When it was first announced back at E3 2013, Kingdom Hearts 3 took the roof off of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Sure, Sony had plenty of exciting announcements planned for their press conference, but it was the return of Sora, Donald, and Goofy that seemed to draw the loudest applause.
That being said, Kingdom Hearts 3’s announcement came with a lot of questions. Since only a brief CG trailer accompanied the reveal, many were wondering how far along into development the sequel might be, and more importantly when they might see it on store shelves.
Then, at last month’s D23 Expo, Square Enix subtly revealed that Kingdom Hearts 3 is about two years into development, along with confirming that Big Hero 6 would feature into the game’s story. Now, the game’s director, Tetsuya Nomura, has chimed in (via Games Radar) with his own development update, once again echoing sentiments that Kingdom Hearts 3 might be further away than we think
According to Nomura, the “ground foundations” of Kingdom Hearts 3 have been established and now it’s time for the “mass production of the different elements.” So, things like mini-games, character models, designing the Disney-inspired worlds like Tangled, and figuring out some of the more bombastic Summons are still left on the to-do list.
“For the most part we’ve established the ground foundations, like the basic systems and mechanics of what’s going to go in the game. Development of that is pretty much close to complete. But of course, since this is an HD title, it’s now building the resources, and development of the ‘mass’ elements of it, like mass production of the areas and the actual things that are going into the game. Other elements, including the mini-games and other various smaller items; their progress is very varied… some of them are polished and very close to final state, but at the same time some elements are still in the planning phases and I haven’t laid out the groundwork yet. But the basic structure of what’s going to go in the game is set, it’s now a matter of mass production of the different elements.”
Given that Nomura’s quotes tend to be quite cryptic, it’s hard to truly glean how much of Kingdom Hearts 3 is finished. It sounds as though the game has most of its core concepts hammered down, but whether or not something is playable is unclear. We’ve seen some gameplay videos of Kingdom Hearts 3 in the past, but again it’s unclear whether those are proof of concept or live gameplay.
The good news, though, is that the Kingdom Hearts 3 is up to the task when it comes to developing such a highly anticipated sequel. According to Nomura, the remasters, handheld titles, and various other Kingdom Hearts side projects have all helped the team better understand the property. There’s obviously a lot of pressure surrounding Kingdom Hearts 3, and rather than throw those developers into the water, Nomura wanted to ease them in with smaller projects first.
“…Developing for a console requires a lot of development time as well as the resources, and I wanted to have my development team gain experience of being quick on their feet and developing in a very fast-paced situation, but still have that experience and skill to bring high-quality in the optimum time possible. They’ve done multiple rounds of that now. It’s sort of like… it’s not a test, but more like we’ve got finished products and [people] able to finish products. [The spin-off titles] were a way of getting experience under their belt. So through all those different spin-offs we’ve been able to put out, we are now at that time where we’re ramping up for a console release, something that is a lot more challenging in terms of the time and the resources that are needed. The quality is different because it’s on a platform that is capable of such high-quality processing compared to a handheld. So now that [my team] has the experience, the bar is raised very high. As a team and myself, we feel that we are prepared and that we’re ready to take on this challenge.”
It’s a tactic that inevitably left the fan base waiting, but could prove beneficial to the quality of Kingdom Hearts 3 overall. However, even if Nomura hadn’t put his team through the KH gauntlet, we’re sure that the project would have taken some time to come together. Square Enix loves making its fans wait; just look at how long Final Fantasy 15 (formerly Final Fantasy Versus 13) has been in development.
Source: Games Radar