Music has actually constantly been an important part of Kingdom Hearts. Iconic tunes like “Dearly Beloved” have actually ended up being core to the series’ identity, along with poignant character styles for Kairi, Ventus, and Xion. Between well-known author Yoko Shimomura’s skillful work including feeling to every scenario and Utada Hikaru’s vocals breathing life into “Simple and Clean” and “My Sanctuary,” the tunes have actually mesmerized audiences, ending up being core to the experience. With rhythm video game Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, the abundant acoustic library is lastly getting prominence, and we spoke with manufacturer Ichiro Hazama, co-director Masanobu Suzui, and renowned franchise director Testuya Nomura about what to anticipate. Here are their responses to our greatest concerns.
Can you go over the imaginative procedure and how the group approached bringing Kingdom Hearts to a brand-new category?
Hazama: The concept was drifting around for a while, it was around 5 years back. [Suzui and I] kept thinking, “Oh, we would enjoy to do a Theatrhythm Kingdom Hearts.” We were discussing it, making preparing files, and things like that. But at the time, we chose that it may be a bit tough to move on with the job. A couple of years back, there was a different conversation with Nomura-san and Disney. Disney really stepped forward to Nomura-san, asking, “Hey, could you do this with us?” They chose that they wished to move on with the job and after that the conversation boiled down to me and Suzui-san to do this job, which’s how this job happened.
It does look really comparable to Theatrhythm’s gameplay, and Square Enix had entries for Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest because series. Why is Melody of Memory a different spinoff instead of a brand-new Theatrhythm video game?
Suzui: As we discussed previously, we were speaking about how we had actually created approximations and preparing files. But as we were going over how we tackle producing this specific title with Nomura-san, we liked making this 3D. With Final Fantasy Theatrhythm, you might remember we had this side-scrolling, really 2D sort of looks. And then in regards to Dragon Quest, it was more of a leading view where your fights are sort of going inward; there resembles this field of depth. With Kingdom Hearts, we wished to pursue the concept of using the initial characters. We wished to recreate the initial appearance of the video game titles and bring that over. We likewise took motivation from [Kingdom Hearts’] 15th anniversary music website.
From there, we began to believe, “Okay, so how do we include various aspects?” And Nomura-san offered feedback and a great deal of the motivation that entered into the fundamental concept. We took that in addition to a few of the technical aspects and the mechanics that were currently existing in the Theatrhythm titles, and after that thought of what sort of music and what sort of plan of the notes that we desire for gamers to experience. We [wanted to] include those enjoyable aspects of play and make certain that we are leveraging the video game mechanics of the initial video game, in addition to generating Kingdom Hearts’ trendy action and including the abundant story behind it, specifically the world settings that we have actually developed in our series titles. We asked, “How do we utilize and keep the stability of that?” That was our structure for our method.
From there, we believed, ‘Okay, so we’re going to develop this from the ground up and we’re going to bring this as a brand name brand-new title.’ That’s why we chose we’re going to alter the name and we weren’t going to rollover the Theatrhythm title. We believed it would be suitable and appropriate to have that Kingdom Hearts name. That’s how we moved along with the advancement of it. We all had the very same understanding among our employee that this is not a Theatrhythm video game. Nomura-san likewise [felt] that method, so he created an actually great name for this title and an actually great crucial art too, and we sort of broadened from there.
Will we see great deals of remixes to tunes, or are you primarily adhering to the originals?
Suzui: Generally speaking, we will be utilizing the initial music. We didn’t wish to remove from the gameplay experience from the various titles in our franchise. But that being stated, specific parts of the video game, like the title menu or the personnel credits, will have tunes that include a brand-new plan by Miss Shimomura, so that’s something to anticipate.
Are there any brand-new tracks in the video game that we have not heard prior to?
Suzui: No. There will not be any brand-new tracks.
With over 140 tunes in the video game, can we anticipate music from every world we checked out in the Kingdom Hearts series, or are some being neglected?
Suzui: We really took a look at all of the tracks that were offered and we reviewed all the various CDs from the past and counted all the tunes. Of course, we could not keep a complete brochure of the most current Kingdom Hearts video games like 2.8 or a few of the tunes in Kingdom Hearts III. We have not gotten the complete count of all of the tunes that remain in there, however it wound up having to do with 600 to 700 tunes. So regrettably, there might be some tunes that are not consisted of in Melody of Memory. That being stated, from our large library, we attempted to thoroughly pick the tunes, and it’s a really abundant choice of over 140 tunes.
How do they approach creating the various levels and making certain the backgrounds match the essence of each tune?
Suzui: The main video game mode that you will be playing through is what we call “World Trip.” You’re actually going through [the experience] in order from Kingdom Hearts 1 and following it with the video game’s story. You’re recalling at the experience through the gameplay and the music, and there are numerous motion picture clips of the story that you get to experience through it. In some parts, there’s some narrative by Kairi, and after that when you clear a couple of tunes and various objectives, you open up a gate to move on to the next section. As you progress through the game, of course, there will be various difficulties with the songs. You may notice that the enemies that appear in these stages will be from the original games, and we tried to structure it so that you’re re-experiencing the different iconic moments and symbolic elements with each of the songs. Also, the enemies that you encounter will move very similarly to how they first appeared in the original titles. You experience the overall game arc as you progress through these different songs.
With the narrative, it’s what we call the “Dark Seeker Saga,” which has been throughout all the Kingdom Hearts titles up to Kingdom Hearts III. We traverse through all of the different key elements through that saga in order. That’s the general flow. And then with the tempo and the mood of each of the stages, we have some boss battles prepared as well. Those do tend to be a little bit more on the difficult side. So there’s a good variation of difficulty levels as you play through. Now that being said, we understand that there may be players who might not be as comfortable with playing rhythm action games, and so we made sure to design the game so that players are able to complete their objectives no matter what difficulty they choose.
Kingdom Hearts is an action/RPG. What kind of progression system will we see in Melody of Memory in terms of new abilities and leveling up?
Suzui: The progression system for Melody of Memory is leveling. Because it’s a rhythm action game, it was a bit difficult to differentiate the different moves and actions within the gameplay. But through leveling, your character will gain higher HP, so you won’t get a “game over” as easily, which should be beneficial when you’re trying to clear the different stages. Plus, as you level, your attack power will also increase. Of course, bosses will need a couple of extra hits. But as you level up and become stronger, you won’t take as long to stun them to get an advantage on attacking the bosses, and you’ll get a bonus for that. There is no ability system that you would be bolstering throughout the process. Each leader will have two different types of ranged and melee attacks, but that’s about it.
How will online battles work in the video game?
Suzui: Similarly to Theatrhythm Curtain Call, there is a versus match, but we expanded on that where you have one player versus one player and you compete for the higher score, and as you win, your rating will go up. With online battles, one of the mechanics is called “tricks,” where you’re trying to not exactly sabotage, but get in the way of the other players so that they might trip. The goal is to get as many points without failing or tripping in your gameplay and competing for who gets the better scores.
We discussed this a little bit with Kairi’s narration, but what can we expect from the story and Kairi’s involvement in it?
Nomura: So Kairi is going to be our storyteller so to speak – what she is doing is reflecting upon the previous iteration and the history of the narrative. She is going to be talking about all of what happens within Kingdom Hearts and she’s going to be bringing you through this story. And so her positioning… I’m afraid we can’t delve too far into details, because it will be quite a bit of a spoiler and she is relevant to a very big part of the plot. But what she does tell through her recollection is not just the experiences that she went through, but it’s all the experiences that her allies and the party members had experienced throughout the story as well. And once we go through the story of recollection and beyond that, we start to see a timeline that will connect to the future.
Is this going to bring closure to where we left off with Kairi at the end of Kingdom Hearts III and the Re Mind DLC?
Nomura: With Melody of Memory, the timeline fits immediately after the story of Re Mind. But with that being said, the story volume is not going to be as large as a mainline Kingdom Hearts title, so you might not see too big of a movement in Kairi’s time and in her narrative. Still, I think you might get a glimpse of where this might be going through this title. It’s quite difficult to not spoil it, but still try to explain it at the same time. But with Kairi, her childhood is still shrouded in mystery. We haven’t really delved deep into that part of her narrative, so you might be able to see a glimpse of that through Melody of Memory. But that being said, again, it’s not meant to advance things significantly through this game.
The Gummi Ship was featured in trailers. How is that going to work in the game?
Suzui: It’s kind of unfortunate this is going to be the last question because the Gummi Ship is just strictly going to be for transportation purposes, traveling between worlds. [laughs] Unfortunately, we won’t have any sort of like customization aspects or anything like that.