Tetsuya Nomura, the director for Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts II, has given an interview to Dengeki magazine. In it, he has divulged a number of new details on the upcoming PlayStation 2 action RPG.
Nomura spoke at length about some of the new worlds that will be featured in Kingdom Hearts II. As to the recently unveiled world featuring the movie Tron, Nomura stated that it will be called the World of Space Paranoids. The director got the idea after visiting a Disney executive, where Nomura saw a Tron game on the official's PC. This world is designed to remind players of old computer games, and it will even feature the light cycle battles from the movie. Nomura has confirmed that the World of Space Paranoids is the last surprise world which will be showing up in Kingdom Hearts II.
In Pride Rock, the world from the Lion King movie, Nomura determined that it would be necessary to change the game's heroes into animal forms - or, in the case of Donald and Goofy, even more animalistic forms - because there are no people in that world. Since the game's protagonists will be without their humanoid forms, Donald will hold his staff with his claws, while Goofy will use the same method he uses in Atlantica. As has been previously announced, Sora will hold his keyblade in his mouth. In this world, the heroes' Drive powers will be unusuable. Meanwhile, Nomura is unsure if the 13th Order will appear in Pride Rock, but he stated that it is not probable.
Nomura also shared some news on two of the returning worlds from Kingdom Hearts. The first is Hollow Bastion, which will serve a similar function in the second game that Traverse Town served in the first. In this world, the focus of the people will be on rebuilding Hollow Bastion, and they will be led in their efforts by Leon and Cid.
Atlantica, the world of the Little Mermaid, will also be returning in this sequel. Nomura explained that the world will be laid out like a musical, and will be lacking in the standard combat that is present elsewhere in the game. Instead, there will be interactive event scenes relying upon proper timing. There will be a limited amount of swimming exploration, but only as it ties into the musical.
Recent propaganda showed that several more Final Fantasy characters would be appearing in Kingdom Hearts II. From Final Fantasy VIII will be Seifer, Fujin, and Raijin, while black mage Vivi will be filling in for the cast of Final Fantasy IX. All four will be depicted as children, but they will have the same general roles they had in their games of origin. While Nomura was originally reluctant to include Vivi, as he did not design that character, his staff put a lot of pressure on the director to do so, due to the black mage's popularity. Finally, Nomura relented.
Though Nomura did not state whether gamers could expect to see more Kingdom Hearts after the sequel's release, he did tease at the possibility. The developer remarked that when he first presented the idea to his superiors, they responded that there were four games worth of ideas present. For now, though, eager gamers will need to content themselves with the second game, which will be released in Japan on December 22, with a North American release to follow after.