In April, Square Enix revealed Kingdom Hearts 4 to the public with a stunning new trailer, setting the stage for the next chapter of the series. In the trailer, we got a look at Sora’s new look — heavily inspired by the new world he now inhabits due to the events of Kingdom Hearts 3.
On the legacy of Kingdom Hearts, Nomura relished what 20 years of games means and how that translates to something tangible. Nomura says some of his memories are fuzzy but others are fresh because the series continues. “Regarding the legacy, I suppose the heart is a central theme to the story of Kingdom Hearts. We will continue to depict that and tell the story of the heart in different ways.”
On the storytelling approach Nomura has used for years now with each game ending on a cliffhanger, Nomura says that the contained stories generally do have a conclusion but the overarching mysteries persist with new mysteries being added with each new game. “I suppose it’s a combination of just trying to make sure that the game is contained within itself and comes to a clear stop, but then also it’s just trying to prepare a new mystery so that fans are aware of what will be important in the next title or the next part of the story that’s coming up. Personally, I feel like this approach is not really anything special, it’s something that all game developers might be considering when they make their games.”
Then Nomura goes on to state that one of the best cliffhangers was from the first game and then the third game.
Game Informer asks the iconic director if Sora needs to be the main character of Kingdom Hearts. In short, yes he does. The spin-offs have featured different characters but the numbered titles have always been about Sora’s story within the world. Without him, there are no numbered titles.
An interesting note from the interview is that as consoles become more powerful, the graphics improve but the number of Disney worlds will diminish because of how difficult it becomes to make detailed worlds. “As far as the graphic qualities … since with each new title, the specs have been really increasing and there’s so much more we can do in terms of graphics, it kind of limits the number of worlds that we can create in a sense. At this time we’re considering how to approach that, but there will be Disney worlds in Kingdom Hearts IV,” Nomura tells Game Informer.
Further in the interview, Game Informer asks about the lack of Final Fantasy characters appearing in later games. Nomura says he understands fans are concerned about the lack of characters but they are not critical of the concept of Kingdom Hearts. The original game had few original characters so the team had to include Final Fantasy characters to allow the original characters to bloom. “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.”
With so many original Kingdom Hearts characters now in the mix, people want to learn more about these characters. The last game had so many original characters so it wasn’t easy finding a way to include Final Fantasy into the mix given how the game unfolded.
“We’re trying to find a good balance for that. I know that some fans were concerned about that and weren’t too happy and wanted to see more Final Fantasy characters. That’s something we definitely are thinking about. But just with the sheer number of original characters that we have now, it’s hard to say what the exact balance is going to be and how it will play out in Kingdom Hearts IV. We can’t really give you a firm reply on this just yet,” explains Nomura.
Players can also expect to spend time in Quadatum as it is the initial base for Sora. The world is a lot more realistic and since Sora is there now we will see daily aspects of his life, going in and out of his room and into the city.