First announced all the way back at E3 2013, Square Enix’s highly-anticipated sequel is finally coming out in 2019. The latest reveal saw the likes of Frozen, Monsters Inc, Tangled and Toy Story brought to the world of Kingdom Hearts, and it looks wonderful.
On stage at Microsoft’s E3 2018 press conference Kingdom Hearts 3 received a brand new trailer that showed off the game’s Frozen-inspired level for the first time, and Square Enix followed up with an extended version of that same trailer the next day which you can watch below.
Amazingly, after appearing on Microsoft’s stage and at Square Enix’s own press conference, Kingdom Hearts 3 returned a third time at Sony’s showcase. This time the trailer announced the arrival of characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Kingdom Hearts 3 takes place after the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, with King Mickey and Riku hunting after the remaining Keyblade wielders. Sora, Donald and Goofy, on the other hand, are busy in pursuit of the Seven Guardians of Light across myriad different worlds. All of this is being done in a passionate attempt to stop Master Xehanort’s evil plan first alluded to in previous games.
Game director Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed that Kingdom Hearts 3 will begin immediately after the ending of Dream Drop Distance, acting as the penultimate chapter in the Dark Seeker Saga. We’d be here all day if we tried to decipher the entire Kingdom Hearts timeline. There have been so many spinoffs, sequels, and side projects at this point it can be difficult to determine where exactly Kingdom Hearts 3 lies in the bigger picture.
The basic flow of Kingdom Hearts 3 will be very similar to previous games, Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed. In terms of features, it will be reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts 2 with Sora possessing multiple abilities, forms and allies to fight alongside him. Donald and Goofy are your basic companions, with summons and support joining your party depending on the world being explored.
“Drive Forms” from previous games also make a return, allowing Sora to transform into special outfits that possess brand new weapons and traits. Guard Form is the first of these to be revealed, transforming Sora’s keyblade into a beastly shield. Another unnamed form has him wielding a giant hammer, which we’ve only seen in screenshots thus far.
While the moment-to-moment gameplay will seem familiar to seasoned players, Sora’s traversal capabilities have seen some significant improvements. Our spiky-haired hero is now capable of wall running, jumping and clambering upon certain enemies to reach new areas. Small snippets of gameplay have showcased some truly colossal environments, many of which take great advantage of these new movement methods.
“Kingdom Hearts III has three-person parties, but NPCs and other characters join the fight in each individual world, and the resulting action is really flashy and exciting. The enemy AI is a lot more intricate, too, and I think the gameplay will reflect that new dynamic balance.”
Set-pieces known as Attractions will surface in a handful of boss battles. These provide Sora with a means of movement and special attacks unique to that scenario. At a recent preview event we saw a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad-esque train employed to slam into a Titan atop Mount Olympus. It’s fast, flashy and incredibly fun to pull off.
See also: Upcoming PS4 Games
“When creating a Kingdom Hearts game, we start with a gameplay system that I think would be a fun element, and once we have an idea of what kind of gameplay or system we want in place, we flesh out the story around it, surrounding the basic concept of what kind of fun we’re going to have with this new installment,” Nomura explained.
Kingdom Hearts 3 will introduce a number of original locations alongside a slew of Disney-themed locales. Tangled and Big Hero 6 are two of the properties confirmed thus far, with favourites based on Hercules already scheduled to return in the sequel. Since the release of Kingdom Hearts 2, Disney has acquired Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar. Unfortunately, many of these won’t appear in KH3 due to existing licensing deals, such as the agreement concerning Electronic Arts and Star Wars.
- Kingdom of Corona (Tangled)
- Big Hero 6
- Mount Olympus
- Twilight Town
- Monster’s Inc
- Mysterious Tower
- Toy Story (featuring Wreck it Ralph)