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Kingdom Hearts IV

Lain

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Nomura's wild ride will never end...

In all seriousness I am cautiously optimistic. The gameplay looks fun but I'm assuming that's more of a scripted "proof of concept" then what the final product will actually look like. My biggest worry would be how much the "Verum Rex" stuff might intrude into the plot. That and (paradoxically) the lack of Final Fantasy characters as well.
 
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Morgan

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Pluses to this announcement:
  • We're seeing more from this announcement trailer than we did KH3's announcement trailer which fit more the definition of a teaser. Compare, KH3: Sora picks up a keyblade on Destiny Islands and looks at it; no voice work; pre-rendered vertical half-minute "gameplay footage" on Luminous Engine, vs KH4: Sora wakes up in Quadratum; Strelitzia, Donald, Goofy, and Hades are voiced; questionable gameplay stated to be in-engine footage on Unreal Engine 4, can be ported to Unreal 5 with little to no difficulty.
  • KH4's been in some form of development (pre-production and planning at least) since KH3 concluded with Re Mind. Nomura stated in October 2020 that and Melody of Memory was "before [the KH team] started work on the next title, so the main staff were able to help out." Re Mind came out in January 2020 and Melody of Memory came out in November 2020. One and a half years of something has gone on.
  • The development team (Creative Business Unit 1, made out of Business Divisions 1 and 3 among others) have experience with Unreal through Final Fantasy 7R and KH3 to know what works on it and what doesn't. The migration from U4 to U5 means not having to scrap assets like they did with the switch from Luminous to Unreal, trashing 1-1.5 years of their work because they couldn't get the engine to function.
  • The circumstances that caused KH3 to have a terrible development cycle straight up aren't there anymore (shoddy proprietary engines hampering development, other games' teams being pulled to salvage a botched MMO release, executive mismanagement at the C-suite level, Nomura being stretched thin with multiple projects at once, etc.).
  • Recent Square Enix releases, including the latest KH title, have trended towards a 14-month maximum between announcement and release. Examples:
    • Stranger of Paradise: announced June 2021, released March 2022;
    • NEO: The World Ends With You: announced November 2020, released in July 2021 / September 2021;
    • Balan Wonderworld: announced July 2020, released March 2021;
    • Trials of Mana Remake: announced July 2019, released April 2020;
    • Triangle Strategy: announced February 2021, released March 2022;
    • Melody of Memory: announced June 2020, released November 2020;
  • Forspoken is the only exception to the above (teased June 2020 as Project Athia, announced March 2021 as Forspoken and slated for release May 2022, delayed 5 months to October 2022, still no demo) because Luminous is a garbage engine and the development team is focusing on delivering the “highest quality visuals ever” and wowing people with spectacle.
  • Anyway, the NVIDIA GeForce Now leak set a prospective date as September 2023. Even if it comes out in 2024, it'd be just four years of development. It's not impossible to make a game in 3-4 years.
  • Nomura had to choose between Verum Rex and KH4 and chose KH4 because everyone was worried about Sora. For Verum Rex fans, the bad news is No Verum Rex yet. The good news is No Verum Rex yet.
Minuses:
  • If Disney has as tight a hold on licenses and portrayals as they did in KH3 that wound up with Disney Worlds being "the movie, but Sora cameos", we're boned. But they teased Star Wars in that announcement plus the Dark Seeker arc (that required the Disney Princesses) is finally over, so who knows.
 

BrawlMan

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Minuses:
  • If Disney has as tight a hold on licenses and portrayals as they did in KH3 that wound up with Disney Worlds being "the movie, but Sora cameos", we're boned. But they teased Star Wars in that announcement plus the Dark Seeker arc (that required the Disney Princesses) is finally over, so who knows.
At this point, the Disney characters might as well not even exist. Been that way since Birth By Sleep (as far as I bother to remember). I dropped out of the series after KHII, and never looked back.
 

Morgan

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At this point, the Disney characters might as well not even exist. Been that way since Birth By Sleep (as far as I bother to remember). I dropped out of the series after KHII, and never looked back.
You mean the FF/Square characters? Most KH games has Sora go to Disney worlds with Donald and Goofy as permanent allies, where FF characters either appear in Disney areas (see: Auron, Zack, Cloud & Sephiroth debuting in Olympus) or in original locales where heroes from different games exist at once (see: Destiny Islands, Traverse + Twilight Town, Radiant Garden). There's never been an FF/Square world except now with Quadratum.

That's just Disney being Disney. The Mouse owns the Kingdom Hearts brand and Sora in entirety. The only Square-Enix characters that appear in the series (and the only reason why they appear at all) are ones that Nomura personally designed. Square isn't exactly pressed about it. World of Final Fantasy and the Dissidia series including Opera Omnia exist to be the kitchen sink games they can wank their recent entries with and make money off of.

But I mean yeah, the story might as well be the KH original cast + Disney cameos since there's so many different characters now. Zack showing up in Birth By Sleep and talking to Aqua or whoever could've easily not happened.
 

BrawlMan

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You mean the FF/Square characters? Most KH games has Sora go to Disney worlds with Donald and Goofy as permanent allies, where FF characters either appear in Disney areas (see: Auron, Zack, Cloud & Sephiroth debuting in Olympus) or in original locales where heroes from different games exist at once (see: Destiny Islands, Traverse + Twilight Town, Radiant Garden). There's never been an FF/Square world except now with Quadratum.

That's just Disney being Disney. The Mouse owns the Kingdom Hearts brand and Sora in entirety. The only Square-Enix characters that appear in the series (and the only reason why they appear at all) are ones that Nomura personally designed.
Seems like they failed on both ends of the character ratios in later games. Exactly why I dropped out, along with so much retconning and horrible, up the ass writing.

But I mean yeah, the story might as well be the KH original cast + Disney cameos since there's so many different characters now. Zack showing up in Birth By Sleep and talking to Aqua or whoever could've easily not happened.
Glad to have never looked back. I still enjoy the ballad and R&B style songs sung by Hikaru Utada. Talented woman as always. My parents were shocked to learn she was Japanese. I waited until the song was over to mention the name. I wish you saw the looks on their faces. They weren't bothered, but they expect the Japanese to get down that hard. More so my dad.

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Morgan

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Seems like they failed on both ends of the character ratios in later games.
Birth By Sleep and post-2 KH games still have exactly what I described, though. Worlds are Disney with FF/Square cameos from Nomura-designed characters, and the FF characters themselves are not majorly important to the plot outside of the immediate world they're in otherwise they would be following Sora around. I just described a fact that existed since series conception. Did you think Sora fought Ultimecia in Hollow Bastion and not Maleficent or something?

I'm not sure what the point is, you're just complaining to complain about something that's existed since KH1 about games you haven't actually played in over a decade. It's great that you like Utada Hikaru and all, and how your parents didn't expect a US-born singer to sound American (seriously?), but other than that, you sound deranged with some weird need to have someone else acknowledge how much you don't like the series and how awesome-smart-magnanimous you are for still finding some redeeming value in it despite your dislike. I mean, I'm not gonna stop you from doing that, but my garbage disposal guy doesn't knock on my door to inform me he's taking the trash away.
 

BrawlMan

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Birth By Sleep and post-2 KH games still have exactly what I described, though. Worlds are Disney with FF/Square cameos from Nomura-designed characters, and the FF characters themselves are not majorly important to the plot outside of the immediate world they're in otherwise they would be following Sora around.
Yeah, but the story got really far up its own ass. So it was not worth it to me.
I just described a fact that existed since series conception. Did you think Sora fought Ultimecia in Hollow Bastion and not Maleficent or something?
Don't know, I stopped caring years ago.

you sound deranged with some weird need to have someone else acknowledge how much you don't like the series and how awesome-smart-magnanimous you are for still finding some redeeming value in it despite your dislike.
I don't need acknowledgement from other people about disliking something, I've said my piece and moved on. Simple as that. Your arm chair psychology skills needs lot of work, and you can stop putting words in my mouth. And you project way too much over a person not liking a game series. You enjoy the series, there is nothing wrong with you for it. Now I am gonna move on, and play Double Dragon IV and Super Cyborg. Ciao.

EDIT: A gift for those that care.

 
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Morgan

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Anyway,

effectively doxxed Sora and found the exact apartment building he lives in, if not the specific room/floor based on the angle of the view. He lives in Aoyama, which is one of, if not the most, expensive residential area in Tokyo. How can he afford it? Who knows. Lots of "Strelitzia is a Twitch streamer and Sora works at a local Starbucks" memes can get made about it though which is great.

Meanwhile, a cryptic message from Nomura during the 20th Anniversary event was decoded.

Original Transcript

過去の振り返りをしてみると
思えばこのキングダムハーツは
自分の持ち得る全てを注いで来た作品です.
完成してどうしても抜け殻になりがちですが
皆さんに喜んで頂きたいと
いつもそういう気持ちで心を奮い立たせて来ました.

作中語られる心の物語とは
その行方、もういなくなってしまったり
もう会えなくなった離れた心への顧いです
いつも心は
傍にあるという思いを込めています.

X

20年究えて頂き本当に感謝しています.
そしてこれかららよろしくお願いします.

When I look back on the past, I think back to the time I first started this project called Kingdom Hearts.
I put everything I had into it, even to the point of becoming an empty shell whenever I finish working.
I want everyone to be happy, after all, that's what I've always been trying to do.

What is this story of the heart being told throughout the series?
These stories of the heart told in my works are a reminder of those hearts that are no longer with us.
Those hearts are always there, staying by your side.
That's what I think.

X

Thank you so much for your support over the past 20 years.
And I look forward to everyone's support in the future.

Some fans put on their sleuthing hats and more or less figured that since X is pronounced "Key" (see: X-Blade pronounced Key-Blade), X is the key to decoding the secret message by turning the text to Hiragana and drawing an X across it to get: "The voice's identity is Sigurd. Pay close attention."

The explanation was provided by .

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Morgan

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Since Nomura also confirmed that Reaction Commands are making a comeback, I can't wait for the "Press Triangle to Pay Rent" prompt. :ROFL:
Sora: *slices up his rent + bills like a boss, deflects his landlord's complaints*



More info on the decoded message from Ivaannom with context provided by Aitaikimochi:

The "Pay close attention" has the connotation of "Take heed"/"Beware" as 要注意. If it’s written as 要注意人物, it's referring to a person and thus has the connotation of "Be careful of that suspicious person". For now, it doesn't look like fans need to suspect Sigurd as a nefarious person, but it was confirmed previously that the person narrating KH Missing-Link and the trailer to KH4 are the same exact guy, so knowing that it's Sigurd now does make him suspicious given what he said in each trailer. Funny stuff.

It's a lot clearer in this image how the code was deciphered. The first half of the message is left to right going top to bottom, the second half of the message goes from right to left, top to bottom.


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The "Donald and Goofy as realistically rendered duck and dog" memes are already equally insane (in a great way):

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Morgan

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From Aitaikimochi:

The Famitsu May 12th, 2022 magazine edition will have a special feature and cover page for Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary, including 16 pages with an interview with Nomura Tetsuya about Kingdom Hearts 4, Missing Link, and more!

the cover image:

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Some part of the interview has been released by known leaker , so translations were provided by Ryuji of KH13.com.

Summary by Ryuji:
  • KH4 will be written by Tetsuya Nomura, Masaru Oka, and Akiko Ishibashi (NEO: The World Ends With You).
  • Ishibashi was added because "we were wondering how to appeal to fans who have never experienced Kingdom Hearts before and who are new to the series" and "[Ishibashi] is very good at putting together character logic and behaviors".
  • Nomura can't talk about who the mysterious robed figures in the KH4 trailer are just yet.
  • Fukazawa Ruiko (Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward) is part of the scenario team for Kingdom Hearts Missing Link, if not the sole scenario writer.
  • The latest trailer was shown in Unreal Engine 4, but by the next time we see KH4 make an appearance, we will certainly see it in Unreal Engine 5.
  • The girl who comes from Quadratum [possibly the Nameless Star’s identity] is still a secret. It is unknown whether she’ll appear in KH4 or not, but Nomura does suggest she is a Verum Rex character. This is not Strelitzia, who appeared in KH4's trailer and debuted in KH Union X.
  • The “Lost Masters” refers to an antagonistic faction, similar to Organization XIII.
  • The 5 masters aside from Luxu have completely vanished. It is unknown if they’ll make an appearance in Kingdom Hearts IV. They each have different purposes and newfound purposes for this saga.
  • The Dark Road finale is being animated by 2 female animators, who are hard at work.
  • There are no plans to release any KH4 information in the near future, since they are focused on game development.
Page 3 Timeline Translation by Corfidbizna:
Union Cross: Age of Fairy Tales
  • The Master of Masters (henceforth “the Master”), writes the Book of Prophecies.
  • The Master vanishes.
  • After the five pupils are given copies of the Book of Prophecies and assigned roles, the Master vanishes. The sixth apprentice Luxu isn’t given a copy of the Book of Prophecies and is instead given a Keyblade bearing the Master’s eye and a mysterious black box.
  • There is a traitor amongst the apprentices. Doubts begin to strain their relationships.
  • The Book of Prophecies told of the road to the Keyblade War that was to take place.
  • “Dandelions” are selected from the Keyblade wielders. They escape the Keyblade War into a data world where they continue their training.
  • Five of the Dandelions are selected to guide the Unions.
  • At the height of the battle, the countdown to collapse begins. The Union leaders all depart in lifeboats, setting off to various eras, various worlds.
  • One of the Union leaders, Brain, arrives at Scala ad Caelum.
Between Union Cross & Dark Road
  • This blank era will be portrayed in Missing - Link, see p. 20.
Dark Road: Beginning of the Dark Seeker Saga
  • In the former Keyblade capital of Scala ad Caelum, young Xehanort spends his days studying the use of the Keyblade with his friends.
  • Communications with their upperclassmen outside of Scala ad Caelum cut off. Xehanort takes his first steps toward darkness.
Birth by Sleep: Xehanort Goes Dark
  • Master Eraqus trains aspiring youths in the use of the Keyblade. Terra, Aqua, and Ventus depart to fight the monsters called Unversed that have appeared throughout the world.
  • At the end of their fight, Master Xehanort steals Terra’s body. Aqua is left behind in the Realm of Darkness, and Ventus’ heart is wounded and falls into a deep sleep.
  • Master Xehanort goes missing.
KHI: Sora, Riku, and Kairi Start Their Adventure
  • Sora becomes able to use the Keyblade.
  • Sora, alongside Donald and Goofy, sets out on a journey to find Riku and Kairi.
  • Sora briefly becomes a Heartless.
  • Dark Seeker Ansem is defeated. Riku and Kairi help out Sora, but Riku and the king are shut away beyond the Door to the Realm of Darkness.
Chain of Memories: Sora, his companions, and Riku go to Castle Oblivion
  • While looking for Sora and the others, Riku and the king arrive at “Castle Oblivion”.
  • In Castle Oblivion, Sora’s memories of Kairi are replaced with memories of Naminé.
  • In order for Naminé to restore Sora’s memories, he goes into a long slumber.
358/2 Days: The Story of Those Born from Sora
  • Roxas, a Nobody born from Sora, is recruited by Xemnas. He becomes Organization XIII’s thirteenth member (No. 13). This happens shortly after Sora became a Heartless.
  • Roxas leaves Organization XIII and fights Riku, then is captured by DiZ.
KHII: Fighting Xemnas’ Organization XIII
  • Roxas returns (lit. is absorbed by) Sora, who wakes up.
  • While Sora looks for Riku and Kairi, Organization XIII rises to meet him.
  • In Organization XIII’s stronghold, Sora reunites with Riku and Kairi.
  • With Xemnas’ defeat, Organization XIII’s plans are halted.
Coded: Adventure in the Data World
  • Sora sets off in the Datascape to investigate the Datascape’s bugs, and to heal the hurt of the ones connected to Sora.
KH3D: Preparing to Take On Master Xehanort
  • To prepare for Master Xehanort’s revival, Yen Sid has Sora and Riku take the Mark of Mastery exam.
  • During Sora’s travels to close sleeping keyholes, Xehanort directs him into the abyss of sleep.
  • In honor of waking Sora back up, Riku is named Keyblade Master and passes the Mark of Mastery exam.
KHIII: Xehanort’s Ambitions are Crushed, Sora Disappears
  • Sora uses the power of waking to restore those trapped in sleep. Riku goes on a journey to recover Aqua, who is overtaken by darkness.
  • In Master Xehanort’s final battle, his ambitions are crushed.
  • Sora misuses the Power of Waking and disappears from the world as a result.
Melody of Memory: Searching for Clues About Sora
  • One year after KHIII, a clue about the missing Sora is found.
IV: To be Continued

Pages 8 and 9 (Famitsu Interview) Translation by Ryuji:
Interviewer: First of all, congratulations on the 20th year anniversary.

Nomura: Thank you very much.

Interviewer: How does it feel to have been with these series for 20 years?

Nomura: It’s still a hard fact to grasp, to tell you the truth. I have nothing but lots of gratitude to everyone who’ve supported the series.

Interviewer: And it has been three whole years since KH3, huh?

Nomura: Indeed, and inside those three years, we released tons of big things such as Melody of Memory, the PC ports and even the Nintendo Switch cloud ports.

Interviewer: According to our staff who was at the event, they said they could feel the passion of the fanbase inside the event.

Nomura: Yes. I’m so glad that the series has inspired both young and old people alike, given that this was a collaboration project with Disney.

[The Interviewer and Nomura then discuss his secret message. This is where we get that comment from Nomura previously where he said that “none of the staff” have figured it out.]

Interviewer: We have heard that KH3 is being developed using Unreal Engine 5, and that the trailer was in Unreal Engine 4. Even though that was an older version, it still looks stunning.

Nomura: Yes, we are carrying on with development using Unreal Engine 5. By the next time* you see Kingdom Hearts 4, it will most likely be already completely into the new engine.

*: “By the next time” = not in the near future, in this case. Famitsu hammers the point that we won’t see anything past E3’s period, which we’ve known previously.

Interviewer: Why did you want to hold the Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary Event at Shibuya Hikarie?

Nomura: Shibuya is such a worldwide landmark, and I felt that it would be an easy choice for the event.

Interviewer: Regarding Shibuya, we know that characters from The World Ends With You appear in KH DDD, so is there any connection to that?

Nomura: No. I’ve noticed that some fans have speculated that the Shibuya in The World Ends With You or that the world that Jack's friends come from in Stranger of Paradise have some connection to Quadratum, but I’m that one person that can tell you that “no, there is no connection to those at all”.

Interviewer: Is the room where Sora wakes up also in Shibuya?

Nomura: That is Minami-Aoyama in terms of location. However, the original location is different from the view from the balcony, so we will have the Osaka staff go there for location scouting later to make adjustments for the later revisions of the game.

Interviewer: So it is set up to that extent?

Nomura: Yes, that's right. We have also specified the layout of the rooms, but the furniture, etc., has not been specified yet, so the interior will be changed. That room will be your base of operations in the early stages of the game.

Interviewer: What kind of world is Quadratum? In "KH Melody of Memory," it was described as the "other side of reality known as unreality, a fictional world." Does that mean it does not belong to the world of light, the world of darkness, or the world in between?

Nomura: That is correct.

Interviewer: In "KH Melody of Memory," someone who knew Quadratum appeared. Will she appear in "KHIV"?

Nomura: That is still a secret, I’m afraid. As I said at the event, there was a time when I was not sure whether I would choose to name this title “KINGDOM HEARTS IV” or "VERUM REX". But she is originally a character from VERUM REX, I’ll say that much.

Interviewer: I see, I see!

Nomura: To be frank with you, I was surprised with the overseas fans’ reaction to Yozora. I thought he wouldn’t perhaps be received positively, but I’m glad they’ve proved me wrong. (bitter laugh)

[Next, they talk about the narrator in the trailers, and tie back on how it was a “character we’ve known” and how the voice actor did two tones, and such.]

Interviewer: I noticed the logo got changed, huh?

Nomura: To signal that we have started a new saga, we decided to change the logo. The font and logo design do look simplistic compared to the previous, but although it is simple, I made sure that it would still capture the essence of Kingdom Hearts.

Interviewer: In the trailer, the narrator talks about the Society of the Heirs (継ぐ者の結社) and the Society of the Non-Heirs (継がざる者の結社). Could you explain more about that?

Nomura: Kingdom Hearts Missing Link is a story that takes place about four generations after Ephemer was alive. The main family that carries his bloodline is known as the Society of the Heirs (継ぐ者の結社) while the society of those who do not carry his bloodline are known as the Society of the Non-Heirs (継がざる者の結社).

Interviewer: Donald and Goofy are seen at the end of the trailer. How will the story develop if we know that Sora is in the real world (Quadratum)?

Nomura: As you could tell, they are currently looking for clues regarding Sora’s whereabouts. Sora looks more realistic because he is in Quadratum, and since Donald and Goofy aren’t, they’ve retained their cartoony style.

Interviewer: What’s the identity of the two black coats we see on the KH4 trailer?

Nomura: Sorry, but that’s still a secret. (laughs). However, what I can tell you is that alongside me, Akiko Ishibashi and Oka Masaru will be helping write the scenario for Kingdom Hearts IV.

:
-- I was surprised by the faithful recreation of the area surrounding Shibuya Hikarie, the venue in which the event took place, in the Kingdom Hearts 4 trailer. The video was rendered in Unreal Engine 4, but with development moving to Unreal Engine 5, it seems that the graphics will become even more impressive.

Nomura: Currently, we've already begun working in UE5, so this may be the only time we show you footage from UE4. The next time we show the game should be in UE5, so please look forward to it.

-- Is the room where Sora wakes up also in Shibuya?

Nomura: That is located in Minami-Aoyama. However, the location of the main unit is different from what you see from the balcony, so the Osaka staff will come by later on to do some location scouting to make adjustments.

-- Melody of Memory featured a woman who was familiar with Quadratum. She was only voiced and not shown, but will she appear in KHIV?

Nomura: That is still a secret. As I said at the event, there was a time when I wasn't sure whether I would choose KHIV or VERUM REX as my next project. However, she is a central VERUM REX character.

-- I see.

Nomura: There seems to be a lot of anticipation for VERUM REX overseas (bitter smile). When Yozora was first introduced in KHIII, I got the impression that his reception was less than welcoming, but I guess that was not the case.

-- The logo has been redesigned.

Nomura: With the start of a new story, we took the opportunity to simplify the font. However, we wanted to retain that "KH" feel in spite of the new simplicity, so it took a lot of trial and error to reach a design that struck the right balance.

-- One year has passed since KHIII, so Sora's character design in KHIV is slightly more mature. His hair is silky and realistic, and even the impression he gives off has changed.

Nomura: Even when we were working on KHIII, there were discussions within the team about how realistic we should make the characters. We certainly could have made the hair silky smooth in KHIII if we wanted to. This time, since we are starting anew with the Lost Master Arc, we decided to make some drastic changes. The [characters'] appearances also match the nature of the world [they're in].

-- I hope we will meet Sora again, looking as he did in KHIII. Has this new costume design been finalized?

Nomura: No, not yet. There may still be some finer changes, such as with the details. As for the silhouette, I think it'll be similar to the one in this trailer.

-- The Master of Masters and his six disciples, the "Lost Masters," disappeared after the Keyblade War in Unchained χ. What happened to them?

Nomura: Even though we didn't show exactly what happened, we do know that five of the Foretellers, with the exception being Luxu, vanished after the Keyblade War.

-- So, they disappeared. But in KHIII's epilogue, Luxu "summons" his fellow disciples back and they are reunited. Are the Lost Masters a threat to Sora and his friends?

Nomura: Simply put, the Lost Masters are an opposing force like Organization XIII. However, not all of them have the same intentions. Their motives will be newly depicted in KHIV, so in that sense, I hope you will enjoy this new arc from the very beginning.

-- Who are the two wearing black coats in the trailer? One of them seems to be the Master of Masters...

Nomura: That's still a secret (laughs). By the way, in addition to Oka (Masaru Oka) who has worked with me on scenarios for the KH series up until now, I've asked Ishibashi (Akiko Ishibashi), a newcomer to the KH series, to join us in writing the scenario for KHIV. This marks the start of our 3-person team.

-- Why did you ask Ishibashi [to join you]?

Nomura: The biggest reason is because of how she factors into approaching new users, from the perspective of someone who has no experience with the KH series. She did a great job of integrating the characters' values and principles in NEO: The World Ends With You and other works, and I thought her way of thinking would be well-suited for KH.

-- About the EX gauge in the lower right...?

Nomura: Please wait for more information on that.

-- Changing the subject, what did you request for the new songs used in the trailer?

Nomura: I requested a sense of anticipation building towards the latter half, so you'd feel like you're waiting for a hero to appear. It was very difficult since I had to ask for adjustments to be made to the length of the song to match that of the video at the last minute. For Missing-Link's song, I wanted it to have vocals throughout, so the chorus was included in this trailer.

-- What are the "societies that sprawl and branch like veins" mentioned in the trailer?

Nomura: KH Missing Link takes place about 4 generations after Ephemer's time. His descendents have each formed their own societies: the main family who carries his bloodline is the "Society of Successors", while the branch family is the "Society of Non-Successors".

Just like KHIV, we're considering how to approach new users and have asked Fukazawa (Ruiko Fukazawa), another newcomer to the series, to write the scenario.

-- The Keyblade seems to be strengthened by setting "pieces," which are shaped like figurines. That's pretty unique.

Nomura: We wanted them to look rich, so we made them in the form of figurines. The pieces can be obtained not just from the gacha, but also in the field. For example, you might get a message that says "___ pieces are currently available at ___ in Shibuya."

-- I spotted some pieces in the trailer that resembled Terra, among other characters. Terra is a character who hails from a time period long after Missing-Link, so are the pieces just created for the purposes of the game?

Nomura: The purpose of this association [between characters and pieces] is to collect records of all the worlds' pasts, presents, and futures. Each piece provides information on its character from all eras, and you'll be able to draw upon their abilities to fight.

-- I see. The battles look like the action in KHIII.

Nomura: The project started in parallel with KH Union Cross. We knew that if we were going to make the next mobile iteration of KH, we had to make sure it'd play similarly to the mainline games in order to satisfy the audience. Therefore, it was inevitable that we'd aim to create an experience that'd be close to the action you'd find in those titles.

-- Collecting figurine-like pieces sounds interesting, and the multiplayer action battles look quite fun.

Nomura: We're trying to create sharp things that we might not be able to accomplish in the mainline games. Please look forward to the closed beta test scheduled for this fall.

-- You mentioned that you added additional scenarios to KH Dark Road, more than what was originally planned.

Nomura: Initially we were planning to include the [other] classmates, as well as delve further into Xehanort's companions. However, due to a change of plans, I asked [Tomoco] Kanemaki, who also worked on KH 358/2 Days and writes the series' light novel adaptations, to put together a scenario with a limited number of stories. The plan received further changes after that, and I had the team's scenario writers make adjustments to focus solely on Xehanort. However, I felt that we were losing too much by making all of these cuts, so I decided to add them back in at the end. As I said at the event, you'll even learn why Master Xehanort became bald (laughs).

-- Oh (laughs). I'm looking forward to it. Lastly, what plans do you have for the remaining duration of KH's 20th anniversary?

Nomura: KH Dark Road is nearing completion, and the two women who are working on the event scenes are giving their all, so please give them your support. It'll just be a little bit longer. KH Missing Link is scheduled for a closed beta test this fall. KHIV's development is being prioritized, and we don't have plans to release additional info for a while.

I'm hoping to put some other stuff together, so please wait for more information from official announcements.

The new additions to the writing team are significant. The series now has 12 writers across the KH series.
Masaru Oka (KHUX, BBS, 2.5, DDD, 2.8, 3), Daisuke Watanabe (BBS, KH1, 1.5, CoM, 2.5), Kazushige Nojima (KH1, 1.5, 2, 2.5), Jun Akiyama (KH1, 1.5), Yukari Ishida (358/2, coded), Tomoco Kanemaki (358/2), Harunori Sakemi (coded, DDD), Tsukasa Okayasu (MoM), Erina Onishi (MoM), Akiko Ishibashi (4), Fukazawa Ruiko (Missing Link), and Nomura himself (3, MoM, 4). NEO TWEWY fans attest that the series has strong character writing and subtlety in the developments and interactions between characters. FFXIV fans attest that the MMO's writing is consistently good but that Heavensward was a particularly high point. Looks good on that front.
 

Ryuuou

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It looks nice but I dont know yet. Time will tell. Not to criticize Disney but I like KH without all the disney characters. All the square characters are interesting. For me I rather have two games one disney game and one square game. Never manage to get those two work in one game. Thats what KH is about I know. For me its a bad combo. I can play Atlantis PS1 from disney and Final Fantasy VIII from square but a mix... Sorry that's not working for me.
 

Morgan

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I understand there weren't that many Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts III. One thing I want to clear up is that a lot of fans are saying that Kingdom Hearts is this collaboration between Disney characters and Final Fantasy characters. But I really feel like that's not the basic concept of Kingdom Hearts; that's not exactly what Kingdom Hearts is.

When we released the first title, we had only a few original Kingdom Hearts characters. When they were interacting with really well-known, beloved Disney characters, I felt nobody really knew these new characters, so it was harder for them to stand their ground just yet. And so, we had a lot of Final Fantasy characters involved to lend a hand for everyone to get to know these [original Kingdom Hearts] characters better.

Say what? KH is not a collaboration between FF and Disney, as evidenced by the total absence of FF worlds and FF villains since day one, and the FF hero cameos were just cameos to boost Sora and other KH Originals? I, for one, am completely blindsided by this revelation. There's no way anyone would have determined this otherwise.

Also,
Will we be spending a lot of time in Quadratum? Does having a more realistic setting give you bigger opportunities to try new things with the gameplay?

I think it will be a pretty good amount of time since it is set as the initial base within the game. You spend time there and then go to different worlds and then go back there. Because the graphics are more realistic this time around, I feel like there’s more of a realistic daily life aspect to Sora’s life. You can see him go in and out of his room and spend time there. I feel like players will get to see more of the day-to-day routines he goes through.

Trueblade Seeker now has ideas for the next 5 KH4 meme videos.