin. I really hope more people come and experience it for themselves.

Ishimoto: I think this concert is worth attending, even for people who don't usually do such things. I've heard that these days it is hard to get people to go to the effort of buying tickets and physically visiting concerts and live shows. They say it's because people can now watch recordings easily on platforms like YouTube, which lets them feel like they attended. But, the the only way to experience the sounds player by the performers as they vibrate through the air and into your ears is to be there yourself. Plus, this concert won't be released as footage, so one draw is that it is a rare experience you can only have if you go.

Shimomura: My parents, relatives and friends - people who didn't know anything about the KH series - attended this concert, and all of them told me with big grins how much fun it was. I think that means it's enjoyable even if you don't know the games. Though I guess they wouldn't tell me it was boring to my face (laughs). I've heard stories like "I came along with someone and I got really into it" not just from my family, and stories of people who after seeing the KH concert were inspired to go see other concerts. Whenever I hear stories like that I really feel that this concert is something anyone can enjoy, and it makes me so happy that it has gotten people into the world of KH and music itself. We have been doing Kingdom Hearts concerts for about three years if you count the 2016 brass band concert “KINGDOM HEARTS Concert -First Breath-”. This Yokohama performance is going to be a compilation of everything we gave done so far, so if you have even a little interest please come and watch.

"A concert that feels like joining Sora on his adventure" ――interview with Irino (Sora VA) ー

――Firstly, tell us your impressions from seeing the Osaka performance. Also, did you go see the April Tokyo performance?

Irino: No, and actually this was my first time attending a KH series official concert. As a plain old fan, I was extremely moved listening to music from the KH series live. I have been involved with this series for about 17 years, and when I hear music from the oldest games all kids of memories and feelings from those days come flooding back to me. Music from KINGDOM HEARTS includes the Station of Awakening, Destiny Islands, Traverse Town… it's like an abridged version of each world, isn't it? Memories from those early times came rushing back to me - the whole time I was listening at the concert, I was thinking what a truly valuable experience it was.

――As you said on stage, you have been involved in the KH series for over half your life. Which song from the series comes with the deepest memories?

Irino: I have memories for all of them, but I think I have to say the version of "Hikari" used at the end of the first game, and then the piece that follows it for the staff credits, "March Caprice for Piano and Orchestra." They are connected to my emotions from the first time I ever saw my own name in credits, which gives them the deepest memories.

――It sounds like the first KH game left you with strong memories.

Irino: Yeah. There are lots of wonderful pieces of music throughout the series, but the first game is still very special to me. I felt that all over again watching the concert.

――Did any of the songs feel different to you heard live?

Irino: The battle music did… You are in your own world when you're battling in the game, so you don't tend to really pay attention to the music, right (laughs). So hearing it performed live, with a video as well, allowed me to focus on it and notice the charm of the battle music.

――The Dark Seeker Saga, which began with the memory-rich KH1 and finished with KH3, has come to a conclusion. What are your thoughts looking back at the KH series?

Irino: At the beginning of Kingdom Hearts, Sora is just a boy who lives on an island. He has no idea what battles await, he is just enjoying each day. Similarly, at the time I was working as part of a theater group, but I'd never really had the goal to play a lead role. Just like Sora, I was a boy who just enjoyed life in the moment. Then Sora gets the Keyblade, and I got the role of Sora in Kingdom Hearts… I feel as though Sora and I have been moving forward together. He has met all kinds of characters, and they have supported him - just like the peers and elders I have met and who have supported me so far. It's like Sora and I have shared a journey. We've been together for a long time too, so he's special to me.

――The other day, a KHIII VR experience was released. I think it had inspired many people to lick up the games. We know you have finished KH3 - what do you think the appeal of the game is?

Irino: I think there are a lot of people who don't like to start a long running series with the newest gane. But, each world has its own easy to understand story, and I think the setting is something anyone can enjoy. You can pull off exhilarating action with ease, too. I know that the story has become more and more complicated as the series has progressed, but Sora himself doesn't really understand stuff, and is just reacting to what is happening in the moment. If you hear something that confuses you, he is probably confused too (laughs). First time players: you'll be following Sora on his adventure, experiencing things with him, and the story will come to you naturally. If you do become interested in finding out what happened in the past in more detail, then please play the older games.

――Finally, please sum up the appeal of this concert tour as per your experience at the Osaka performance.

Irino: This concert allows you to follow along with and experience the entire KH series. I myself enjoyed the sensation of the journey and all the memories it came with. That sensation is something you can only get from participating in a concert for real. I don't think you will regret joining. The December Yokohama performance is your last chance. Please come and enjoy Sora's journey along with a unique live performance.

"All will be announced in the December trailer"――Tetsuya Nomura interviewー

――You weren't planning to attend the Osaka performance, but not only did you come, you even brought us new info!

Nomura: I wasn't planning to come, so I was going to ask Irino to give a message. I was in a hurry with all the new info I wanted to share, but as I started writing the explanation and the message, I realised that there was way too much to make Irino say. So, I decided to entrust (Ichiro) Hazama with the message. But then the videos weren't ready and needed work all the way up to the day before, and I decided perhaps it would be best if I explained it all myself. It wasn't decided that I would go until the night before.

――The KH series so far feels less like a single drawn line and more energetic. The audience broke out into laughter several times.

Nomura: The new December trailer is packed with additional battle scenes and cutscenes and the like, in the same fashion as the other trailers so far. The stuff I introduced this time didn't get into the trailer, because it wouldn't fit. The Premium Menu settings need proper explanation, it would be very hard to grasp just from footage. And, if we had put the Slideshow in the trailer and people had confused that content for new scenes, it would have caused headaches (laughs). I thought that explaining it on stage would avoid misunderstanding, which is why I presented it there.

――We are looking forward to what kinds of photos fans post, now that they can set up particular shots.

Nomura: The camera mode was popular, and I saw many people saying they wished they had been able to take pictures with such and such character, so I decided to add a feature where you can snap situations with the characters you want.

――It seems the more passionate you are about the series, the more fun it will be.

Nomura: The one thing is, we won't be able to increase the number of photos you can save, since it is connected to the volume of the save file.

――So, people should save any pictures they don't want to lose externally… Also, you're adding a Premium Menu, which allows you to select various settings to make the game either super easy, super hard, or set yourself certain limits. It looks like you can fine tune the battle settings.

Nomura: Originally, I had been saying I wanted to add a level of difficulty above Critical. I wanted to make something with the instant-death nerve-wracking atmosphere of Bushido Blade (※A fighting game which involved one-hit deaths, released by Square, now Square Enix, March 14 1997).

――That's nostalgic (laughs).

Nomura: But, I was told that if we made something like that, most likely nobody would be able to clear the game. So, we decided to give the players the ability to adjust various settings.

――So those who want to experience the nerve-wracking feelings of a one-hit-kill mode can turn on that setting.

Nomura: The game wasn't originally designed with that in mind, so we haven't made it that extreme, but it's possible to create settings that require a very high level of skill and confidence to beat.

――Did even the development staff find it hard to beat!?

Nomura: It's currently getting high praise from the debuggers. I think it will make for a wider variety of speed runs. Also, I know there are some players who found even the Beginner difficulty mode difficult, so we also prepared the option to make the game super easy. You can experience both ends of the spectrum.

――Can you adjust the Premium Meny at any time during play?

Nomura: The Premium Meny is unlocked at a certain point during the opening story. After that, you can adjust it to your heart's content at any time.

――For example, if I'm playing on Critical mode, and there's an enemy I just can't defeat, can I fiddle with the Premium Menu…?

Nomura: Yes. It's not connected to the difficulty mode.

――You said a new trailer is coming in December. Is this going to be the last trailer for Re Mind?

Nomura: Yes. This trailer will include the release date and other such information. The fragments of clips you've seen of the new story added with Re Mind may have made you think it's taking place during the main story of KHIII, but it's set after the ending, and is separate. The story of KHIII was concluded in that game. There are two layers, victory and defeat, and perhaps this is what should be called a third layer. It does come during the time of the KHIII main game, but I think perceptive fans will, after playing, feel how it is a different beast from the main game.