In an interview with Famitsu magazine, director Tetsuya Nomura touched upon the direction Square Enix is taking with Kingdom Hearts III.
“We spent a while figuring out what direction to take KH‘s visuals in the next generation,” Nomura told Famitsu. “Should we go for a more realistic look like in recent projects, or try something else? Along the way, we remembered that these KH characters were originally paintbrush art from Disney productions, a texture that was one of our original aims, and that it was time to return to that. So [chief creative director Takeshi] Nozue went through a series of tests, and the results are the visuals that we refer to in the team as the Kingdom Shader. It may look like a pretty drastic change, but I see it as a rich evolution of everything we’ve shown you up to now.”
The long-awaited third proper installment of Kingdom Hearts was announced during Sony’s pre-E3 press conference, alongside a short teaser trailer that showed protagonist Sora picking up his Keyblade and fighting a stream of Heartless. Combat was another aspect of Kingdom Hearts III Nomura briefly talked about with Famitsu.
“We have a demo version running on the actual hardware, but the action’s pretty frantic,” he said. “The really bold action we’ve always had is getting even crazier. KH3 has three-person parties, but NPCs and other characters join the fight in each individual world, and the resulting action is really flashy and exciting. The enemy AI is a lot more intricate, too, and I think the gameplay will reflect that new dynamic balance. For example, there’s a foe that’s shaped like a vehicle, and Sora may jump on it and fly around; that’s already implemented.”
Nomura also revealed that Kingdom Hearts III directly follows the events of Dream Drop Distance. It will mark the final episode in the “Dark Seeker” saga started with the original Kingdom Hearts.
Kingdom Hearts III will launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but has yet to receive a release window.