After years and years of waiting for Kingdom Hearts III somebody finally spoke out. The game’s director provided us with explanation why it took so long to finish the game.
Gamespot provided readers with a director Tetsuya Nomura’s quote which explained why there was such a big time gap between second and third part of Kingdom Hearts. During the discussion at this year’s D23 Expo, Nomura explained: “There was a decision made to change to an external [engine]…Unreal Engine 4, so we switched over to that. Unfortunately there was a bit of time that needed to be rewinded and started over. So there was a bit of a setback there, but it was a decision that the company had to make, so it was inevitable.”
ACording to the Gampespot, team needed an entire year to finish the conversation and then proceed and continue development after moving over to the Unreal Engine 4 after already starting with Square’s own internal engine.
The time they needed is usually the average time it takes to move and start using totally new another game engine. It requires complete rework of the developmental pipeline, and that means also completely converting over the assets into the pipeline, updating the code and package structures to the new engine, and then in the end finally optimizing all of it to accommodate the new software.
Although Unreal Engine 4 is highly optimized and efficient engine, it still took a lot of time to move over a game to whole another engine. In the case of Kingdom Hearts III, there was an entire year’s worth of content that had already been finished on the old engine that then needed to be moved over, reworked, or scrapped.
And remember, the game originally teased in 2013, and it sounds like the engine switch happened in 2014, and that slowed the team at leas for a year, and that means the game was not developed for that long as some expected. The game is now set to release in 2018 which means that the total development time is four years, which is not really too much for a big budget blockbuster game.
Nomura also said that he wanted more personnel as development began to build up, which is typical for most projects. Nonetheless, Nomura mentioned that personnel he was provided with were very limited and Square was not really generous in how the company issued resources to the different departments.
And, that is essentially why Kingdom Hearts III is not yet released, the reasons were all beyond Nomura’s controll since Square Enix made them switch the engine after a whole year of developing a game already, and on top of that limited the amount of personnel for the project.