Peter Triezenberg
Tetsuya Nomura Talks Kingdom Hearts III's Development Process, Gummi Ships, and More
Things are coming along nicely, it seems.
06.27.18 - 2:18 PM

Kingdom Hearts III is finally right around the corner, and director Tetsuya Nomura has been offering a steady stream of insight into the game's development process in the wake of E3 2018. In a recent interview with Dengeki PlayStation, Nomura provided some more details on the game's Gummi ship levels, as well as the progression of the worlds players will explore.

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Gummi ships are back in Kingdom Hearts III, and this time, they're being developed by staff members who previously worked on Einhander. Gummi ships levels will feature a so-called "open world" mode with free movement, as well as a standard battle mode. Gummi ship customization is something the team is still working on, however.

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Something else that is still being determined by Nomura and his team is the order in which players will visit each world. This time around, there will be no optional worlds, as players would generally visit every world anyway. As far the worlds that were revealed at E3 2018 are concerned, Nomura wanted realistic graphics for the Pirates of the Caribbean world, as well as for Sora to look like a pirate this time around. This world will have a lot of land, air, and sea elements to it, and Sora's Keyblade from this world will be able to transform into a spear and a flag. In the Frozen world, Sora will be able to wield various ice-themed weapons, including skates. Sora's character progression will be similar to how it was in Kingdom Hearts I and II, so presumably he will gain new skills by leveling up.

Oh, and you remember how there was supposed to be a Big Hero 6 world in Kingdom Hearts III? According to Nomura, that world will be shown off the next time the team has information to share.

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The Rock Titan and Toy Story levels shown at the Premiere event were selected because the are the closest to production quality the team has on hand. Based on feedback from fans and media who had hands-on time with the demos, the final game's camera will be reworked. According to Nomura, the difficulty level of these demos were set somewhere between the Beginner and Standard difficulty settings.

The main theme of Kingdom Hearts III is to "tie up loose ends." There will be a lot of character appearances from past Kingdom Hearts titles, and Nomura urges players to catch up on Union Cross and other titles in the lead-up to III's release. More information on the returning members of Organization XIII will be revealed at a later date. When it comes to the presence of Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts III, Nomura was tight-lipped: in an interview with Gamespot, he joked that every single interviewee had asked him about FInal Fantasy cameos, which must mean people are really looking forward to seeing them. Since there are so many original Kingdom Hearts characters with stories to resolve, it is "difficult" to include the Final Fantasy characters, but Nomura did say to stay tuned for more updates.

Because of the large volume of content in the game that may not fit on one disc, Nomura did say to "be prepared" for a potential download. The team is also considering potential online elements, but that hasn't been finalized yet.

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When asked if there will be any more surprises akin to Aqua's fall to darkness (revealed in one of the E3 2018 trailers), Nomura said that he didn't want to rely on the same twist too often, or else it would lose that "surprise factor." Nevertheless, there will be numerous surprises in store for players, which Nomura hopes won't be spoiled by future trailers.

When asked about Kingdom Hearts III's January 2019 release date, when the game was originally supposed to release sometime in 2018, Nomura said that it has to do with achieving a global release. "Until now, we would decide on a release date for Japan, and then the rest of the world would follow," Nomura says, "but now that we’re looking towards a global release, we have to think of distribution and software production lines in global terms."

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"Kingdom Hearts, to me, is a game that has everything in it.” In the Gamespot interview, Nomura reminisced about his time working under Sakaguchi on Final Fantasy, where Sakaguchi called Final Fantasy a game that had everything in it. Nomura's goal with Kingdom Hearts III is to bring that kind of variety to his game, saying that Kingdom Hearts as a franchise "represents who I am." Nomura is confident in his team's ability to produce a game that meets and exceeds fans' expectations, crafted with love and care.

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If you'd like to know what we think of Kingdom Hearts III so far, be sure to read Derek Heemsbergen's preview from E3 2018. Stay tuned to RPGFan for more details on Kingdom Hearts III. The game will be released on January 29th, 2019 for PS4 and Xbox One.