The Development of Kingdom Hearts 3 - 12+ Years Later

Kingdom Hearts 3 was brought up by Disney following Kingdom Hearts 2 / Final Mix but the game's development wouldn't be announced until 6 years later. The article goes in-depth about the delays and hurtles that the Kingdom Hearts team faced before and after they began development.

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FallenAngel1984190d ago

Although I commend this author on the extensive research put into this topic, they’re wrong on some aspects.

“Unfortunately as Nomura has said, HD remakes take time, these remakes were developed by the Kingdom Hearts 3 team, Square Enix Business Division 3!”

Why do you say unfortunately? Tai Yasue, co-director of the series revealed that working on both Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix and then later KH2.5 Remix simultaneously allowed the developers to learn all the best qualities from the series to aid in creating the best experience for Kingdom Hearts 3.

Plus the development of these remasters didn’t even impede or hinder on KH3’s development process. Yasue said in an interview that “Programmers for KH3 and KH 2.5 are separated into two teams, but designers and planners work on both. There’s not really a wall between the Osaka and Tokyo teams, they work together like one KH team.” He also said “Development is continuing alongside KH3, and while you await the release for KH3, I hope that everyone plays KH 2.5 so that you can thoroughly enjoy KH3 when it comes.”

So you can see the remasters were a benefit, not an obstacle. Think of it as a similar situation to how Sanzaru developing the Sly Collection gave them experience to later work on Sly 4 or how Christian Whitehead working on ports of Sonic 1, 2, & CD helped give him experience to work on Sonic Mania.

“After six years of development of FFXV around 2013 and 2014, Tetsuya Nomura and the Kingdom Hearts team were removed from FFXV so KH3 began development.”

The team that made FFXV is the Kingdom Hearts team(the ones that made KH1 & KH2). They weren’t removed from the project, only the former director Tetsuya Nomura. Development on KH3 had already started by 2010 in an actual conceptual state by the Osaka team that made KH Re: CoM, BBS & DDD. Nomura himself confirmed that in an interview.

“While developing Kingdom Hearts 3, the KH team wasted resources on remasteries to port all the spin-offs throughout the years on one platform.”

Idk how you can make such an erroneous statement when you yourself provide a link as to why these handheld titles exist. KH3 wouldn’t have come any sooner if these so called spinoffs weren’t made. In fact KH3 would’ve come a lot later because the actual KH team, the ones that made KH1 & KH2, were busy developing FFXV and wouldn’t start work on KH3 until after FFXV was finished. KH3 is arriving sooner than was originally planned because the team that made these spinoffs and remasters were able to jump start the game’s development in 2010 concurrently alongside the development of FFXV and not afterwards.

Without those spinoffs the series would’ve gone dormant for over a decade and KH3 wouldn’t have started development until after 2016. Plus KH2 ended with so many plot points wrapped up, you needed these handheld titles to add more to the lore to further necessitate a KH3. The remasters further helped in allowing people to play most and then eventually all of the titles on one platform while also giving the Osaka team further experience in making a new mainline KH title rather than just starting work on KH3 completely from scratch.

Also you can’t say this game was delayed by 12 years when it never had a release date. That’s like saying the FFVII remake has had a 13 delay ever since that teaser trailer from 2005.

Harkins1721189d ago

Pretty sure KH2s gameplay team has been working on FF7R.

SquareElite189d ago

Of course, I'm sure the overall quality of KH3 has been improved with time because of technology and the spin-offs. Heck, flowmotion from Dream Drop Distance will be used in KH3 and inspired Attraction Flow. No one is questioning the quality.

I never said that the remakes delayed KH3 because there's no official record of this. I suggest that resources were put into the remakes that could have been better used to push out KH3. In that same interview where Tai Yasuke states KH2.5 doesn't impede KH3. He states that "Making teasers and trailers really does require a lot of work, and we just wanted to get the development moving along quickly on Kingdom Hearts III, so this year we really focused on 2.5". This obviously suggest that by pushing out 2.5 they could better focus on KH3 contrary to his earlier statement. I don't think that is a stretch.

On the topic of the Kingdom Hearts team being removed from FFXV. I believe that to be correct or a subtle process, as Tabata is the head of Square Enix Business Division 2 and as sources have shown FFXV was developed by Business Division 2 while KH3 and other KH titles were developed by Business Division 3. Would make sense since under Nomura, FFXV wasn't nearly where it was supposed to be and with all the restructuring going on. I wouldn't doubt this to be true as sources would list Business Division 3 as the developers if they actually finished the development of FFXV. Also KH3 did not begin development in 2010, I believe you're referring to pre-production. Active development didn't begin till 2013.

You're mistaken. There's nothing erroneous about my statement. The spin-offs themselves are fine because he created them so no one forgot about the series and they weren't developed or at least most of them weren't made by the original KH team. It's the remakes that wasted the team's resources. Note the remakes consist of the spin-off titles. The remakes were developed by the KH team, obviously people don't come from nowhere. They were most likely pulled from the existing KH3 team since you graciously said these remakers were enhancing the quality of KH3 by working on the remakes, so essentially they could have been better used to push out KH3 faster rather than work on remaking existing titles even though they are cleaning up Nomura's mess to begin with or whoever you want to blame.

Finally your last statement about the 12 year delay. I guess; I see your point. The article is about KH3's development and I am referencing its 2018 release by stating 12 years since it was officially brought up. The development was delayed by FFXV so I don't think my loose use of "delay" is too bold of a statement but it is an exaggeration.

FallenAngel1984189d ago

@ Hark

No the bulk of the KH1 & KH2 team, otherwise known as Business Division 2, worked on FFXV. That much is obvious.

Square Enix Business Division 1 are the ones who are developing FFVIIR.With the way the development schedules line up, I believe the team that developed FFXIII are the ones most likely working on FFVIIR.

@ Square

Not releasing the remasters wouldn’t have made KH3 come out dramatically sooner. Plus thanks to these remasters a whole new audience have a simpler way of experiencing the series for the first time and longtime fans can finally enjoy the content from the Final Mix versions rather than having those editions be exclusive to Japan for the rest of time.

Plus with KH2.8 Tetsuya Nomura stated the collection, which was being developed alongside Kingdom Hearts III, was created to allow players to experience new elements being developed for Kingdom Hearts III "sooner than later.”

It’s a far better alternative to release these remasters than to let the series go completely dormant for five years, especially since everyone benefited from it.

Business Division 2 is the Tokyo team that worked on KH1 & KH2 that Hajime Tabata later took charge of. Business Division 3 is the Osaka team that worked on Re: CoM, BBS, DDD, the remasters, and KH3 that Shinji Hashimoto is in charge of.

There’s only two remakes in this series, Chain of Memories and Coded. I don’t see how any of them could’ve halted KH3’s development in any way. Re: CoM was developed quickly to release alongside KH2FM and Re: Coded was developed by h.a.n.d. which isn’t even part of the Osaka team.

It’s problematic to say the remasters were a waste of time since Nomura thought about doing them since 2011 before FFX/FFX-2 HD were even conceived. The development of these remasters didn’t even halt the development of KH3 the same way FFXIII halted FFXV’s development. These remasters were still created alongside KH3. It’s not like the entire team stopped work on KH3 to make the remasters, only a section of them. Plus these remasters allowed Square Enix to release the Final Mix versions worldwide, keep people up to date with the story on one platform instead of needing multiple systems to know everything about the lore before going into KH3, and entice new fans. Not to mention they were commercially successful. So it was a very worthwhile investment for consumers and the company.

KH3’s development would’ve been stopped by the switch of engines anyway, so it’s still not likely that the absence of these remasters would’ve given us the games that much sooner.

KH3 was brought up but work still didn’t happen until much later. People bring up FFXVI, yet you don’t hear anyone saying they’ve been waiting since 2017 to see it release, not will you see people say they will have been waiting since 2019 until KH4 releases.

SquareElite188d ago

Yup, agreed. It likely wouldn't have been drastic. The actual length is debatable which we can go on and on about.

Yes, you're right about the development teams. I'll correct my article, thanks!.

By the remakes, I meant the HD remasteries(I'll update my post) as I've stated most of the spin-offs were developed by other development teams other than the original KH team so it doesn't make sense for me to suggest that they slowed anything down or could've sped up something.

Given that the KH spin-offs are a product of Square Enix poor management and fillers for KH3's absence, I would think that its obvious that the remasteries are rectifying a problem that they themselves created. I no doubt believe that the remasteries were needed because of the clear problem of the series spreading so many platforms and released years apart. That's clear that, that needed to be done but this wouldn't be a problem if everyone got it right i.e. going ahead with KH3 (or at least have a team that primarily does just KH) and not put games on so many platforms (browser/cell_phone). The remasteries weren't as careless moreso the spin-offs weren't given nearly as much thought in terms of long-term goals. More like "oh let's try KH out on this platform"

Awesome feedback btw. I'll update my article with the adjustments that you've given me. I appreciate your time in commenting.

FallenAngel1984188d ago

Yeah I just wanted to clarify that remakes and remasters are two separate things.

No kidding that Square Enix has had poor scheduling. It started happening ever since FFXII.

For example when Square Enix’s 1st Production Department, which I assume is now Business Division 1, took 6 months developing that FFVII tech demo for E3 2005 they had to completely halt work on FFXIII during that period of time. Then Business Division 2 had to halt development on FFXV to help with FFXIII. Later Business Division 3 had to delay KH2.8 to help with FFXV. In a roundabout ironic fashion, Business Division 1 is now the team is now working on the actual FFVII remake and that project is taking forever.

With how long Square Enix takes with their major projects, I’m just glad we got the remasters out of it in a timely manner. For example FFX/FFX-2 HD got announced in Sept 2011 and we didn’t get it until March 2014. Remasters of KH1 and KH2 would’ve come regardless just because those games became heavily requested to get remastered when HD collections became the rage after 2009’s God of War Collection, so it’s not like they wouldn’t have happened at all if there were no spinoffs.

Business Division 2 couldn't just go ahead and make KH3 since they already had FFXV to deal with. They were the primary team that handled the Kingdom Hearts franchise, so that obviously brought about issues on how KH3 would be created. Business Division 3, the current primary Kingdom Hearts team, mostly came about because of these spinoffs. They’re the ones to thank for keeping the series alive and we shouldn’t disregard the work they put into their projects since it ultimately is the reason KH3 is coming to us the way it is.

PhoenixUp190d ago (Edited 190d ago )

“While developing Kingdom Hearts 3, the KH team wasted resources on remasteries to port all the spin-offs throughout the years on one platform.”

Wow author how can you say such a harsh phrase as “wasting resources” when said wasted resources are the entire reason Kingdom Hearts 3 is coming to us the way it currently is in the first place?

Here’s even a passage from series creator Tetsuya Nomura the a link posted in this this article.

“The main reason why we had so many spin-offs for Kingdom Hearts is because we couldn't start preparing for Kingdom Hearts III for a while - for a long time - because... well, because of some reasons, basically. However, if we didn't release any Kingdom Hearts games after the second at all, people might forget about the game, might forget about the series.

Obviously, I didn't want to do that - that's why we decided to make a spin-off game until the preparation for Kingdom Hearts III was ready to do.

So, in a way, because of this, if there were no spin-off games, there was no Kingdom Hearts III. It was kind of needed to have all those spin-offs - a lot of spin-offs - because the time was quite long before the Kingdom Hearts III preparation started.”

And you as the author should know the actual reason why they had to put off development of KH3.

As for the remasters, co-director Tai Yusei had this to say in a 2014 interview when discussing about KH2.5 HD.

“It's an active industry so a lot of people come and go from different departments and sections, there is a continuous change of people. I don't think that's a region specific thing - we have people from Tokyo and Osaka working together on Kingdom Hearts 2.5 and the important thing is that we teach new people who join the team what it means to be making Kingdom Hearts.

There are a lot of things that are unique to the series, such as the art work, the colors... everything is very specified, and there are many constraints to making it look right. I think making 1.5 and 2.5 is very beneficial to us as it's allowed us to show a lot of people how to develop Kingdom Hearts and we can relay that experience to Kingdom Hearts 3.”

Way to pwn yourself as a journalist.

SquareElite189d ago

The problem was the KH spin-offs were spread across so many titles and throughout the years in order to keep the series alive and the story has gotten complicated that they needed to put everything on one platform, which I'm sure needed to get done before putting their entire focus into KH3, which wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for keeping it alive and FFXV, which bring back my whole point of them cleaning up an issue that they themselves created before even working on KH3 with full focus. I'm not debating that KH3 is not better because of the efforts put into the remake and the spin-offs, of course it is better for it. Enough time will do that to any game, but at some point it's time to whole-heartily push for a release and that's what Tetsuya Nomura couldn't do with FFXV and I hope that not to be the case with KH3.

PhoenixUp189d ago (Edited 189d ago )

It wasn’t just putting the games on one platform, it was also giving western fans to experience the Final Mix editions for the first time as well as big giving Europe a chance to play Re:CoM for the first time. Plus KH2.8 in particular gave players a chance to experience some of KH3 eariler via KH0.2 as well as see the update cinematography in Back Cover.

I have yet to see any info that says KH3 was put on hold to develop these remasters. Every source I see states they were developed concurrently. In fact I have found an article that states that KH1.5’s development was largely thanks to a mere two programmers

With that being possible is should be clear that neither remaster was ever so intense a work that it took a dramatic time away from a major new project such as KH3.

Wind Waker HD for example was developed alongside Breath of the Wild and BotW was the better for it since making WWHD gave the team more experience working with an HD. Same principle applies to KH3 and the remasters.

SquareElite188d ago

I'm well aware of what all the perks that they've added, but the primary goal was so all the titles were available for the upcoming KH3. Everything else is icing on the cake.

Which I never suggested that the remasteries delayed development rather it could have sped up KH3's release.

I would have to look more into 1.5 but 2.5.

- I heard that the "KH" series is being developed in Osaka, but also "Kingdom Hearts III" as well?

In terms of the number of people, about 80% is Osaka, about 20% will be the union team of Tokyo. This system is also the same for "KH 2.5".

However, although the programming is divided into two teams "KHIII" and "KH 2.5", some designers and planners are involved in both. In Osaka and Tokyo, I feel like one "KH" team-like feeling with a fearless fence feeling.

I couldn't find a proper English translation but the message is the same that the team was split into two so that both KH2.5 and KH3 could be developed concurrently. But the fact that the whole team isn't fully working on KH3 because they are working on KH2.5 proves my point that KH3's release could have been sped up if they weren't working on remasteries even though it was needed.

Honestly, they should postpone KH3 for 2020 and just develop it on PS5. It'll be better for it. When does it end?

PhoenixUp188d ago

It would’ve been really awkward if the remasters came after KH3 released, especially since the game still would’ve had a very long development regardless. Square Enix would’ve had fans asking for the remasters just as often as they would’ve been asking for KH3 during its development, so it was a way to satiate fans.

Even if some time was diverted for the remasters to be created, it wouldn’t have been as much time diverted away from KH3 to say it wouldn’t be worth it to make the remasters.

KH3 is definitely coming out this year, so it’s not like we’ll have to wait that much longer. The remasters helped make the wait that much more bearable.

Harkins1721189d ago

It’s getting quite tiring with all the misleading news these journalists like to post

SquareElite189d ago

How is it misleading so I can better provide accurate information?