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  1. #1
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    Default Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    Hello, hello! Thanks to krexia who has scanned up the pages of the Ultimania interview, we can now see exactly what Nomura has to say for himself. Just what was going through his mind during development on Birth by Sleep? Read on!

    [I will be posting these up in sections, so keep checking back for the entire interview! it is quite long at seven pages, but I'll have it all up eventually. Some parts will contain SPOILERS and will be marked as such and hidden under spoiler tags. I know you'll be tempted to read them--but don't.]


    “Who knows if the series will end with ‘KHIII’...”

    The original plot for “KH BbS” was written directly after finishing “KHII”

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -- So how did you start development on “KH BbS”?

    Nomura: Well I usually start by thinking about the gameplay, but for BbS I started by writing out the plot for the scenario. The scenes on Destiny Island with Terra and Riku speaking, and Aqua speaking to both Sora and Riku were ideas I had written down from the first. I wanted to make those scenes a reality so badly that I wrote out a development proposal. I had the plot in mind from way back at the end of development on KHII.

    -- You had planned on having the climax scene of BbS be the secret movie of KHII FM+ from the start?

    Nomura: Yes, but I hadn’t yet decided when the scene would happen during BbS. When we were created the secret movie for KHII FM+ we didn’t know how big of a game we would be able to put on the PSP, and we hadn’t yet decided how long the scenario would be. We didn’t know if we would put that scene at the end, or if we wouldn’t be able to fit it in and not add it at all, or maybe if there was space would we be able to show what happened after it.

    -- You used parts of the secret movie in the opening of the game, right?

    Nomura: I talked with Nomatsu (Takeshi Nomatsu: Cinematic Movie Director) about the opening movie, and we decided that we wanted the movie to show what would happen during the story. For KHII we showed what had happened in the story so far, but we couldn’t do that with BbS because nothing had happened before it.

    -- How did you decided on the subtitle “Birth by Sleep”.

    Nomura: Honestly? I just wanted to use the word “by” in the title (laugh). Game subtitles always have “of” or “is” in them, but I started to think about how “by” just wasn’t used very much. The localization staff told me that it isn’t used in titles very often, but our producer who is good at English said there was no problem with it, so I didn’t think it would be that odd to use it. Also, I thought it would be interesting to use another “internet” word like in COM and Coded, and I wanted to make it be shortened as BBS (electronic bulletin board) which “connects” people. And I wanted to put the word “sleep” in the title as well, so it became “Birth by Sleep”.

    -- So how was it decided that the Osaka team would be working on development?

    Nomura: When I had written out the development proposal the usual KH team had already been decided on to work on “FF Versus XIII” and so we started thinking about leaving it to another team. That’s when the Osaka team came up to us and said “We’ll be able to make a better game than any of the other teams, so please let us work on it.” Then they made a test version for us with Sora, Donald and Goofy running smoothly, so we thought we’d leave it to them. At the time we had just started development on “Crisis Core”, and the team was having some trouble working on the PSP. We showed them the work the Osaka team had done on the test version, and said “Look at how much you can do on the PSP.”

    -- The gameplay this time specializes in Commands. Was this your idea?

    Nomura: Yes it was. The Deck Command was in the development plans from the first. We thought if we simplified the deck system that we used in COM we could make it a lot more exciting. We also took the Command charging system from “The World Ends With You” (Game made for the NDS in 2007) so that you’d have to wait after using a Command before using it again. We wanted to put these two systems together and evolve them even more. While the manual charging system from COM has a bit of freedom to it, with the automatic charging system we wanted to make you sweat. You thought it would be fun to have you run around trying to escape the enemy while waiting for Curaga to charge thinking “Hurry hurry hurry...”

    -- The “Command Board” was also another one of your ideas, wasn’t it?

    Nomura: I’ve always loved board games. When I was little my father would make dice games for me, and I would copy him and make my own. Because of that I’ve always wanted to make a board game part of the gameplay system. In the FF series they have the Sphere Grid, which is a board game like system for growth. But I wanted to take it even further and make a dice game that could be played by itself, and that’s how I thought up the “Command Board”.

    -- You also added the Dimension Link system into the mix.

    Nomura: In both KH and KHII, Donald and Goofy fought alongside you. But with the PSP it would have been difficult to have lots of characters moving at once. So instead of having your friends alongside you, we decided that you could just borrow their power from distance, which created the Dimension Link.

    -- It’s fun that you can even link to other players through wireless.

    Nomura: The Osaka team came up with the idea of linking through wireless. It was the last thing we decided on for the Dimension Link system. The theme of the story is “connections”, so we felt it would be proper to allow you to “connect” to other players via Dimension Link. It was also the idea of the Osaka team to have Ventus Link to Vanitas. I really liked that they managed to incorporate part of the game system into the story line. I thought they did an excellent job.


    The concept for the story was “There is no coincidence in fate”.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -- Did you think about the three main characters having different scenarios from the beginning of development?

    Nomura: Yes we did. When we were first writing out the plot, we had decided on using the three main characters in separate stories. We wrote their stories starting first with Terra, then Ventus and then Aqua. And in the story you can see that first Terra leaves, then Ventus follows him, and Aqua leaves last. The overall concept is, though it seems like a catch phrase, “There is no coincidence in fate”. The reason why Riku was chosen to wield the keyblade, or why Kairi met Sora and Riku. These things that seemed like they were just coincidence were actually meant to be.

    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- Had you planned on there being a Last Episode after the first three scenarios were complete?
    [/COLOR]
    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: No, it wasn’t in the original scenario that we wrote. The scene at the end where Aqua is walking through the dark realm was the original ending to Aqua’s scenario. The scene after that with Sora and Riku talking on the beach wasn’t there at all. But because that would mean all of their scenarios ended on a dark note, we included Last Episode and the scene with Sora and Riku talking.


    -- How did you decide on the names for Terra, Ventus and Aqua?

    Nomura: When we were deciding on the names for Sora, Riku and Kairi in the original KH, we wanted to have their names reflect three things that made up the world. But with these three we wanted to make there names out of the larger ideas of earth, wind and water. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Aqua and Kairi correspond with one another.

    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- How did you think of Vanitas’ name?
    [/COLOR]
    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: I wanted to give him a name that meant “empty”, and so I looked for something that would be appropriate. When I was searching I found a word that meant “emptiness” in Latin, “Vanitas”. It looked a lot like Ventus’ name, and in Japanese it has the kanji for “sora” in it, so I thought it was perfect. Of course in Vanitas’ case it doesn’t mean “sora [sky]” but “kara [empty]” [These two words are written with the same kanji, but are said differently and have different meanings.]


    -- Master Eraqus’ name is an anagram of “Square” right?

    Nomura: Yes, but I didn’t really think very hard on that name. Actually I gave him that name while writing the original plot, but when I read through it later I couldn’t remember what it was supposed to mean. I asked around, but no one knew. Finally the producer realized that it was supposed to be an anagram for Square and I thought “Oh yeah!” (laugh).


    I wasn’t sure who to make Ventus look like, but...
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    -- Was it easy to decide on the design for the three main characters?

    Nomura: No, it was actually pretty difficult. Especially since all three of them would change into armor, when I began to work on their design I had decided that they would hit a round device to change into the armor. But how I could incorporate that device into their clothing was pretty difficult to decide. Also, since one of the secret keywords in the story is “X”, I decided that I had to put that somewhere in the design of their clothes.

    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- How did you decide on the design for their faces?[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: Well Terra’s look was already a decided thing, we just had to make him look a bit younger. I knew that Ventus should look either like Sora or Roxas, and I wasn’t sure which one to go with, but I thought Vanitas looking like Sora would have a bigger impact so I had Ventus look like Roxas instead. And there is a reason that Vanitas looks like Sora. As Sora filled in Ventus’ fractured heart, the fractured part (Vanitas) was effected by Sora and ended up with Sora’s face. So if it had been Riku who had filled in Ventus’ heart, Vanitas would have looked like Riku.


    -- And what about the lone woman of the group?

    Nomura: Since she has no base to work with, unlike Terra and Ventus, I drew her as an entirely new character. Since I had made Terra with somewhat Japanese styled clothing, I had that in mind when I designed the belt around her hips and gave her belled sleeves.

    -- It seems Aqua is pretty popular.

    Nomura: I had no idea that was going to happen actually. When I was drawing her I kept worrying that since she has no connection to existing characters that no one would care about her. I made Xion from Days a “short-lived and pure girl”, but I wanted Aqua to be a strong girl. But, instead of making her a “strong girl who can beat the guys” I wanted to make her “feminine and strong”. I didn’t know how people would take her, but I think it’s all thanks to Megumi Toyoguchi. When she did the voice for Paine in FFX-2, it was lower than her normal voice. But this time she performed closer to normal voice. I think she was able to express the strength that I wanted Aqua to have.


    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- What was your reasoning for choosing Ryotaro Okiayu as Terra?[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: Chikao Otsuka, who plays Master Xehanort, has a dry sort of voice. The actor for Terra-Xehanort, Akio Otsuka, has a deep resonating sort of voice. We wanted something that would have elements of both in it, and ended up choosing him. Of course we chose Chikao Otsuka for Xehanort as he is the real father of Akio Otsuka.

    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- Of course the reason you chose Miyu Irino for Vanitas’ voice is because they have the same face?[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: Of course. Except he doesn’t sound anything like Sora, does he? Irino has kept saying from long before that he wanted to play an evil guy, so he got sort of carried away with it (laugh).



    Why Zack is the only FF character
    -----------------------------------------

    -- How did you choose which worlds they would visit?

    Nomura: The first worlds we decided on were the three worlds that the princesses were on. The princesses themselves appeared in the first KH, but their worlds didn’t, and I wanted to show them at some point. And it was perfect since we would also be able to show how Maleficent started going after the seven princesses. The other worlds were chosen by how fun they looked when we drew them out.

    -- There are a few worlds that we have seen before.

    Nomura: Olympus Coliseum has been in every game so far, but since this time we would be able to talk about their past we really wanted to have it in. In the original movie there are scenes that show young Hercules growing up, and we really wanted to show that, so we had them go to Olympus Coliseum.

    -- Zack appears at the Coliseum, but was there a reason why he is the only FF character this time around?


    Nomura: We wanted to have Cid and the gang in Radiant Garden, but that would have made the story go too far off track. The main story of BbS is complicated enough as it is, so instead of making a lot of side roads, we concentrated on the main story. Which resulted in having no other FF character but Zack make an appearance. The reason we chose him was, as this is a story set in the past of the first game, we wanted to have a character from the past of an FF game. As Zack was a character from the past in FFVII, he fit the role just perfectly. There were other characters we wanted to show, but since they’ll be appearing in a different game we didn’t put them in this one. As it isn’t a game we’ve announced yet, I can’t tell you who it is (laugh).

    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- There was a new enemy this time called the Unversed, how did you think them up?[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: Since they couldn’t be around during KH, we needed to have an enemy that could no longer exist during that time. So we connected them to Vanitas, so that when he disappeared they will have disappeared as well. Their design concept was “emotions”, so we see them with smiling faces, angry faces, crying faces... they were designed with many different expressions. The Unversed mark is also meant to be a heart that expresses emotions.
    [COLOR=SeaGreen]
    -- Speaking of enemies, the hidden boss that is Vanitas’ sentiment was quite strong.[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: Everyone liked Lingering Sentiment, the hidden boss from KHII FM, so we wanted to make him equal to that. The thing fans wanted most in a hidden boss was “demonic strength”. So if our debuggers could find a way to beat him, we tossed that idea, and that’s how he became as strong as he is. While they were making it I went to Osaka and fought him myself. But I couldn’t beat him (laugh). If I can beat him, he can’t be that strong, so having him so strong that I can’t beat him is ideal.


    [I]The secrets of the secret event[/I]
    -------------------------------------

    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- The KH series always has a secret movie at the end, but this time there was a secret event called “Blank Points”. Does the name express the empty parts of the story?[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: It does have that meaning, but usually I give the secret movie a title that reflects the meaning of the movie. For example, the KH secret movie was “Another side, Another story”, and that was about Roxas. An of course the KHII FM secret movie was “Birth by Sleep”. But this time, “Blank Points” isn’t necessarily the title. Even though the meaning fits.
    [COLOR=SeaGreen]
    -- In the secret event Xehanort says “The heart that resides within Terra’s heart.” Who’s heart is it?[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: I can’t say just yet, but I’ve set it so that you’ll know who it is. Listen to Xehanort’s words closely, and read his reports carefully. I think you’ll know who it is then.

    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- Ansem the Wise says to Aqua “Everything is born from sleep.” What does this mean?[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: In that scene the ones who are calling for “Sora” are the ones who have already disappeared from the world. But in the world of KH there is no concept of death, that for example they are just sleeping within Sora’s heart. If you can just wake them up, they’ll be able to return to the world, they would be “born from sleep”. That there would be a possibility of this, is what Ansem the Wise is saying. Even Aqua, who isn’t in the realm of light, would be born from sleep.

    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- In that case, do the characters we see in that scene have a chance of returning?[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: Yes. The data that Ansem has hidden within Sora is the secret to that revival. When Ansem had become DiZ, and studied the heart and emotions, the results he found he hid within Sora. There are a lot of people who thought that Coded was about finding those results, but that’s not true. The ending of Coded was about finding out that DiZ had done something to Sora, as Namine said, finding out about the data that Ansem hid. What that data is will be revealed in the next game.



    Two more games aside from KHIII are in the works
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    -- So how do you feel about Days, Coded and BbS having all been released?

    Nomura: It was hard work, but fun. I got to try a lot of different things, and found things I’d like to keep on using. I’ve learned about what sort of gameplay can be used with each system. For example, the PSP can have a game that plays similarly to the original KH games, so I was able to make them exciting to play. Or the DS has no analog stick, so we went more for customization. We also used cell phones, which are not really a game console. It was a challenge to see how much we could make it a KH game with only simple controls. Based on this experience I think I’ve gained a lot that I will be able to use in the future.

    -- We hear that the international release of BbS is coming along, how will it differ from the domestic version?

    Nomura: The scenario hasn’t changed much, but we’ve put in extra things. We’ve added Critical Mode, an extra difficult about Proud, a few extra scenes that I had wanted to put in but couldn’t, and added a few more songs for “Rhythmic Ice”. There are also more keyblade and enemy types as well. The battles are balanced better, and we’ve tweaked some of the things that bothered us.

    -- Are you going to release the international version in Japan as you have with KH and KHII?

    Nomura: Well, if I say “we don’t plan on it yet”, people will take that as “no”, so I can’t really say anything. Since the voice acting is done so well it wouldn’t be so bad releasing a Final Mix... but people only got so excited about KHII FM+ because it was sold with Re:COM. We’re not going to put that much into it a second time (laugh).

    -- Now that BbS is finished, we can’t help but think about the next game in the KH series...

    Nomura: For now while FF Versus XIII is still being worked on, there isn’t much I can do on KHIII, but we’ve already begun work on the next game in the series. There is one that we are hoping to be able to release within this year. Then the next year there is one more game we are planning on releasing. I think it will probably make the main character[s?] more complicated. Also, the end of “Blank Points” with Sora leaving on a new adventure connects to KHIII.

    -- KHIII will be the continuation of the story we’ve seen up until now, right?


    Nomura: Yes that’s right. Though fans probably think that the series will end with KHIII, the KH series we are developing right now, including KHIII, is just the first part of a bigger series. The main character of the KH series is Sora, but right now the first part could be considered “The Xehanort Chronicles”, since after all the enemy has always been Xehanort right from the first game.

    -- I see, so KHIII will complete The Xehanort Chronicles?

    Nomura: Yes, that’s sort of how we’re thinking. So even if Xehanort’s story ends, Sora will still have other adventures to go on.

    -- So it’s not “Once Sora’s story is finished, another hero’s story will begin”, the hero is always Sora.

    Nomura: Yes. One of the concepts behind the KH series is that the main character Sora isn’t special, he’s just a normal boy. Yes he does have connections with Ventus’ heart, among others, but he hasn’t inherited anything from them. He’s just a normal boy you could find anywhere. I wanted to make Sora a character that the player could take onto themselves and feel that you don’t have to be special. But connect to many people and you will realize your secret potential. With BbS I want to make fans excited to see Sora’s return. The secret event is a symbol of that, so I hope everyone will get to see it and wait for Sora’s next adventure.

    All complete! By the way, if anyone feels something is a spoiler that is not put underneath a cut, please tell me so I can remove the offending passage!
    Last edited by Lissar; March 25, 2010 at 10:29 AM.
       

  2. #2
    The Dawn Fox thechasersblade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    thanxs lissar for bringing us another interveiw

  3. #3
    mofo Radon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    Thanks a heap Lissar, good luck for the rest!

    I just wanted to use the word “by” in the title (laugh).
    I knew it.

  4. #4
    I'm the darkness within the shadows Yuuki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    thank you so much lissar!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5
    I'm done here. See ya! c:
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    ohh nice to see another interview again! As always thanks for the translations. :D

  6. #6
    The Dawn Fox thechasersblade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    when are you going to put the rest

  7. #7
    I'm the darkness within the shadows Yuuki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    [COLOR=SeaGreen]-- In that case, do the characters we see in that scene have a chance of returning?[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=Orange]Nomura[/COLOR]: Yes. The data that Ansem has hidden within Sora is the secret to that revival. When Ansem had become DiZ, and studied the heart and emotions, the results he found he hid within Sora. There are a lot of people who thought that Coded was about finding those results, but that’s not true. The ending of Coded was about finding out that DiZ had done something to Sora, as Namine said, finding out about the data that Ansem hid. What that data is will be revealed in the next game.
    HAha!!!! i cant wait to see what the d**** is :O
    Last edited by Yuuki; March 25, 2010 at 10:03 AM.

  8. #8
    mofo Radon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    Gah! We're going to find out by the end of this year!! So who could the playable character be for this game? Seeing as it has to take place during KHCoM- whenever, I'm guessing Riku or Mickey.

  9. #9
    I'm the darkness within the shadows Yuuki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Radon View Post
    Gah! We're going to find out by the end of this year!! So who could the playable character be for this game? Seeing as it has to take place during KHCoM- whenever, I'm guessing Riku or Mickey.
    i think it will be about both of them....

  10. #10
    mofo Radon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    Although Nomura said that next years game would have multiple characters. Why announce multiple characters for one game and not for the other if this is infact the case?

    Also it could be a Xehanort game. Ansem could say a few cryptic lines to Xehanort about awakening a person inside another person.

    I can see that fitting with the theme of a Xehanort game for obvious reasons.

  11. #11
    Ultra-sleek Librarian
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    Alright, the entire interview is complete guys. Have at it!

  12. #12
    The Dawn Fox thechasersblade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    the last part is pretty epic
    i want to see a m-m15+ version of kh which is the new keyblade war



    yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees axel will return

  13. #13
    mofo Radon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    Thankyou so much again Lissar!! Your work is great.

    the KH series we are developing right now, including KHIII, is just the first part of a bigger series.
    I don't know what to say about this. Much bigger series? So that could mean more than double what we already have? Oh god I'll be dead by the time this finishes.

  14. #14
    The Dawn Fox thechasersblade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    i want a older sora and riku

  15. #15
    I'm the darkness within the shadows Yuuki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimania - Full Nomura Interview

    Lili thank you so much! :3
    looking forward to the next games....i think....

 

 
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