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Nomura discusses Kingdom Hearts 4, Missing-Link, and Dark Road in extended Famitsu interview



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Famitsu has published their extended interview with Tetsuya Nomura, covering the Kingdom Hearts series's 20th anniversary and event, as well as the newly announced Kingdom Hearts IV and Missing-Link.

We've omitted the Q&A that was already published in the web interview.

-- I was surprised by the faithful recreation of the area surrounding Shibuya Hikarie, the venue in which the event took place, in the Kingdom Hearts 4 trailer. The video was rendered in Unreal Engine 4, but with development moving to Unreal Engine 5, it seems that the graphics will become even more impressive.

Nomura: Currently, we've already begun working in UE5, so this may be the only time we show you footage from UE4. The next time we show the game should be in UE5, so please look forward to it.

-- Is the room where Sora wakes up also in Shibuya?

Nomura: That is located in Minami-Aoyama. However, the location of the main unit is different from what you see from the balcony, so the Osaka staff will come by later on to do some location scouting to make adjustments.

-- Melody of Memory featured a woman who was familiar with Quadratum. She was only voiced and not shown, but will she appear in KHIV?

Nomura: That is still a secret. As I said at the event, there was a time when I wasn't sure whether I would choose KHIV or VERUM REX as my next project. However, she is a central VERUM REX character.

-- I see.

Nomura: There seems to be a lot of anticipation for VERUM REX overseas (bitter smile). When Yozora was first introduced in KHIII, I got the impression that his reception was less than welcoming, but I guess that was not the case.

-- The logo has been redesigned.

Nomura: With the start of a new story, we took the opportunity to simplify the font. However, we wanted to retain that "KH" feel in spite of the new simplicity, so it took a lot of trial and error to reach a design that struck the right balance.

-- One year has passed since KHIII, so Sora's character design in KHIV is slightly more mature. His hair is silky and realistic, and even the impression he gives off has changed.

Nomura: Even when we were working on KHIII, there were discussions within the team about how realistic we should make the characters. We certainly could have made the hair silky smooth in KHIII if we wanted to. This time, since we are starting anew with the Lost Master Arc, we decided to make some drastic changes. The [characters'] appearances also match the nature of the world [they're in].

-- I hope we will meet Sora again, looking as he did in KHIII. Has this new costume design been finalized?

Nomura: No, not yet. There may still be some finer changes, such as with the details. As for the silhouette, I think it'll be similar to the one in this trailer.

-- The Master of Masters and his six disciples, the "Lost Masters," disappeared after the Keyblade War in Unchained χ. What happened to them?

Nomura: Even though we didn't show exactly what happened, we do know that five of the Foretellers, with the exception being Luxu, vanished after the Keyblade War.

-- So, they disappeared. But in KHIII's epilogue, Luxu "summons" his fellow disciples back and they are reunited. Are the Lost Masters a threat to Sora and his friends?

Nomura: Simply put, the Lost Masters are an opposing force like Organization XIII. However, not all of them have the same intentions. Their motives will be newly depicted in KHIV, so in that sense, I hope you will enjoy this new arc from the very beginning.

-- Who are the two wearing black coats in the trailer? One of them seems to be the Master of Masters...

Nomura: That's still a secret (laughs). By the way, in addition to Oka (Masaru Oka) who has worked with me on scenarios for the KH series up until now, I've asked Ishibashi (Akiko Ishibashi), a newcomer to the KH series, to join us in writing the scenario for KHIV. This marks the start of our 3-person team.

-- Why did you ask Ishibashi [to join you]?

Nomura: The biggest reason is because of how she factors into approaching new users, from the perspective of someone who has no experience with the KH series. She did a great job of integrating the characters' values and principles in NEO: The World Ends With You and other works, and I thought her way of thinking would be well-suited for KH.

-- About the EX gauge in the lower right...?

Nomura: Please wait for more information on that.

-- Changing the subject, what did you request for the new songs used in the trailer?

Nomura: I requested a sense of anticipation building towards the latter half, so you'd feel like you're waiting for a hero to appear. It was very difficult since I had to ask for adjustments to be made to the length of the song to match that of the video at the last minute. For Missing-Link's song, I wanted it to have vocals throughout, so the chorus was included in this trailer.

-- What are the "societies that sprawl and branch like veins" mentioned in the trailer?

Nomura: KH Missing Link takes place about 4 generations after Ephemer's time. His descendents have each formed their own societies: the main family who carries his bloodline is the "Society of Successors", while the branch family who doesn't is the "Society of Non-Successors".

Just like KHIV, we're considering how to approach new users and have asked Fukazawa (Ruiko Fukazawa), another newcomer to the series, to write the scenario.

-- The Keyblade seems to be strengthened by setting "pieces," which are shaped like figurines. That's pretty unique.

Nomura: We wanted them to look rich, so we made them in the form of figurines. The pieces can be obtained not just from the gacha, but also in the field. For example, you might get a message that says "___ pieces are currently available at ___ in Shibuya."

-- I spotted some pieces in the trailer that resembled Terra, among other characters. Terra is a character who hails from a time period long after Missing-Link, so are the pieces just created for the purposes of the game?

Nomura: The purpose of this association [between characters and pieces] is to collect records of all the worlds' pasts, presents, and futures. Each piece provides information on its character from all eras, and you'll be able to draw upon their abilities to fight.

-- I see. The battles look like the action in KHIII.

Nomura: The project started in parallel with KH Union Cross. We knew that if we were going to make the next mobile iteration of KH, we had to make sure it'd play similarly to the mainline games in order to satisfy the audience. Therefore, it was inevitable that we'd aim to create an experience that'd be close to the action you'd find in those titles.

-- Collecting figurine-like pieces sounds interesting, and the multiplayer action battles look quite fun.

Nomura: We're trying to create sharp things that we might not be able to accomplish in the mainline games. Please look forward to the closed beta test scheduled for this fall.

-- You mentioned that you added additional scenarios to KH Dark Road, more than what was originally planned.

Nomura: Initially we were planning to include the [other] classmates, as well as delve further into Xehanort's companions. However, due to a change of plans, I asked Kanemaki (Tomoco Kanemaki), who also worked on KH 358/2 Days and writes the series' light novel adaptations, to put together a scenario with a limited number of stories. The plan received further changes after that, and I had the team's scenario writers make adjustments to focus solely on Xehanort. However, I felt that we were losing too much by making all of these cuts, so I decided to add them back in at the end. As I said at the event, you'll even learn why Master Xehanort became bald (laughs).

-- Oh (laughs). I'm looking forward to it. Lastly, what plans do you have for the remaining duration of KH's 20th anniversary?

Nomura: KH Dark Road is nearing completion, and the two women who are working on the event scenes are giving their all, so please give them your support. It'll just be a little bit longer. KH Missing Link is scheduled for a closed beta test this fall. KHIV's development is being prioritized, and we don't have plans to release additional info for a while.

I'm hoping to put some other stuff together, so please wait for more information from official announcements.

 
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Sephiroth0812

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Nomura: Initially we were planning to include the classmates, as well as delve further into Xehanort's companions. However, due to a change of plans, I asked Kanemaki (Tomoco Kanemaki), who also worked on KH 358/2 Days and writes the series' light novel adaptations, to put together a scenario with a limited number of stories. The plan received further changes after that, and I had the team's scenario writers make adjustments to focus solely on Xehanort. However, I felt that we were losing too much by making all of these cuts, so I decided to add them back in at the end. As I said at the event, you'll even learn why Master Xehanort became bald (laughs).

Jeez Nomura, on one hand constantly cutting stuff that delves deeper into characters other than a single one is exactly what's one of my main pet peeves about the KH series, yet on the other I see here this time you apparently reconsidered and added these bits back in.
We'll see how this unfolds when the DR story finally releases and I'll remain skeptical until then, having feared from the beginning that the DR cast beyond Xehanort and partly Eraqus will remain flat window dressing characters.

Also wtf, the whole issue with Master Xehanort being bald I always attributed to his advanced age in that form, nothing special. This is similar to the whole Mickey's shirt stuff in 0.2, lol.

More focus on the characters in general and their interactions beyond lore dumps, light, darkness and heart speeches would do the series' quality more favor than side-steps such as Xehanort's hair loss or Mickey's shirt in the RoD.
If this goes on further we'll get extra information in the future about where Terra got his weird pants from, why Ventus was shirtless in the prologue of BBS and how Axel got those tear tattoos?
 

Zettaflare

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I wouldn't be surprised if Xehanort was descended from the Ephemer's bloodline the Society of Successors. Also kind of amused that Nomura was shocked at how popular was at Yozora becoming popular overseas lol
 

SuperNova

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Do we REALLY need lore explanation on why Xehanort went bald? I can't say I'm surprised about Yozora's reception overseas, he brings a lot of new blood and intrigue to the series.

Also I'm slightly confused, when he says costume design isn't finalized yet. Does he mean Sora's costume design isn't complete or that his Quadratum design IS his new main design and he hasn't finalized the details yet.
 

Sign

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Do we REALLY need lore explanation on why Xehanort went bald? I can't say I'm surprised about Yozora's reception overseas, he brings a lot of new blood and intrigue to the series.

Also I'm slightly confused, when he says costume design isn't finalized yet. Does he mean Sora's costume design isn't complete or that his Quadratum design IS his new main design and he hasn't finalized the details yet.
Both? The outfit we see him wearing in the trailer is his new design for KH4, but it hasn't been finalized yet so we might see some minor changes at the next showing.
 

Liodin

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Everything I read about Missing Link and Dark Road is very interesting.

I think Missing Link is going to be a big surprise. It looks like the gatcha elements will be optional as you can get figures on the map, which by the way you can play it without leaving home and even go to other parts of the world using points to teleport.

I think it would be stupid of them not to release the game on consoles/PC. The gameplay is like 3, it has multiplayer and the scenes are dubbed, so many more people will want to play it, and if they see the interest of the people and that launching it outside of mobile is going to give them more money, they will end up doing it.
 

SuperNova

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Well I'm slightly dissapointed, its not a bad design but idk Sora is missing some of the flair his previous designs had. It works for the realistic setting but it just looks plain compared to his other incarnations.
 

Sign

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Forgot about the parting message so I went and edited it in.

-- Oh (laughs). I'm looking forward to it. Lastly, what plans do you have for the remaining duration of KH's 20th anniversary?

Nomura:
KH Dark Road is nearing completion, and the two women who are working on the event scenes are giving their all, so please give them your support. It'll just be a little bit longer. KH Missing Link is scheduled for a closed beta test this fall. KHIV's development is being prioritized, and we don't have plans to release additional info for a while.

I'm hoping to put some other stuff together, so please wait for more information from official announcements.
 
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2 quid is good

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She did a great job of integrating the characters' values and principles in NEO: The World Ends With You and other works, and I thought her way of thinking would be well-suited for KH
omg-omg-omg-omg.gif

I'VE GIVEN FOR SO LONG AND FINALLY I GET TO RECIEVE
 

Sakuraba Neku

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Nomura: There seems to be a lot of anticipation for VERUM REX overseas (bitter smile). When Yozora was first introduced in KHIII, I got the impression that his reception was less than welcoming, but I guess that was not the case

Who's giving wrong information to Nomura?! Because I never got the impression Yozora wasn't well received...
At least now he's aware fans want a Verum Rex game.

Akiko Ishibashi (NEO:TWEWY) is a great addition to the KH writing team. Not if only they got rid of Masaru Oka... A new co-director and cutscene director would be welcomed too...

They are already made clear it will take a while for more KH4 news. I expect them to go radio silence for more than one year and come back in 2024.
 

NoWay

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I’m just shocked about the fact that Nomura’s perception seems to be THAT far off the reality.

How could he ever thought of Yozora not being popular? I mean, the whole Secret Episode was setting him up as such an interesting and cool character. They are literally investing their resources on presenting a character the best way they could and Nomura doubts that Yozora is popular?

This makes me feel a bit anxious tbh I mean imagine if he feels like “The fans hate original worlds let’s reduce them like in KH3”
 

Sign

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I’m just shocked about the fact that Nomura’s perception seems to be THAT far off the reality.

How could he ever thought of Yozora not being popular? I mean, the whole Secret Episode was setting him up as such an interesting and cool character. They are literally investing their resources on presenting a character the best way they could and Nomura doubts that Yozora is popular?

This makes me feel a bit anxious tbh I mean imagine if he feels like “The fans hate original worlds let’s reduce them like in KH3”
Either he's lurking in the wrong places on the internet or he's being fed inaccurate info. I'm not sure which is the lesser of two evils.
 

GreyouTT

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Seriously? We need LORE to explain why an old man goes bald???
Nomura on his way to explain why Darkness is really jealous of people having hair, and makes people who embrace it bald:

 
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