Kingdom Hearts III Director Tetsuya Nomura Explains How to Unlock the Secret Movie and More

We've translated Tetsuya Nomura's latest interview on Kingdom Hearts III, explaining who wrote the story, why the loadings look like social media and more.

January 24, 2019

Famitsu published today a new interview with Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura, a few hours before the Japanese release of the game on January 25.

This interview doesn’t contain spoilers per se, only things we already know from the previous games. Nomura went into details with the story, however, so if you haven’t played the past games, read summaries or know about their stories in some way, the parts of the interview focusing on Kingdom Hearts III‘s story won’t make much sense to you. Here’s what Nomura revealed:

According to the Famitsu reporter, who has played the full game, the game has rich content and even after finishing the story of a Disney world you still have tons of things left to do in it, like completing all minigames. And like a puzzle, the main story slowly advances, giving you new information and reveals as you progress.

As Nomura already stated multiple times in the past, Kingdom Hearts III‘s story is about how the good guys will defeat the bad guy, Master Xehanort, and will mark the end of the first saga in the franchise, explaining a lot of the mysteries laid-out so far.

Nomura also quickly re-explained how the start of Kingdom Hearts III’s story goes, and Sora’s objectives in the game like getting the “power to awaken”:

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There’s a lot of details, but basically the “power to awaken” is the power “to return back to normal a heart currently in an abnormal state”, and “to open up something and be able to bring back the heart emprisoned in it”. In Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, Sora was training to get this power, but his training was interrupted by Master Xehanort. So at the start of Kingdom Hearts III he’s still looking for that power.

Another objective of Sora in Kingdom Hearts III is to reassemble the guardian of lights needed to oppose the darkness, so this means “resurrecting” Roxas. The reporter from Famitsu asks Nomura to explain to newcomers what does “resurrecting” Roxas means since he’s part of Sora anyway:

Sora wishes to revive Roxas with his own body and as his own distinct person. In Kingdom Hearts II, Roxas goes back to be part of Sora and his story seems to be over. In Dream Drop Distance however, Sora connects deeper with Roxas’ heart and memories, and starts thinking he deserves to be his own person. Sora realized that Roxas has his own specific heart, that Axel wants him to come back, and that Roxas is one of the guardians of lights they need.

The Famitsu reporter also asked Nomura to reassure fans, and how Kingdom Hearts III isn’t the end of the series or Sora’s story:

Kingdom Hearts III is the end of the Dark Seeker arc, but the Kingdom Hearts series, which includes Kingdom Hearts Union Cross, isn’t ending now. I think you’ll get a good idea of what comes next after seeing the Epilogue and the Secret Movie of Kingdom Hearts III, which will both be added after release. The epilogue movie is the movie after the game’s ending, and can be seen as long as you clear the game. The Secret Movie requires to be unlocked by fulfillying certain conditions.

Kingdom Hearts III‘s epilogue movie and secret movie will only be added to the game via an internet update. Also, Nomura specifically mentions Union Cross because if you know its story, it’s obvious it’s planning for what will happen after Kingdom Hearts III.

Here’s what Tetsuya Nomura revealed on the conditions to unlock the Secret Movie:

It depends of the numbers of “lucky marks” you’ve managed to find and take selfies with. “Lucky Marks” are elements in the game which look like King Mickey. In Beginner difficulty, you’ll need to take photos with every single Mickey-looking mark in the game. In Normal you’ll only need a certain number, and even less in Proud difficulty. Unlike past games which required multiple different conditions to be fulfilled, this is the only thing you need to do to unlock the secret movie in Kingdom Hearts III.

The gallery below has an example of these Mickey marks you’ll need to take selfies with to unlock the secret movie. Kingdom Hearts III is also the first KH game ever where the Secret Movie is unlockable on Beginner difficulty because Nomura wants as many people as possible to see it.

Next, Nomura spoke about Kingdom Hearts III’s difficulty balance:

The game’s battle system focuses on changing the Keyblade’s form depending of the situation. Some of the boss battles may be hard, but we’ve designed the game so as many people as possible can clear it. We still have different difficulty levels as well, including “Critical”, the highest difficulty level. For people who want to do self-imposed challenges, there are also abilities which block characters from receiving experience points and leveling up, and you can also do things like preventing the AI-controlled characters from using healing abilities.

Tetsuya Nomura’s favorite world in Kingdom Hearts III is Toy Story. He also wrote most of Kingdom Hearts III‘s story and lines himself. He’s been writing most of the scenario and lines since KH II, and even more so since 358/2 Days, but needless to say, he’s not the sole scenarist and Masaru Oka plays a big role too. However, Nomura is the one who handles the final version of the script once they’re done deciding everything. This isn’t because he definitely wants to write it himself, but simply that he’s the one the most accustomed with the series (obviously). Having a big team of scenarists would also make it harder to share all the single details with everyone. Kingdom Hearts III’s story team is small and basically made of Tetsuya Nomura, Masaru Oka, Kazushige Nojima, and four different people who proofread everything to make sure there’s nothing wrong. Kazushige Nojima acted as a “supervisor” and particularly helped them with the story part from the final battle to the ending.

The Famitsu reporter mentioned how Nomura is only credited as “Story” instead of “Scenario” in some Kingdom Hearts games, and Nomura said that he doesn’t feel the need to specifically point that out in credits. As he’s someone who’ve been in the game industry for years and worked on many games in the past, he also doesn’t want people’s impressions or assumptions on Kingdom Hearts to be influenced by the fact he’s writing it.

Tetsuya Nomura also decided the items’ names, including Keyblade names, and wrote the social media-like messages appearing in Kingdom Hearts III’s loadings when you enter a world. He decided on the hashtags too. And new messages appear as you finish more worlds, so you should always pay attention during the game’s loadings. The gallery below has screenshots of those social-media like loading screens.

According to Nomura, as for now, Kingdom Hearts III has no DLC planned, plus the Kingdom Hearts III staff is currently resting now that the game is done. If they hypothetically do payable DLC, they’d rather do one big DLC players need to pay for rather than small multiple DLCs to buy. They’d also consider free DLC, with content different than those hypothetical payable DLCs. But basically, he’d rather start working on the next Kingdom Hearts game than working on DLC for Kingdom Hearts III.

As I’m writing this, there are only a few minutes left until Kingdom Hearts III‘s Japanese launch on January 25. The game will be available outside Japan on January 29 for PS4 and Xbox One. You can check our guide to avoid spoilers, our guide explaining the titles of all Kingdom Hearts games, and here’s everything you need to know about Kingdom Hearts III before release. You can grab Kingdom Hearts III via Amazon to support us.

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Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been watching anime for over 25 years, and plays Genshin Impact mainly for its story. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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