Thanks to Arika from ReBirth Wings for typing up the original Japanese transcript from the article and posting it on her blog. Translations thanks to anikoku. Please do not repost without crediting to Heartstation.
Tetsuya Nomura Interview
In the beginning of the game, the player chooses which protagonist to play as. You must control this same character until you clear the game. Depending on who you choose, you may see aspects of the storyline that wouldn’t be revealed through playing as the other two protagonists.
Each world has three peoples worth of scenarios to play, and because all the bosses are different, it is the equivalent of owning three games.
Nomura: “Please be careful of spoilers when you’re playing with your friends, as the game can differ depending on the character you’re playing with.”
- It is estimated to take around 15 hours to complete one protagonist’s storyline. Including the time spent to customize a suitable deck, the entire game may last 50 hours or more.
- Though the members of the trio primarily travel separately, there are scenes when two or even three of the protagonists reunite.
Terra is searching for clues of Master Xehanort while Ven chases after him, and finally Aqua, looking for Ven but worrying about Terra at the same time. All of their events occur on different timelines.
- Aqua is known to be quite serious. She is a model student and a dignified woman, and can become bashful over little things.
Aqua is harsh in front of her opponents, but kind to her friends. She is the sturdiest member of her trio. Her movements are described by Nomura here: “We had a young witch girl in mind when creating Aqua’s movements. (Laugh)”
- There are a lot of hints included as to Terra’s final outcome and the Roxas look-alike Ven’s identity, so there will definitely be fans who reach a conclusion. There are many mysteries this time, but the explanations behind them are detailed.
Ven shares similar characteristics with both Roxas and Sora, but his forward personality makes him more like Sora. However, Sora is generally carefree whereas Ven becomes more serious as time passes, so his resemblance to Roxas and Sora is about half and half.
Certain aspects like Ven holding his keyblade backwards will make gameplay with him different from the two mentioned above.
- Unbirths (written as Unversed here?) “form from negative emotions, and are [beings with no knowledge of life]”. The meaning of this will be made clear by playing the game.
- The different worlds are meant to be deeply involved with the storyline of this game. BbS’ original story is important, but the famous plots of various Disney works also play a large role. The glass slipper event was obligatory to place in the game.
Nomura: “The glass slipper is the token of Cinderella, after all. (Laugh)”
There are segments when the player works together with sub-characters, like Ven and Jaq the Mouse.
- The story takes place before Stitch receives his name, and therefore outer space will be the main part of the Lilo and Stitch world.
Nomura: “He’s a popular character, and I thought the inside of a spacecraft would be an unusual and interesting stage.”
- The seven Princesses relate to the main story as possessing “hearts of light with no darkness”. While there will be nothing featured of how the princesses were born, “something” occurs to those who shelter so much light in their hearts. It is up to the trio to investigate what happens to them.
- The battle concept is “an evolved Kingdom Hearts”. All three protagonist move like superhumans, so the gameplay will be completely different from controlling Sora.
Nomura: “There’s no doubt that this game will have the most exhilarating battle system.”
Deck Commands and the Shoot Lock system will enhance this experience.
- Players will fight with their reflexes more often than thinking it out. The button configurations are set sensibly, and hopefully the player will learn to fight naturally over time.
- The commands within the deck are designed to be set beforehand in order to avoid complications during battle. The objective is to customize the deck suitably for the player, and like COM, be able to keep using moves continuously.
With the deck added, the leveling-up system has changed as well.
Nomura: “It’s almost like a mini-game… I mean, it really has changed.”
Though he feels that he might have overdone it, this is a system that has been in Nomura’s head for a long time. A constant update of information will be released in the future, so he would like players to look forward to it.
- The command style will only change after fulfilling specific requirements, but once players understand the mechanism, it is not difficult to aim for the designated style.
However, most players might stick to the basic system, while only those who choose to will try to attain the styles.
Changing the style has merits such as an advantage against certain enemies, as well as an overall increase in the amount of damage dealt.
Nomura: “But simply put, changing the style can access different kinds of attacks that may be fun to try.”
- The various commands all have different methods of accessing them, some relating to the D-LINK System that we have yet to learn about. It’s a system where many changes take place, so even button smashing is not dull. Action commands can be initiated with one button, and players can enjoy a variety of different actions with easy button configuration.
Nomura: “The only thing is, we’ve worked so hard on this battle system that the players are strong enough to render boss battles useless. (Laugh) We still have to adjust the system from here.”
- The release date is pending on when FF13 will be released. Currently, FF13 is in further progress, suggesting this game may be sometime after that.
Nomura: “Even so, we don’t think you’ll have to wait for very long to play the game.”
- As for the trial sessions, they will take place in small spaces as the release date gets closer. There will be no closed mega theaters. However, there are plans to show special footage on a small screen to those who played the trial versions of BbS and FF13. There may be no footage for upcoming games such as FF Versus 13, Agito 13, and The 3rd Birthday.
- After completing the game, “there will be many aspects to keep you wondering, and hopefully make you want to play the next game… There’s also a secret movie.”
(To the question of KH3?) “What comes next is what comes next. (Laugh)”