Kingdom Hearts 3 Director Tetsuya Nomura Explains What Took So Long

Plus preparations for Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC.

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Now Playing: GS News Update: Kingdom Hearts 3 Director Tetsuya Nomura Explains What Took So Long

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Kingdom Hearts 3 has been a long time coming, and despite the series’ many spin-offs, remakes and re-releases, fans are hungry for another adventure with Sora and friends. It’s been 12 years since Kingdom Hearts 2 came out on PS2, and in a recent group interview at Disney’s D23 expo, game director Tetsuya Nomura explained what’s taken so long.

“A lot of people have been mentioning and making it sound like ‘Oh, Nomura’s taking too much time,’ and it hurts,“ Nomura said, through a translator. He explained that the decision was made above his head to switch development to Unreal Engine 4 after about a year of development, which caused extensive delays. In addition, certain timing and resources challenges within Square Enix had an effect.

“There was a decision made to change to an external [engine]...Unreal Engine 4,” he said. “So we switched over to that. Unfortunately there was a bit of time that needed to be rewinded and started over. So there was a bit of a setback there, but it was a decision that the company had to make, so it was inevitable.”

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“We had a plan of the period that it’s going to take for us to create the content at the start of the project, and we laid out, after such and such years, we would need to add more personnel resources,” he said. “We had submitted it to our headquarters and had it approved, but internal personnel is very limited, and there are various different projects that happen within our company, so unfortunately timing did not work out. So we had to make due with the timing that was appropriate for the company...the company makes the decisions, so unfortunately sometimes it is out of my control.”

He was keen to emphasize that it hasn’t been problems with development or any choices made by him or his team that have caused Kingdom Hearts 3 to take so long. “I wanted to emphasize that it wasn’t a problem on our development teams," he said. "It just happened that way, and there were some decisions that the company had to make, and it just didn’t work out for certain timings that we were hoping to hit.”

“It’s kind of out of my hands,” he added. “I mean, yes, time has passed. But it’s out of my hands.”

At D23 Nomura took the stage during Disney’s video games panel to announce another new world for Kingdom Hearts 3, one based on Toy Story. Nomura said it’s one he’s wanted to add to the series for years, but never had the opportunity to until now.

The series’ signature combat has played a big role in all its trailers and appearances so far, and the game looks more fun and chaotic than any other in the series. One central new system is keyblade transformations, which Nomura said has been a big focus during development. Each world now will also have unique mechanics, like the giant robots Sora is able to pilot in the Toy Story world. Jumping into one during combat switches the view to a first-person camera, a new type of drastic gameplay shift that Nomura said they hoped to capture in some way on every world in the game.

Speaking of the game’s various Disney-themed worlds, of which Toy Story is just the latest to be revealed, Nomura said they likely won’t be saving any as a surprise for players to discover on their own. “I don’t think we’ll be keeping any worlds secret until the game is released. I think we will be introducing them leading up to launch,” he said. “Nowadays games can add content on after the fact through DLC content, so there’s no need to hide any worlds.”

That of course begged the question: Are they already planning downloadable content for Kingdom Hearts 3? “Nothing is set in stone, and I’m afraid we can’t go into details, but I have told the team: Just be prepared to be able to accommodate for something like that,” Nomura said. “We can’t suddenly develop a system where we’re accommodating for downloadable content. So it’s not confirming or denying either way, but just so that the development team will be prepared, I have informed them of making the preparations.”

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It sounds like Kingdom Hearts 3 may have fewer worlds than the series' previous games, but each world will be more dense and detailed than what we’re used to. “I feel like I’ve packed in much more fun than I had in my previous Kingdom Hearts titles,” Nomura said.

“Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to be our first full HD game in our current console generation,” he continued. “It does involve a lot of bandwidth and resources in order to create in full HD, so our directive was to have as many elements [as possible] of gameplay included in one single world, rather than having multiple different little worlds with few elements. We wanted to pack in as many gameplay elements and fun into a single world.”

“If we are able to accomplish everything that we did plan out for, I’m pretty confident that people will enjoy and be fully satisfied with the end product,” he finished.

Kingdom Hearts 3 is, at long last, scheduled to be released in 2018.

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CRAPCOM1926

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No more tiny lifeless worlds? THANK YOU NOMURA!!! **** LIFELESS WORLDS i was sick of them on KH 2. ANd that was 12 years ago. Ye si have played almost every single spin off, prequel or game since them but come on the world where one of the main weakness of the franchise since they are so empty.

Also can we please have ONE PROPER FINAL FANTASY WORLD? OR MORE FF CHARACTERS?? NO?? ok fine.

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Stelios

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I fear those unofficial statements that the game would release unfinished, ala FFXV, in order to hit 2018, might just be true. And that would be a terrible shame, because from what I've seen so far, it has potential for greatness. It truly would be sad if it was held down by an incomplete story / incomplete areas / elements.

Nomura is notorious for his delays and as much as he would like, even rightfully so, place the blame elsewhere, the fact that he is a perfectionist holds him back great. At the same time though, if he was given the untold years to make the game exactly as he wanted, it would surely be a masterpiece. Problem is, as he mentioned, that as he slowly makes his progress taking even the smallest detail into account, technologies change and more layers of complications and reworking come to the picture.

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aj87

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So basically, Square Enix is to blame. I dont own a PS anymore, but I played the previous KH and was one of the best games I ever played. The visuals, characters, gameplay, battles, boss battles.. just a solid damn good game. I truly hope they did a good job on this one after so much time.

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ferna1234

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Edited By ferna1234

I never quite got the concept behind Kingdom hearts. Mixing japanimation with american disney always seemed to me like a seafood chocolate cake.

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CRAPCOM1926

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@ferna1234: because the gameplay is fun and have some of the most challenging bosses in gaming? Yes Soulsborne bosses are a cake walk compare to some of the most Brutal secret bosses on KH but thats the thing the Super tough one are Secret, the main ones meh just level up enough and you ll be fine oh wait that also works on souls.....most of the time. Also The SOundtrack is Spectacular....The story...The story IS FANFIC GARBAGE SINCE 2, The Prequel BIRTH BY SLEEP was actually PRETTY GOOD you have a Star wars feeling....( LOL BBS forshadow Disney buying SW?? Hahahahaha I say yes) Is Total Mainhen and no, is not Dinasty warrior gameplay at all ( Some friend have done the idiotic comparison without having play the game) Rent Kh 2.5 and try out BBS the 1st one on the cronologycal order or 1.5 and play the OUTDATED KH originl which has the best story because how simple and easy to follow is.

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Ragnarocking

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Edited By Ragnarocking

@ferna1234: It did to me too, at first.

You just have to play it to understand... it's so fun!

It's just so over the top and colorful and nostalgic if you grew up with disney movies, battles are great, soundtrack is awesome.

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S7eventhHeaven

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Edited By S7eventhHeaven

come on guys. stop wasting time on day 1 dlc. just release the game quickly

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Sefrix

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While I highly encourage buying and playing through the recent 1.5 + 2.5 package on PS4, I can't imagine after so many years they wouldn't include some sort of "refresher" for KH3. Perhaps a movie like the ones included in the package mentioned or perhaps they just ease and reiterate things pacing wise within the KH3 story proper.

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debryson

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@Sefrix: Personally I don't want a refresher, I want the game tailored to fans not going back over old stuff. The collections and youtube are there for anyone new, or playing catch up. Steps forward, not stopping every time to explain who a character is or what is going on. It's almost like a small reward for the fans who were diligent enough to keep up, the story is pretty basic, not that complicated.

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mirage_so3

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Games still not done. Let's talk DLC.

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snugglebear

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Just started my replay of KH2 last weekend. Never played BBS or DDD previously, so I'm looking forward to them when I get to them.

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Sefrix

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@snugglebear: Been playing the 1.5+2.5 myself. I played 1 & 2 when they were first released. It's amazing how much better then pacing is in 2 vs 1 so enjoy!

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Simulator_Shock

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@Sefrix: Dude are you serious? KH II takes forever to get the damn story rolling, that game has the longest prologue ever, the pacing in the first KH is a lot faster.

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Sefrix

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@Simulator_Shock: Wow this was an old comment! :) That'd debatable. While the first one get's over the "lets race across the island and look for fruit" intro quicker, right after it starts rolling your stuck running around missing Donald and Goofy for a good hour just storta getting used to combat before the first boss where things pick up again.

In KH2, you can go through the starting area about just as quick as a the island (perhaps a little more time though I'd argue once your in the mansion the story has already begun) and then it doesn't dip down again like KH1 does before you meet your party, from there it's full steam ahead.

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zacattack_23

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Wonder if Final Fantasy XV or just Final Fantasy in general will play its part in KH3. Either way I've waited patiently (unlike other games) so I'm willing to wait longer.

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luert

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well this is sad but I get it, it seems that they weren't given the resources to make the games and other projects were given the priority over this one, let's just hope they keep going (=

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michyeosseo

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@luert: Yet they did find resources to pump out some extra DLC? Totally sounded like a starving project.

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Alecmrhand

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I look forward to the upcoming Ultimate Kingdom Hearts edition with every single game on one disc.....or one digital package.....until then, ill wait patiently.....

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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@Alecmrhand: You mean the one that'll include Kingdom Hears 8?

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kouse_arima

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In my restless dreams, I see this game, Kingdom hearts 3. You promised you'd let me play it someday, but you never did. Well, my ps4 is all alone now, waiting for it to come....

Dammit Nomura, get your act together. "It hurts?"

You dont know hurt till someone asks you what your favourite game series is and you tell them its KH, and they are like, "Nice ,is it on ps4? And you say no.Then they ask if it is on ps3, and you gotta say no.and when they ask when is the new part coming, you gotta answer : "dont know". That what hurt is.

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ahmad996

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Edited By ahmad996

@kouse_arima: Calm your titties. It is on the PS3 and PS4 and DS and 3DS and PSP and PS2 and GameBoy.

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dacontag

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Quick note to everyone who only played 1 & 2, you really should play birth by sleep and dream drop distance if you want to understand the story of 3 at all. The spinoff games are actually important.

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Sefrix

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@dacontag: I imagine after so many years they will assume a "refresher" is need and include that in some form or another.

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dacontag

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@Sefrix: oh definitely, they even had one in dream drop distance so I'm sure they'll include one in kh3. its definitely needed.

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Thanatos2k

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@dacontag: Hahahaha implying you'll understand the story if you play those games.

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dacontag

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@Thanatos2k: lol, ya that requires the other games too. I've played all the games, and I was very surprised myself to find out that the story surprisingly makes sense within it's own logic. It's just very very spread out between several games and platforms.

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Destructionzz

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@dacontag: I recently started on that, bought the PS4 collection, but a 2018 release sort of makes me worried I won't get through it all by that time- I'm super casual. Worst case I will enjoy KH 3 as is, gameplay-wise, and I'll go back to finishing the franchise for story cohesion.

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dacontag

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@Destructionzz: sounds good to me, definitely looks like the game is fun on its own. The 3rd game should heavily deal with the characters aqua, ventus, and terra. The main game that explains there story is birth by sleep. Dream drop distance is the direct sequel to 2.

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Dark_Matters

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Ok I'm gonna be real honest, that Toy Story level looked amazing. The lip-syncing was also top notch.

I stopped caring about KH3 over a decade ago, but if the rest of the game is as magical as that, I could totally get back on board.

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ConsoleHaven

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@Dark_Matters: Holy hell, it looks one notch below Pixar quality! Fantastic!

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aproxinate

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I have a feeling this game is going to disappoint the crap outta me. Fewer worlds but more in depth...more in depth, terrific, but don't cut down the number of worlds in game. That was one of the biggest appeals of kingdom hearts, all the different worlds to traverse:/

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DmnHtr4Christ

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Only mature minds can understand Nomura's delimma. Others would only just continue to blame him for the delay. A lot goes into creating a master piece and a lot can hinder its production. Glad Nomura has not given up despite Square Enix shenanigans. True fans will continue to wait and eagerly anticipate for KH3 release. To quote Walt Disney, I say this to Nomura, "Keep Moving Forward".

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Gomtor

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@dmnhtr4christ: Look how P5 turned out - beyond good.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

The bigger question is why Square refused to allocate resources to this game, and instead made not one, not two, but THREE garbage FF13 games squandering the entire PS3 generation, and FFVersus13/FF15 instead.

They should have been working on this full time after KH2 came out. Square execs are buffoons.

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Neoistheone

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@Thanatos2k: because people kept hyping the FF7 remake and they decided to make money where ever they could.

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OtherVulpe

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@Thanatos2k: The reason XIII got two sequels is because of XIV. XIV's first version was such a flop that in order to remake it as ARR they had to spend way over the game's initial budget. Because they still had the assets of XIII, they decided to make the overspent budget back by using those assets to create sequels to XIII.

It's probably also the reason VSXIII was so often delayed, had so many staffing mix ups, and had many of the issues that it did. XIII was controversial, but it could've otherwise easily been moved on from. XIV was the game that really caused problems.

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Thanatos2k

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@OtherVulpe: It wasn't FF14, it was Crystal Tools.

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