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Thursday, 19 November 2020

Kingdom Hearts: Tetsuya Nomura On The Future Of The Series, Foreshadowing, Shelved PS3, PS Vita Game Projects, Music And Yoko Shimomura

Kingdom Hearts 3 Remind Re Mind DLC Review KH3 Wallpaper PS4 Xbox One PlayStation 4 Sora Kairi Tetsuya Normura

On November 18, our Japanese comrades at Dengeki published a new interview with Tetsuya Nomura for the release of Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, The interview focuses on the game's development with the collaboration between Square Enix and Indieszero, the music of the series and Yoko Shimomura, and the future of the series. In particular, Tetsuya Nomura talked about a possible Kingdom Hearts game on PS5 and Xbox Series X. At the end of the interview, Tetsuya Nomura also teased something will happen in 2022 for the Kingdom Hearts  20th anniversary. We summarized the rest of the interview below.

First, Tetsuya Nomura explained the proposal from Indieszero, which led to the creation of Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, was "making the KH version of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy". However,  Theatrhythm uses a 2D side view like presentation because it's based on old Final Fantasy games. Kingdom Hearts never used that kind of presentation though. So together, Square Enix and Indieszero thought up what a KH rhythm game would be like. They arrived at the final result in Melody of Memory after a lot of trial and error. In particular, they tried their best to reduce motion sickness, while simultaneously keeping the action, KH like gameplay.

Secondly, Tetsuya Nomura didn't give directions regarding the songs' selection in KH MoM. Moreover, they didn't want to add songs with DLC, and tried their best to include as much as possible from the start.

Following that, Dengeki asked several interesting questions regarding the future of the Kingdom Hearts series. We translated Tetsuya Nomura's answers below:

Dengeki: "Let's talk about the series as a whole now. KH III was the end of an arc, but there are still many characters and mysteries left unexplained."

Tetsuya Nomura: "Of course, we'll touch on those remaining elements in the future. But I think we'll do things a bit differently starting now. As we're entering a new, different world for the series' story, I want to make that story so all the hints until now can be solved."

Dengeki: "KH UX Dark Road delves into the past of Xehanort. So is it possible Xehanort will keep appearing in the series' story in some form?"

Tetsuya Nomura: "KH UX Dark Road isn't a game teasing what's to come, but rather a project I already had in mind for a long time. The KH Union χ said they wanted to do it, so we did." (See our past coverage for the full story).

"So about Xehanort, I don't think he'll appear anymore as the story's antagonist. But his influence remains, and that's what the KH MoM story shows."

Dengeki: "One of the appeals of the KH series is the many mysteries and foreshadowing. How far ahead do you think when making the games? For example, did you already envision Roxas when working on the first game?"

Tetsuya Nomura: "When making KH works, we always think at least about the thing that will release after it. So for example when making the first game, we were thinking about KH Chain of Memories. So, for Roxas, who starts appearing starting KH II, we had a vague idea about having a new protagonist, but it wasn't something clear, and the end result turned out different.
Moreover, we don't always manage to make everything we think of, just like the KH UX Dark Road project was shelved until now."

Dengeki: "KH started with the PS2, but there was no new game released on PS3 and PS Vita (except the remasters). Did you ever plan to make new games for these consoles?"

Tetsuya Nomura: "I had some vague ideas about a game on PS3, but I was working on Final Fantasy Versus XIII, so we never did a new game. As for PS Vita, it had high specs compared to the other portable consoles, so we once discussed that if we made a game on PS Vita we might as well rather make a home console game. But the opportunity never presented itself."

Right after that was when Tetsuya Nomura got asked about a possible game on PS5 and Xbox Series X, as we detailed in a separate article.

The last part of the interview focuses on the music of Kingdom Hearts, its composers, and Tetsuya Nomura's thoughts:

Yoko Shimomura was asked to compose the OST of the first Kingdom Hearts game because the Square Enix music department of the time recommended her. Moreover, Tetsuya Nomura previously worked with Yoko Shimomura on Parasite Eve, and she was easy to talk with. Nomura mentioned she is incredibly respected among Kingdom Hearts fans now. He praised her music, saying it has a lot of lot of emotional waves.

Dengeki also asked Nomura about Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito, two composers who are now regulars on the KH series. He mentioned he asked these two to compose for the series starting KH Birth by Sleep. Takeharu Ishimoto worked on Dissidia FF, and did the OST for Subarashiki Kono Sekai, The World Ends With You, and they knew each other for a long time. Nomura said Ishimoto is good at making cool songs, so he often asks him to make battle BGMs. Nomura added Tsuyoshi Sekito is great at making bright and cheerful songs, which fit the KH series. Sekito is also part of the Osaka development team, so they're near each other, and it's easy to ask him to compose BGM for systems and mini-games.

KINGDOM HEARTS - III, II.8, Unchained χ & Union χ [Cross] - Original Soundtrack OST tetsuya nomura

The release date for the soundtrack of KH MoM was decided before the release date of the game itself. And then they realized they still didn't release the KH III OST, so they decided to release KH MoM together with the Kingdom Hearts II, II.8, Unchained χ & Union χ [Cross] OST with everything on the same day, November 11. (In Japan). Nomura's job when it comes to the OST was supervising the design of the package, etc, and he also wrote some comments in the liner notes.

The song that to this day still left the biggest impression on Tetsuya Nomura is Hikari (Simple and Clean in English, KH 1 Opening). Because back then he never expected Hikaru Utada would be singing for the series. He still can't forget the goosebumps when listening to the final version for the first time at the studio. It's hard picking which other song is his favorite after Simple and Clean, but he considers many songs in KH to be masterpieces.

Overall, Tetsuya Nomura is pretty strict with the music aspect of the games, and he's very strict on whether the song matches the image of what he had in mind too. They tend to do a lot of retakes. For example he took a long while to OK the Twilight Town field BGM in KH II. For battle and boss BGM though, the required standards aren't as complicated, and they simply focus on making hype and cool BGMs.

Tetsuya Nomura ended the interview saying the Kingdom Hearts series will take a little break after KH MoM, but that the series is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022, so we should look forward that. That's the second time Nomura teased 2022.

Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. You can grab it on Amazon to support DualShockers. Previously, more games in the KH series were teased by Tetsuya Nomura.

The post Kingdom Hearts: Tetsuya Nomura On The Future Of The Series, Foreshadowing, Shelved PS3, PS Vita Game Projects, Music And Yoko Shimomura by Iyane Agossah appeared first on DualShockers.


Tetsuya Nomura Teases Kingdom Hearts Series Developments in 2022 For 20th Anniversary

kingdom hearts melody of memory 2022 story feature too

On November 18, our Japanese comrades at Dengeki published a new interview with Tetsuya Nomura for the release of Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, where he most notably teased announcements to come in 2022:

Tetsuya Nomura: "With KH MoM the series will take a little break, as we head towards the 20th anniversary in 2022. We'll work to be able to deliver some kind of good news then. So I hope you will keep looking over us in the future."

Furthermore, note this isn't the first time Tetsuya Nomura has been teasing 2022 for more Kingdom Hearts. He said something similar regarding the 20th anniversary in Japanese interviews published in September 2020. Previously, more games in the Kingdom Hearts series were teased by Tetsuya Nomura when revealing Melody of Memory.

Lastly, the rest of the interview focuses on the development of Melody of Memory, with the collaboration between Square Enix and Indieszero, the music of the series and Yoko Shimomura, and the future of the series. Moreover, Tetsuya Nomura talked about a possible Kingdom Hearts game on PS5 and Xbox Series X. You can read about it here.

Stay tuned as we'll soon publish a full summary of the interview. Update: you can find it here.

Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. You can grab it on Amazon to support DualShockers.

The post Tetsuya Nomura Teases Kingdom Hearts Series Developments in 2022 For 20th Anniversary by Iyane Agossah appeared first on DualShockers.


Super Smash Flash 2 Studio Announces New Smash-Inspired Crossover Fraymakers

Following the recent trend of Smash fan developers and modders making their own takes on the increasingly popular 2D platform fighter formula, McLeodGaming, the developer behind Super Smash Flash 2, one of the most popular and iconic flash games in recent memory (and yes, the game that put Goku and Sora in Smash) just announced their next project; Fraymakers. And in true Smash spirit, it's even a crossover.

Earlier today, McLeodGaming took to Twitter to announce the project alongside a Kickstarter page for the game, which offers backer bonuses like cameos in the credits, access to a developer discord and other perks both in and out of the game. Set to feature six playable characters from different popular indie games and even more assist characters from other popular indie franchises, Fraymakers has already hit their funding goal and is well on their way to hitting their stretch goals.

Starting with an initial goal of $46,000, the project's already reached a whopping $56,000 in the few hours since launching their campaign. While their stretch goal, which promises a seventh playable character, is less than $4,000 away, at this point, the announced playable characters include Ultra Fishbujin from Slap City, Welltaro from Downwell, Orcane from Rivals of Aether, Commander Video from the BIT.TRIP series, Octodad from Octodad and The Watcher from Slay the Spire. Some other franchises and games represented in the game include VVVVVV, FTL: Faster Than Light, and Ape Out.

Fraymakers' stretch goal also promises new, remixed versions of the soundtrack by jazz group, Super Soul Bros. from OverClocked ReMix and FamilyJules as well as five new stages. As things stand right now, McLeodGaming plans to release the game at some point in early 2022, but, according to the page, because "game development is, to some degree, inherently unpredictable," early 2022 is more of a hope than a promise.

The post Super Smash Flash 2 Studio Announces New Smash-Inspired Crossover Fraymakers by Charlie Wacholz appeared first on DualShockers.


Tetsuya Nomura Teases The First PS5, Xbox Series X Kingdom Hearts Game Will Be Very Surprising

Kingdom Hearts PS5 Xbox Series X

On November 18, our Japanese peers at Dengeki published a new interview with Tetsuya Nomura, where the Director of the Kingdom Hearts series most notably brought up PS5 and Xbox Series X. Celebrating the release of Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, the interview mainly focuses on the rhythm game by Square Enix and Indieszero, the music of the Kingdom Hearts series, but also includes Tetsuya Nomura sharing some hints on what's coming next.

Dengeki most notably asked Tetsuya Nomura what kind of game a Kingdom Hearts game developed specifically for next-gen, PS5 and Xbox Series X, would be like. Nomura answered that hypothetically speaking, if Square Enix is making a PS5, Xbox Series X Kingdom Hearts game, it'll need to be very surprising to compete with other next-gen games.

We translated Tetsuya Nomura's answer below:

Tetsuya Nomura: "Multiple renowned games have already been announced by famous developers. Supposing we're making a KH game for next-gen, we'll be announcing it after all those other big announcements. So I think we'd need to make that game very surprising, to not loose face in front of these other games. Needless to say, we never announced we're making a KH game for PS5 or Xbox Series X, so this is just all suppositions (laughs)."

Who knows what Tetsuya Nomura means by "surprising". Personally speaking, I'd argue he probably means the first PS5, Xbox Series X Kingdom Hearts game will be surprising on the technical aspect. Graphics, loading times, etc. Perhaps on the gameplay aspect too with something closer to triple A western games, like an open-world game. Without going into generalization, Japanese studios often feel inferior compared to North American and West European studios, wishing they could also do western-like triple A games. You definitely know what I mean if you paid attention to Japanese games during the Wii PS360 era, where many Japanese studios encountered trouble adapting to HD, and many tried to do more western-like games.

Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, the latest game in the series, is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. It's most notably the first ever Switch KH game. You can grab it on Amazon to support DualShockers. Previously, more games in the KH series were teased by Tetsuya Nomura.

The post Tetsuya Nomura Teases The First PS5, Xbox Series X Kingdom Hearts Game Will Be Very Surprising by Iyane Agossah appeared first on DualShockers.


Star Wars: Squadrons Gets a Two-Part Holiday Supply Drop

Star Wars: Squardrons, EA

EA's Star Wars: Squadrons has been doing well for itself since launching last month. Obviously, it wasn't the critical hit the company was probably hoping for. That said, the first-person dogfighter has built a solid audience and sold a fair share of copies in its launch month. And now, the team is dropping two free content releases over the course of the holiday season. It's nothing too massive, but I'm sure fans of the game will be happy for even more to do.

The first drop for Star Wars: Squadrons will hit on November 25. Players will have access to a new multiplayer map and some new components. The map takes players to Fostar Haven, which many will likely remember from the prologue of the single-player story. That said, it has been updated a bit to make it a better fit for the game's multiplayer modes. The new components will give you some extra options in those dogfights. Whether it's a boost extension kit or a new set of rockets, you'll have a few extra tools in your kit.

The second release comes in December and brings with it two new starfighters. Both the B-Wing and Tie Defender are welcome additions to the interstellar garage. Alongside all this content, players should expect some more basic updates and improvements along with the addition of custom matches. All told, it's a nice little package that will only improve Star Wars: Squadrons value.

Star Wars: Squadrons is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

The post Star Wars: Squadrons Gets a Two-Part Holiday Supply Drop by Ricky Frech appeared first on DualShockers.


Thanks to Picross S5, I'll Never See My Nintendo Switch Again

Picross S5, Jupiter, Nintendo Switch

Picross S5 was announced and, as you might expect, it's a ton more Picross. There are a few new bells and whistles, but most fans are likely just excited to have more puzzles to solve. At least, that's the reaction in my house. My wife is a huge fan of the series and squealed with glee when I sent her the trailer you can check out below. Hopefully, you get just as much joy out of it as she does.

Picross S5 brings a total of 485 total puzzles to the table. So, if you're anything like my wife, that'll last you a weekend. Jokes aside, that's a ton of puzzles to beat your brain against over the holiday season. Between regular Picross, Mega Picross, Color Picross, Clip Picross, and Extra large puzzles, you'll also have plenty of variety. Of course, at the end of the day, you're still solving basically the same type of puzzles; however, some of the styles change things up in ways that cheap the game fresh.

Players can also expect a few new quality-of-life and accessibility options with Picross S5. Most notably, the game will now tell you the total time you've been solving puzzles. The catch is that it will only display when you finish every puzzle. The team has also added in the option to use high contrast colors to make it easier to tell colors apart.

Picross S5 comes to Nintendo Switch on November 26. So I have about a week to get all of my Switch playing out of the way before I lose it for a month.

The post Thanks to Picross S5, I'll Never See My Nintendo Switch Again by Ricky Frech appeared first on DualShockers.


The Game Awards 2020 Nominees Announced with The Last of Us Part II, Hades, and Final Fantasy VII Remake the Biggest Winners

the game awards 2019

Well, the nominees for this year's edition of The Game Awards have now been unveiled and the games receiving the most nominations are rather unsurprising.

Host Geoff Keighley announced the full slate of nominees for all categories in a live stream this morning with titles like The Last of Us Part IIGhost of TsushimaFinal Fantasy VII Remake, and Hades seeing the most nominations across all avenues. Animal Crossing: New HorizonsFall Guys, and Half-Life: Alyx were other frequent nominees.

As for the actual nominees for the show's biggest honor, Game of the Year, these are the finalists:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • DOOM Eternal
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Hades

All in all, this GOTY slate is about what I expected, although I do think some games were notably left off. Half-Life: Alyx is likely, in my estimation, the most noteworthy title that was spurned for a Game of the Year selection. And while many people around the world adore it, I also cannot rationalize how Ghost of Tsushima ended up on this finalized list. Alas, I'll save those complaints for our own internal GOTY debates here at DualShockers.

To see the full list of nominees, you can find them on The Game Awards website right here. As for this year's show, it's set to take place next month on December 10.

The post The Game Awards 2020 Nominees Announced with The Last of Us Part II, Hades, and Final Fantasy VII Remake the Biggest Winners by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.


Fortnite Teams Up With Houseparty for Video Chat Features

fortnite houseparty

Ever since the start of the pandemic earlier this year, it's been hard to connect with friends due to the social distancing and stay home orders. Online games have been a perfect way to keep in touch and socialize while staying safe and thanks to the new collaboration between Fortnite and Houseparty, gaming together online just got that much better.

In a blog post this morning on the Epic Games website, the developer announced that Fortnite players can now connect their phones to their TVs for video chatting via the Houseparty app. Now players can see their entire party's faces on-screen while they chase the elusive Victory Royale.

https://twitter.com/FortniteGame/status/1329063551261093890

The set up for this new feature is simple enough as long as you have the Houseparty app on your phone and are playing Fortnite on the PC, PS4, or PS5. Unfortunately, players on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, and mobile won't be able to use this feature and there is currently no word on if it's coming to those platforms. As the blog post says, "at the moment, it's only available for PC and PlayStation (both PS4 and PS5). We will let everyone know if we're able to support more platforms in the future."

As an added bonus for everyone who links their Epic account to their Houseparty account, players will receive an in-game rainbow fog wrap cosmetic. For those playing on Xbox or mobile who are unable to link accounts, Epic is doing a giveaway from November 20 until November 26 for the rainbow fog wrap.

For more on Fortnite, make sure to check out our latest coverage on the newest teaser for the next character skin in the upcoming Nexus War event. To stay up to date on the potential Fortnite subscription plan, make sure to check out this article to learn all you need to know and stay right here on DualShockers.

The post Fortnite Teams Up With Houseparty for Video Chat Features by Peter Hunt Szpytek appeared first on DualShockers.


IO Interactive Set to Reveal Next Project on November 19

Hitman 3

IO Interactive is nearing the final days of production for Hitman 3, which ships early next year. However, the team isn't about to rest on their laurels. Instead, fans of the developer are in for a treat tomorrow when IO announces their next project. No word yet on if it's another Hitman sequel, but, were I a betting man, I'd guess they're cooking up something new. We've known for a while they're seemingly working on a new IP, and this could finally be it.

Now, IO Interactive hasn't made a non-Hitman game in about a decade. And that was the less-than-favorably-received Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. That said, IO has come a long way as a developer since then. Plus, they've essentially perfected the Hitman formula at this point, so it makes perfect sense for them to try something new.

One very intriguing option could be the long-awaited sequel to Freedom Fighters. IO Interactive took the property with them when they split from Square Enix a few years ago, so it's perfectly possible. Of course, it's been quite a while since the first Freedom Fighters. However, with more of that IO polish, the sequel could be another valuable IP in the team's portfolio.

It would also be fun to see IO working on a brand new property. Outside of Mini Ninjas, the studios' entire catalog is full of shooters. Seeing them work with something completely new would be a treat.

Check back tomorrow to get all the details from IO Interactive's next project. And, of course, get ready for some great Hitman action early next year. Hitman 3 comes to Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on January 20.

The post IO Interactive Set to Reveal Next Project on November 19 by Ricky Frech appeared first on DualShockers.


The Falconeer Review — Holds its Own, Despite a Shaky Takeoff

PC, The Falconeer, Tomas Sala, Wired Productions, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, xbox series x

Flight combat simulators have gotten some rather unique takes over the years, including anthropomorphized animals piloting fighters in space and riders piloting dragons in a traditional fantasy world. The Falconeer puts another interesting twist on the genre, with pilots riding on giant falcons outfitted with powerful weaponry as they fight pirates and complete a wide range of missions.

Players start in the prologue, as they witness a routine training session gone horribly wrong and fight a losing battle against an insurmountable foe. From there, you play as a new character and journey with them as they build up their status from a simple hired hand protecting a nation of merchants from sky pirates. Conversely, you could join a completely different faction, depending on how you choose your path at the start.

Foes at first are comprised of a basic variety of sky pirates, thugs who prey on and plunder the weak. The enemy variety then grows to incorporate large airships, flying beetles, manta rays, and even the dragon-like weavers. And each enemy type features unique movement patterns and specialties that players must become accustomed to in order to prevail.

PC, The Falconeer, Tomas Sala, Wired Productions, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, xbox series x

The controls for these aerial battles are precise and simple enough to learn, yet require practice to fully master techniques such as learning how to minimize energy lost during your ascents while gaining speed with rapid descents. It's also important to learn how to maintain proper positioning, so the battle to control the skies above your foes becomes even more crucial.

Learning how to aim the reticle for precise firing is not only a necessary skill to efficiently take down enemies, but also vital in conserving your charge for weapons. Said weapon packs can only be charged by entering a thunderstorm, so proper rationing of your limited resources also becomes an important factor.

What makes The Falconeer so appealing is how both the premise and aircraft of choice, a giant falcon, makes the game uniquely attractive to those who normally wouldn't be interested in the genre. Because honestly, who doesn't love the idea of getting to ride on a giant animal companion while fighting sky pirates and dragons in a gorgeous ocean world? Especially when said warbird controls far smoother and more organically than any plane or ship could ever hope. Not to mention, it certainly injects a refreshing change to a genre that suffers from a lack of diversity.

PC, The Falconeer, Tomas Sala, Wired Productions, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, xbox series x

Outside the complexities of battle, however, lies a surprisingly empty world. The lore is fascinating with just enough intrigue and detail to captivate your attention immediately. Meanwhile, the visuals and architecture are stunning, as it uses its vibrant color palette and stylized graphics to great effect. But when you finally are able to fully dive into said world, there's not much to do except explore the few areas to purchase wares, fight, go on repetitive side quests to earn extra money, and push the main story forward.

It's disappointing to say the least, and the main cause for it is clearly the over-ambitious open world environment. The Falconeer, like many other open world titles, suffers from having very little to actually do in such a setting. This is a game that would have strongly benefited from being more linear, as something smaller in scope leaves far more room to fill with better-developed points of interest, flight paths, and a fully fleshed out lore that capitalizes on what was so tantalizing teased to us in the beginning.

Another substandard aspect of The Falconeer is the very limited character creation. While I enjoy the fact that I can choose from several variations of pilots and falcons, and you can even choose your own origin story, it's still not a proper customization mode. Moreover, the origin story has little bearing on making the game feel any more engaging or distinct once started. Even worse, the pilot has absolutely no personality, which makes the decision to not have a full character creator even more baffling.

Players have the option of choosing from four classes: Falconeer, Mercenary, Imperial Freelancer, and Mancer Seeker. These classes not only change what your falcon looks like and form part of your backstory, but also determines said falcon's stat and skill specialization. Though, despite the voiced guide, the game doesn't make this distinct class system clear in the beginning so you're left experimenting with various configurations until you learn this for yourself.

And where the game fails in customizing the looks of the falcon, there are some great options for customizing how they play in battle thanks to both the aforementioned class system and another mechanic. Essentially you earn splinters to upgrade your falcon's gear, mutagens, and chants. This can range from changing the weapons equipped on you, to how you boost your falcon's abilities, and more.

Having that kind of control over how your companion plays during dogfights and fine-tuning them to best suit your playstyle helps keep gameplay engaging when the story does nothing of the sort. You can even purchase falcons as you proceed in the story and earn more money, offering even more opportunities to create the perfect flyer that works for you.

The Falconeer is very much a labor of love — you can see how much time and effort its sole creator put into its development and that shines through in its gameplay and the beauty of the setting. Combat is fast, fun, with a fantastic strategic edge while the graphics and designs are bright and striking. However, the choice to make this an open world title truly holds it back from the greatness it could have achieved and results in a game filled with potential that's only partially realized.

That being said, considering that The Falconeer was developed by a single person makes it a far more impressive effort. And despite its pitfalls, it's a solid entry in the combat flight simulator genre that's more than worth checking out.

The post The Falconeer Review — Holds its Own, Despite a Shaky Takeoff by Allisa James appeared first on DualShockers.


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