GamesTM's December issue (#195) contained a small section on Kingdom Hearts 3 as part of their 'Japan Revival' section. Following on from that was an interview with Square Enix President, Yosuke Matsuda, who discussed various topics such as the creation of Tokyo RPG Factory all the way through to console gaming and simultanious global releases!
While there was no new information about Kingdom Hearts 3 in the 'Japan Revival' section, we have provided a partial transcript of the interview with Yosuke Matsuda. However we have omitted several questions and answers regarding irrelevant material, such as the development of Lost Sphear and Tokyo RPG Factory.
GamesTM: How do you see the health of the Japanese games industry; what trends are you tracking and how do you see them impacting the industry in the coming months?
Matsuda: In the Japanese industry, certainly at the moment, we see that mobile games are getting very big. A lot of people are suggesting that there is a problem there - and that maybe they are in for a fall soon - but I think the current state of mobile games is looking very good for Japan.
Certainly one thing we do see with the games industry now is that here is a much broader demographic range, different generations of gamers; we see younger kids playing games up to people that are my age as well as the people in the middle. Originally you'd have a certain generation of people that would play games in one way, and then they would move up to the next generation and it would work like that, but now you have all of these generations playing together in their own ways and I think that's a very important change.
A lot of people try to put the idea of console games versus mobile games against each other but I don't really think that is the situation at all. It's about having the varitation of all of the different generations playing in their own way on the hardware that's for them. We want to continue making our games available to all of these people on all of the different platforms for them, to have that variety and breadth of experiences and I think that makes us stronger as a company.
I don't want to decide that this is how things should be, or that there is one model for everything, I want to be more flexible in that king of thinking. I want to provide new and exciting experiences too. [With] the younger generation of gamers, there are a lot of games that came out before they were even born and they may not have any kind of contact with but they [see] these games are new and different experiences to what they are use to. In the same way, we have people in their forties and fifties who may not be so up to date with mobile games and they would be new and different experiences for them too.
"Kingdom Hearts III will arrive late in 2018, which means if you start researching the crazy history and story of the game now you might just be done by the time the game lands in your hands."
GamesTM: How has the release of the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro impacted current and future plans?
Matsuda: In the past we've had that massive, very stark changeover for a completely new hardware generation and a completely new development environment - where you have to learn everything again from scratch. In that sense, having [a] smoother gradation and change has made our business and development much easier, because there is less to acclimatise to with longer generation cycles.
GamesTM: What's the focus for Square Enix in the next business year?
Matsuda: Well, we're focussing on everything! If you look at the HD games line-up, most of the core titles in that line-up are going to be Western studio developed. We've also got Kingdom Hearts III...
GamesTM: We often pitch the East versus West, is that now an outdated way of viewing the industry?
Matsuda: I think fans generally might like to see it in those directions but I don't see it like that. Certainly nowadays the speed at which information flows is just so fast, it really isn't what it was like in the past where you have a game developed in Japan, then half a year later it would finally get localised and finally come out elsewhere in the world. That's one of the reasons that it doesn't make sense to think about it in that regional sense anymore.
"Square has also promised that a litany of new enemy types, summons, traversal types, keyblade transformations and team-up attacks will make it into the game, all of which are designed to tie into the all-new Disney worlds that will be making an appearance."
GamesTM: So, you have a more global outlook on things?
Matsuda: We don't really think about it as working on specific regional markets, we generally think about it as the overall line-up of titles each year and what we are going to be able to put into that. The titles that are being developed by the Western studios are going to be a major part of the year, but that's not because we are aiming specifically for those regions. Look at games like Nier: Automata [which was released earlier in 2017], a Japanese developed game that sold globally, so we really don't try to focus on those as individual regions - we look at it as a global line-up for a global audience.
GamesTM issue #195 is on sale now and they ship world-wide! You can purchase the magazine from myfavouritemagazines.
What do you make of these comments from Square Enix's President? Do you think Kingdom Hearts 3 will release in 2018, with a simultaneous release?
Don't forget - on February 10th the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event will be hosted at D23 Japan! Remember to follow Kingdom Hearts Insider on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr for the latest updates on Kingdom Hearts Union χ [Cross], Kingdom Hearts 3 and all things Kingdom Hearts!