Nomura on Kingdom Shaders and Porting Kingdom Hearts III

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

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It was quite a shock at Square Enix’s E3 conference when they dropped a bombshell announcing that Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III were both going to be on the Xbox One. Originally believed to have been exclusive to the PlayStation 4, many fans couldn’t believe that Square Enix was making these new titles multi-platform. Whatever the case was for this decision, Tetsuya Nomura, director of Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, didn’t let console bias interfere in his work as he described porting Kingdom Hearts III to both consoles in an interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu.

In the interview, Nomura describes himself as someone who doesn’t prefer either console to the other. He explained how the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 were very similar, especially concerning the use of the new Luminous engine.

We used Luminous as [the] main engine for the game. We’re developing over-spec, so porting to both the PS4 and Xbox One is very similar. In addition to this, in the battle part of the trailer there was an issue with the tool so we had to use pre-rendered video, but if you look at the parts where it is animated  in real time there’s no big difference.

Nomura also gave some tidbits on a new shader that will be used for Kingdom Hearts III and how its use will help the development team bring about a high degree of visual variety.

We’re using a visual tool called “Kingdom Shader.” In the original world characters will retain their original textures, but the shader is adjusted by world, so we’ll have an unique visual style in each of Disney’s worlds.

We will see have to wait and see what the Luminous engine and this “Kingdom Shader” will bring to the Kingdom Hearts series when Kingdom Hearts III gets released for the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 consoles.


About Samuel North

A writer at Operation Rainfall, a lover of videogames, and an insomniac who can't tell what day it is. There really isn't much else interesting to say, except that I've eaten an entire box of ramen noodles in one sitting.

  • Red

    Cant wait to get it for xbox one

    • sillibk

      It should have been exclusive to PS4 *facepalm*

    • Red Harlow


    • sillibk

      “Oh, hey, let’s be a cocky fuck and shove it in your face”. That’s why it doesn’t deserve to be on Xbox One. It’s not even going to help sales.

    • Joe Budden

      Sure it will help.

  • Rebochan

    “Originally believed to have been exclusive to the PlayStation 4, many
    fans couldn’t believe that Square Enix was making these new titles

    Apparently “many fans” slept through the last eight years of Square taking their titles multi-platform.

    • Alias

      Well for a long time Tetsuya Nomura himself was adamant about keeping the console exclusivity for versus for whatever reasons they may be. It’s also possibly a drawback in developement time looking into both consoles. Many fans have been following this specific game after XIII harshly let them down. Also kingdom Hearts has never touched xbox space as a franchise it’s been pretty much sony and ninty there.. and there was no official word before now about it coming to xbox so obviously you’re going to get the “why isn’t it exclusive all of a sudden” stuff. Especially like i said with nomura originally being adamant about it being exclusivity.
      Also you’ve posted the same thing on every related article so i finally just threw this out there. We get it. Just learn others reasoning before being a tard about it.

    • Clinton Nix

      That is true. However, it was widely believed that Final Fantasy Versus XIII (XV) would be exclusive to a Sony system.

  • NinTemple

    Wii U please. You can leave out the fancy new shaders 😉

    • smacd

      Wii U would be nice and all, however there is a significant architecture issue making it unattractive compared to ports between PC/PS4/XBone. Because the latter three are built on the x86 architecture, porting is really mostly going to be trivial, only needing to take into account specific differences in the APIs and some slight hardware constraints.

      On the other hand, the Wii U is built on the PowerPC architecture. Porting is much more difficult to do to the Wii U than for any of the other platforms for this reason. This is a similar problem to why Windows games don’t play on Apple systems (at least in the old days, I’m not up to speed on what Apple computers are capable of now that they’ve switched to x86 a few years back). In addition, the system, the gamepad, the wiimotes and other controls would require substantial additional code to handle, more than what mostly amounts to button remapping for the PC/PS4/Xbone.

      I’d love to see the Wii U get more ports, but Nintendo has made a(nother) system that third party developers would have to spend arguably more effort than the value return they may get on it. I think we’re more likely to get third party exclusives on the Wii U than getting third party ports.

    • Johnson Cameron

      Thank you, finally someone explains it. I have said it since the last news when KH3 was revealed and the reason why the WII-U one was not announced; People then downvoted me into oblivion saying it is easy and not hard at all, because it can run frostbite 3. That somehow the devolopers are just lazy, because it takes minimal effort to port it over to WII-U.

      You make an excellent point on the fact, that it takes a lot to port a game over to the WII-U due to the architecture and also how much time the button mapping would be. This is not to say WII-U is bad or anything, in fact i think the WII-U is 10X better than the WII. But it would take a little bit more time and more money to port over, than the PS4/Xboxone console.

      Personally there needs to be more sales of the 3rd party games on the WII-U(Other than Nintendo’s 1st party titles), in order for 3rd parties to start putting in the time for it. It just would not make sense to port something over, that you know you would not get your money back on.

    • smacd

      Yeah. EA only said that the Wii U “could run Frostbite 3”, not that they’ve got through the effort of actually porting that engine- and they stated that it wasn’t a priority.

      And regardless of whether Frostbite 3 ever does get ported to the Wii U is pretty much irrelevant to whether FFXV or KH3 get ported. Since FFXV doesn’t used Frostbite 3, it uses Luminous Studio. I don’t know what KH3 uses, but its probably Luminous Studio or another Square-Enix in-house built engine. Square-Enix would have to port Luminous Studio to the Wii U, and whatever engine KH3 is on if not the same one.

    • NinTemple

      You have a good point, you really do. However, how obscure was the PS3’s architecture? Still got plenty of 3rd party ports. How big was the Wii’s install base? (A: big). How successful were mainstream, non-gimped games like RE4? (A: very). Yet, it still got ignored.

      Does it require more effort to use a GamePad or a Wiimote in meaningful ways? Sure does. Is it a REQUIREMENT? Heck no. Put a map or a menu on the GamePad and remap those buttons!

      There is a business model where third parties can reap the benefits of developing for the platform with the lowest financial risk and the highest likelihood for 1st party momentum (not to mention flexible input devices if they want to be, y’know, creative). This model, however, is constantly ignored in favor of betting their chips on the same old linear progressions in processing power and screen resolution. This bet has proved to be a much riskier one and led to several studio closings.

      So while you do have a great point, it’s certainly not the ONLY way to approach the situation — yet third parties pretend it is… and that should stop.

  • Umar Kiiroi Senkō

    To think KH skipped an entire generation on the cosole

    • Kingdom Hearts is light????

      Star Fox has skipped one too! Son of a ….

    • Umar Kiiroi Senkō

      Son of a Heartless!!

  • Keichi Morisato

    both of those games are on a non japanese console, so i have already lost nterest in the games, sorry i was burned the last time this happened. yes i am THAT petty. though i am no weaboo, i only play american games on the Xbox (unless are exclusives like Uncharted or The Last Of Us)

    • smacd

      Man you are so right. Despite the fact that most of the hardware parts are likely manufactured in the Asian countries, the Xbone was designed by Americans, and therefore Japanese games have no place whatsoever on those systems and much be steaming piles of crap if they are ported to them. But hey, I won’t consider you a hypocrite for playing American games on a Japanese consoles, cause you know, that’s cool.

    • Keichi Morisato

      sorry… i am just upset that S-E originally advertised FFXV as a PS3 exclusive and now not only is the game going to skip the PS3 but it will also be ported to the Xbox One, i feel betrayed, just as betrayed when they took out half the game and ported FFXIII to the 360. if that had never happened FFXIII might have actually been a great game.

    • smacd

      Seriously? So what if it isn’t exclusive anymore. How exactly does that change anything? Its not like they were like NOPE XBONE ONLY SUCKERS. And do you feel betrayed that its not on PS3 now, but PS4? Or is that not a betrayal because its still Sony?

      I don’t get that mentality that going multiplatform is somehow a betrayal. “You PROMISED we could only buy it for one system, and now you are releasing it on TWO? How dare you!”. I mean, it’d be one thing if Square Enix was Sony’s spouse, and Square Enix decided to go sleep with Microsoft… but seriously, a single player game going multiplatform is a betrayal? That’s a really stupid thing to get bent out of shape over. But I guess if you think that it is better to have fewer options, great… I guess. Me, I’d prefer to have the choice over being forced into a specific several hundred dollar piece of hardware to play a game I want.

    • Keichi Morisato


    • smacd

      Dude, chill. No reason to get all bent out of shape here. Apparently more options for getting games is bad?

      I mean, I would think that being able to choose one console, or high end PC, and being able to get most anything you want on it would be a good thing, because you could save several hundred dollars on hardware and have more room next to your TV. You’re freaking out because you want to (or want others to) have to pay more money to several hardware companies in order to get all of the games you want?

      I really don’t get your argument here, its completely illogical. I think it’d be pretty damn cool if I could get one “system” (be it a console, or a PC) and be able to play any game I want on it. So much less wasted space and money, and no more swapping cables, etc.

      Then again, I was thrilled (at the time) that FF13 went multiplatform. It meant I didn’t need to waste money on a PS3 for one game (that turned out to be shite).

    • Keichi Morisato

      like i said, this would make home consoles completely irrelevant.

    • smacd

      And can you cite a source for your claim that “half the game was taken out” when they ported it? I realize the game felt like an incomplete mess, but I have serious doubts its because it was ported.

    • Keichi Morisato

      you really want me to? well here this is the best i could find, in another interview the direct said the main reason was that the game was so big that it was impractical to port onto the 360, come one who these days wants to play a game that spans 6 disks or more, and the production costs would have been enormous. to port the game fully would have been a big endeavor, so half of the game was cut.

    • smacd

      No where in that article did it state that the material was cut because it was ported. It didn’t mention the port at all. Newsflash, content is cut from pretty much all games. And not because they were ported. If they really wanted to include the material, they could have. Its not like the 360 version wasn’t already spread across several discs, whats a few more? Hell, maybe it couldn’t fit on a blu-ray and it was actually cut because the PS3 couldn’t handle it all on one disc. Who knows, they never really stated a reason other than “game volume and game balance” which has nothing at all to do with the 360.

    • Keichi Morisato

      like i said, i couldn’t find the one that said that. i understand that all games get content cut from the game, but a whole games worth of content? seriously. this explains why the game’s story is so full of plot holes that are only explained if you decide to do some in game reading.

    • smacd

      yeah you must be right, the port is the only reason so much content was cut, not because of quality, coherancy, or any other factor. It must be the unstated reason of being a port that you have a well thought out, non fanboyish, completely logical reason to be against that caused it. Porting FF Versus to the xbone also added 7 years to its development time too.

    • Keichi Morisato

      dude HALF THE FUCKING GAME WAS TAKEN OUT, AND IN ANOTHER INTERVIEW HE SAID IT WAS BECAUSE IT WAS BEING PORTED. look i understand that content has to be cut for coherency and what not, just… half the game??? half the game?! look the game’s story could have used that extra content, the story is an incoherent mess, and most of the information that should have been stated is now part of that library thing.

    • Red

      which is why that other half became 13-2…

    • Keichi Morisato

      no, what became 13-2 was mostly game play ideas that they had for 13 and was taken out due to not being appropriate.