Earlier this week, Co-Director Tai Yasue revealed why Kingdom Hearts III took so long to develop, and referred to changing the game’s engine halfway through development as one of the main factors. This is definitely a reasonable and justifiable reason, considering Kingdom Hearts III’s official announcement was back at E3 2013, and is finally releasing a few weeks from now.
In a more recent interview with Game Director Tetsuya Nomura featured in EDGE’s February issue, he clarified the engine switch decision wasn’t made exclusively by the development team, but it was decided from “higher up.” This caused the development team to “kind of rewind” an entire year of development, and adapt to the new engine’s mechanics.
We had our own company reasons, essentially. It wasn’t something that we had anything to do with, it was decided higher up.
It was a whole year that we had to kind of rewind and restart. As a dev tool, Unreal Engine 4 is kind of an all-in-one – it’s got all of the stuff that is needed in it, it’s used around the world, and we also got really great support from Epic Games. They were very helpful through the entire process.
It would have been a different story if the team making Luminous had been members of the Kingdom Hearts team. But they were a different team, so that did make things a bit more difficult.
Co-Director Tai Yasue continued the discussion, and went into further details on how they split the development team into groups, and arranged tutorials to make sure they grasp the new engine’s mechanics and features as fast as they can to hit the ground running again.
We had to learn a lot. When we started using Unreal Engine 4, we had these study groups – well, not study groups, but we all sort of… There’s a tutorial. I made my own robot, a robot that changed shape. We never used it in the game, we were just testing it out. We had contests too, I remember. Each game designer made something, and we sort of compared it. And this had nothing to do with the game.
We had to learn about the engine. That was part of the development timeline and was something that contributed to and affected the schedule.
Kingdom Hearts III releases on January 29th, 2019 for PS4 and Xbox One.
[Source: EDGE Magazine via WCCFTech]