Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake are two of the mostly eagerly anticipated games in development right now, and they’re being directed by the same man: Square Enix's Tetsuya Nomura, who has previously worked extensively on both franchises. During a group interview at Disney's D23 expo, he explained how the two new games have proved the perfect complements to one another for him as director.
"I don’t really feel any sort of hurdles or difficulty because the two titles are so different," he said. "It actually works to my advantage because [they’re] so different. If both titles seem to have a sort of similar vein, both titles may start to look the same. So with the two being different, if there’s one thing that I could not do in one title, I might be able to do it in the other. It works out for me in that way."
He added that the biggest challenge is simply how busy he is. "For example, we were making preparations to come here to D23 for Kingdom Hearts, and while we’re kind of in the rush to do that we have to schedule a mandatory meeting for Final Fantasy 7," he said. "So juggling that I think is a big challenge as well, but it comes with the territory."
Nomura also discussed how the developers are using Unreal Engine 4 to develop both Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake. "With Unreal 4 there are a lot of different middleware that exist that is compatible and that we can utilize with the engine, so there’s no need to prepare everything from scratch on the development side," he said. "So I think that has allowed for development to be smooth."
He described how they're customizing the engine to fit their needs, particularly on Kingdom Hearts 3, so that their games don't look like other Unreal Engine games.
"For example, the effects, the visual effects that you see, are very highly regarded for Kingdom Hearts, but that’s actually one of the elements that the development team has customized on Unreal Engine 4 so that it is unique to us," he said. "So games that are developed by other companies that utilize Unreal Engine may not be necessarily able to recreate those same kinds of effects on theirs."
It feels like it's been ages since we learned anything new about the Final Fantasy 7 remake, and Nomura wasn't as eager to discuss it at D23 as he was Kingdom Hearts 3--for obvious reasons. There's nothing new to share about the remake's release date, but fans can at least take heart from one fact: If Kingdom Hearts 3 actually comes out next year, like it's currently supposed to, it will seem like anything is possible.