II.8 Final Chapter Prologue

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The Square-Enix online store is holding a sweepstakes that'll end on March 27 for Kingdom Hearts fans in North America (with the exception of Quebec and Rhode Island residents). Those who either purchase 'Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue' or pre-order 'Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 HD ReMix' from the Square-Enix online store will be entered into the sweepstakes to win one of three prizes depending on the game that is purchased/pre-ordered.

Those who purchase 'Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue' could win one of the following three prizes:
  • Mini Chirithy Static Arts
  • Mini Meow Wow Static Arts
  • Oathkeeper Keychain
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And those who pre-order 'Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 HD ReMix' could win one of the following three prizes:
  • Mini Chirithy Static Arts
  • Mini Shadow Static Arts
  • Oblivion Keychain
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Full sweepstakes rules could be read here.
Square-Enix has announced a limited edition of the upcoming PS4 re-release 'Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix', available exclusively at the Square-Enix online store. The limited edition will come with an exclusive pin, just like the limited editions of both 'Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMix' and 'Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue'. 'Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix' will be released March 28th in North America and March 31st in Europe.
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Hey everyone! First off, I want to thank everyone for the great turnout we had on the 2.8 community livestreams. We're glad you guys enjoyed watching and commentating as much as we liked hosting. And I have an announcement for you all: starting this Friday, February 10th we'll be having a bi-monthly stream every other Friday! Unless there's an announcement saying otherwise, streams will always start around 7PM Eastern time.

For the first stream I'll be playing more of my Dream Drop Distance proud mode file, but from then on there will be polls for what game you'd like to see me play. Who knows, there might even be some online multiplayer games that you can join in on.

Just like last time, you'll be able to sign up for one hour time slots to guest commentate. And should we only have a couple people sign up, you can join back in for a big group commentary - though you need a PS4/Vita and a mic to commentate. Available slots are down below, but they're first come first serve so if you want a specific time then go get it.

If you have any suggestions for the stream, or would like it moved to another day, just shoot me a message.

Commentator Spots
7-8 EST: @KSoleAngel
8-9 EST: @Iskandar
9-10 EST: @Scarred Nobody
10-11 EST: @DukeLawliet
11-12 EST: @Novalentine

And as always, the stream will be hosted on our official Twitch channel. Follow us there so you don't miss out!

A few weeks ago, we posted about an interview with 'Kingdom Hearts' series composer, Yoko Shimomura, with Dengeki Playstation. However, the interview was never translated, until now (thanks to KHInsider's Goldpanner and Saken). The full interview can be read below (WARNING: The spoiler contains spoilers from 0.2 BBS and Back Cover!):

The Master's theme song takes a previously unexplored route!

Ms Shimomura, in KH2.8 we are able to listen to new music you worked on for KH0.2 and KHBC, aren't we.

Shimomura: There were fewer new pieces compared to before, but I did do some.

Ms Shimomura, you were also in charge of new songs for FFXV. Was it extremely hectic with the jobs overlapping?

Shimomura: I started the brunt of the work on KH2.8 after work on FFXV was basically finished, so it didn't get to the point of biting off more than I could chew. There was a period where I was very busy, though.

We could really feel the Shimomura magic in the pieces that play during KHBC and the last boss battle in KH0.2.

Shimomura: Thank you! Every one of the new tracks passed the harsh inspection of Mr. Nomura. When the wind orchestra performance in Tokyo had just finished, just as I was about to head to the after party, I got a scary call from Mr. Nomura about a track… The memories…

Among the new pieces, are there any that particularly left an impression on you?

Shimomura: There is one absolutely amazing track! It's a piece that takes a route never before done in the KH series, and the piano adlib is amazing.

In which specific scene does the music appear?


Shimomura: It's the music that plays during a scene in KHBC where the Master of Masters is speaking to Luxu. It's the Master's theme song, and it's actually a much longer track, but only one part plays during the cutscene. The feedback I got the first time I made and and sent for review a theme for the Master was, "This piece itself is good so we will use it somewhere else, but this isn't how the Master's theme should go." It was a piece I finished after a long and grueling battle.

The theme for the final boss battle of KH0.2 is so fiery, listening to it really pumps you up.

Shimomura: When making battle music, I pay attention to setting things in a balanced way that pumps you up without making you sick of it or hurting your ears. I can't let the song sound like I'm shoving how cool I think it is in your face. That's self-complacency. But having said that, I can't let it feel like I'm holding myself back, either, so it is pretty hard. And, I have to be pumped up myself first before I can make music that pumps people up, and that mental control is another way battle music is difficult. By the way, the final boss battle music was an arrangement done for me by another individual, so there are two versions recorded.

For previous HD remasters, you arranged the music of KHFM and KH2FM for HD. Did you arrange any pieces for KH3D?

Shimomura: It is the exact same soundtrack from the original KH3D. It has to do with hardware; back in the days of KH1 and KH2 the soundtrack played from a built-in sound generator. The sound quality is no good when you re-listen now, so I had to arrange them to fit KH1.5 and KH2.5. KH BBS onward uses streaming, where the recorded source audio is inserted, so the HD versions don't need anything in particular to be processed. Thinking back on the old days, I used to compose for KH1 and KH2 on the PS2 while planning how the music would be set and played in the system memory, and things like that.

I want you to taste the visceral experience of the game at the concert

Please tell us once more your impressions on First Breath, the wind orchestra concert held last August.

Shimomura: I myself was in the brass band in high school, so the wind orchestra gave me all the emotions! All the pleasant thoughts I heard from those who attended after the First Breath performance are a special memory too.

It's surprising that there hadn't been one until then.

Shimomura: I'd wanted to do a KH concert for a long time, and there'd been talk of doing it many times, but nothing ever came to fruition. KH is a huge title, so settling upon doing it is only the first of many hurdles to clear. When planning began, I was already able to see so many hurdles that I wondered if it'd be impossible after all, but as things moved forward I found I was clearing them surprisingly easily. But that absolutely wasn't because of me, it was because everyone around me was working so hard.

The orchestra concert world tour is going to have its first performance in Tokyo, then make the rounds across each country, right?

Shimomura: The first performance being in Japan was on my firm request. According to the pro instrumentalists, most orchestra concert tours so far have begun overseas. But KH is a game created in Japan, so I thought that if we are going to have a concert then we have to start from Japan. Fulfilling my wish, two concerts were planned right away, and I couldn't have been happier. Then I heard that the orchestra was going to play at the Tokyo International Forum (Tokyo performance), and then have a world tour after that: the surprises kept coming!

As the very first orchestra concert for KH, we're sure the fans are paying very keen attention.

Shimomura: Performing at the Tokyo International Forum is an enormous pressure, and I did wonder what on earth we'd do if the tickets didn't sell (laughs). To my great gratitude, we ended up in the unprecedented situation of deciding to do an encore show before tickets were even open for booking, so I am endlessly thankful for the reaction from the fans.

It will be interesting to see how the fans overseas respond, won't it?

Shimomura: Overseas they tend to give energetic and straightforward reactions, so I'm looking forward to it. People respond very differently in different countries, even just within Asia. For example, my strong impression is that they tend to show big reactions in China, while in Taiwan, if I had to I'd say they give a quieter impression like us Japanese. I think this is just the nation's personality, so I would love for those who are able to attend the Japanese performance to not worry about standing ovations and simply enjoy themselves. We will be visiting seven countries including Japan, so I am really looking forward to what sorts of reactions I'll get to see in each place!

How is preparation for the orchestra concert?

Shimomura: We are working our butts off to get ready for the opening show in March. Aside from one part the playlist is entirely different from First Breath, so I'm hoping even those who joined us for First Breath will have a lot of fun too!

What did you focus on when thinking up the playlist?

Shimomura: This is true of any concert, but I picked music with the thought that I wanted to give the listeners the visceral feelings of playing the games. There were also things to consider from the angle of the order of performance, like, this piece sounds better on wind, or we absolutely have to do this one with the orchestra. On top of taking all those sorts of things into account, I like to be able to bring out a drama-like vibe in the concert as a whole. That's a point I focused a lot on with both First Breath and this orchestra.

Was Mr. Nomura also involved in choosing the music?

Shimomura: I chose the music and created a playlist, which Mr. Nomura checked for me, and then I'd listen to his requests and give my own opinions. That's the general flow of how we decided things. Since Mr. Nomura and I both chose music with the same line of thinking—that we wanted to make our fans happy—I am confident in the playlist I have for you all. By the way, Mr. Nomura had said he wanted the wind orchestra and the orchestra concert to have a "two in one" configuration. Mr. Nomura is also the supervisor of the movie that is going to play in the hall, so please look forward to that.

Is Mr. Nomura also planning to surprise us with his own performance, like he did at the First Breath concert?

Shimomura: I'm not sure about that (laughs). We were very, very much obliged to the pianist for letting him use their seat… Besides, all the pieces this time are pretty hard (laughs).

A message for the fans, please!

Shimomura: My long-time dream is coming true: we are finally able to hold the first independent Kingdom Hearts orchestra concert. It's thanks to fifteen years of support from the fans that we are even able to do something like this, so we are preparing something that will be able to repay you with everything we have. Giving the fans a great time was my top priority while making the playlist and arranging the music, so let's savor the moments together on the day!

Source: KHInsider
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With Kingdom Hearts 2.8 released worldwide and Kingdom Hearts 3 in the works, it's no surprise that Square Enix will be releasing some new figures.

The first of these figures (and the one we have the most information about) is a new Kingdom Hearts 3 Bring Arts Sora figure. This figure is available from both the Japanese Square Enix store and Japanese website, Ami Ami. The figure costs $61 (6,999Yen) from the Square Enix store and $45 ( 5,180 Yen) from Ami Ami . For Noth American audiences, the figure will be available in August 2017 for $69.99 from the North American Square Enix site. The figure includes Sora's new keyblade, often seen in most promo art, his blasters, and other interchangeable parts.

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The second figure is an (in my opinion) long awaited figure. To celebrate the release of Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, an Aqua Play Arts Kai figure is set to be release, according to the Square Enix Products Facebook page.

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This figure will be on display the Nuremberg Toy Fair in Germany from February 1st to February 6th. No other information about this figure is available yet, but we'll be sure to let you know when it does!