Kingdom Hearts II's Tetsuya Nomura Q & A
Square Enix developer talks about Kingdom Hearts II, Chain of Memories, and Advent Children, the movie sequel to Final Fantasy VII.
In the latest issue of Dengeki PlayStation magazine, Square Enix's Tetsuya Nomura answered some questions about Kingdom Hearts II for the PlayStation 2, which he will direct. Nomura also answered a few questions about Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the newly announced CG movie that he will also be directing, and the upcoming GBA Kingdom Hearts title, Chain of Memories.
Dengeki PlayStation magazine: When did the plans for Kingdom Hearts II come up?
Tetsuya Nomura: The plans were around since the time when Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, wrapped production, but the specifics weren't decided until this July or August.
DPM: Why did you decide to produce a Game Boy version of Kingdom Hearts?
TN: I heard a story that kids wanted to play Kingdom Hearts on the GBA. It also seemed that there was a similar demand overseas, so I thought that it had to be created. The plans for the GBA game were thought over while talking with Disney about Kingdom Hearts II. Actually, the vision of the game didn't become concrete until very recently.
DPM: None of the worlds of Disney in Kingdom Hearts II have been revealed. Will it be possible to go through different worlds in Kingdom Hearts II as well?
TN: Of course. The number of worlds in Kingdom Hearts II shouldn't be less than Kingdom Hearts, so please look forward to it. Kingdom Hearts II will have new worlds, and some worlds from Kingdom Hearts will be in the game.
DPM: Will Twilight Town hold the same kind of standpoint in the game, like Traverse Town from Kingdom Hearts?
TN: I can't answer that question, but it is definitely a town that plays an important role and comes into the scenario.
DPM: The illustration (of Twilight Town) has a building that looks like a train station. Will it be possible to go to other worlds by riding on this train?
TN: I can't answer that question yet, but that building has an important meaning.
DPM: Is the island that has been revealed (through a recently released photo) Destiny Island from Kingdom Hearts?
TN: Probably. (Laughs) I can't reveal details yet, so users should try using their imagination.
DPM: Kingdom Hearts II's main illustration shows Mickey Mouse, but will he be appearing at the beginning of the game?
TN: Mickey Mouse will be handled in a special way in Kingdom Hearts II, so I can't answer details at the current time. Other characters from Disney will join in the player's party, similar to Kingdom Hearts.
DPM: Will Sora's friends, Riku and Kairi, appear in Kingdom Hearts II?
TN: A major point to Kingdom Hearts II is whether or not Sora will be able to see them again. So I can't answer that question.
DPM: It seems that there are characters that appear in both the GBA game and KHII?
TN: There are characters that make their first appearances in the GBA game, but please wait for additional news releases for information on them.
DPM: The enemy in Kingdom Hearts II is no longer just the Heartless this time? Also, there are men wearing black jackets, but are they the same people from Kingdom Hearts?
TN: The white enemies seen in Kingdom Hearts II are third forces following the Villains [in each world] and the Heartless from Kingdom Hearts. I can't say who's who amongst the people in the black jackets, but a character from Kingdom Hearts is among them for sure.
DPM: Are there any major changes in the battle system?
TN: The basis (of the battle system) is still the same, but there will be a number of totally new options. With the additional options implemented to the battle system, there should be a wider range of possible strategies in Kingdom Hearts II. There are also a number of changes and additions to the magic and summons in the game. The overall concept of summoning will be different in Kingdom Hearts II, so please look forward.
DPM: What about actions and the transportation system?
TN: There were a variety of actions in Kingdom Hearts, and there will be even more in KHII. As for the gummy ship, we are thinking of something similar to it.
DPM: What about puzzles?
TN: There will probably be lots of objects on the field that the player will be able to meddle with. The story will obviously be complex and have some puzzles in it too, since it continues from points alluded to in Kingdom Hearts.
DPM: Will there be a place like the Coliseum from Kingdom Hearts and other minigames in Kingdom Hearts II?
TN: The coliseum will be incredible. There will also be a lot of minigame factors that can be looked forward to.
DPM: Will all the mysteries from Kingdom Hearts get answered?
TN: All the mysteries from Kingdom Hearts will be answered in Kingdom Hearts II--by design. (Laughs)
DPM: Why was a movie sequel to Final Fantasy VII decided for development, and when was it decided?
TN: About a year back, Visual Works (a company that has developed CG movies for Square) picked FFVII as the theme for a presentation that they were going to create. Our research and development department worked with them on its launch, and I joined the crew after producer Kitase-san called me. It's going to be released as a sequel, but it was planned to just be a visual presentation in the beginning.
DPM: Why is Advent Children a movie instead of a game? Are there any differences between making a game and making a full movie?
TN: First of all, we started off from the project that Visual Works was handling, but they can't make a game on their own. We tried to see if we could make it into a game, but it wasn't possible due to a number of factors. As a result, we decided to stick with the original plan and work on it as a movie production. The development isn't too different from the way we make movies that get used in our games, but our schedule is a bit tight. We need to keep the cost down since it's not a game, but [we still need to] maintain high quality.
DPM: Are there any differences between creating movies for games and creating Advent Children?
TN: There are more efforts put into the textures and the atmosphere. We usually need to balance [the movie graphics] with the game screen, but there are no such limitations in Advent Children, so we're going all out on it.
DPM: What meaning does Final Fantasy VII have for you?
TN: It was the Final Fantasy game that I was most involved in, and it is also my favorite. It's also where the series takes a radical change [from past FF titles].
DPM: How is production going?
TN: We are at about 10 percent done. Not all the characters have been created yet, but the scenario has already been completed.
DPM: Were there any things that you were especially careful about when bringing back Cloud and Sephiroth to the screen?
TN: What you are seeing now is the result of numerous explorations. Since it was impossible to bring the look [from FFVII] directly to the new realistic look (in Advent Children), the characteristics that would allow anybody to recognize Cloud and the others were left behind on them.
DPM: What kind of standing does the new character fighting with Cloud have?
TN: He is an enemy.
DPM: Were the characters in Advent Children's promotional video animated through motion capture?
TN: They were animated by motion capture, but that capture was recently taken for promotional use. It isn't a part of the main movie.
DPM: Are the battle scenes also created through motion capture?
TN: Many are, but parts that aren't humanly possible are done by hand.
DPM: Will the characters have voices? And will it be in English or Japanese?
TN: The characters will have voices, but I can't answer more.
DPM: What is the theme of Advent Children?
TN: Nojima, who handles the scenario, says that it won't be something soft, like healing. It will be about survival.
DPM: Where, specifically, will Advent Children take place? Will it be somewhere from the original Final Fantasy VII?
TN: It's hidden in the logo.
DPM: How long will Advent Children be?
TN: It is planned to run for 60 minutes.
DPM: Are there any chances for a FFVII sequel to be developed as a game after the release of Advent Children?
TN: I hope that this project may lead to something, since we woke up something that was sleeping.