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News ► KHDestiny & KHisland Interviews Tetsuya Nomura at Japan Expo!



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Oracle Spockanort

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Our good friends at KHDestiny and KHisland had the opportunity to interview Series Director Tetsuya Nomura at Japan Expo this past week about the upcoming HD remaster, KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 1.5 ReMIX-, the long awaited KINGDOM HEARTS III, as well as development on the series thus far. With permission, we've translated their interview for you to read below, and hope you enjoy!

 

We are very happy to meet you and we want to thank you for this interview.

Nomura : The pleasure is mine.

• Last year, you were not able to attend Japan Expo and instead drew up an exclusive promotional image for KINGDOM HEARTS 3D [Dream Drop Distance] for the French fans. Tomorrow you'll be on stage to talk about KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 1.5 ReMIX-. I think many fans will be delighted to see you in France! How do you feel about the conference tomorrow?

Nomura : At the moment we can not reveal tomorrow's presentation in detail, but I think what you'll see will be very exciting. Yesterday I was in the audience at the Final Fantasy conference and it was really busy. So I was a little nervous, imagining that so many people at the KINGDOM HEARTS conference tomorrow.

Ten years after his first adventure, Sora is back in HD on PlayStation 3. How do you feel seeing Kingdom Hearts, the first game of the series, appearing in high definition?

Nomura : When we first announced the HD remaster, the audience thought it was simply an update of the game, but it's not so easy to create a game in HD. KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 1.5 REMIX- took several years to rebuild the game so it's not an easy task. When I saw the final product, I really thought it was beautiful, much more than what I expected, so I'm very proud of this HD version. Even if the original game was released more than 10 years ago, the end result gives the impression that this is a new game that players will genuinely enjoy. I'm sure they will not believe it is a 10 year old game. This is why we decided to create this remaster, but also to pay tribute to the team that accompanied me during the development of the first KINGDOM HEARTS, comprised of talented and clever people. I can still feel their passion and I am very proud.

KINGDOM HEARTS Final Mix and KINGDOM HEARTS Re: Chain of Memories are finally arriving in Europe. Regarding KINGDOM HEARTS HD 1.5 ReMIX, did you intend from the beginning to offer these two new games to Western audiences?

Nomura : As you said, KINGDOM HEARTS Final Mix was released in Japan, and Re: CoM in the U.S. but not in Europe. But the last 10 years I've been thinking about how to make these new games available in other regions. Of course, the KINGDOM HEARTS series has many fans outside of Japan, so we took the opportunity to offer players the Western Final Mix version of KINGDOM HEARTS and KINGDOM HEARTS Re: CoM. Since the first KINGDOM HEARTS was released over 10 years ago, this means that some fans have never played the original version. So it was a great opportunity to allow all players to play the same version of the game and take the story in its infancy.

• We know that you would have liked KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days to be completely remade, as was CoM with Re:CoM. In the end, the game is told in the form of videos. Was it your goal to increase the intensity of the story through expressions with more detailed characters?

Nomura : The KINGDOM HEARTS license has already existed for 10 years, and my goal with this remaster was to allow all players to better understand the history of the series and how the games are linked together, which is the reason we added the plot of KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days. I really wanted to offer a playable version of this game but we announced the development of KINGDOM HEARTS III last month at E3, and it became our priority at the moment. Instead, we opted for a narrated version of the story of 358/2 Days.

• KINGDOM HEARTS HD is a link between the previous KINGDOM HEARTS and KINGDOM HEARTS III. Do you plan to expand the work to include HD remasters of other titles within the KINGDOM HEARTS series, such as Birth by Sleep, KINGDOM HEARTS II and Re:coded, seen in the credits of KINGDOM HEARTS HD?

Nomura : Of course, we will spend some time working on them before the release of KINGDOM HEARTS III. Unfortunately, there is nothing more I can say on the subject at this time.

• The Cloud Service system of the PlayStation 4 will allow players to experience titles originally released on PlayStation 1, 2 and 3. Are there any plans to utilize this system to allow owners of the PS4 to play KINGDOM HEARTS HD?

Nomura : We did not even think about the issue because our priority at the moment is the development of KINGDOM HEARTS III. Additionally, we are working on the next KINGDOM HEARTS HD remaster, which is our second priority. We have nothing planned about it for now.

• You created the surprise by announcing KINGDOM HEARTS III at E3. Concealed in the credits of KINGDOM HEARTS 3D, there was a message that read - "This leads to KINGDOM HEARTS" with the figure III formed by Sora and Riku - was this intentional to create a teaser for KH3?

Nomura : Of course, it was our goal! (Laughs)

• You said that the announcement of KINGDOM HEARTS III was necessary but may be premature. How far along is the game development on this title?

Nomura : This is the first next-gen game developed in our studios in recent years by the team in Osaka who have been working on titles for portable consoles. This is a whole new experience for this team working on next-gen consoles and it takes some time to master. However, with that said, it's not as if we just started development.

But contrary to what you can imagine, we have no playable build of the game at the moment because it will take some time to test all the new features that will be in Kingdom Hearts III. Again, the team so far has worked on titles on portable console with limited capacity, but they already have many interesting ideas for Kingdom Hearts III, and it is difficult to test each of these elements to determine which will ultimately be retained. So for now, we are more in a test phase.

• The press release for KINGDOM HEARTS III unveiled by Square Enix discusses the search for the "Key to Return Hearts." Is there anything you can tell us about that?

Nomura : There are two possible meanings of the "key." One of which is the “hardware” key, which opens doors - this is what keys are in general (laughs), and the other is the “light” key, that opens something else. In this case, it is currently unknown as to which type of key Sora must find. This is the main storyline of KINGDOM HEARTS III - Sora must go on an adventure to find the "key" without knowing what or where it is. But as you know, we can’t really say anything else on the subject (laughs).

• In the trailer for KINGDOM HEARTS III, we saw an EX gauge. What can you tell us about it? Is it a final element of gameplay or just an early concept?

Nomura : The gameplay seen in the E3 trailer has not been finalized. As I said earlier, we are in the testing phase and this version of gameplay was one of the features being tested at that time. What you have seen in the KINGDOM HEARTS III trailer was a more successful version of a test version. but the final elements of gameplay depended on the "Kingdom Shader" greatly change the game according to the environment in which progresses the characters. You will see the differences in each world, it will be really interesting.

• In KINGDOM HEARTS 3D, Sora does not become a Keyblade Master. Because Sora is one of your favorite characters, was it difficult for you to put him in this position or choice due to KINGDOM HEARTS III? And with Kairi, will she and Sora ever achieve the Mark of Mastery?

Nomura : I thought a lot about whether Sora was to become Keyblade Master or not. But because I always wanted Sora to relate to the players, if he became Master, it would have meant he would have really reached a very high level and it is not yet ready for it, and we do not want that to happen. The decision to not make Sora a Keyblade Master was not really difficult, but I thought it was better that he remains an ordinary boy to be closer to the players.

About Kairi, we really considered the question but we can not say anything about it yet. During the summit announcement at E3, we did not mention Kairi at all. We will share information when we are ready, so please be patient during the wait (laughs). And of course, there is the matter of the other Keyblade Bearer at the end of KINGDOM HEARTS 3D. Unfortunately we are not allowed to disclose the details of this character presently.

• Currently, Sora and Riku have developed many skills. In every KINGDOM HEARTS title, you have always managed to explain why the main characters like Sora are starting from scratch in terms of their skills. Do you have an idea for why this would occur in KINGDOM HEARTS III?

Nomura : As I said, we are currently doing a lot of testing on KINGDOM HEARTS III. There are many amazing things that you still have not seen, as the actions that the main characters will perform. It will be really exciting and impressive. As you know, we have developed many new features in KINGDOM HEARTS 3D with very fast movements. It was sort of what we were hoping for KINGDOM HEARTS III, and with that you could say Dream Drop Distance was a test for this game. The gameplay of KINGDOM HEARTS III will be an improved version of the KINGDOM HEARTS 3D. This is truly amazing and never seen in any existing action game.

• What is the creative process in choosing worlds for KINGDOM HEARTS? Do you start development with some worlds already in mind, or are there guidelines to follow for consistency with the previous games, or possibly requests from Disney?

Nomura : Several factors come into play. First off, Disney will sometimes offer us ideas of worlds to integrate, and then there are the worlds that I really want to include personally in KINGDOM HEARTS III. I also think of the worlds of the previous games in order to maintain consistency in the story. My team will not hesitate to provide suggestions for their own ideas. After deciding what worlds will be present, we start planning the conduct of the story in these worlds but also to make them interesting and fun for the players.

• In selecting worlds, are you interested only in Disney movies that have already been released or do you also consider future productions, such as "Frozen"?

Nomura : Of course, it is possible to include the worlds from future Disney productions. We currently have some ideas for the worlds of KINGDOM HEARTS III that we cannot speak about. Until the game’s release, new Disney productions will continue to emerge and we'll see in time with Disney for the possible integration of these films.

• The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One offers interesting features such as voice recognition, motion detection or the use of touch with the PSVita and Xbox SmartGlass. Do you plan to exploit these opportunities for your games? What is your opinion on these technologies?

Nomura : We would like to incorporate these features in KINGDOM HEARTS III. The one that we find most interesting is the voice recognition. I think it would be great to be able to control Donald and Goofy through voice command to tell them what to do. Wouldn’t that be nice? (Laughs).

• Has the collaboration with Disney evolved over the last ten years? We recently saw John Pleasants, Co-President of Disney Interactive, at the Future of Final Fantasy conference held by Square Enix at E3, and KINGDOM HEARTS III will be present at D23 Expo Japan. Disney seems to be well involved in the development process of the KINGDOM HEARTS series. 

Nomura : Regarding D23 Expo Japan, this is the first time that Disney holds such an event outside the U.S., so it is a great honor for us to be invited. I’m very happy that we have the opportunity to hold a special conference for KINGDOM HEARTS. I really want to make a surprise announcement for this event but it is currently under discussion, so we’ll see (laughs). Since we announced KINGDOM HEARTS III at E3, we cannot make another announcement for the same game. Hopefully you will see soon enough.

I'm very shy; I do not like being on stage in front of lots of people and will usually say “no” to this kind of opportunity. But for this event, which promises to be important, I am very honored to be on stage. Concerning the Japan Expo, I do not have a habit to speak to the fans, even in Japan. I've never done before, so this will be the first time in Europe that I will deal with European fans. And it will be my first time addressing the Japanese fans at D23.

• When the first KINGDOM HEARTS was released, we did not know that the series would continue over the years to reach its tenth birthday. The story chronicles the Seeker of Darkness has it developed progressively games, or did you have in mind an idea of the overall story of this saga from the beginning?

Nomura : When I created the first KINGDOM HEARTS, I did not have a clear vision of the history of the Seeker of Darkness, but I was already thinking of the KINGDOM HEARTS II and Chain of Memories. I knew at that time that there were two additional games after the first KINGDOM HEARTS. Later, when I finished KINGDOM HEARTS Chain of Memories, I had other plans: Birth by Sleep, 358/2 Days and coded. This is kind of what happened in the history of the series: I did not have a clear idea of the whole story from the beginning, but it is built over time.

About the history of the Seeker of Darkness, I knew long ago that it would end in KINGDOM HEARTS III, and also, I've always wanted so KINGDOM HEARTS III on a console. The reason for the announcement of this title took us so long, is that some things that we wanted to add in the game asked us some time to think before making a decision. More details will be announced shortly.

• In KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 1.5 ReMIX-, we have the pleasure of discovering re-orchestrated versions of original music. What motivated this choice?

Nomura : This is not something I asked for, but rather a request from the musical team and Yoko Shimomura. Since the graphics have been improved in high definition, the musical team wondered, "Why don’t we also make an improved version of the music?"

• Do you have a final message for the fans?

Nomura : First, I really want to apologize to European fans not being able to offer them KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories for so long. I'm really sorry about that. Also for KINGDOM HEARTS Final Mix, there are new scenes connecting with the rest of the story, so again, I apologize to European and American fans. My apologies also cover additional battles found within Final Mix, including the fight against the unknown black coat you have not benefited. I'm sure you're wondering why you have not had the opportunity to enjoy this version, I'm really sorry again.

But this time, the visual aspect is reworked, the graphics are high definition, and the soundtrack was re-orchestrated. As I said at the beginning of this interview, it's a game out there for over 10 years and yet we do not feel like it’s been that long. I'm sure fans of the series and new players who have never played the first game, KINGDOM HEARTS, will enjoy this HD 1.5 ReMIX. And most importantly, before the release of KINGDOM HEARTS III, I wanted all players to be able to enjoy the story of KINGDOM HEARTS as a whole. This really is the purpose of this remaster and I really hope the fans will enjoy playing.

 

thedairyfairy

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this was actually a really good interview to read. good questions. haven't really seen that in a while
 

Chaser

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KINGDOM HEARTS HD is a link between the previous KINGDOM HEARTS and KINGDOM HEARTS III. Do you plan to expand the work to include HD remasters of other titles within the KINGDOM HEARTS series, such as Birth by Sleep, KINGDOM HEARTS II and Re:coded, seen in the credits of KINGDOM HEARTS HD?

Nomura : Of course, we will spend some time working on them before the release of KINGDOM HEARTS III. Unfortunately, there is nothing more I can say on the subject at this time.

Additionally, we are working on the next KINGDOM HEARTS HD remaster, which is our second priority. We have nothing planned about it for now.

Bring on KH 2.5 at TGS!

The press release for KINGDOM HEARTS III unveiled by Square Enix discusses the search for the "Key to Return Hearts." Is there anything you can tell us about that?

Nomura : There are two possible meanings of the "key." One of which is the “hardware” key, which opens doors - this is what keys are in general (laughs), and the other is the “light” key, that opens something else. In this case, it is currently unknown as to which type of key Sora must find. This is the main storyline of KINGDOM HEARTS III - Sora must go on an adventure to find the "key" without knowing what or where it is. But as you know, we can’t really say anything else on the subject (laughs).
I bet it's Kairi :p

What is the creative process in choosing worlds for KINGDOM HEARTS? Do you start development with some worlds already in mind, or are there guidelines to follow for consistency with the previous games, or possibly requests from Disney?

Nomura : Several factors come into play. First off, Disney will sometimes offer us ideas of worlds to integrate, and then there are the worlds that I really want to include personally in KINGDOM HEARTS III. I also think of the worlds of the previous games in order to maintain consistency in the story. My team will not hesitate to provide suggestions for their own ideas. After deciding what worlds will be present, we start planning the conduct of the story in these worlds but also to make them interesting and fun for the players.


• In selecting worlds, are you interested only in Disney movies that have already been released or do you also consider future productions, such as "Frozen"?


Nomura : Of course, it is possible to include the worlds from future Disney productions. We currently have some ideas for the worlds of KINGDOM HEARTS III that we cannot speak about. Until the game’s release, new Disney productions will continue to emerge and we'll see in time with Disney for the possible integration of these films.
This is beautiful insight into the world selection process. Glad to see we'll get some more recent movies in there *cough*Tangled*/cough*

• The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One offers interesting features such as voice recognition, motion detection or the use of touch with the PSVita and Xbox SmartGlass. Do you plan to exploit these opportunities for your games? What is your opinion on these technologies?

Nomura : We would like to incorporate these features in KINGDOM HEARTS III. The one that we find most interesting is the voice recognition. I think it would be great to be able to control Donald and Goofy through voice command to tell them what to do. Wouldn’t that be nice? (Laughs).
I would be abusing Donald with that.
"DONALD diddlyING HEAL ME YOU PIECE OF SHIT. OH MY GOD YOU DID NOT JUST DIE AGAIN"

Nomura : When I created the first KINGDOM HEARTS, I did not have a clear vision of the history of the Seeker of Darkness, but I was already thinking of the KINGDOM HEARTS II and Chain of Memories.
That at least answers a dozen "Did Nomura have everything planned when making KH1" threads.

In KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 1.5 ReMIX-, we have the pleasure of discovering re-orchestrated versions of original music. What motivated this choice?

Nomura : This is not something I asked for, but rather a request from the musical team and Yoko Shimomura. Since the graphics have been improved in high definition, the musical team wondered, "Why don’t we also make an improved version of the music?"
I love this. Yoko wanted to remaster her music just because she wanted to ;A;

Nomura : First, I really want to apologize to European fans not being able to offer them KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories for so long. I'm really sorry about that. Also for KINGDOM HEARTS Final Mix, there are new scenes connecting with the rest of the story, so again, I apologize to European and American fans. My apologies also cover additional battles found within Final Mix, including the fight against the unknown black coat you have not benefited. I'm sure you're wondering why you have not had the opportunity to enjoy this version, I'm really sorry again.
Apology accepted Nomura. After all, you're only human ;A;
And we get the games on the PS3.
 

Sephiroth0812

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This interview has several very interesting tidbits, as Nomura practically indirectly confirmed HD 2.5 ReMix, spoke again of his usual shyness about attending big events, he officially recognizes the European fanbase (yay) and again also how developing the story was a gradual process and not something that was done all in advance just as a few examples.

Although I have to admit that his statement that he thought already about Birth by Sleep, Days and Coded when finishing Chain of Memories is new news for me. I was previously under the impression that he planned the "handheld"-trinity while working on KH 2 and not already right when he was done with CoM.

Thanks for the provided info, Master Spockanort and whoever was it that translated the interview. ^__^
 

TepidShark

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Glad to see someone finally asked him about 2.5. From his answers, it sounds like he is dodging until TGS or D23 Japan (when it will probably be officially announced at one of those.)

Neat that the hints in 3D (specifically the "This leads to Kingdom Hearts III") were in fact the hints fans thought they were. Good job us.

Cool that Nomura would give an interview to a Kingdom Hearts fansite especially one that isn't from Japan. A Kingdom Hearts fansite (especially one from the West) would probably tend to be more direct in their questioning then an outlet that covers all video games.
 
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XIII RoXaS XIII

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Nomura : We would like to incorporate these features in KINGDOM HEARTS III. The one that we find most interesting is the voice recognition. I think it would be great to be able to control Donald and Goofy through voice command to tell them what to do. Wouldn’t that be nice? (Laughs).

"DONALD! CURE!" i can already see me screaming at my tv lol
 

Fortissimo

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This is all very exciting!!! And the fact that he's hinting at a lot of the things people have been discussing in the forums gives a lot of reassurance. I'm just excited for more information coming. He's kept his promise about that.

And of course, there is the matter of the other Keyblade Bearer at the end of KINGDOM HEARTS 3D. Unfortunately we are not allowed to disclose the details of this character presently.
what???? Another keybearer?? I wonder what side she/he fights for. There's already 7GoL, unless some of the 7 discussed aren't casted for the part.

As I said, we are currently doing a lot of testing on KINGDOM HEARTS III. There are many amazing things that you still have not seen, as the actions that the main characters will perform. It will be really exciting and impressive. As you know, we have developed many new features in KINGDOM HEARTS 3D with very fast movements. It was sort of what we were hoping for KINGDOM HEARTS III, and with that you could say Dream Drop Distance was a test for this game. The gameplay of KINGDOM HEARTS III will be an improved version of the KINGDOM HEARTS 3D. This is truly amazing and never seen in any existing action game.


This is really nice because the fighting preBBS was kind of slow and getting boring. It will be nice to utilize the air, objects and surroundings to fight with. I'm still hoping for more variety in attacks and the return of command styles.

We would like to incorporate these features in KINGDOM HEARTS III. The one that we find most interesting is the voice recognition. I think it would be great to be able to control Donald and Goofy through voice command to tell them what to do. Wouldn’t that be nice? (Laughs).


I would just verbally abuse them.
jk
But this is also really cool. Like instead of pushing a button for a spell you could just say it, or command them to do a certain type of attack style or role in a fight. I kinda think it would be cool if they did incorporate a motion option in a mini game. You could get a key blade skin for a PSmove wand or something. idk just a thought.


Also the bit about re-orchestraing the soundtrack is really great news. KH already had a wonderful sound track but i feel like the updated version will just bring more emotion and intensity into the game.


Nomura : First, I really want to apologize to European fans not being able to offer them KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories for so long. I'm really sorry about that. Also for KINGDOM HEARTS Final Mix, there are new scenes connecting with the rest of the story, so again, I apologize to European and American fans. My apologies also cover additional battles found within Final Mix, including the fight against the unknown black coat you have not benefited. I'm sure you're wondering why you have not had the opportunity to enjoy this version, I'm really sorry again.


mmhmm
 

skyfoxx

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As I said, we are currently doing a lot of testing on KINGDOM HEARTS III. There are many amazing things that you still have not seen, as the actions that the main characters will perform. It will be really exciting and impressive. As you know, we have developed many new features in KINGDOM HEARTS 3D with very fast movements. It was sort of what we were hoping for KINGDOM HEARTS III, and with that you could say Dream Drop Distance was a test for this game. The gameplay of KINGDOM HEARTS III will be an improved version of the KINGDOM HEARTS 3D. This is truly amazing and never seen in any existing action game.

PLEEEEEASE let this mean that the final version use the Command Deck...... PLEEEASE!!! ;_;

what???? Another keybearer?? I wonder what side she/he fights for. There's already 7GoL, unless some of the 7 discussed aren't casted for the part.

I'm pretty sure he's talking about Lea. Because he DOES say "at the end of KH3D."
 
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Heartkeeper

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Very very good interview, thanks for the translation and thanks to the guys who made such a great questions.
 

Sign

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If you guys have twitters, send a shout out to KHDestiny and KHIsland for their great interview! Easily the best I've seen in a very long time, it's fantastic!
 

chefdiz19

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I would love to see some console features used. The gyroscope in the controllers used in mini-games. No Kinect or eye stuff. The touch pad might be cool, not sure what they would use it for though. It would be nice to be able to direct the party members battle strategy. "Trinity" for all out attack on one enemy and such. *laughs
 

jjrosales1996

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i just want a vita version of 1.5 kh i would love that so much but at least i have a ps3 to enjoy it
 

billyzanesucks

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Between better AI, building on 3D's gameplay, and [hopefully] commanding party members, I think Donald and Goofy are going to be pretty helpful in KHIII. It would be nice if Link Attacks and Styles appeared in some way as well; maybe Summons will work something like that.
 

king_mickey rule

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Very awesome interview! Best one I've seen in a long while, actually!

Also nice from Nomura to apologize for Re:CoM and the Final Mix games, seemed really genuine. Can't wait to see what this "surprise announcement" is. 2.5, maybe? Or Chi for other regions?
 

Lnds500

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Wow... :biggrin: This interview is amazing. The questions were spot-on. They touched upon a lot of topics that caused confusion (at last). Very "calming" answers as well.

I always thought games with party members should utilize voice-commands, it would be a life saver. Basically it's gonna use the same principles from the Δ command in KH1 and expand upon it. I missed that feature.

KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 1.5 REMIX- took several years to rebuild the game so it's not an easy task.

Several years?? :confused: I'm wondering if it cause of the missing data or because of management issues.

I really want to make a surprise announcement for this event but it is currently under discussion, so we’ll see (laughs). Since we announced KINGDOM HEARTS III at E3, we cannot make another announcement for the same game. Instead we will announce something else, which you will see soon enough.

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 or something different? Probably the first.

When I created the first KINGDOM HEARTS, I did not have a clear vision of the history of the Seeker of Darkness,

Well that didn't show at all. :rolleyes:

First, I really want to apologize to European fans not being able to offer them KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories for so long. I'm really sorry about that. Also for KINGDOM HEARTS Final Mix, there are new scenes connecting with the rest of the story, so again, I apologize to European and American fans. My apologies also cover additional battles found within Final Mix, including the fight against the unknown black coat you have not benefited. I'm sure you're wondering why you have not had the opportunity to enjoy this version, I'm really sorry again.

Apology accepted :redface:
 

ITeM21

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Even though this interview answered some, I still have some questions that need answering.

1. Will Lea, Aqua, and others be playable through the game's story?

2. Has the option of Final Fantasy summons become available in KH3?

3. Will there be a possibility of main villains who don't where black coats, and are in no way involved with Xehanort and Maleficent?

I hope you have the time to answer these soon Mr. Nomura.
 
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