The cover story for Nintendo Power this month features more information on the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, set for release in Japan on March 29, 2012 for the 3DS. The article is an interview with game director and character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and gives more insight into questions that were raise after the release of the KH3D trailer.
Although Nintendo Power doesn’t offer their articles online, we’ve summarized it below, and a kind user on the NeoGaf forums provided a full transcript. Additionally, here is the magazine spread for the feature.
First, Nomura explained that the story for KH3D picks up where Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded on the DS left off, and takes place right before the “Xehanort arc” chapter, which began with the first Kingdom Hearts game. He explains the premise in this way:
Yen Sid assigns Sora and Riku with visiting the Sleeping Worlds and opening the seven Sleeping Doors as their Mark of Mastery exam, which they must complete in order to become Keyblade Masters. However, a mysterious boy in a black cloak appears everywhere they go, and nothing ends up going exactly as planned.
He notes, however, that the Mark of Mastery exam doesn’t span the whole game, as the boy in the black cloak causes things to go awry. He reveals, “Whenever he appears, Xehanort and other characters that have been linked to him, like Ansem, seem to follow, even though they’ve already been defeated in the past.”
The trailer revealed worlds like Pinocchio, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Three Musketeers, and Tron Legacy, and Nomura states that the world of Fantasia would act as a sort of hub for the game:
…since the film Fantasia contained many worlds, we could use that in the game to separate the worlds that Sora and Riku traveled through. I’ve always wanted to visit Fantasia in a Kingdom Hearts game, so I jumped at the chance. It’s a similar story with the other worlds. We considered how their worldview and settings could be used in interesting effect with the particular mechanics and scenario we had written for this installment, and selected them on that basis.
As for why Sora and Riku were chosen to be the playable characters in the game, Nomura explains that he likes the dichotomy they represent, the “light and dark sides of the heart.”
You also may have noticed in the trailer that Neku from the DS game The World Ends With You makes an appearance. The characters from that game, Nomura says, are basically taking the place of the Final Fantasy characters from the past games, giving Sora help and guidance. As to why they’re in the KH world to begin with, “The basic story is that the characters wandered into this world while playing the Reapers’ Game, and became separated from their partners. Their stories begin with the teammates searching for each other.”
For this game, you won’t be fighting Heartless and Nobodies. Instead, mobs have been replaced with Dream Eaters, of which there are two types: Spirits and Nightmares:
Nightmares are the Dream Eaters who eat dreams born in these worlds and sow nightmares instead; they appear as the main enemy for this installment. Spirits are good monsters who eat nightmares, and they fight alongside Sora and Riku as allies.
Nomura wouldn’t give any information on who the main villain for the game would be, but reminded us that, “the mysterious boy in the black cloak is the key to the answer.”
If you’re wondering about the sound-track, some familiar names will be showing up. Yoko Simomura will reprise her role as main composer, Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito will be contributing songs, and the theme will once again come from Utada Hikaru.
Even though there’s no release date for an English version of the game, Nomura noted that voice recording for it is already underway, only revealing that it’s “certainly a plan” to bring back voice actors from the previous KH games for KH3D.
Finally, when asked if he could share some exclusive information on the game, he replied: “This is the first time we’re doing this, but there’s a surprise during the end credits. So even when the credits start to roll, don’t put down your N3DS, and don’t let your guard down!”