Thanks to KHinsider and SQEX, I got some great stories to share with you, as well as HQ scans of the Famitsu Weekly.
So today we focus on the interview with series director, Tetsuya Nomura. The newest issue of Japan’s video game magazine, Famitsu Weekly features an interview with Kingdom Hearts series director, Tetsuya Nomura about the coming soon title, Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], and briefly touches on Final Fantasy Versus XIII.
MR. TETSUYA NOMURA INTERVIEW
The meaning behind the illustration
—The package illustration has been revealed to the public. The two protagonists are drawn along with the King.
Mr. Tetsuya Nomura (will be addressed as Nomura below): To be honest, at first I had drawn a different picture. Sora, Riku, and King Mickey were the same as the current illustration, but I drew the King bigger and Sora and Riku were much smaller. However, design-wise it was difficult to use for the packaging, and when we tried it on the title screen you couldn’t really recognize Sora or Riku (wry laughter), so I redrew it.
— There is another version of the illustration with different colors and the directions switched, can you tell us about that?
Nomura: When you look at this illustration inside the game package, I wanted its composition and look to remind you of the title’s catch copy, “Darkness becomes light, light falls into darkness.” The two images make a pair; I think it’s nice to consider the contrasts between them and how they reflect the storyline.
— Will we see this image within the game itself?
Nomura: Yes, if you play the game on the advance degree of difficulty you’ll be able to see it.
— In the illustration, Sora has his eyes closed while Riku’s eyes are open.
Nomura: That’s right. There’s meaning behind that, but I think you’ll understand it through playing the game. By the way, the two types of illustrations are not just merely reversed, but the change in color degree and overall balance has been reworked.
— We look forward to understanding that. Anyways, for the first time fans will obtain an enclosed AR card with the game. Can you tell us about the friendly Dream Eaters on those cards?
Nomura: The game package will contain one card that unlocks one of the following partner Dream Eaters at random: King Wondernyan, Circus Panda, and Nekuish. These three Dream Eaters are rare; however unlocking them through an AR card is not the only way to obtain them, you can partner with them in the game too. Still, if you do a Link Portal exchange through StreetPass, you can obtain the recipes for them. If you try to StreetPass regularly, you can probably obtain all three pretty early on.
The key persons of the story…
— In the opening, we see a flurry of memorable scenes from the series while an orchestra version of “Hikari” plays, it’s very impressive!
Nomura: It was Nomatsu (Mr. Takeshi, the title’s cinematic movie director) who managed it, he said himself “there isn’t a next one”, so he crammed it full of content.
— Parts of the opening were used in the Special Trailer that was released to the public, where the keywords “those who are asleep within sadness” appeared. Does helping those people become the purpose of this game?
Nomura: How will that go (laughs)… Well, first off Sora and company will have to make preparations for that.
— In the last part of the trailer, one of the points that stands out is when Aqua and Terra appear with the character in black coat with the “Nightmare” eyes.
Nomura: That person in black coat is important to the storyline, but isn’t necessarily a new character. The details of it are something to look forward to when you play.
— As for the new worlds, the image of the world from Tron:Legacy is very closely adapted. The people in it are drawn quite realistically.
Nomura: Since we adapted realistic portrayals in the past with The Pirates of the Caribbean in Kingdom Hearts II, we had a bit of know-how this time around. I was a bit apprehensive at attempting to do it on a portable device, but I think the end result has a high quality to it. I supervised over the production side of the movie parts and the scenarios of the storyline reflected well into it.
— Did you plan from the beginning to use Tron:Legacy as a world?
Nomura: It was decided around the time the project was beginning. We had planned for Sora to visit the original Tron world and for Riku to go to the Tron:Legacy world.
— Ansem and Xemnas, as well as Master Xehanort’s forms appear, but are they the real thing?
Nomura: Well, about that… Ansem and Xemnas appear often, harassing Sora and Riku.
— Are Ansem and Xemnas key persons?
Nomura: If I had to say who the key persons were, I’d say they are the silver haired boy and Axel. This time at the end of the story, there will be the longest cutscene of the whole series where the true form of Ansem and Xemnas, as well as their goals and many other truths will be revealed all at once.
Raising the Dream Eaters
— Why is it this time instead of being joined by Donald and Goofy, our heroes team up with Dream Eaters?
Nomura: This time the story is about Sora and Riku taking the Mark of Mastery Exam. If Donald and Goofy participated in the exam without being Keyblade wielders, then it would be sort of weird (laughs). Besides, those two are active characters in the numbering titles of the series, so I thought that it would be an interesting challenge to have an adventure outside of that.
— I see. So the Dream Eaters, you can create them by gathering materials to “breed” them. What lead you to develop this kind of system?
Nomura: The Dream Eater’s growth is directly connected to the abilities of Sora and Riku, which serves as an axis of this title. To that extent, I wanted players to feel affection for their Dream Eaters, thus you start with them from their initial creation and watch as they grow alongside you.
— Unlocking the abilities of the Dream Eaters and doing the Ability Link to make Sora and Riku stronger is sort of like parts of the system in Re:Coded.
Nomura: That’s right. At first, I initially wanted to develop another form of the command board from Birth by Sleep. Then I mixed the growth systems of Re:Coded and 358/2 Days and came up with a new idea that became the Ability Link feature.
— The Dream Eater’s growth is one of the charms of this title, but it seems with the interacting on the touch screen, the Dream Eater’s characteristics change rapidly.
Nomura: Their attitudes are different depending on their characteristics, for instance some prefer to attack aggressively while other prefer to support your character. Each type of Dream Eater has four characteristics; even if they are same types of Dream Eaters, each of them have their own personalities. So choose among the characteristics you like and have fun.
— How many types of Dream Eaters are there in total?
Nomura: There are a little over 50 types of Dream Eaters you can partner with. You can’t partner with the bosses, but outside of that you can breed all the Dream Eaters.
— With the similar Dream Eaters like Wondernyan and King Wondernyan, are they evolutions of the same form or are they from separate recipes?
Nomura: They aren’t evolutions of one another, that is not how this system works. If you have the materials, you can produce two or more of the same Dream Eaters.
— As far as activities with the Dream Eaters go, there is the Flick Crash feature. What was the concept behind this feature?
Nomura: As the main mini-game of this title, I wanted to produce something that has the speed aspect of a card game fused with an action game. I said it had to be something frenzied with a “restless feel” to it, but it was hard to actually materialize. After repeated trials, I think it finally became something fun.
— By the way, it seems the Dream Eater’s appearance and abilities can be customized and you can name them. It’s a fairly different taste for the series compared to the past titles.
Nomura: Every time I try to make the taste of the game relate to its title, but in this game since the player can name their Dream Eater to their liking its quite straightforward. I put a lot of consideration into naming the titles interestingly, it’s fun (laughs).
Big developments packed into a short time period
— About how long does it take to clear the game?
Nomura: Probably about 35 hours. Upgrading and playing Flick Crash take time, so I think you could keep on playing it.
— The story and the system of this game are both packed with developments. Did you think the development period was going to be this long?
Nomura: It’s really like one year since Birth by Sleep Final Mix. All the staff has worked very hard to make it here. The Osaka team took over development and even though they had only once worked with the Nintendo DS when they did Re:Coded, this is the first time they created a fully interactive 2-screened title. Even though this time the unreasonable demands were raised even more, I think their high level of creative consciousness really shines in this title.
— A lot of effort went into this title huh. By the way, we previously asked you about an announcement regarding Final Fantasy Versus XIII, is there any information you can share about when that would be?
Nomura: We hear from everyone that there is a high demand to release more information. We are almost finished preparing so we can respond to that. Even though we are in agreement, it’s really not related to current developments so we aren’t in a situation to release information about it. But since I’m not allowed to speak about it, I have no choice but to continue discussion in this way about it.
And that’s all for today’s news! We look forward to our next post. Stay tuned!