Before I get to the point of this, I wanna mention that I strongly believe many of you (most of you, in fact) will disagree with a couple of my opinions on Nomura among other things relating to the games. That said, I'm open to criticism. (It is a forum after all, and I'm the one who drew attention to myself.) But, I don't wanna deal with angry comments of any sort. I think that's fair, right? I may be completely wrong about this, and my overall point is to actually be persuaded to change my views (as they're kinda depressing.) The reason for this is that I see Nomura fans all over this site, and as much as I love the potential that the KH series holds, and as long as I've been a fan, I really can't say I'm impressed with him. So, after reading this, tell me why I shouldn't feel this way, but just don't do it in an overly-defensive, aggressive, or derogatory way. That's all. Now, enough of this pre-rant and on to the point.
Some think of Nomura as a brilliant writer who's given the series an impressive level of depth. The series most definitely has that depth, but I think of Nomura from a different perspective. The best analogy I could come up (as lame as it is) would be to compare him to an innocent child who accidentally discovered something incredible. He's not the scientist who invented it, or the engineer who built it; he's the innocent kid who stumbled upon it, as it was something created by nature. (Again, sorry for the crappy analogy.)
That's what I think of Kingdom Hearts. It's an amazing discovery that seemingly happened on a fluke. We're talking about a guy whose fame at the time came from designing characters and their costumes for KH's big brother. If you look at the first game, it was a master piece, but it was quite a simple one. That game was glowing with potential, and to this day, it may very well reach it. But, when CoM and KH II came into the mix, I saw warning signs. Maybe I didn't right away; I was an overzealous middle-schooler at the time. But, they revealed themselves to me over time. Having said that, I think I can finally get to describe what I don't like about his methods of story-telling (not to be confused with the story itself.)
Here's one of the parts that people won't like (hence my request at the beginning.) CoM was a fun game and all, but really, what did it offer? Yes, it was a bridge game, and it built up tension for the mysterious group of individuals who would surely serve as the next group of antagonists. Yeah, it was a packed with a decent story for a little GBA game. But really, what did it offer that was completely necessary? At least 80% (frankly I really think 90, but I'm willing negotiate) of the game was absolute fluff. The first warning sign was right here, a game that was filled with repetition. Take out the cutscenes between floors, and you have nothing whatsoever. This is what i mean when I say that the story is good (because those cutscenes and the story they put together were good), but his method of story-telling sucks. An entire game was basically wasted, just to brush the player up on the real sequel. Well, think about how much better it would have been if we didn't have to waste our time in those same Disney worlds with those same Disney plots, and instead, we were given the details of Castle Oblivion and the events taking place there as an extension to the beginning of KHII? Think about it. All the important stuff involving CoM would be present, and the overall quality and fullness of KHII would have improved. I don't wanna digress, but I actually have my own ideas of how this could have worked, so if you're curious to read about them, feel free to message me.
Overall, CoM really isn't a good game imo. It has a good story, and in KH, that's what matters, so I welcomed it with open arms despite the previous point. Next, KH II came around. I really don't have as many complaints about it. I actually think he did a good job on this one. The keyword here is
"good." The first game was excellent.
Let's go back to the first KH, when heartless were the only bad critters, and the worlds were disconnected, but still involved. Sora was a young kid, who actually did take in valuable lessons from his experience within the Disney worlds. Donald and Goofy started out as characters with whom his loneliness, feelings of hopelessness, and all other doubts could be alleviated. The point is, the Disney world, and his Disney companions MATTERED. KH had its own story with this ruler of a world, who sought to flirt with darkness and be consumed by Kingdom Hearts, the entity he thought was the central core of darkness. But, the individual Disney plots were relevant, because Ansem SoD didn't even come into the mix until the end. Maleficent had similar desires, so the point was to defeat her council, and make it to her. Her end integrated with Ansem's introduction. In other words, everything you did contributed to the main story. This is where KH II horribly, horribly failed. Yes, the main story expanded tremendously, and layers of suspense, unpredictable plot twists, and real drama made their way into the series, but at what cost? Did Nomura think about how drastically he changed the format? Did he understand that he made the Disney Worlds into dead weight? And what about Donald and Goofy? They were just there with no real purpose.
CoM showed the beginning of Nomura's lack of interest in focusing on anything but the main plot. There were no connections or anything else of substance. The game has to take time to beat. Just throw in some Disney worlds, make little stories that emulate the movies, and then have Sora move on to continue the real story. KH II had new worlds, but it still went by this new format.
This takes me back to my original point. I think Nomura discovered something amazing, but he's a little kid who doesn't know what to do with it. Kids have wild imaginations, and similarly, this man, though impressively creative, seems to bite off more than he can chew. He's always thinking about the future; he rushes into new projects to have the plot expand with twists and turns. But, he doesn't seem to focus on the current situations.
I think that a counter argument will be brought up in regards to the business aspect of the series. More games with branched plots have to be made to produce revenue. I get that this probably has a big influence on him. He's probably rushed to come up with new ideas. He has those ideas, but I think he has a hard time collecting his thoughts so to speak. KH Days was another CoM but to the extreme. It had a good story, but you go around, completing pointless missions in hopes of finishing them quickly to get on with the real story. I admit that this one would have been a challenge no matter what. The Organization would really have no reason to get involved in the day-to-day activities of the Disney characters. CoM shouldn't have been a game, but the events at CO were necessary. Nothing about Days, however, was needed at all. I still fail to see any plot holes that it patched up. Xion? Maybe she will be involved later on, in some warped way, no doubt. But, did she have to be? I don't know a lot about Coded, so I'm leaving that out. However, I'm already disappointed in using another lame plot device to incorporate the same Disney Worlds again. But, I'll reserve my final judgment for Re:Coded's NA release. To me, BBS could make or break it. As of now, I'm expecting a knock-out of a main story, but one that still feels like a bag of Lays chips. By that, I mean that family-sized bag that's half-way filled with the chips when you buy it. Except that in this case, the lacking half will be filled with time spent in Disney worlds with nothing to do that contributes to the main story. I hope i don't have to rush through it to get back to the main plot. I don't know if this will be the case, and I'm really hoping it's not, but based on Nomura's actions, I have no reason to believe against this prediction. It does have mostly new worlds though. At least there's that. I'm just concerned for their relevance.
Now, we have KH3DS, another midquel supposedly. If they hadn't mentioned it, would you think that we need more info about what went on around the time of the 2 main games? I didn't. BBS, the prequel that should hopefully explain Xehanort's rise, is a great concept, but I still think Nomura either has to invest in the idea of linearity with his story-telling, or hand over creative control to someone else while the series still has a chance.
Sorry for the length. >.>