Kingdom Hearts II Update

We dig up some new details on the upcoming action RPG sequel at TGS 2004.

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TOKYO--Square Enix recently gave us an opportunity to go hands-on with Kingdom Hearts II, the in-development sequel to 2002's wildly popular action RPG that fused a smattering of Disney films with Final Fantasy characters and Square Enix's unique design sensibilities. At TGS, the company showed off a new trailer for the game and hosted a brief Q&A with Kingdom Hearts II director Tetsuya Nomura, and we gleaned a couple of neat tidbits that anyone closely following the game will be interested to hear.

During the Q&A session, Nomura was asked about new Disney and Final Fantasy characters that will be appearing in the upcoming game. As we expected, Nomura was mum on the subject, but he did make some vague comments about what we have to look forward to. Specifically, he said that he viewed the inclusion of The Nightmare Before Christmas's Jack in the first game as a bit surprising, since both the character and the film aren't nearly as cute and cuddly as typical Disney fare. In the same vein, Nomura said that one or more of the characters appearing in Kingdom Hearts II will be even more surprising to fans, though whether these will be Disney or Final Fantasy characters (or both) remains to be seen.

One of the new Disney characters that has been revealed to be in Kingdom Hearts II is Mulan. During the trailer, we got to see a brief snippet of a real-time cinematic starring Mulan and the wisecracking dragon Mushu, and we'd say the look of the characters and scenery from Mulan has been preserved as well as those of all the other movies represented in the game. Nomura mentioned that the team has built an entirely new graphics engine for the game, which has no doubt helped facilitate the detail and amazing animation we've seen in Kingdom Hearts II's characters.

Alas, Kingdom Hearts devotees won't get their hands on the final game for a good long while--the sequel isn't due out until September 2005. Keep your eyes peeled, though, as GameSpot will bring you more on the game as soon as it happens.

For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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