As of December 12th, IGN interviewed Kingdom Hearts co-director Tai Yasue for information on the recent development for Kingdom Hearts III after the recent release of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX.
Tai Yasue discusses the possibility of including Marvel Heroes and a Star Wars world either in Kingdom Hearts III or after the conclusion of the Dark Seeker saga. Read below for more!
Thanks to KH13 for the interview scoop.
Yasue: “Nomura has always been working on Kingdom Hearts III full-time, so nothing’s really changed there. Nomura is really the visionary, so he doesn’t work on the nitty gritty details. That’s something we do in Osaka; alongside development, we do the technology. That hasn’t really changed. We get Nomura’s input but it’s not a day-to-day thing, he just has these big ideas sometimes he tells us about. The pace really depends on how our team’s doing and that was never affected.”
Yasue: “I can’t make any announcements on the Disney worlds but, even there, there are so many that we’re studying.”
[Yasue explained to me that two teams of programmers were employed, one focusing on 2.5 Remix and the other on Kingdom Hearts III, while the designers split their time evenly between the two projects. Now 2.5 is out the way, it’ll enable them all to focus on Kingdom Hearts III but he doesn’t believe there was ever really a slowdown. Admittedly, getting to grips with Unreal Engine 4 took some getting used to, but he believes the dividends are already paying off.]
Yasue: “We’ve shown some videos of what Kingdom Heart III looks like and it does look a bit different but it’s still clearly Kingdom Hearts. UE4 was introduced and there’s a lot of stuff that we didn’t have to do previously, like lighting and shading, which we now have to do. The technology is vastly different but it’s exhilarating to have all this stuff to learn. There’s so much we can do, the consoles are so fast. Some of the videos with Sora, with individual strands of his hair moving? That stuff is a real leap in technology. I can’t make any announcements on the Disney worlds but, even there, there are so many that we’re studying. They do a lot of new stuff as well so we’re figuring out how to incorporate them as well.”
[As everyone’s well aware at this stage, however, Disney has been busy growing its portfolio since the last game in the franchise launched. With both Marvel and LucasFilm now sequestered inside the walled garden of the House of Mouse, speculation has been rife that Avengers or Star Wars-themed playgrounds could make an appearance in the upcoming title. The look of fatigue that crosses Yasue’s face when I ask the question he’s clearly heard a million times before isn’t unexpected, but his answer should give fans some hope.]
Yasue: “I can’t really go into any specifics or say anything about Star Wars, but when we come up with worlds we really want variety and to make sure that there’s a lot of different types of worlds. Any world that looks special is definitely a consideration; everything from the characters, to how they look and the differences between them. We think Star Wars is great but I’m not going to relate that to Kingdom Hearts III yet! We want a wide variety of worlds and when we come up with ideas, it’s the differences and the originality of each that’s really important.”
Yasue: “Any world that looks special is definitely a consideration; everything from the characters, to how they look and the differences between them. We think Star Wars is great.
[Alongside this hint, Yasue said that just because a world has previously appeared in the series doesn’t mean it won’t do so again. Square Enix is taking it’s time to evaluate which worlds will best suit the story and create a diverse experience for players and, until they’re ready, we shouldn’t expect any announcements. What he would admit, however, is that the non-linear structure we’ve come to expect won’t change, saying we’ll be able “to play them as you want”.]
[Of course, just because Endor or Iron Man don’t end up making it into Kingdom Hearts III doesn’t mean they’ve missed their shot for good. It’s been confirmed before now that Kingdom Hearts as a franchise will continue on beyond the conclusion of The Dark Seeker saga as the games up to this point have been called. Yasue explains he’d like to be part of whatever’s next, especially if it’s a new saga, though he acknowledges one or two issues may need to be addressed.]
[I first brought up the common complaint that, with so many different instalments on different platforms, a major problem with the franchise so far is how obtuse the story can be. It’s a complaint he acknowledges as fair, joking that even some of the development team find it hard to keep track of the story.]
Yasue: “Honestly, a lot of the developers, me included, are also sometimes confused. Nomura has all this stuff in his head and sometimes doesn’t tell us. He keeps it secret. So there’s a lot of stuff he says in interviews that surprises us. I think he wants to shock us as well as fans, but a lot of it is hidden from us too!”
Yasue: “What we do next time around largely depends on the hardware, too. It’s changing so rapidly.”
Yasue: “What we do next time around largely depends on the hardware, too. It’s changing so rapidly and we obviously don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll be sure to consider the ones that most of our players are using though. We don’t even know the business model or how to sell it. That’s changing rapidly too, so we may have to adjust to that as well.”
[Despite this, it seems unlikely Square Enix is prepared to let one of its most-loved franchises languish when there’s an opportunity for money to be made. Yasue, however, argues it’s something much nobler that motivates the developers based on the ground. There’s a general consensus this year’s Tokyo Game Show was much more exciting than it has been in previous years thanks to the strong presence of titles like Bloodborne. With the Japanese games industry having been labelled as a dying behemoth for years, the new consoles seem to have offered a second lease of life. According to Yasue, Square is under no illusions about how all the big Japanese developers need to do their bit.]
Yasue: “With the development of Kingdom Hearts III we want the market to become bigger. We want to be responsible for moving it forward. There’s a lot of stuff, technology-wise, that we have to play catch-up to as well but I think right now we’re doing a lot of new stuff. By making, developing and publishing Kingdom Hearts III, hopefully the Japanese market will change. I think everyone from Square Enix feels that responsibility. We think we’re maybe even the people who are most responsible for doing that. We’re the only people in the right position who are able to change the market.”
Yasue: “As a whole, the market isn’t getting smaller. It’s getting bigger, but it’s going towards smartphone apps. Personally, I enjoy making big budget, huge development games with long cycles so for me it’s exciting and hopefully that translates to the player.”
[Kingdom Hearts III may still be some way off, but it seems like Square Enix is fully aware of the pressure on it to deliver. As our interview draws to a close, I ask Yasue one more time if we’ll maybe see the game before 2015 is out? “We will make sure to make Kingdom Hearts III as quick as possible,” he says with a tired smile. It seems that’s as good an answer as I’m going to get.]
And that’s all we have for now from co-director Tai Yasue! Stay up to date with the future of Kingdom Hearts with us here, at KHRecharged.