Information on Kingdom Hearts III has been scarce in the past few months, but Game Director Tetsuya Nomura provided more color during an interview focused on Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue on Dengeki Online.
Nomura-san mentioned that there are fundamentally different elements if we compare the battle system of Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage and Kingdom Hearts III, but 0.2 is a good preliminary example of what Kingdom Hearts looks like when developed for PS4.
Especially graphics-wise, lightning was implemented for the first time, and Square Enix Visual Works provided guidance for the development team. There was a lot of trial and error during the implementation..
In the past, Nomura-san thought that Disney’s atmosphere could not be achieved with lighting, but then he decided that with the current hardware specs it was possible to implement it without damaging the atmosphere. He is still getting used to working with it, so he feels it will improve further in the future.
We also learn that the Situation Command feature included ion Kingdom Hearts 0.2 is something Nomura-san wanted to introduce since the beginning of the development of Kingdom Hearts III. It’s an evolution of the Reaction Command included in Kingdom Hearts II, with improved flexibility. Nomura-san feels that it will be an important part of Kingdom Hearts III.
The character decoration feature introduced in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 could be implemented in Kingdom Hearts III as well. It depends on whether it fits in the development schedule, because there are other elements that have higher priority, yet Nomura-san intends to wait and see how the fans react to it in Kingdom Hearts 0.2.
Until now, Characters and environments were made using the first game as the production base, but Kingdom Hearts III is being developed for consoles with hardware specs that are too different from the original, so everything is being remodeled from scratch, and it’s a challenge for the team.
According to Nomura-san, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance indicated the direction of later Kingdom Hearts games for him, so it could be said that it was a starting point for Kingdom Hearts III.
While development of Kingdom Hearts III is facing the challenge of the enormous volume of work going into creating all the models from scratch, it’s progressing, which makes Nomura-san feel at ease about it. He really wants to announce more new information, but the right timing is currently being determined.
Since 2017 is the 15th anniversary of Kingdom Hearts, and there will be many events and concerts, Nomura-san would like to take advantage of those occasions to provide more news. Yet, that hasn’t been finalized yet, so he concluded the interview by asking the fans to be patient a bit longer.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue will release exclusively for PS4 in North America on January 24th, while Kingdom Hearts III will come for PS4 and Xbox One, but has no release window just yet.
If you want to see more about HD 2.8, you can check out the latest screenshots and the latest trailer (also in Japanese). Both feature heavily the Situation Command and character decoration features mentioned by Nomura-san.