Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ will be released this week in North America on April 7 for iOS and Android.
In a post on the Square Enix blog, Tetsuya Nomura, creator and director of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, answered numerous questions about the upcoming mobile title and how it will eventually fit into Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue:
1) Please explain where in the KH series the story takes place.
This is the story of the “beginning” of the KINGDOM HEARTS series; in other words, it falls into the earliest part of the narrative.
It takes place in the world of fairy tales talked about throughout the series, during an era before the Keyblade War.
There are many different keyblade wielders in the world, and you, the player, are one of them.
2) How does Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ relate to the upcoming Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue?
All three titles within KINGDOM HEARTS Ⅱ.8 has a link to KINGDOM HEARTS Unchained χ in some way. You can see it most prominently shown in KINGDOM HEARTS χ Back Cover – a brand-new, approximately one-hour long cinematic piece, which is depicted from the perspective the Foretellers, who gather the Keyblade Wielders. On the flip side, KINGDOM HEARTS Unchained χ is seen from the player’s perspective. By watching KINGDOM HEARTS χ Back Cover, the player will be able to get a glimpse of what kind of motive these supposed leaders are operating under behind the scenes.
And in KINGDOM HEARTS Dream Drop Distance HD, which is the HD remastered version of the Nintendo 3DS game KINGDOM HEARTS 3D: Dream Drop Distance, you may noticed the Dream Eaters were a sort of foreshadowing. And the title that would act as a bridge between these two titles would be the latest installment in the series, KINGDOM HEARTS 0.2 Birth By Sleep, which is developed utilizing the technology behind KINGDOM HEARTSⅢ. It is a sequel to KINGDOM HEARTS: Birth By Sleep, and a short episode that follows immediately after the events of KINGDOM HEARTS Dream Drop Distance HD, but it’s a title in which players can get an early feel for KINGDOM HEARTSⅢ.
3) You mentioned this before at E3 2015, but what was the inspiration behind the character Chirithy?
When we realized we needed some kind of character that navigates the players due to the nature of the game, I didn’t want a character that’s too self-asserting considering that they would accompany the players throughout the journey. Once that idea got rolling, then I thought a cat would be great, since you can’t tell what it’s thinking, but can still get along fairly easily with humans, so I went with my favorite, the Scottish Fold as my motif.
I liked the Meow Wow from KINGDOM HEARTS 3D: Dream Drop Distance, too, but I designed the eyes the way I did to make sure you do not get a sense of it being self-asserting. Some people might have the wrong perception that because I own Scottish Fold cats, I modeled the character after them, but it’s actually the other way around; a while after we began developing, I started to own two Scottish Folds. By the way, their names are not Chirithy.
4) Aside from characters and world that appeared in the Kingdom Hearts series, what are some new characters and worlds that are unique only to Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ?
The game is currently progressing under a certain rule, so the only brand-new world would be “Daybreak Town,” the home town in which the players first start out, but there may be a possibility [of other worlds] should we continue providing service through the app.
In terms of new characters, there are not only the five Foretellers and Chirithy, but there are also key new characters named Ephemera and Skuld that appear and move the story.
5) What aspect of the game do you think will appeal to fans? What do you think fans will get hooked on? (i.e. collecting medals, events, etc.)
One of the biggest pillars would be the sense of playing live, which is very different for existing KINGDOM HEARTS series titles thus far. You may have communication and cooperation, as well as the occasional competition, but the sensation of going somewhere and realizing there are people there and the world is moving is very unique to this particular KINGDOM HEARTS.
Along those lines, various events are being held frequently depending on the occasion, the medal collection element is key to your battles, we also offer a ranking element, and a unique story told only in this KINGDOM HEARTS, so I’m sure there is some kind of element that would pique your interest.
6) What kind of costumes are included in the game? Is there a particular costume of a character that you particularly love?
There are so many different costumes already; of course you have the original designs, then Disney characters, KINGDOM HEARTS characters, and seasonal/special occasion designs, all for both male and female avatars respectively. Plus, you can mix and match the outfit elements, so I think the players can really bring out their individuality.
From what I’ve seen, the hairstyle of the KINGDOM HEARTS 3D: Dream Drop Distance version of “The World Ends with You” Neku matched up with the black coat of Organization XIII seem to be popular. Also, the KINGDOM HEARTS version of FINAL FANTASY VII Cloud costume and King Mickey’s costume are popular as well. If I were to choose, personally, I’d like the Cheshire Cat costume.
7) Do you have a special message for the fans?
As mentioned in the beginning, this is the story of the start of KINGDOM HEARTS. In other words, there is no need for any prior knowledge of the series.
I would love for people who have not yet played KINGDOM HEARTS to take this opportunity to casually jump right in with a blank slate. And of course for our fans, you can approach and play this KINGDOM HEARTS in any way you like, so through collecting medals of your favorite characters, collecting costumes, and moreover becoming a part of the KINGDOM HEARTS world and experiencing the enjoyment of weaving your own story that leads to one of the biggest mysteries in the series, which is the “Keyblade War,” I hope you can further enjoy the upcoming release of KINGDOM HEARTS Ⅱ.8 and KINGDOM HEARTS Ⅲ, as well as the KINGDOM HEARTS that will continue beyond that.
Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ will be available for download on April 7, 2016.