Thanks to Arika-san from The Light in Chaos blog for typing up the script from the recent issue of Famitsu, we were able to translate the latest interview with Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura. Super special thanks to Axel for helping me out with translations! Please do not repost translations without credit to HEARTSTATION.ORG.
358/2 DAYS INTERVIEW
–When Kingdom Hearts II was being created; the story for 358/2 Days was floating about at the plot level. However, the story details hadn’t been established, only the setting parts.
Nomura: “When the 14th member appeared, would the players be surprised?” The idea of ‘Organization XIII’ had already been imprinted. In 358/2 Days, Saix expresses in harsh words the reason why it isn’t ‘Organization XIV’. Even though it’s cruel, it’s an answer which has been prepared for.
–“358” is the number of days Roxas belonged to the Organization, but the meaning of “/2” is to divide by 2, so the “2” denotes two people.
Nomura: Who those two people are, I’ll leave it to your imagination.
–Xion’s appearance changes depending on the relationship of the person looking at her. It seems that when that relationship changes, she changes.
Nomura: The figure Roxas sees is the same as what the player sees, but for example, when Xigbar and Saix see her, her figure is different. At first some people thought it was unnatural she would be wearing a hood and then not in the same scene, but I think you come to understand it as you advance through the game. People connected with a certain person see Xion as ‘Xion’. In the case of Xemnas, since he is connected to various people, he basically sees ‘Xion’, however sometimes he sees ‘him’. Who ‘he’ is, I want you to confirm it on your own. Xigbar also sees ‘him’.
–Will the relationship between Sora and ‘him, Xemnas, and Xigbar be revealed in Birth by Sleep?
Nomura: Please look forward to it. In Birth by Sleep, the initial Organization members appear, but I can’t say they play an active part. At that time, they were humans. Pay attention to Xigbar in particular. Although, when you think you understand his true nature… The mystery may deepen even more. (Laughs) He has a different standing than the other Organization members, there’s speculation about his original form.
–Xigbar calls Xion ‘Puu-chan’, coming from the French word meaning doll (poupée).
Nomura: I requested to Mr. Ishida, “I want him to call her by a nickname that parodied ‘doll’”, and this is what we came up with. Xigbar is hinting at Xion’s true nature from the beginning.
–At the time he met her, Riku was surprised to see Xion, even though he had a similar event happen to him in COM.
Nomura: At this time he noticed the true nature of her face, and knew what would happen, resulting in him telling her to leave the Organization.
—As for Xion loosing the ability to wield the Keyblade midway, it is because Roxas and Xion have a yo-yo effect.
Nomura: As Roxas gets stronger, Xion gets weaker. Roxas influences Sora, and Xion influences Roxas.
—The initial members of the Organization abandoned their hearts intentionally? Why, now, do they collect hearts?
Nomura: The reason is to have a ‘complete existence.’ KH1’s Ansem (Xehanort, stealing this name) had a purpose, and realizing that he had transcended being a human, turned into a Heartless. Xemnas remembers that purpose, but as a Nobody, ‘an empty shell,’ collects hearts to become complete. The other members of the Organization have their own expectations, but are there mainly for the purpose of collecting hearts to complete Kingdom Hearts, as only Xemnas stared ahead and made it a priority. It is natural that Nobodies, who do not have hearts, demand hearts, though it may seem that Sora’s defeating them is unnecessary, the Organization members don’t look for their own hearts, but collect many from unspecified persons, and use them instead, placing the hearts in a situation where they cannot go back to their origin.
—Xemnas’s goal will be further hinted at in Birth by Sleep, the ‘Room of Awakening’ that he is looking for is related.
Nomura: The person named ‘Xehanort’ appears in the trailer in various ways you might expect, but those will develop in ways that exceed all imagination.
Nomura: Axel goes to Castle Oblivion more than the other members by the orders of Xemnas to look for the Room of Awakening, he’s not plotting alone.
Nomura: Since before the beginning of Castle Oblivion, the ‘Room of Awakening’ has its origin. The creation of these are told in Birth by Sleep.
Nomura: It is a fact that Saix and Axel probably wanted to take over the Organization, however they didn’t understand what they were going to do or how to do it. As for Xemnas, he knew about this betrayal, but never brought it up. Generally, one’s conduct was for the sake of their purpose.
Nomura: It is a fact that Saix and Axel were acquaintances as humans, and that fact might be touch upon in Birth By Sleep.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FAMITSU READER CORNER
–This time there was no Secret Movie for 358/2 Days, because after the game, Kingdom Hearts 2 begins.
Nomura: Instead, there is an emphasis on the hidden characters and secret reports. As for the Secret Reports, the staff removes the names to make it more mysterious! There is only a hint to who wrote what, so use your imagination to figure it out! Here’s a list of the number of reports each member wrote!
—Originally, it is Sora that gives Roxas the power of light to use the Keyblade in fencing moves. But it is because of the influence of Xion that it’s possible for him to use two at the same time.
Nomura: The Keyblade can be passed under certain conditions, but a clear thing cannot be said about that. The transfer of the Keyblade from Roxas to Riku at the skyscraper is related to Xion. Although it is the origin of the name “Xion,” the flower Aster Tataricus (in Japanese, 紫苑 “shion”) also means “forget-me-not” and “recollection.” And Riku received that, “to pass away memories.” When Riku gets the Keyblade, such meanings are contained in a flashback carried out by Xion.
— Although it’s a subordinate of Roxas, the Samurai Nobody attacks in the end, because of the severing of the relationship with their master, Roxas.
Nomura: At the time, it was in development to have a subordinate Nobody in battles, but because of the difficulty involved in making such a thing happen, the goal did not materialize.
—To the bitter end, it is not Kingdom Heart’s intention in itself to collect hearts
Nomura: There is no difference between a “pure blood” Heartless, and the ones with the emblems, only the process of their births. But a heart does not appear from the pure blood Heartless. This is touched upon in Kingdom Hearts 1, and may be elaborated on in the future.
—With Vexen’s plan, and Roxas’s joining, Vexen’s plan took priority.
Nomura: Roxas being made from Sora and becoming a member wasn’t an intention, but it was lucky for them!
―Is there a connection in 358/2 Days between Birth by Sleep and Coded?
Nomura: At the moment Coded does not have any connections with 358/2 Days, but Birth by Sleep is deeply linked. Birth by Sleep has connections to all the games in the series.
―As for Coded, Chapter 2 will be distributing.
Nomura: From Chapter 2, the story becomes progressively longer. The story of Chapter 1 had the nuance of a tutorial, but from Chapter 2 item synthesizing increases, and after a stage is cleared, other side quests become available. Since linkage with Avatar Kingdom also becomes full-scale, please look forward to it.
―How is the development status of Birth by Sleep?
Nomura: It’s doing alright. You could say it’s becoming a confident title. I’ve kept you waiting, but I think some new information will be sent out during summer. Since the plan is to present a trailer showing off the game’s fighting spirit at Tokyo Game Show, look forward to it.
ASK THAT PERSON Vol.16-01
–What is the meaning of the ‘x’ in the Organization member’s names? Also, was adding the ‘x’ to their original names difficult?
Nomura: it was Xemnas’s decision to add the ‘x’. I think the meaning will become clear in Birth by Sleep. Think of the circumstances of the Organization member’s names with an ‘x’ added. We came up with many name candidates the with ‘x’ added in together with the staff, we rack our brains while we consider them.
–Will the real names of Organization XIII be released publically?
Nomura: Like how Axel’s real name was revealed in 358/2 Days, I think they’ll be revealed if there is an opportunity to do so.
–Out of the hidden characters, I want to use Sora!
Nomura: Since he’s the main character of the series, he couldn’t be left out. So he was put in as a hidden feature.
–Does Xion have anything to do with Birth by Sleep?
Nomura: I think although many people want Xion to come back once more, I’m afraid to say that it’s difficult.
–Who is your favorite character?
Nomura: It’s Sora. Since he is involved with the first title I directed, I’ll always feel a close connection to him. Since I wasn’t such a good kid, I have the desire to entrust those things I didn’t to Sora.
–Please tell us how you decide on the image of the character’s clothing.
Nomura: I design them so their clothes don’t become too fantastic. Using Sora’s outfit as a base, the outfits of Kingdom Hearts are designed to suit it. The design for Roxas was made more refined than Sora. If Sora was a country child, Roxas would be the urban child. By the way, the checkers of Roxas’s clothing represent light and darkness.
–What about a 358/2 Days Final Mix?
Nomura: There aren’t plans for a release. One of the reasons is that the voices for the English version aren’t out yet.
–Is there potential for a 358/2 Days remake?
Nomura: There are no plans at the moment. Chain of Memories was made in 2D, so it was remade, but since 358/2 Days is in 3D originally, the possibility is low.
–I want there to be manga and short stories about Organization XIII before they were Nobodies, like those of Roxas’s time afterwards with Hayner and company.
Nomura: First of all, considering manga and short stories, since they’re made when the author’s requests, saying ‘I want to write this’, this isn’t the place to ask for them. Therefore, there’s a possibility if that opinion comes from the writer’s side of it. However, it is dangerous because what is drawn upon in future games may end up conflicting with it. Because of that, if they decide not to do those parts of the game, then maybe it’ll happen.
–Who are the strongest ranking Organization XIII?
Nomura: Xemnas is the strongest, and Roxas is considerably strong you include his potential. Xaldin and Lexaeus are higher after that. However, when their strength is configured by preference, it’s different than how it appears in the story.
–About how old is Xemnas?
Nomura: Nobodies don’t age; they exist as they were at the time of becoming a Nobody. He seems about 30 years old?
–You should make a girl a main character of the series!
Nomura: One of the main characters in Birth by Sleep, Aqua will be. Please look forward to it!
–What is the definition of a heart in Kingdom Hearts?
Nomura: It is the theme of the series. To explain it simply, a person has a body, a soul, and a heart. As an image, the soul is the life source, without it a person would be dead. Since the heart doesn’t have a form, memories play an important part in forming a heart. Also, the heart isn’t limited to people, but to all things. I tried to explain this concept to Disney, and they merely said that it must be an Eastern way of thinking. It may be interesting how overseas players think of it.