Let’s Talk Kingdom Hearts HD

October 29th, 2012 -

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX (woah that title!) was announced at TGS 2012 last month and I’m really happy to see that an HD Kingdom Hearts collection is finally coming. With that said, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about some stuff that has come to light about this release and speculate on some things that hasn’t been shown yet.

I’m a huge Kingdom Hearts fan, have been since the first game came out on the PS2 way back in the day. I love the series so much that I have a Heartless symbol permanently inked onto my arm. I’m not too sure if Square-Enix would be happy about that, but it is what it is. The announcement of this game has been something of a roller coaster of emotions for me though. At first all I saw was Kingdom Hearts HD coming to the PS3 in 2013. My brain screamed with excitement and then calmed down enough to figure out what this release could be. I figured it would follow the industry’s cookie cutter HD remake formula and bundle 2 or 3 of the series bigger releases and call it a day. Then came the title. Here it comes, say it with me now. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX. HUH?!? 1.5? Then came the details that this game would include Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. After this bit of news my brain soared on cloud nine, albeit a little disappointed at the lack of Kingdom Hearts II.

As the minutes ticked by we learned that Final Mix, which originally released exclusively in Japan and featured the English dub, would have a Japanese language track once more. We also learned that Final Mix and Re: Chain of Memories would include trophy support. Then it came to light that Days would only be a viewable experience via the games “Theater Mode”. My heart sank. I was bummed, mostly because I never finished Days, but also because it was originally worded like it was going to be a full game with the other two in this collection. So the original announcement had me feeling all kinds of things.

 

 

Since then however, some small bits of news have boosted me back up about the game. When the first trailer hit the web, keen eyed players quickly noticed that the gameplay shown was slightly different than in the original. In fact, it is. Kingdom Hearts has been slightly upgraded to feature reaction commands, which makes finishing combos even easier. The game will also feature a new camera that more closely resembles Kingdom Hearts II, and the user interface has been modified to look cleaner (something other HD collections should take note of). You can see the new UI below. The game’s previously unvoiced cutscenes will now be voiced. That means the Cloud Vs. Sephiroth scene is now voiced. All the new Riku scenes are now voiced as well. It was also revealed that the game is being programmed by only two people on the Osaka Team at Square-Enix. Only two people! That’s nuts! Thanks to them for making this possible.

 

 

Now onto the thing that blew me away. Nomura revealed that Days would be converted into 100 HD scenes so that players could get the story without having to play it. The scenes would total about two to three hours in length. This news sent my brain into happy mode again. I commented on the podcast the Nomura was changing the way HD re-releases were being handled and I meant it. This doesn’t feel like an HD rehash like most collections do. This feels like a brand new experience for the PS3. Other companies can really learn a thing or two from this release. Or maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe Kingdom Hearts can be special in this way. An HD collection to stand out from the rest!

 

 

Now onto some speculation. Out of all the information we’ve received on this new HD version of Kingdom Hearts, we have yet to see gameplay of Re: Chain of Memories. I can see two possibilities. One: nothing has changed, and therefore it’s not important to show anything. This is most likely the case and what I’m assuming is happening. Or two: they’ve updated the game to make it play like the first game. I know it’s far out there to think this is happening, but I have this weird feeling that they’re not talking about it because they have something to reveal about it. Now I know this would require a ton of work, and like I said, only two people are programming this game. I’m not expecting it to be changed at all, yet I still think it will be. We shall see soon.

My last bit of bantering involves KHII. Nomura has said it would be “unusual” if there wasn’t an HD follow up to this game that includes KHII, and he’s right, it would be. Most people think it’s coming in 2014 alongside Birth By Sleep and HD cutscenes of Re: Coded (the other DS game in the franchise). My opinion on this differs though. This release is called 1.5 because it’s KH 1 and everything between 1 and 2. 2.5 (if it’s called that) will mostly be Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded’s cutscenes, and the newest game in the series, Kingdom Hearts: Dream, Drop, Distance. That’s 2 and everything between 2 and 3 (which is happening after the HD collections, by the way). Makes sense, no? What about Birth By Sleep though? Simple. A third HD release featuring the game plus extras. More money for Square-Enix. everyone still hates them, and everyone buys their products anyway.

That’s enough from me for now. Just needed to rant for a bit. Look forward to Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX coming next year to PS3. No official US/PAL announcement as of this posting, but expect it soon. There’s always importing…

 

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