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Kingdom Hearts Doesn't Need Final Fantasy Like it Used To, Tetsuya Nomura Says

Tetsuya Nomura on why Final Fantasy characters haven't really been shown off yet for Kingdom Hearts 3.

News by Caty McCarthy, .

Long before Avengers: Infinity War, Kingdom Hearts was the most ambitious crossover event in history. When Kingdom Hearts first released back in 2002, it was pitched as a batshit blend of Disney and Final Fantasy. All across its story, you met characters from Final Fantasy's history, from Squall (er, "Leon") to Sephiroth. As the series has gone on, Final Fantasy has waned in focus, despite characters such as Zack and even Neku from The World Ends With You popping up across its spin-offs.

Our wildest fantasies about Final Fantasy and Disney crossover aren't dead yet, luckily, as Kingdom Hearts 3 director Tetsuya Nomura assured us during this week's E3 2018. We sat down with him to hear more about the change in direction, and if the reports of there being fewer Final Fantasy elements in Kingdom Hearts 3 held any weight.

Seems like original characters, such as Aqua from Birth By Sleep and the ever-looming Organization XIII, will be getting more screentime in Kingdom Hearts 3.

"I can't disclose too much about the Final Fantasy characters or whether or not they'll be in Kingdom Hearts 3, because I can only speak to what's been shown," Nomura tells us. "But the reason you haven't been shown any Final Fantasy characters is that there are so many original characters that need to resolve their own problems and issues. And because their issues and problems are very difficult, there just hasn't been that much space to fit Final Fantasy characters so far."

It's true. From Kingdom Hearts' many spin-offs to its proper numbered sequel that quadrupled the main cast (and a spin-off, Birth by Sleep, that basically doubled that), there's a large number of original characters in the current "Xehanort" saga. The most recent full-scale Kingdom Hearts game was the 2012 Nintendo 3DS title Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The portable title released a whole ten years after the first game's debut, and quite a lot has changed in the series—and the industry at large—since then.

Kairi and Axel are two big original characters in the Kingdom Hearts universe.

"When you look back on the first Kingdom Hearts, Sora was still a new character, so we kind of had the Final Fantasy characters as supporting characters," Nomura says. "But now that it's been 15 years, the original characters are more polished than they were before, so I don't think think they need the Final Fantasy characters help as much as they did before. [...] Also, when we first released Kingdom Hearts, there weren't that many other titles that brought together the Final Fantasy characters. I actually think that Kingdom Hearts may have been the first to do that. But nowadays, there are an abundance of titles that do that, so I don't see the value of having that kind of feature in the game anymore. But that doesn't mean that I'm saying that there won't be any Final Fantasy characters. Please look forward to future information."

Kingdom Hearts 3, after initially being planned for a 2018 release, will officially be out on PS4 and Xbox One on January 29, 2019. This week, it got three new trailers showing off its two newest worlds: a Pirates of the Caribbean world, returning from its debut in Kingdom Hearts 2, and a Frozen-themed world. Stay tuned to the site for our full interview with Tetsuya Nomura.

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Comments 10

  • Avatar for The-Challenger #1 The-Challenger 8 days ago
    Sepithroth confirmed. I hope we get at least a few faces from FF. I have to assume we get Noctis and Lightning. But maybe they can throw in a new FF7 character model as well. No point sitting on the new models until the remake comes out.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #2 kidgorilla 8 days ago
    This probably isn't the case, but this whole thing is making me think SE sat him down and screamed at him to leave Final Fantasy characters out of his cockamamie games
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  • Avatar for Gamer-Law #3 Gamer-Law 8 days ago
    After FF XIII and XV, far fewer of us need FF games like we used to.
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  • Avatar for Maxbeedo #4 Maxbeedo 8 days ago
    I'm sure there will be some wackiness like Organization XIII trying to recruit Zack because "he already looks like us", and then they try to kill God who turns out to be Lightning.

    To be honest, seeing some FF characters might be the only way I ever play it though, since I haven't played any KH games and don't feel attached to any of the Disney properties shown in game so far (besides Wreck-It-Ralph).
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  • Avatar for KeroseneBlast #5 KeroseneBlast 8 days ago
    I've been playing World of Final Fantasy lately, and it feels a lot like a KH game without any Disney (combat notwithstanding). So maybe they're relying on that series to focus on the Final Fantasy character?
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #6 MetManMas 8 days ago
    @kidgorilla Nah, it was probably Disney that did that.
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  • Avatar for Vodka-Tonic #7 Vodka-Tonic 8 days ago
    @MetManMas That's not out of the realm of possibility.
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #8 Funny_Colour_Blue 7 days ago
    @kidgorilla supposedly it's the other way around: There's a rumour going around that Nomura, doesn't actually know anything about the characters he designs - case and point, in Kingdom Hearts 2, there are very few new final fantasy characters you're introduced to, but one of the new characters you are introduced to is Setzer from FF6. Which is one characters, Nomura originally designed himself and is the most familiar with.

    Again, this is just speculation though.Edited 1 weeks ago by Funny_Colour_Blue
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #9 Flipsider99 7 days ago
    @Gamer-Law I think FFXIII is underrated and FFXV was a legitimately great game. And personally, I'd be happy to see some of those characters in the new game... especially Ignis from XV.

    If you haven't played XV, it can't be undersold how good a character Ignis is. He's the lynchpin of that story, and I'd honestly call him one of the best characters in the whole series, and one of the better characters in a modern game, period! So yes, I would be overjoyed to see him show up in KH3!
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  • Avatar for Daikaiju #10 Daikaiju 7 days ago
    No Shantotto then?
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