At E3 2013, the world got its very first reveal (and confirmation) that the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III would finally be making its way into the hands of console owners everywhere…eventually. While no release date has officially been confirmed just yet for the conclusion of the current Kingdom Hearts story arc, designer Tai Yasue shed some more light on what the experience of developing the title has been like.
Speaking in an interview, co-director and game designer for Kingdom Hearts III Tai Yasue detailed the current process of the game’s development, with the developer specifically mentioning that the experience of developing and release both the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD remakes was “a good learning experience,” as the 2.5 HD remake was developed alongside progress on Kingdom Hearts III. Yasue detailed in the interview:
“We have been working on 3 and 2.5 at the same time, so a lot of people are crossing over and doing both. There are also a lot of new people working on both. In a way, we’ve learned what was good about our previous Kingdom Hearts [games] by making 2.5.”
“For 3, we want to evolve it in a new direction, but at the same time we don’t want to change what is fundamental about Kingdom Hearts. We’re hiring new people continuously, so they are learning about Kingdom Hearts through making 2.5. It’s a good learning experience.”
In addition to detailing the impact that developing the previous Kingdom Hearts remakes had on the upcoming title, Yasue also provided more information on the particular rewards and challenges that come with creating a new Kingdom Hearts title, and in particular working with the various content inspired by the worlds of Disney, as he explains:
“There’s a lot to get used to working with the Disney content. You have to have a lot of dedication and respect for their visual IPs for example, and when you play Kingdom Hearts 2 you see that: when you summon a character or use a spell there’s a lot of love and care that goes into the presentation. When you see Stitch coming out of the screen, for example, it’s very true to the original movie. That dedication is something you learn through the process or remaking 2.”
“As Square-Enix, if someone else was making a Final Fantasy or a Dragon Quest, we’d be very protective of that too. So we really understand the importance of not changing the brand and respecting the fans. We want to make it true to Disney – we don’t want to change it fundamentally. We always strive to make original content, but with Kingdom Hearts you have to really respect the source material, and that’s something people really like about the series.”
“As someone who creates games I think the constraints make you really think. They are what make you strive to come up with new ideas – ideas that are acceptable to Disney, and also fun. That balancing act leads to a lot of surprises. It’s very challenging, but we work on it daily. We continuously talk with Disney and see what they think is acceptable… but we constantly want to surprise our players, too, so we need flexibility. It is challenging and makes you think.”
Kingdom Hearts III is currently in development for PS4 and Xbox One.