Square Enix has announced new details regarding its PlayStation 2 sequel to Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II. The original game's key developers will return with Tetsuya Nomura acting as director, Shinji Hashimoto as producer, Yoshinori Kitase as co-producer, Kazushige Nojima as scenario writer and Yuuichi Kanemori as battle planner.
The new game will feature more original characters than the first game. The development also plans to answer all the remaining questions of Kingdom Hearts in this sequel. Apart from the returning Final Fantasy characters, which already appeared in the original game, some new characters from Square Enix's flagship series will make their way into the game. A slightly different looking Sora has been confirmed to return as protagonist. While there is a reason behind him wearing those new clothes, it is still a secret. Square Enix would like to work with the same voice actors as in last year's prequel. The team has not decided on a main theme for the new game.
On an interesting side note, the team reported, that the president of Buena Vista Games asked them to create up to 20 Kingdom Hearts installments.
It will not be possible to carry over an existing saved game from Kingdom Hearts into the sequel. Kingdom Hearts II's main themes will be "promise" and the "connection of hearts". The story's outline will be similar to the prequel's, but not as complex. The battle system will remain unchanged, however the team promised to address the camera and response issues of Kingdom Hearts in the new game. Clothes will play an important role in Kingdom Hearts II as a new battle system based on them has been added, though it seems to differ from Final Fantasy X-2's dress up system. Also, the amount of battle commands has been increased and players will be able to perform much more different moves during battle. The level of difficulty can be selected, in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix fashion. Last but not least ,the gummi ship portion of the game will be greatly improved.
Kingdom Hearts II has yet to receive an official release date, but is generally considered to be available in Japan in late 2004.