Co-director Tai Yasue has said the forthcoming Dream Drop Distance isn’t just a spin-off – it’s a clue to the future of the Kingdom Hearts series.
Asked where the series will go after Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (or simply 3D), Yasue told IGN the portable entry was an important step towards the inevitable third flagship release.
“We’re still thinking about it. I think 3D is really a hint to the future in a way,” he said.
“We developed it as if it were a console game. We made it for the handheld, but for us it was meant to feel like a console game in a way. I think it really took the Kingdom Hearts series to the next level, it feels like Kingdom Hearts II and Birth By Sleep on steroids.
“It’s really insane what you can do. So I’m not really in a position to say what we could next, but 3D, for us, was the future.”
Kingdom Hearts II released in Japan in 2006, and Kingdom Hearts III is not yet in full production. In the intervening years, two portable entries were released along with two remakes and an episodic mobile game, but fans are eager for a proper sequel. Yasue said Dream Drop Distance should scratch that itch a bit.
“When [creator Tetsuya] Nomura came up with the original design document, I think he wanted to have the story revolve around Riku a bit, and the Mark of Mastery. I think he really wanted to connect the story, working on 3D, to the next Kingdom Hearts [and] Kingdom Hearts 2. So I think there was a lot of secrets revealed in the story of 3D,” he said.
“In a way, the action and the story are directly linked to Kingdom Hearts 3. I guess that’s about all I can say, really. If you play it all, it’s really connected to Kingdom Hearts 3. The Mark of Mastery exam and how Riku becomes a Keyblade Master, it connects to the next story.”
Kingdom Hearts 3D released in Japan in March, and arrives in the west before the end of the month. A demo is available on the 3DS eShop.