Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory was announced to a rather lukewarm reception, mainly because of the switch from Action RPG to a rhythm type game. While it wasn’t something that the fans of the long running series was expecting, the developers are hoping that the upcoming title will introduce new fans to the franchise while rekindling some of the nostalgia from long-time supporters.
Speaking to a group of media from across Southeast Asia, Producer Ichiro Hazama and Co-Director Masanobu Suzui shared a few more details about this coming theater-rhythm game set in the world of Kingdom Hearts, including answering the big question – “Why?”
Hazama-san has previously worked as associate producer for Final Fantasy VII Advent Children as well as producer for Final Fantasy Dissidia and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm. Suzui-san and his development studio Indieszero have developed games such as Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What to Eat?, Retro Game Challenge and Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido.
When asked why the team decided to make a rhythm game, it was Tetsuya Nomura who actually brought up the conversation with Disney. Turns out, Disney was actually quite enthusiastic about the idea and the rest, as they say, is history.
“And so as far as we’re concerned, our next concern then was just to make it the most fun, and the most enjoyable kind of rhythm game that we could.”
Throughout the various screenshots and trailers, you’ll notice that the game still very much feels like a Kingdom Hearts game, despite the change in genre. Staying true to the series was an important aspect during development, still ensuring that it is a “Kingdom Hearts game that is a rhythm game, rather than a rhythm game that is a Kingdom Hearts game. So that’s the way it’s worked out.
The Kingdom Hearts series is known for the number of guest characters that appear in the game. Iconic personalities like Donald Duck, Goofy, Elsa, Hercules, and Ariel all make up a colorful world that Disney fans will enjoy. Other Square Enix franchises, particularly Final Fantasy, have also made some appearances and if you’re looking out for the likes of Cloud or Sephiroth to tap to the beat, sorry to say but you’re out of luck on that one.
“To put it bluntly, there won’t be any Final Fantasy characters in it… your players are made up of the main characters from past installments in the game and at the end of the day the Final Fantasy characters are guests in the Kingdom Hearts world, so they haven’t managed to make their way into this game.”
The Final Fantasy Characters, while well-known, were at least considered but the focus was really with the Disney collaboration. Final Fantasy already has its share of songs and even a rhythm game on the 3DS already, so it might feel like the same game at the end of the day.
Multiplayer and DLC details
Melody of Memory is set to have online multiplayer and while details on how exactly that would go was scarce then, we now have some sort of idea.
The main mode in Melody of Memory is the World Tour, or the Story mode. As you clear tracks and songs, they will become available to play in the other modes like versus and co-op, which can either be online against AI or locally on the Switch version.
For the online versus mode, its a simple “highest score wins” game but there is what you would call a “Trick System” that you can use to hold the opponent back. Both players will still receive rewards for their collection, win or lose, which still makes the mode rewarding even if you don’t perform at your best.
There is also no plans to have any kind of additional content after release, not that the game really needs DLC at this point, since the developers “wanted to really create a complete experience that you could play through in one complete game.” Melody of Memory has over 140 songs to bop your head to and a ton of unlockables and collectibles, enough to keep players busy for the long haul.
Also confirmed is that the Switch version of the game will not have touch controls.
A good way to dive into the world
Given that the Kingdom Hearts franchise is one of the “messiest” in terms of story and spin-offs, the developers assure players that Melody of Memory is a great entry way to the series.
“For some of them [Dev Team] it was completely new to them but as we were creating the game and as they were playing this game they sort of fell in love with the series, and actually went back and played all of the past Kingdom Hearts games as well. So I hope that happens for the players as well.”
Melody of Memory can be that game where you can build up your knowledge of the world of Kingdom Hearts and even as a fan, can serve as a great recap of the events. Kairi plays a big role as the story will be told through her point of view and may allow moments of “Oh I didn’t notice this before…” even for KH veterans.
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is scheduled for a November 13 release for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch.