At long last, we know that we’re going to be able to play Kingdom Hearts III in 2018, but considering the reveal at E3 2013, it will be about five years after the game was fist announced. DualShockers asked the game’s Director Tetsuya Nomura if he is confident that the team will be able to actually launch the massively anticipated JRPG next year.
Nomura-san mentioned that no creator is going to say “no, I’m not confident” after revealing the release timing, and he’s very hopeful about the announced launch window.
After that, he went into more detail on what happened behind the scenes, determining the release year. Since the start of the project, the team knew how long the development window would have been, and this goal was set in their planning. Those plans indicated that the team would spend a certain amount of time working on the game, and the time frames in which they would receive additional staff.
While that plan was already in place, there were factors involving the company’s decisions that influenced the outcome. Those factors included the decision to switch the engine, and changes in personnel planning. These decisions ended up affecting the actual release timing, but the development period did not really change, it just naturally shifted. That’s why Nomura-san feels that the team has been working according to the plans.
Later during the round-table interview, Nomura-san elaborated further, explaining that the announcement of a game and full production aren’t necessarily linked. He heard a lot of people making it sound like he himself is taking too much time on the game, and that hurts. After about a year worth of development, the engine was changed from a proprietary engine to Unreal Engine 4, and that caused a setback, with part of the work that had to be redone.
Unfortunately, that was an inevitable decision that the company had to make, but Nomura-san wanted to stress that it wasn’t due to problems on the development team’s side, and it wasn’t a case of him personally changing his mind.
The original plan mentioned before included the time the game would have required to develop, alongside how much additional personnel would have been needed after at certain time frames to mass produce the assets. Square Enix headquarters approved the plan, but internal staff is limited, and there are various different projects that happen within the company. Timing for that did not work out, so the team had to make due with the timing that was appropriate for the company. That contributed to the shift in the development period. Since those decisions were taken by the company, they were out of Nomura-san’s control.
Yesterday, Square Enix announced that Kingdom Hearts III will release in 2018 for PS4 and Xbox One, and revealed a new Toy Story world that will be part of the game. A large batch of screenshots was also published for your perusal. During our interview, Nomura-san also talked about the challenges and advantages of directing the title at the same time as the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and about all the content that the team has packed into the game.
Stay tuned on DualShockers for the full interview, that will be available very soon.
[Original Interview: Azario Lopez]