Can you believe that it has been over a decade since Kingdom Hearts II appeared on PlayStation 2? Yes, Square Enix had released it in 2005, and they announced the next installment in 2013. It’s been four years from then, and we still have to see Kingdom Hearts III on our (digital) shelves. So, where are we in the latest sequel of the series? Why the developers need so much time to finish it and when will we get the opportunity to play it?
There WILL Be a Kingdom Hearts III
The important thing to clear up right away is that Square Enix is planning the next sequel to the Kingdom Hearts franchise. It was officially confirmed in 2013, but the reason it got delayed was that the studio decided to focus on revamping their previous games and releasing their PS3 and PS4 versions. Although the developers convinced us that there is enough of the workforce to handle both working on remastered versions and the new sequel, it seems that’s not the case. If we can talk about the positives of everything taking so long, we can say that we are glad Square Enix isn’t rushing anything and prefers to focus enough time and effort into the sequel then releasing an incomplete game.
The latest news, however, is not encouraging. SE recently held a conference where they presented financial reports and, during that event, Yosuke Matsuda, CEO of Square Enix, revealed that Kingdom Hearts III is set to release “in the next three years.” Yup, you read that right – they are taking their time working on the newest installment, and there might be a chance that it won’t appear before 2020.
What Do We Know for Now?
The beauty of the Kingdom Hearts franchise was in the worlds that it enabled us to visit and enjoy. We’ve had the opportunity to see Aladdin’s Agrabah, Pride Lands from the Lion King, Port Royal from The Pirates of the Caribbean, and even Hercules’s Coliseum. Since the release of KH II, Disney made some amazing movies, such as Tangled and Frozen. That is why the logical question is – which worlds will be included in Kingdom Hearts III?
“We are looking to offer a mix of the existing and the new worlds. That’s what we believe will make your journey through the game a real adventure. We are aware that Disney made a lot of new content in the meantime, and we are looking how we can use some of it from the gameplay perspective. I loved Frozen and all its songs and stories,” revealed Matsuda, emphasizing that what he says shouldn’t be taken as an announcement. Regardless of that, Frozen is one of the most successful movies Disney made in the last decade, so it’s only natural that it should make an appearance.
Although that’s not a sure thing, we know about three worlds that will SURELY be included in the game. Hercules’ Coliseum will make a reappearance, considering that Pegasus and Titans can be seen in the trailer for the game. As for the new worlds, Tangled will be present, as well as Big Hero 6 world, which will offer you the chance to ride Baymax. For those of you that aren’t big fans of Disney, Big Hero 6 is a Disney film that won the Oscar for the Best Animated Movie in 2014.
Exciting Action Is a Guarantee
The trailer also shows us that the Keyblade can become an even stronger weapon and it seems like we will get the chance to go on a fairy ground ride inspired by the theme parks Disney has all around the world. The developers are sure that Kingdom Hearts III will offer incredible, flashy and frantic action that will be a huge step forward from the previous installment.
The idea is that the game has three-person parties with the addition of (non-playable and other) characters unique for each world. Players will still play as Sora, who will have multiple skills and forms, as well as allies who will fight on his side. You will have a bunch of new traits and weapons, such as the Guard Form, which can transform the Keyblade into a strong shield. You can also see Sora wielding a big hammer in the screenshots, so there is another new weapon there, too.
Aside from that, the AI should offer more challenge and variety, so expect some original foes along the way. There is still a huge question mark over the game being available in a local multiplayer or online mode, considering that Square still needs to confirm them. As for the plot, Kingdom Hearts III will be the final part of the trilogy that started with the original entry to the series. The story will continue right where the events in the previous installment finished, and the players will have the final fight with Xenhort. Goofy and Donald will be your best companions, while the fourth member of the crew will depend on the world you are in.
The Next-Gen Issue
Tai Yasue, one of the leading developers working on the game, acknowledges that it is not easy to make a sequel for the next-gen consoles.
“We are all doing a lot of research to conclude what will or won’t work. We know that the move to a whole new console is hard, but we are trying to be creative and include a bunch of things we haven’t done before.”
One of the things that caused much debate was the visual style of Kingdom Hearts III. Somewhere along the way, they remembered that all characters from KH were paintbrush art from Disney. So, they decided that they will return to that texture. If we judge from the trailer, the game looks great, and the support for Ultra HD and HDR is expected, so we are in for a visual treat.
In fact, we are sure that we are in for an overall treat once Kingdom Hearts gets released. Although it’s not officially confirmed, we expect that the game will be a PlayStation 4 exclusive.