Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory devs on why it’s not a Theatrhythm game, new details revealed
Game Informer was recently able to speak with Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory producer Ichiro Hazama, co-director Masanobu Suzui, and franchise director Testuya Nomura about the upcoming Switch title. They discussed how the project happened and why it’s not a Theatrhythm title. On top of that, we have a bunch of new details as well.
Here’s the full roundup:
On how the team approached bringing Kingdom Hearts to a new genre…
Hazama: The idea was floating around for a while, it was around five years ago. [Suzui and I] kept thinking, “Oh, we would love to do a Theatrhythm Kingdom Hearts.” We were discussing it, making planning documents, and things like that. But at the time, we decided that it might be a bit difficult to move forward with the project. A few years ago, there was a separate discussion with Nomura-san and Disney. Disney actually came forward to Nomura-san, asking, “Hey, could you do this with us?” They decided that they wanted to move forward with the project and then the discussion came down to me and Suzui-san to do this project, and that’s how this project came to be.
On why Melody of Memory is a separate spinoff rather than a new Theatrhythm game…
Suzui: As we mentioned earlier, we were talking about how we had come up with rough ideas and planning documents. But as we were discussing how we go about creating this particular title with Nomura-san, we were keen on making this 3D. With Final Fantasy Theatrhythm, you may recall we had this side-scrolling, very 2D sort of aesthetics. And then in terms of Dragon Quest, it was more of a top view where your battles are sort of going inward; there’s like this field of depth. With Kingdom Hearts, we wanted to pursue the idea of utilizing the original characters. We wanted to recreate the original look of the game titles and carry that over. We also took inspiration from [Kingdom Hearts’] 15th anniversary music site.
From there, we started to think, “Okay, so how do we incorporate different elements?” And Nomura-san provided feedback and a lot of the inspiration that went into the basic idea. We took that as well as some of the technical elements and the mechanics that were already existing in the Theatrhythm titles, and then thought about what kind of music and what kind of scheme of the notes that we want for players to experience. We [wanted to] incorporate those fun elements of play and make sure that we are leveraging the game mechanics of the original game, as well as bringing in Kingdom Hearts’ stylish action and incorporating the rich story behind it, especially the world settings that we’ve established in our series titles. We asked, “How do we leverage and keep the integrity of that?” That was our foundation for our approach.
From there, we thought, ‘Okay, so we’re going to build this from the ground up and we’re going to bring this as a brand new title.’ That’s why we decided we’re going to change up the name and we weren’t going to carry over the Theatrhythm title. We thought it would be appropriate and proper to have that Kingdom Hearts name. That’s how we moved along with the development of it. We all had the same understanding amongst our team members that this is not a Theatrhythm game. Nomura-san also [felt] that way, so he came up with a really nice name for this title and a really nice key art as well, and we kind of expanded from there.
– Mainly sticking to the original songs
– Certain parts of the game, like the title menu or the staff credits, will have songs that incorporate a new arrangement by Yoko Shimomura
– No new tracks we haven’t heard before
– Some songs from the series won’t be included, but there are over 140
– The team tried to carefully select the songs
– World Trip: go through the experience in order from the first Kingdom Hearts and follow it with the game’s story
– Look back at the experience through the music and the gameplay
– Various movie clips of the story included
– In some parts, there’s some narration by Kairi
– Once you clear a few songs and different missions, you open up a gate to move on to the next section
– Different difficulties with the songs
– Enemies that appear in these stages will be from the original games and move similarly to how they first appeared
– Traverse through all of the different key elements through the “Dark Seeker Saga” in order
– Boss battles included, which are a bit more difficult and need a few extra hits
– The team made sure to design the game so that players are able to complete their missions no matter what difficulty they choose
– Gain higher HP as you level up so you won’t get a “game over” as easily
– Attack power will also increase as you level up
– As you level up and become stronger, you won’t take as long to stun bosses to get an advantage on attacking them, and you’ll get a bonus for that
– Each leader will have two different types of ranged and melee attacks
– Versus match included
– One player versus one player and you compete for the higher score
– As you win, your rating will go up
– With online battles, one of the mechanics is called “tricks”
– Tricks involve getting in the way of other players so that they might trip
– Get as many points without failing or tripping in your gameplay and competing for who gets the better scores
– Kairi will be the storyteller, reflecting upon the previous iteration and the history of the narrative
– Talks about all of what happens within Kingdom Hearts and she’s going to be bringing you through this story
– She is relevant to a very big part of the plot
– She tells the experiences that she went through, but also the experiences that her allies and the party members had throughout the story as well
– After going through the story of recollection and beyond that, “we start to see a timeline that will connect to the future”
– The timeline fits immediately after the story of Re Mind
– Story volume is not going to be as large as a mainline Kingdom Hearts title
– May get a glimpse of where this might be going through this title
– May also get a glimpse of Kairi’s childhood
– Game isn’t meant to advance things significantly story-wise
– Gummi Ship is only for traveling between worlds
– No customization elements or anything like that for the Gummi Ship
You can check out Game Informer’s full interview here.