The idea of Kingdom Hearts is something that honestly shouldn’t have worked. The whole principle is that you’re blending the worlds of Disney movies with the characters and feel of a Final Fantasy title, all the while crafting an entirely unique storyline. And yet, Square Enix made it work, and now, Kingdom Hearts III has released and proved that the franchise still has wonders. The game was in development for a longtime, but the team at Square Enix did get some assistance this time around.
How so? Well this time, Disney actually helped the team with certain models of certain characters:
“This time around”, says character art director, Toru Yamazaki, “because we were planning on making such a high-end game, we talked to Disney about sharing resources with us. Up until now, the way Kingdom Hearts have been made is that we would watch the movies and copy the costumes as we saw them. But this time around, because we wanted to be really accurate and wanted to have everything down to the last detail completely the same we decided to ask Disney to share their resources with us.”
But…there were also problems with the models when they were brought into the game engine, as it had to do different things than the movie did. Such as with Frozen and Elsa:
“Disney was very concerned with what Elsa’s hair looked like”, says Yamazaki. “Of course she’s got this beautiful golden-white hair that’s always flowing and beautiful, and when we got the data, her hair was just sticking straight backwards.”
The two teams had to work hard to fix how Elsa looked, and eventually, Square Enix just had to make a new hair model for her in the game.
These back and forth things were a huge part of Kingdom Hearts III and its development, but it worked out in the end. And the game is already a major hit.