Monthly ArchiveApril 2012
Square Enix Sora on 29 Apr 2012
We have a treat for Siliconera readers this week with news about an unannounced Square Enix game. I can’t say anymore for the moment other than this will be a Siliconera exclusive and the game will surprise you.
This game will surprise us? I can’t tell if it is saying that the game will be really unique, or that the game is something we’ve been waiting for. Nomura has had an tons of talk about The World Ends With You 2, and with 3D being out….
No, it can’t be.
TWEWY2 for 3DS?
Some people are suggesting Kingdom Hearts 3, but I highly doubt that it will be that game. Versus XIII isn’t even done yet and Nomura has already said they won’t be developing KH3 until it comes out. But TWEWY2 is still up for grabs. It is something I’m waiting for. Tons of people have been waiting for the long awaited sequel to come out.
Update: The game was revealed. It is Catacombs for the PS3 and 360. Time to send hate mail to siliconera.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Ammar on 24 Apr 2012
Or rather, ‘Dear Critics’. As you may know, ScrewAttack released their new video, titled “Top 10 Franchises that should die”.
Kingdom Hearts is not hard to understand. It lies under a lot of symbolism and the Xehanort Clones can be overwhelming at times. However there is an underlying difference between ‘complexity’ and ‘missing information’. Kingdom Hearts is certainly the latter as far as each new title is concerned.
Now, now, put your torches down. I meant ‘missing information’ as in that each new title brings something new to the plot. Each new title has a wealth of new information that the majority of it won’t likely be referenced in the next title. For dedicated fans, it is not much of a problem as they are the type of people who will keep up to date on everything ‘Kingdom Hearts’ related. But for other, more casual fans, and they do exist, Kingdom Hearts II is the last Kingdom Hearts game they have played and are still waiting for Kingdom Hearts III.
The franchises’ main problem is that every game is ‘important’. The traditional ‘spin-off’ of a video game franchise have very little to nothing in common with the main series’ plot. You can miss it out and the next main title will have at the very least subtle references.
Kingdom Hearts expect you to have played every iteration to this point (excluding the V-Cast title) or it will try to make you dumbfounded. So it’s not complex, it just requires your previous knowledge of the series thus far.
It hasn’t been a new problem per se. It even existed in Kingdom Hearts II. Even the CG intro of Kingdom Hearts, which shows beautiful CG goodness of Castle Oblivion Events from Chain of Memories, doesn’t do much to tell you why Sora went into hibernation for a year. If you have not played Chain of Memories and you jumped right into Kingdom Hearts II, you may not have a clue. From your perspective: Sora, Donald and Goofy were chasing Pluto in the Ending of Kingdom Hearts and Sora was waking up in Kingdom Hearts II, in which the events has progressed in one year.
SquareEnix must have recognised the problem that they bundled up Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories with Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+. Alas, like all Kingdom Hearts that gains the Final Mix tag, they are cursed to stay within Japanese Territory.
I propose the next game should have its own optional introduction that details the events that happened so far. It should solve a lot of the problems the series have. It would solve the huge misinterpretation that ‘Kingdom Hearts is too complex!’
But really, ScrewAttack? Kingdom Hearts can be understood if you pay attention.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Ammar on 24 Apr 2012
It’s been ten years since Kingdom Hearts has graced the PlayStation 2 platform back on March 28th 2002 in Japan. The western audience that comprise of Americans and various Europeans get to taste the crossover within six to eight months after Japan. It has been a success and the multinational mass media company, Disney, sought to extend that success.
Today, there are many side stories in the gaming franchise, various manga adaptations and even novels that details certain events of some Organization XIII members (although they are currently Japan only). Its success is astonishing and the latest title in the franchise, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream, Drop, Distance, has proven that the franchise still that fighting spirit.
So let’s look at the latest Iwata Ask segment where the father of Kingdom Hearts, Tetsuya Nomura, reveals those pesky secrets that kick-started the development of the series. We all know the story, of how a simple conversation between Shinji Hashimoto (Producer of the Kingdom Hearts series) and a Disney executive in an elevator started it all, yet we never know why Tetsuya Nomura has such an attachment to a franchise where he could potentially have no creative control. It’s no surprise that any development on an intellectual property of Disney that even involves the beloved mascot, Mickey Mouse, in any media is met with meddling from the Disney executives. The rejection of Nomura’s ‘Chainsaw Weapon’ was enough to tell you that Disney holds the power here.
Thus begs the question: Why did Nomura take upon the IP under his helm with supervision from The Walt Disney Company, knowing how stifling it would be?
Nomura: From the start, when I was working on FFVII (※8), that was right about the time that Mario 64 got famous, and the way you could run around freely in a full 3D world had a huge impact on me. When I talked with other staff about how I wanted to make a game like that, they told me, ‘No, Mario is already a world-famous character, you can’t do it now with a new character.’
※8 FFVII = Final Fantasy VII. It went on sale Jan 1997, as the seventh title in the series.
※9 Mario 64 = Super Mario 64. An action game for the Nintendo 64 that went on sale June 1996.
Iwata: Like, ‘We can’t go up against Mario,’ sort of thing?
Nomura: Yes. The colleagues I talked with at the time said, ‘It would be impossible to do without Disney-level star power characters’. But, it stuck in my head. So, when I heard them talking about doing something with Disney, I knew I wanted to do it…
Iwata: You must have had it quite firmly stuck in there…! So basically, the impact of Mario 64, hearing it would be ‘impossible without Disney-level characters’, and then talk about a Mickey game spawned something inside your head and you raised your hand, right?
Nomura: Yes (laughs).
Iwata: Hmm! Fate sure is a strange thing!
This recent interview seems to show the motive for Tetsuya Nomura to take up the daunting task. He wanted to make a video game like Super Mario 64, but due to other staff members shaking their heads at that idea, and finding it hard to find success without having an established group of ‘Disney-level characters’, that idea was simply tucked away into his head, waiting for its time to be used.
The rest is history.
It’s not hard to see the influence of Super Mario 64 on the original Kingdom Hearts. You find yourself visiting many different worlds based on various Disney themes, have platforming elements, various interactive elements with certain objects and even hidden places where you’ll find rewards. It is very similar to Super Mario 64 where you visit many different worlds based on various themes, have platforming elements, various interactive elements with certain objects and hidden places where you’ll find such reward (Wing cap, anyone?)
It may seem to be grasping at straws, but the evidence in the Iwata Ask interview suggests otherwise.
Super Mario 64 has various influences on the original Kingdom Hearts and the franchise as a whole. Future instalments took lessons from the original and applied in diverse measures, but Kingdom Hearts still has its own identity. We all know Kingdom Hearts is a Square-Enix game at heart and it is not because of Nomura’s trademark ‘belts and zippers’ design. The RPG mechanics, the battle menu system and its focus on a narrative gives Kingdom Hearts that unique flavour. It is arguable that because of that, the influences from Mario 64 that made Kingdom Hearts what it is were downplayed in the next two instalments.
Chain of Memories went into a different direction, one that has very little of the original’s elements. Kingdom Hearts II focused more of its elements on its combat mechanics as a means of progression. The DS title, 358/2 Days, returned to its original roots by bringing back more of its vertical platforming. Agrabah can tell you that much with its vertical movement of pillars.
Birth by Sleep brought back some of its interactive elements, the biggest notable example being ‘Deep Space’ with its gravity-shifting mechanics. Re: Coded, on the other hand, is Kingdom Hearts with Boxes. Its elements are similar to the original Kingdom Hearts with various different gameplay mechanics in different worlds, such as the turn-based mechanics in the Olympus Coliseum.
So, what about Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream, Drop, Distance? What does that entail? Sadly, as this will not be released until 20th July in Europe, 31st July in America and 3rd August in Australia, all we can go by is YouTube videos at this point. From little I saw, there is one thing about Kingdom Hearts 3D that will set itself from the rest. The amount of interactivity within the environment; Jumping on walls, grinding on rails and spinning on lamp posts in Traverse Town, it prides itself in the use of forward momentum, giving it a new take on the platforming elements.
It will certainly be interesting in the future. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is a window. As we look through it, we could see a glimpse of what Kingdom Hearts III could be.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Sora on 21 Apr 2012
Nintendo and Square Enix both announced the PAL release dates yesterday. Nintendo showed it on their gaming stream while Square updated their official website showing off the date. On July 20th, Europeans will be able to pick it up the game. That is more than a week earlier than the US release date! Now the question is, will there be any pre-order bonuses or special editions?
Along with the release date, it seems an English trailer has arrived. Finally, you can hear Sora’s/Riku’s latest voice in a language you can understand. The text is also in English with world/battle tracks that you can actually hear.
Source: Official 3D Website
Speaking about the character cameo appearances in KH3D, Nomura noted that the Raimu/Rhyme character did not have any lines for her appearance in The World Ends With You. She only had reaction voices. For KH3D, they decided to do voice casting for this character “out of consideration of the future of The World Ends With You series.”
This segment of the interview ended with an even stronger hint that a sequel could be on the way. Said Nomura, “Regarding The World Ends With You, I can’t say anything at present… (laughs). But there probably is something.”
If you remember several months back, Nomura had kept throwing hints at a possible sequel. Now, he has shed some more light. “Out of consideration.” “But there probably is something.” Come on Mr. Please Make Kingdom Hearts 3, just spill the news already. I wouldn’t be surprised if TWEWY 2 is announced to arrive on the 3DS, or maybe Wii U? The World Ends With You had a huge focus on two different play styles/screens going on at the same time, I’m sure they could cook something.
I actually ordered the first game a couple weeks ago. I’m having a ton of fun with it. Why didn’t I pick up the game earlier? This is definitely a gem in the DS library. If you haven’t picked it up, I recommend doing so.