Directing Final Fantasy 7 Remake And Kingdom Hearts 3 Together Made Life Easier For Nomura

The two games complement each other well, the director said.


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Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake are two of the mostly eagerly anticipated games in development right now, and they’re being directed by the same man: Square Enix's Tetsuya Nomura, who has previously worked extensively on both franchises. During a group interview at Disney's D23 expo, he explained how the two new games have proved the perfect complements to one another for him as director.

"I don’t really feel any sort of hurdles or difficulty because the two titles are so different," he said. "It actually works to my advantage because [they’re] so different. If both titles seem to have a sort of similar vein, both titles may start to look the same. So with the two being different, if there’s one thing that I could not do in one title, I might be able to do it in the other. It works out for me in that way."

He added that the biggest challenge is simply how busy he is. "For example, we were making preparations to come here to D23 for Kingdom Hearts, and while we’re kind of in the rush to do that we have to schedule a mandatory meeting for Final Fantasy 7," he said. "So juggling that I think is a big challenge as well, but it comes with the territory."

Nomura also discussed how the developers are using Unreal Engine 4 to develop both Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake. "With Unreal 4 there are a lot of different middleware that exist that is compatible and that we can utilize with the engine, so there’s no need to prepare everything from scratch on the development side," he said. "So I think that has allowed for development to be smooth."

He described how they're customizing the engine to fit their needs, particularly on Kingdom Hearts 3, so that their games don't look like other Unreal Engine games.

"For example, the effects, the visual effects that you see, are very highly regarded for Kingdom Hearts, but that’s actually one of the elements that the development team has customized on Unreal Engine 4 so that it is unique to us," he said. "So games that are developed by other companies that utilize Unreal Engine may not be necessarily able to recreate those same kinds of effects on theirs."

It feels like it's been ages since we learned anything new about the Final Fantasy 7 remake, and Nomura wasn't as eager to discuss it at D23 as he was Kingdom Hearts 3--for obvious reasons. There's nothing new to share about the remake's release date, but fans can at least take heart from one fact: If Kingdom Hearts 3 actually comes out next year, like it's currently supposed to, it will seem like anything is possible.

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Avatar image for nadsat-77

I didn't know FF7 was being developed on UE, that...kinda sucks. Sure it can make some pretty environments in the right hands but UE is notorious for its streaming issues, now i'm a bit concerned how it'll handle the more opened areas and world map on consoles. I'm hoping for the best, expecting the worst now.

Avatar image for lion2447

@nadsat-77: Earlier news about FF7 was that the first game of the remake will be entirely within Midgar. So I don't think there should be any problems with large open areas. That part of the orginal game was much more confined.

Avatar image for Dav_id83

I am a huge fan of 7 really I am best of the series for me but the remake i am not interested in now I really aint, there's something that makes me feel that I don't want to play it

Avatar image for Ayato_Kamina_1

Well considering he's seemingly going to be using the same combat system for both games or near abouts... yeah i can see why directing both at the same time was easier for him.

JRPGs still have a place in the industry... people like turn based combat, why take one of most decorated JRPGs of all time and shift it from its roots?

Avatar image for Acheron18

Highly anticipated? Hardly.

I would love a good FFVII remake but I have zero faith in Squeenix actually delivering that.

This will most likely be an mash button (or hold button) ARPG snore fest. If you can't directly control your whole party it's not FFVII.

Avatar image for valgaav_219

Both of these games being developed is like a dream come true. When I really think about it I have no idea which one I'm more excited for lol

Avatar image for derrickd111

He may indeed be more comfortable, but outside the people closest to him, who cares? He needs to triple (or quadruple) his production speed. I think we'll see Anthem and CyberPunk before we even get a solid release for Nomura's games.

Avatar image for videogameninja

I think there’s a healthy dose of skepticism swirling about in the air even with the supposed release window of KH3. It’s fair to say that this feeling of many fans isn’t unfounded. One only need look to the not so distant past to feel grounded in their initial skepticism. While I don’t think anyone should hold their breath that KH3 will release in the allotted time given I think I speak for many that they hope the extra time will pay off in the finished product. As controversial as this may sound I would rather them take another 5 years and release an absolute masterpiece than rush it just to meet a deadline. I think many fans of both franchises would agree.


Avatar image for G-Corleone

FFXV is the worst FF game ever. Worst than X-2 T.T

Can wait for KH3 and VII Remake though :p

Avatar image for nickfitz_99

@G-Corleone: was alright - better than 13 and the dross sequels.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

He's blatantly lying. If you want to see what happens to games when Nomura is directing multiple things at the same time, look no further than the development disaster that was FF15.

Square execs are to blame. They need to lay off the man and let him work on one game. This is why FF15 took 10 years to make. This is why the last console Kingdom Hearts game, Kingdom Hearts 2, was 12 years ago.

Avatar image for grayyfoxx

@Thanatos2k: I know it's easy to blame Nomura, but most of the problems came from higher up. By prioritizing XIII over Versus XIII, they took staff away from Versus XIII and tailored their "universal" engine so much for XIII that it couldn't even handle the open areas for Versus XIII. The game was essentially sabotaged from within.

With proper staff and not having to deal with their own proprietary engines, development should go along much smoother. If you take that into consideration, along with the people they have working with Nomura, on FF VII in particular with Kitase and Nojima, there is no reason to believe that Nomura couldn't handle overseeing the two games.

Also speaking of the execs, things have been better since the new CEO came in 2013.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@grayyfoxx: Have they? They literally put Nomura as the director of the FF7 Remake without telling him. He found out from news stories.

Nothing has gotten better, Square execs are worse than ever.

Avatar image for grayyfoxx

@Thanatos2k: I was mostly referring to the CEO reshuffling their business divisions, and the steady stream of games that have come out since he took over, along with Dragon Quest XI in a few weeks.

As far as Nomura getting the director chair by surprise, you think he wasn't happy to find that out? The original FF VII was the first game in which he had significant responsibility, and by all accounts the game holds a special place in his heart. Also the way Nomura found out that he was in charge came from an internal memo, and it seems that it was a deliberate surprise on Kitase's behalf.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@grayyfoxx: "As far as Nomura getting the director chair by surprise, you think he wasn't happy to find that out?"

I wouldn't be, given I've been struggling to release games because I was being forced to work on two projects at once right before that (FFVersus 13, KH3) and had extensive executive meddling disrupt my work. I'd also be extremely pissed off that none of my bosses felt it important to tell me what I was supposed to be working on. That's in the realm of "start looking for a new job immediately" territory.

Avatar image for grayyfoxx

@Thanatos2k: So let's get this straight, if your boss put you in charge of a project that you suggested they start during the years prior, you'd quit? You honestly think FF VII Remake just showed up one day and took Nomura by surprise? He was consulting them during preproduction and obviously doing the character designs. The picture that's been painted during interviews is that Kitase and other SE higher ups liked his ideas enough to put him in the directors seat.

The meddling that you bring up falls under the Yoichi Wada timeline, and like I said the new CEO appears to be doing a better job, at least from the outside looking in. As for the rest of your views, you're honestly making this out like Nomura is chained to a desk with a gun pointed to his head. Enough with the misinformation already.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@grayyfoxx: "So let's get this straight, if your boss put you in charge of a project that you suggested they start during the years prior, you'd quit?"

If they didn't even tell or talk to you about it? Sure would. It displays a shocking lack of trust, professionalism, and decorum. You wouldn't? Seriously? Are you a doormat?

I've been moved from project to project and team to team many times in my career as a programmer. My managers have always either asked me first, or at least told me in private before announcing it to others and putting me to work. And I'm not a famous game dev and my projects aren't announced to the media. That would be a FAR worse breach of confidence.

Avatar image for grayyfoxx

@Thanatos2k: Honestly, in Nomura's shoes, I'd view it as a promotion. It's not like he was getting booted from FF XV to I am Setsuna. I imagine the title of director would net him a hefty pay raise over lead character designer as well.

Also, the situation isn't as black and white as you've laid out. He's not some first time director, he has history with the game, he tried to reboot the game before and he was heavily involved with the game during preproduction. In this context, he wasn't moved so much so as the team wasn't finalized yet. Everyone involved knew he was going to be a major contributor to the game, and it was either going to be him or Kitase in the directors seat. If he just wanted to do character design and not direct, he wouldn't be going to the higher ups and making a pitch to reboot FF VII in the years prior. In that regard, I don't see him as some unwilling participant being taken advantage of, or a doormat as you say who is being "forced" to work on games.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@grayyfoxx: You continue to ignore my post and are just rambling about the job itself. The job itself doesn't matter. They could have promoted him to CEO of the company. The issue is that they didn't feel it important to TELL HIM before they did it. It's clear you don't have a full time career or know what professionalism is. I recommend for your own good that when you eventually do, you do not put up with any employer that would exhibit this kind of dysfunctional behavior.

Avatar image for grayyfoxx

@Thanatos2k: You're conveniently ignoring Nomura's history with the project. They obviously knew he was willing to do the job, it's foolish to imply otherwise. Him being surprised had to do with Kitase not taking the job, who has seniority over Nomura.

As far as your unsolicited advice goes, keep it to yourself.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@grayyfoxx: It doesn't matter if he's willing to do the job or not, not talking to him first is a ghastly lack of professionalism.

Good luck if you get out of college. You're clearly going to need it.

Avatar image for jach

@Thanatos2k: Out of many things he has directed, you blame him for 1 of them because you think he had too many projects at once?? If you take a look at what he's directed you'll see that he has had several projects at once for years. He's been involved in all things Kingdom Hearts and it's not like development started right after KHII, he wouldn't start it because of his focus on FFXV, which, like he expressed, did have some technical difficulties, and the switch in director might actually have postponed FFXV further, as he made changes to fit with yet another re-branding of the game.

It's fine that you think he has some fault in FFXV's issues, but it evidently has nothing to do with his capability to direct multiple projects, and those execs and probably Tabata should get at least the same amount of blame.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@jach: Did you even read my post? Specifically the second part?

Avatar image for jach

@Thanatos2k: In context I read it as you blaming the execs for hiring him for the job and/or not firing him, which is not the same as what I wrote.