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More From Tetsuya Nomura's Ultimania Interview

Director talks about Kingdom Hearts 3, Sora, and additional projects.

What's next after Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep?

Bits and pieces of a Tetsuya Nomura interview from the newly published Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Ultimania guide book leaked out yesterday. Today, FF Reunion delivered a more detailed report from the interview, this time taken first hand from the book.

Before discussing future plans for the series, Nomura shared a bit of trivia about Birth by Sleep. Here's a bit of what he said:

  • Nomura usually begins game creation by thinking of the gameplay. For KH BbS, he started with the plot.
  • Nomura began writing the BbS plot prior to the Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix + Japanese re-release, at about the time Kingdom Hearts 2 was finished.

  • The title is "Birth by Sleep" because they wanted to use the word "by" in the title. (Really?)
  • The names for Birth by Sleep's trio of heroes, Tera, Ventus and Aqua, are from Earth, wind and water.
  • To make the game's secret boss, they had debuggers test the boss fight. If the debuggers found a way to defeat the boss, they made adjustments to remove the method. This is why the boss is so strong. Nomura admits that even he can't defeat the boss.

Nomura managed to work one hint regarding future projects into the trivia bits. The main story for BbS is quite complicated, so they wanted to avoid having side paths. This is why Final Fantasy VII's Zack Fair is the only Final Fantasy character in the game. Also, BbS takes place in the past, so they wanted to have a character from past -- hence Zack.

Here's where the little hint about a future project comes in. Said Nomura, "We were thinking about putting in other FF characters, but we ended up putting them in another project. This is a title that has yet to be announced, so I can't say who it is."

It's unclear if Nomura was referring to the two Kingdom Hearts games he mentioned in the interview (see below for additional details on those), or if he's talking about something completely different.

FF Reunion did a direct transcript for a few sections of the interview, allowing for a bit of extra clarity over the recap I posted yesterday. (Note: FF Reunion has since removed the transcript.)

Regarding the possibility of a Final Mix-style re-release of BbS for Japan, Nomura said, "In the past, when I said 'we don't have plans for it now,' people took that to be "it won't be released," so I won't say anything. The voice actors for the overseas version are all high caliber, so it wouldn't be bad to release a Final Mix version.... However, because for KH2FM+ we released KH Re:COM as a set, we have the feeling that people's expectations for the content of a Final Mix have become extremely high. I'd like to say this here -- we won't do anything that big ever again. (laughs)."

If all those letters are confusing you, here's what Nomura is talking about. KH2FM+ is Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix +, an international version of Kingdom Hearts 2 that was released to Japan. It included a huge piece of extra content -- a 3D remake of Game Boy Advance's Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, titled Re: Chain of Memories.

In addition to pretty much ruling out the possibility of another Chain of Memories-style remake (perhaps of, say, a certain DS Kingdom Hearts game), Nomura made first mention of two additional Kingdom Hearts games in response to a question about Kingdom Hearts 3. Said Nomura: "We won't take up KH3 until we've reached a certain target with FF Versus XIII. However, production has already started on the next entry in the series. As a plan, there's one title that we believe we can release this year. Also, we'd like to release one more next year or beyond. I believe this will have multiple main characters."

Nomura also gave somewhat of a hint about Kingdom Hearts 3 here, stating "By the way, the scene where XX leaves off on a journey at the end of Blank Point is set to connect to KH3." Those who've played through Birth by Sleep presumably know what he's talking about.

The interview dug a bit deeper into KH3 than my original story suggested. Nomura, asked if KH3 would continue the story of the Kingdom Hearts series, said: "Yes. Amongst the fans, it seems that there are some who expect KH3 to be the end of the series. However, including KH3, the KH series that we're building up now is being made with the idea of it being part one of a larger series. It's somewhat like, Sora is the main character of KH, but presently, for part 1, we're building up the Xehanort Volume. Since KH1, the enemy has always been Xehanort, hasn't it?"

Does this mean that KH3 will be the finale for the Xehanort volume? Responded Nomura, "That's what we're thinking. However, even if the Xehanort volume ends, there's still the possibility that a new adventure will begin for Sora."

The interviewer then suggested, "It's not the case that 'When Sora's story ends, the story for a new main character will start,' but that Sora is the KH series main character through the end." To this, Nomura responded "Yes." He went on to explain that the Sora character is meant to be just a normal boy. They want players to place themselves in Sora's shoes and see that even if you're not a special existence, by forming a variety of connections, you have the ability to achieve things.

Nomura closed off the interview by saying: "With KHBbS, we hope to make players anticipate the reappearance of Sora. The thing that symbolizes this is the Secret Event, so by all means get to that point and wait for Sora's activity in the future."

The Secret Event is BbS's equivalent of the "Secret Movies" that have appeared in past Kingdom Hearts games and usually provide a conceptual look at the next main installment in the series. It's been three months since release, so I imagine the BbS secret event is viewable in its entirety online already. For those who want to see it for themselves, you'll have quite a bit of work to do in order to unlock the movie. But at least you'll be be working towards a glimpse at Sora's return to the KH world.

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