The latest issue of Famitsu includes an interview with Nomura Tetsuya, director of Kingdom Hearts III, regarding the game and new information revealed at E3.
— ファミ通.com (@famitsu) June 20, 2018
The first thing to be brought up in the interview is the change in release date. Nomura says that due to the size of the title, they had been making adjustments with various places for KHIII. Through this process they found that it would be difficult to make a worldwide release around the new year due to limitations to shipping and production, and also heard from overseas branches and related companies that they would like a release close to Japan’s, and preferably in January. Development itself did not allow for much leeway to be given, and ultimately the decision was left to the company.
The interviewer next brings up Frozen. Nomura says that the game’s story takes place during the movie, which means scenes from it can be seen in the game. Let It Go will also be included. While Anna and Elsa do not join the party in battle, Marshmallows created by Elsa do help. Aside from the mountain, a labyrinth of ice created by Larxene can also be explored.
They then go on to discuss Pirates of the Caribbean. The appearance in KHIII is based on the third movie, At World’s End, with them also touching on the events of Dead Man’s Chest, which will be linked to the “black box” that Maleficent and Organisation XIII are looking for.
Ratatouille appears in KHIII as a minigame, where the player follow’s Remy’s instructions in order to cook dishes which increases stats if completed. The game itself is played in Twilight Town, but ingredients are collected in many worlds. Similarly, the Tangled world also features a minigame in the form of a rhythm game. Nomura says that the minigames are mostly the result of development staff coming up with proposals on things they want to do, or co-director Yasue Tai making them on impulse. Nomura himself takes the stance of not stopping them and putting them into the game.
The twenty Classic Kingdoms, which Nomura came up with, are brought up next. Nomura says they were a result of the rebound from him working mostly on high-spec titles, and that he would have liked to make more. He would also liked to have made the LSI terminals for them as well, but it would have been difficult to do so in this day and age, and so he put them in the game instead. The Classic Kingdom games are hidden in various worlds, and once found Sora can play them on his “mobile portal” any time.
The interview moves on to the battle system. Nomura says that they aimed to make a game that would be fun as soon as you touched it and did anything, even just running around. In battle, depending on Sora’s actions, “situation commands” are displayed on the left. Aside from permanent commands, tasks with time limits start to build up, and players can build strategies on which to use when. This is a system that they particularly wanted to implement. Nomura does say that it is possible to just keep using them by mashing buttons, which in itself is fun, and that players can think about which to use after getting used to the system. There are various requirements for the situation commands, like the “attraction flow” command being different depending on where it’s executed, or a fire type attack being needed for firega to be activated. As for the new keyblade system which has the player switching between three keyblades that can also transform, Nomura says that they made it so that even if the player isn’t trying to do so a lot of moves come out and make it fun, while players who do know what they’re doing can plan effective strategies. They aimed to make battles that give the player numerous options and a wide range of tactical options, and the transforming was a large factor in that. Each form has entirely differently moves, but there are also keyblades that do not transform, like the Kingdom Chain which lets the player use Sora’s old moves.
The interviewer then brings up the link system and the appearance of Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph, and Nomura says that the system has changed multiple times in development. They originally tried to implement it as a summoning system that was entirely different, but it later turned into borrowing the power of Disney characters, with the name changed as well. With Ralph’s link having puzzle elements as an example, Nomura also notes that the link system is not simply Disney characters appearing, doing moves, and leaving, and that the player can control or otherwise intervene in them in some way. The same applies to Meow Wow, which can be ridden. Nomura says that the original summoning system was a system which would allow the player to summon all the Dream Eaters from Dream Drop Distance, and that the Meow Wow link is a leftover from that.
Kingdom Hearts III will be released on the PS4 and Xbox One on 25th January 2019.