Now that the hype from the announcement of the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III during Sony’s E3 conference has subsided a bit, the wait for more concrete details on the game has begun. According to a recent interview, though, the wait might not be too long.
Series director and longtime Square Enix character designer Tetsuya Nomura had a Q&A session with the popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, and was able to divulge a few tidbits of information regarding the game.
A key component that will be making its return from the previous numbered titles will be the three-character party, again consisting of a computer-controlled Donald Duck and Goofy, and series protagonist Sora being playable. Nomura also said that NPCs will take part in battles in each unique world. Presumably, this will work the same way as before, with the player having the ability to swap out Donald or Goofy for a computer-controlled Aladdin or Ariel, among many others.
Nomura also discussed the brand new graphics engine being developed for the game. Known as the Kingdom Shader, the engine has been developed to resemble classic Disney illustrations. Finally, the interviewer asked about the possibility of Sora’s longtime friends Riku and Kairi becoming playable, to which Nomura only replied, “I can’t say no to the possibility.”
Seeing as Riku shared the spotlight with Sora in last year’s Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine him returning in a prominent role. On the other hand, Kairi has generally been restricted to a damsel-in-distress position in previous games, so giving her a more active part would be a welcome change of pace. Again, it should be noted that nothing regarding this aspect has been confirmed.
In terms of story, Nomura also confirmed that Kingdom Hearts III will mark the end of the “Xehanort Saga,” presumably meaning that it will be the last game where players tangle with the longtime antagonist Xehanort and his alter egos, who have been the cause of trouble in past games. The game will pick up directly where Kingdom Hearts 3D left off, and unlike many recent games in the series, is not another side story. The selection process for which Disney properties will get their own worlds is also currently underway, a clear sign that the development cycle is still in its early stages.
Lastly, Nomura confirmed that more details on the game will be announced later this year, namely at Tokyo Game Show 2013 in September, and Disney’s Japanese D23 expo in October. Exactly what will be shown remains a secret, but we will be sure to keep you updated on more Kingdom Hearts III news as it is announced.