GamesBeat: At this point we’ve had a lot of playable Keyblade users. First Sora, then Riku, and many more. How do you differentiate all these characters from a gameplay standpoint?
Yasue: When we first come up with ideas for the characters, we have an easy sort of concept. For 0.2 Aqua, she’s a female character, she’s related to water, and she’s very strong with magic. She’s also very strong and elegant. You have these keywords for each character, enemies and player characters alike, to define them. That’s very much linked up to the story. We want to integrate those keywords into her movement and her abilities. Aqua uses powerful magic in a flashy way because she’s a magical character.
GamesBeat: Why focus on Aqua for 0.2?
Yasue: For 0.2, that was sort of the untold story that we hadn’t shown our users yet. At the end of Birth By Sleep, she was trapped in the dark world. We felt we had to explain her story. When you have a good story, it makes you care about each character. Sora’s adventure is intertwined with Aqua’s story as well. We wanted to give players a reason to care about Aqua and her adventure. That way, when you play Kingdom Hearts III, you understand Aqua’s standpoint, and that makes Sora’s experience richer as well.
GamesBeat: With Kingdom Hearts III tying up all these plot threads and being the last installment in this series of Kingdom Hearts, would you say there’s a lot of pressure on that game specifically?
Yasue: Definitely. There’s a lot of strings and a lot of strands in the previous Kingdom Hearts. They all come together. Right now we’re depicting the Dark Seeker saga, with Xehanort and his group that Sora’s battling. Them and the other Keyblade masters will have a sort of showdown. And so I think all the — everything is going to come together at the conclusion of the Dark Seeker saga in part III.
GamesBeat: A lot of people want to know what’s the next Disney thing for Kingdom Hearts III. Has it been stressful to keep so many secrets about development?
Yasue: Like I said about not showing much of Kingdom Hearts III at this time, there’s always a right time for everything. We want each announcement to be special. We want to exceed our fans’ expectations and we want to do it in a good way. We want to plan things out, the way we announce things. It’s not that stressful, at least for me.
GamesBeat: Do you think there’s a chance that I.5, II.5, and 2.8 could ever be bundled together into one package?
Yasue: We haven’t really decided on bundles or how we’ll set up things for how we’ll sell those. No decision or announcement has been made.
GamesBeat: 2.8, is that just PlayStation 4, or is it also Xbox One?
Yasue: It’s PlayStation 4 only.
GamesBeat: But Kingdom Hearts III is multiplatform.
GamesBeat: Is there any fear of Xbox One owners feeling left out?
Yasue: Kingdom Hearts III is very much — it’s a game that will be better if you understand all the other stories. But at the same time, you can enjoy it without following the whole arc. As you know, all the Kingdom Hearts stories have a conclusion at the end of each Disney world. You can still enjoy that as well. For the whole arc, it might help to understand, but there’s still a lot of fun in each Disney world.
GamesBeat: What would you say makes up the Kingdom Hearts fanbase? Is it Square Enix fans, or Disney fans, or this unique combination of the two?
Yasue: We have great fans. They’re very passionate, very warm, very supportive. They’re very special. For me, I think they’re the reason why we’re doing this, more than anything. Compared to other games — it’s hard to compare. But I feel they’re warmer, nicer on the whole. That’s my honest opinion. They seem a lot nicer than some others.
GamesBeat: They’ve got a bit of Disney in them.
Yasue: I guess! They’re wonderful. Today I talked to a lot of people, and they’ve been very supportive