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What's new with the PlayStation 3 HD edition of Kingdom Hearts

The preview of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix published in this week's issue of Famitsu magazine is the clearest picture yet of what's new with their PlayStation 3 remake of the original Kingdom Hearts and KH: Chain of Memories.

Here's a list of the main new stuff you can expect:

- Full HD-ification of the visuals, including a bunch of reworked character models and textures. "We've converted a ton of graphical elements into high-resolution," commented character art director Gen Kobayashi. "It's really been a full rebuilding process. The screen's wider, of course, and the menu screens and such have been revamped to reflect this. I think that people who played the original PS2 version are going to have a really fresh and novel experience with this."
- A full line of PS3 bonuses, including a bunch of Trophies and some PS3 themes unlockable after you finish the game.
- English or Japanese voices.
- A few new abilities, including "Combo Master," which lets you sustain combos even if you miss with a strike or two.
- Summon-based attacks are now their own command, separate from the "Magic" option in the menu.
- A bunch of smaller stuff, like the ability to skip cutscenes and control tweaks to make it feel more like Kingdom Hearts 2.

"There was nobody here who remembered very much about the original ten-year-old source code," said main programmer Sumio Nasu, "so it was kind of a process of trial and error to convert it to run in HD. The pain was worth it, though, because it'll make future HD remasters a lot easier for us to handle, I think."

The remix is due out March 14 in Japan and sometime next year elsewhere.