Square Enix is extra secretive with its coveted Kingdom Hearts franchise, but we were able to interview co-director Tai Yasue, who's currently working on Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix. The collection includes the Final Mix for Kingdom Hearts II and Birth By Sleep, on top of updated cutscenes from Re:coded. Yasue not only offered insight into Kingdom Hearts 2.5, but he also shared how development on Kingdom Hearts III is coming along.

Did you take any fan feedback from Kingdom Hearts 1.5 into account that influenced Kingdom Hearts 2.5?

Actually with 1.5, there weren't a lot of complaints. There usually is, right? But one thing there was from more of our Japanese players was for the [theater mode]; they wanted more battle scenes. They wanted to see the battle scenes. So, we put a lot of battle scenes in Re:coded  and we made them have cutscenes. They're not real-time battles, but they're actually made like an action movie, sort of. You get a whole new understanding of the story that way.

I read that with Re:coded, you added more scenes and there was one that was going to transition more into Dream Drop Distance? Is that true?

Actually, not the secret...Well, there's actually a secret event at the end, right? But that doesn't transition - well, actually - how do you know that? It sort of does connect to other Kingdom Hearts titles, so you get to know about the backstory, how they started maybe, and what happened at the other end where there wasn't really much of an explanation. You get a fuller understanding if you watch it all; it gets added at the very end so you can see that.

Westerners are going to finally get to play the Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts II and Birth By Sleep, but outside of that, what other additions are there?

I think the big thing is Re:coded and the Final Mix, because it was really well received in Japan. We really wanted our American and European fanbase to play that. There are a lot of boss scenes added, there are [Mushroom Heartless XIII] missions in Kingdom Hearts II, and a lot of forms added in Kingdom Hearts II that should be really enjoyable. Also, for Birth By Sleep, there's a secret episode at the very end where Aqua has an adventure in the realm of Dark and [it has] a boss and a lot of stages, so that should be enjoyable.

A lot of the things I love about Kingdom Hearts were in the Final Mix version. Right now I'm attempting to fight Roxas... He's very strong and I'm fighting him in the critical mode, which is very difficult, [but] I get a lot of satisfaction. For the hardcore gamers, I think that would be very enjoyable; you need a lot of strategy. Also, Lingering Will. Lingering Will is an armored guy who is a manifestation of Terra in Birth By Sleep. His weapons actually transform into different shapes. A lot of our Japanese players say that is one of the most intense battles in Kingdom Hearts.

Up next: Teasers, trophies, and the missing multiplayer from Birth By Sleep...