Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, and Kairi make up four of the new Princesses of Heart. Come theorise who the last three Princesses will be!


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Who do you prefer to play as in Kingdom Hearts 3D?

Sora - 100%
Riku - 0%

Total votes: 1, but the poll doesn't work yet

Square Enix Members Creator's Roundtable Part 3

Who's who: 
Tatsuya KandoDirector 
Tomohiro HasegawaCo-Director 
Takeshi ArakawaPlanning Director

Kando: For a story we knew that we wanted to throw the player right in the action, with things he had to do without explanation. That was our aim.

Arakawa: Those were the two things we were sure about. Throw the player right into the game and use two screens somehow.

Hasegawa: The world that was limited, a situation that has to be solved in limited methods.

Kando: As if the main character is being constantly chased and cornered.

Hasegawa: We wanted to express this sense of urgency.

Kando: We wanted twists after twists in the story. We wrote the initial plot and had [scenario writer Sachie] Hirano write a script. We talked it over and had him write again. We then had [scenario event planner Yukari] Ishida proofread it as well, and then I re-read the script once more – it has been read by many eyes.

Hasegawa: To make the story more mysterious, we really had to...

Kando: Yes, we really put a lot of energy into it. It took a lot of time to make the story coherent.

Arakawa: You change one thing and so many other things have to be adjusted.

Hasegawa: Yes, that was pretty intense.

Kando: We created while trying not to add too many new things to the world setting, while at the same time expanding the story.

Hasegawa: The three of us set up the world when we began the project. We wrote the plot, mixed together our ideas of the world setting, the last boss, the ideal main character, etc. We then gave it to Ms. Hirano to flesh it out. And when it’s completed, it wasn’t too far off from our initial ideas, and I’m really excited since it’s almost exactly like how I imagined the game would be like (laugh). We put a lot of effort into the things that aren’t even apparent.

The World Ends with You

Kando: We got pretty heated for those actually (laugh).

Hasegawa: We wanted to reference things that actually exist in our world, since it is set in the present. We wanted the game to follow the rules of the world we live in.

Kando: We wanted to make that clear.

Hasegawa: And Hirano and Ishida did a great job in fleshing it out.

Kando: The pace of the work for the latter half was amazing.

Hasegawa: [Background art director] Mr. [Takayuki] Ohdachi was pretty amazing as well.

Kando: Shibuya.

Hasegawa: I was really shocked by it.

Kando: That crazy angle…

Hasegawa: That skewed view of Shibuya.

Kando: I couldn’t have imagined it if I tried.

Hasegawa: Mr. Ohdachi first commented that a present-day setting would be too boring. We insisted that we wanted the game set in the present, and that was Mr. Ohdachi’s answer. When I first saw his art I was astounded.

Kando: His artwork reflected the taste of today’s Shibuya, very fantastical.

Hasegawa: That was impressive.

Hasegawa: I remember going on location hunts (laugh).

Kando: I went location hunting quite often (laugh).

Arakawa: I remember saying how fun it’d be to do battles here while walking around (laugh).

Hasegawa: We really went often.

Kando: We went at least two to three times during the first half of development. We got on the roofs of buildings without permission and took a bunch of pictures (laugh). We decided on a definite location for the game after that, and the Ohdachi group went there even more often, a week or two.

Hasegawa: He took a lot of pictures, trying to find the coolest angles.

Kando: It also had a lot to do with how close we were. Our office is in Shinjuku, so Shibuya’s right there.

Hasegawa: It’s only 10 minutes away or so on the Yamanote Line train.

Kando: Mr. Ohdachi visited Shibuya every morning and checked out areas that he found interesting, and then went to work (laugh).

Arakawa: That’s amazing, since he was doing this while working on KINGDOM HEARTS (laugh).

Hasegawa: That’s the most amazing part about it (laugh).

Kando: Yeah, really! That’s when they had the KINGDOM HEARTS crunch time.

Arakawa: He was drawing fantasy worlds for one game, and Shibuya in another (laugh). His work style is really impressive.

Kando: His range of style is very encompassing.

Arakawa: The dual-screen battle, Shibuya and the backgrounds…I was really amazed. I really felt that the project would take off when I saw Mr. Ohdachi’s artwork for background, and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. That this is the world we’re creating for this game. For Kingdom Hearts the world was based on Disney’s world. So when I saw the artwork for this, I really felt that it is Shibuya that we’re recreating for this game. A lot of ideas flowed into my head then. I felt that since it’s Shibuya, shopping in the game should be like it in real life, and those walking the streets would need to look a certain way. This was a very fun part of planning.

Kando: The designs for “Noise” are unique, too.

Hasegawa: Right, we weren’t using polygons so we had to decide what were going to make in 2D. Even 2D sprites have limits, so I tried to make some rough designs but I’m used to polygons so I had to think a bit differently. I wanted to make something that only 2D could do, make something that I can’t make with polygons. I decided on designs according to my taste, like how I like this tribal design or how I like bones (laugh).

Kando: It’s crazy (laugh). You’re house is like a museum, filled with bones you bought.

Hasegawa: I tried to absorb what I liked, and eventually I came to that design (laugh).

The World Ends with You

Kando: The tattoos on the Noise, I guess they were influenced by the bones as well?

Hasegawa: Mostly bones. I wanted the monsters to obviously look like creatures we recognize before they became skeletons. We had to come up with why these monsters were in Shibuya, so we decided to make the monsters something that can be seen when someone’s thoughts are read. Since the monsters are a motif of human emotion, I chose wolves, crows and the like. Shibuya has crows, so that’s what set off this idea. Jupiter had troubles with this, however (laugh). Since they needed to be created in 2D.

Kando: It’s a difficult process. Not only do you have to create a flat monster, you have to create a number of different flat designs for one monster, depending on which angle you’re looking at it.

Arakawa: Back to the drawing board.

Hasegawa: They were designed one by one.

Arakawa: The design has to also look proper with every action.

Kando: You have to design only the number of frames that are needed to make an animation. There were a lot of frames in this game.

Arakawa: They really did a great job (laugh).

Hasegawa: Then there were the special effects. We decided to do them in 2D as well.

Kando: We had a lot of graffiti-based designs, so we thought of using graffiti as a base for the psychic powers. But then, we were like, “what the hell does graffiti psychic power look like?” In the end, we were able to put it all together. They don’t all look like graffiti, but they were a nice mix of the graffiti style and regular effects.

Hasegawa: Right. It was like a battle between pop art and tribal design.

Kando: The initial effect designs were done by Mr. Ohdachi. He suggested all kinds of designs for us.

Hasegawa: The imagery was very strong. We didn’t really stray from the initial designs. I think we did more test shots with KINGDOM HEARTS. This was much faster. Maybe it’s because I had never done this before.

Kando: The idea to have the game set in the present with psychic-like characters was new to us, so it definitely allowed us to explore a bit making this game. I think that going this new road made it easier for us to create something completely original.

Hasegawa: Definitely something that we can only do in a new title.

Kando: It’s a big job, though, to create a new experience.

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