Tetsuya Nomura on Kingdom Hearts III second playable character, bigger parties, Toy Story world, more

Plus, the likelihood of a Switch version and Xbox One collections.

Kingdom Hearts III

Following the announcement of a 2018 release window and Toy Story world, IGN (2) and Game Informer (2) sat down with Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura at D23 Expo 2017, who discussed various new details about the game.

Get the excerpts below.

Nomura on a Second Playable Character

“So it would be tough to introduce many, multiple playable characters, but there is an intention of adding a playable character aside from Sora,” Nomura teased. “Unfortunately we’re not able to disclose who it is yet, but there will be [another playable character].”

Nomura on Bigger Parties

Kingdom Hearts III will feature a party system that allows for more than two additional members to fight alongside Sora. This, in part, comes from the decision to get rid of the “Dimension Link” feature from the PSP game Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep.

“D-Link, that has been done away with,” Nomura said. “It was actually a compromise in a previous iteration because we were not able to display multiple characters on that platform in that game,” Nomura said. “We’re able to depict multiple characters. Up to five people can join, even more, multiple characters can join your party.”

Nomura on the Gummi Ship

“In terms of the Gummi Ship making its return, I can confirm on that, but how it is or what has become of it, we’re not able to reveal it at this point,” Nomura said. “We ask you to stay tuned for more information.”

Nomura also hinted at the Gummi Ship offering new or improved elements.

“The staff members on our development team always want to try something new, so even with previously introduced mechanics, they always try to make it their own or tweak it. Even if it is small or minor, we customize it so that it’s for Kingdom Hearts III.”

Nomura on the Toy Story World

Nomura has longed for Toy Story to appear in the Kingdom Hearts series since the release of Kingdom Hearts II.

“Just looking at the trailer, I feel Sora really fit in and matched well with that world, and it’s something I always personally wanted to see – that image of Buzz and Woody coming face to face with Sora in his toy form,” Nomura said. “I had been imaging that in my head, and to be able to execute that into the game is something I’m really excited for and I’m hoping fans feel the same way I do.”

Rather than follow the story of the original film, Pixar made a special request for the Toy Story in Kingdom Hearts III.

“[Pixar] preferred for us to not follow the film directly. They said, ‘Please create something original to Kingdom Hearts,’ so we did not draw any inspiration from the films. It is completely original and exclusive to Kingdom Hearts, so you can almost say it’s a sequel of some sort.”

Nomura his team considered all of the films in the series and made a decision about where to place it. “We placed the narrative in Kingdom Hearts some place after Toy Story 2.” He said he worked very closely with Pixar to get its approval on the new story for the game. “So many rounds of review! I couldn’t believe how many back and forths I had,” he laughed.

The trailer shows Sora, Donald, and Goofy team up with Woody and Buzz to search a new area called Galaxy Toys.

“Galaxy Toys is going to be your primary stage where a lot of the action is going to be happening in this world,” Nomura said. “Because Sora, Donald, and Goofy are toys and very small, the playing field is going to feel very large. We also have multiple floors and each section has its own personality, so to speak.”

The story of the Toy Story world involves searching for Andy, who has gone missing, as well as figuring out why Organization XIII has appeared in that world.

“Rather than having multiple different little worlds, we wanted to make sure we’re providing rich gameplay in an individual world, so we put in a lot of effort and allocated a lot of resources to create these worlds, and it would be sad for players not to enjoy the world and breeze right through it,” Nomura said. “Therefore, we made sure that each of the worlds is designed so players can take their time and enjoy the gameplay that’s available.”

The trailer shows Sora ride a mech, called Gigas, to fight enemies in the area. According to Nomura, this is “to showcase that with the specs of the current generation hardware, it is possible. We’re hoping there’s a surprise element with each new mechanic that is introduced with Kingdom Hearts III, and we’re going to be revealing more information as they become available.”

Nomura on a Switch Version

“The Nintendo Switch is definitely a very interesting piece of hardware, but if we lightly say, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll be on the Nintendo Switch,’ I’m sure people will come back and say, ‘But what about the PS4 and Xbox One? We want them out first. Don’t focus on other platforms,’” Nomura said. “So for now, we want to focus on what platforms we’ve already announced we’re going to be releasing Kingdom Hearts III on. And so after, perhaps, maybe we can start thinking about other possibilities.”

Nomura on Kingdom Hearts Collections for Xbox One

“Just like with the previous answer, if we were to announce yet another non-Kingdom Hearts III [project]…people are going to be like, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ So we will want to focus on releasing on the platforms that we have already announced,” Nomura said. “Do the Western audiences want Kingdom Hearts titles on the Microsoft or Xbox platforms? Japan might say ‘well, we don’t want any more on Xbox.’”

Nomura also noted Microsoft’s recent announcement of its more powerful Xbox One X, adding, “It also makes you think, ‘Well, do we want to have [the collections] on the Xbox platforms? Isn’t it a bit late in the game?’”

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