Nomura on Kingdom Hearts III – Japan Expo


Another Japan Expo interview with game director Tetsuya Nomura, has surfaced. This time, FinalFantasyWorld spoke to Nomura-san.

Nomura spoke about Kingdom Hearts III and said that the game’s age does not bother him. “It still feels fresh and new. Back then, all the staff I worked with, included myself, had a rich passion about this game. That’s why I still don’t think it’s dated at all, even after 10 years.”

Speaking about the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX, Nomura revealed how there was a lot of work behind the project, some of it not implemented into the final product.

“The one thing I probably should mention was 358/2 Days,” said Nomura. “Obviously in this one there were only cinematics, the HD movie. I wanted to put the full playable in 358/2 Days in HD 1.5 if we could, but obviously we couldn’t – because we had to prioritize the KHIII development instead – which the fans have been waiting for such a long time. We prioritized that over the addition of elements in the HD version.

“The elements of the original version, like the systems and everything, were okay back then because of the balance of the original game. There were a lot of new systems I created over the past 10 years, but if I wanted to put these new things in the original KH1, I don’t think the balance of the game would really work. The original version is set on the system I put on it. If we’re going to do a remake, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can put in additional features.”


When Kingdom Hearts III was announced, it was revealed that the team behind it would be working in Osaka, a major city of Japan, second to Tokyo. The Square Enix Osaka team was behind Birth by Sleep, Dream Drop Distance and the 1.5 HD ReMIX. Since they haven’t really worked on a mainline Kingdom Hearts game, they have been preparing and testing out many things. According to Nomura, preparations are done and the team is ready for development.

Since Osaka and Tokyo aren’t exactly near, Nomura was asked how keeps in contact with the team. “In the Osaka studio there is actually the co-director Tai Yasue and the producer Rie Nishi,” he explained. “They are core members of the Kingdom Hearts project and when they actually have a lot of topics to discuss with myself, they always come to Tokyo.”

Aside from that, advances in technology have led to video conferences  becoming very easy and common. Whenever either Nomura or the Osaka team have a new proposal or idea, they share it via video.  “Of course there are a lot of good and interesting ideas coming from the team. Obviously, the more the merrier, so if we have more people to think about something it’s always better than thinking all by myself.”

One of the reasons why Kingdom Hearts gained popularity in the early days was because of the inclusion of Final Fantasy characters in the games. Fans loved seeing different versions of their beloved FF characters and being able to fight some of them (Sephiroth, anyone?). To be honest, that was the main reason why I was drawn into the series in the first place.

Since Kingdom Hearts has become a pretty popular franchise, the question about whether or not Final Fantasy characters were a necessary aspect of the game arose. “It’s not something like, because the KH series is already established we don’t need more FF characters. But it’s more like we have been releasing a lot of KH handheld spinoffs over the past few years. Because of handheld space capacity and limitations, the story volume was quite limited. For KHIII obviously the disc space is going to be bigger, so we can include a lot of in-depth story. It depends on the volume of the game itself – there is a possibility that we are going to insert a lot of FF characters into KHIII as well.”

So there you have it. Get ready to see iconic Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts. I hope Noctis and Lightning are present in the game too.