Kingdom Hearts III has been in the works for a long time. The game was first announced back in 2013, but development has been slow-moving and shrouded in mystery. At this year’s Disney D23 Expo, Square Enix finally announced a rough 2018 release date, which means Kingdom Hearts III will have been in development for around five years when it finally launches. And that’s assuming the 2018 date holds, which is far from certain.
Most people assumed the delays were the fault of perfectionist Kingdom Hearts creator Tetsuya Nomura, but in a recent interview with GameSpot, he passed the buck to Square Enix. According to Nomura, the publisher’s meddling is the main reason we don’t have Kingdom Hearts III yet.
“A lot of people have been mentioning and making it sound like ‘Oh, Nomura’s taking too much time,’ and it hurts. There was a decision made to change to Unreal Engine 4. So, we switched over to that. Unfortunately, there was a bit of time that needed to be rewinded and started over. So, there was a bit of a setback there, but it was a decision that the company had to make, so it was inevitable.”
In addition to the engine change, Kingdom Hearts III also had to fight for limited resources, with devs being diverted to other projects…
“Internal personnel is very limited, and there are various different projects that happen within our company, so unfortunately timing did not work out. It wasn’t a problem on our development teams, it just happened that way, and there were some decisions that the company had to make, and it just didn’t work out for certain timings that we were hoping to hit. It’s kind of out of my hands. I mean, yes, time has passed. But it’s out of my hands.”
Nomura has been deeply involved in several frequently-delayed games, such as Final Fantasy XV, so I’m not sure I entirely buy his “It was out of my hands!” explanation. That said, it’s reassuring to know the Kingdom Hearts III delays weren’t due to any sort of serious creative problems.