Kingdom Hearts III will have bigger, almost seamless worlds with a “huge decrease” in load times, according to director Tetsuya Nomura.
“While the world may not be comparable to massively open-world titles, it’s far bigger than previous Kingdom Hearts titles,” Nomura told Engadget at E3. “There’s a huge decrease in load times, too.
“In previous games, you’d run to the end of an area and it would go dark before transitioning to the next stage — now it’s become seamless, as you can see in the trailer when Sora jumps off the mountain you’ve just battled up.
“The environments themselves, in Kingdom Hearts III, things will be affected by real-time actions, a tornado spell will swirl the blades of grass surrounding it.”
And right now, there are more worlds in planning than in Kingdom Hearts II. Though whether or not that means the final game will have more worlds than its predecessor remains ambiguous.
“With every Kingdom Hearts title, we plan to deliver more worlds than actually appear in game — so we have something in our pockets to work with,” Nomura said. “Then as we begin to hone these worlds and stages, and some do get cut. [At this point], we have prepared more worlds, in that respect, than Kingdom Hearts II.”
Nomura adds that, compared to when we last saw it in December 2013, the visuals have changed a lot.
“Compared to the initial first look at the game, in the trailer we’re showing now, the visual aspects have evolved a lot,” Nomura said. “Not only the particle effects within the battles, but also the sheer scale of it.”
Touching on the controls, Nomura said that there shouldn’t be a huge difference in battle controls, though they might consider utilizing PlayStation 4’s touchpanel.
“Coming from Kingdom Hearts II, there won’t be a huge difference in battle controls — we’re not going to change how you jump or anything — it’ll be more of an evolution. Depending on how we utilize the touchpanel, we may not need other forms of control [for certain actions].”
Nomura also briefly addressed online, saying that the team “wants gamers to play for a while and an online component helps this,” and that while they’re currently focusing on the main campaign, they have “plenty of ideas brewing” regarding an online component.
If you didn’t see it, catch the Kingdom Hearts III E3 2015 trailer here.