Kingdom Hearts IV’s reveal trailer made a big splash with its more realistic art style, modern-day setting, and focus on new characters. However, in a new interview, director Tetsuya Nomura assured fans the upcoming sequel is still very much the same franchise so many fans have come to obsess over, even as he said it may feel “slightly different” compared to past titles.
In an interview with Game Informer, Nomura made clear that despite the game’s new, more photo-realistic art style, Kingdom Hearts IV will still include Disney worlds. While it may look more realistic, the game is still Kingdom Hearts.
“It might feel slightly different from previous Kingdom Hearts titles, but once players have had a chance to play the game, I’m sure they’ll be relieved to find that it is definitely a Kingdom Hearts title,” Nomura said. “It’s the game series that they’ve come to know and love.”
However, due to there being “so much more we can do in terms of graphics,” the number of worlds that will appear in the game may be more limited, Nomura said.
As for the game’s story, it will center on Sora’s disappearance and a group of new enemies (teased during the end of Kingdom Hearts III). Nomura said Sora is the “only real candidate” for the game’s main character when asked if the series would ever focus on a new protagonist. He then added if Sora no longer was the main character that the series would stop with its core, numbered entries, and described Sora as just “that important to the series.”
According to Nomura, a “pretty good amount of time” of Kingdom Hearts IV will take place in Quadratum, the Tokyo-esque city glimpsed in the game’s teaser trailer. Nomura described Quadratum as the game’s base, and players will spend time there between venturing to other worlds. While there, players will be able to see more of Sora’s “day-to-day routines,” such as spending time in Sora’s room.
For fans hoping to see more Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts IV after an almost complete lack of them in Kingdom Hearts III, don’t get your hopes up. Nomura confirms in the interview that with the sheer number of original characters now in the series, it makes it difficult to fit in more Final Fantasy characters.
Kingdom Hearts IV does not currently have a release date, but was announced alongside the mobile game Kingdom Hearts Missing-Link for the franchise’s 20th anniversary. Fans have been furiously theorizing which Disney worlds will be included in the upcoming sequel, with many convinced the Kingdom Hearts IV teaser trailer shows a Star Wars world is finally coming to the series.