Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura has said his team is "trying to find a good balance" of Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts 4.
Speaking to Game Informer, Nomura discussed a number of details about the forthcoming entry in the long-running series.
Yet asked if Kingdom Hearts 4 will bring back cameos of Final Fantasy characters, Nomura gave some interesting insight into balancing the game's franchises.
"One thing I want to clear up is that a lot of fans are saying that Kingdom Hearts is this collaboration between Disney characters and Final Fantasy characters. But I really feel like that's not the basic concept of Kingdom Hearts; that's not exactly what Kingdom Hearts is," he said.
With the first Kingdom Hearts game on PS2, its original characters were unknown so the team added Final Fantasy cameos to flesh out the cast.
"Now, there are so many original characters from Kingdom Hearts that are so well-loved, and people want to see more of those characters. With Kingdom Hearts 3, since we did have so many original Kingdom Hearts characters, it was hard to find room for including more Final Fantasy characters," he said.
"We're trying to find a good balance for that. I know that some fans were concerned about that and weren't too happy and wanted to see more Final Fantasy characters. That's something we definitely are thinking about. But just with the sheer number of original characters that we have now, it's hard to say what the exact balance is going to be and how it will play out in Kingdom Hearts IV. We can't really give you a firm reply on this just yet."
Nomura also revealed more about how integral Disney will be in the new game - it "might feel slightly different from previous Kingdom Hearts titles".
"As far as the graphic qualities... since with each new title, the specs have been really increasing and there's so much more we can do in terms of graphics, it kind of limits the number of worlds that we can create in a sense. At this time we're considering how to approach that, but there will be Disney worlds in Kingdom Hearts 4," he said.
That graphical quality extends to the new setting of Quadratum, adding a new sense of realism to the series.
"Because the graphics are more realistic this time around, I feel like there's more of a realistic daily life aspect to Sora's life. You can see him go in and out of his room and spend time there. I feel like players will get to see more of the day-to-day routines he goes through," said Nomura.
"As far as worlds go, in the past, we've featured a lot of Disney worlds and among those, the most realistic one was probably Pirates of the Caribbean. This time around we're spending some time in the actual real world. This was a challenge we had for ourselves - just to see how realistic can we make this, and that's something that we're working on right now."
Kingdom Hearts 4 was announced back in April at the series' 20th-anniversary celebrations.