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Kingdom Hearts III is the upcoming eighth game in the Kingdom Hearts series. It was officially announced at E3 2013, and will be the first Kingdom Hearts game available on multiple platforms at launch, releasing on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The game was first announced to be in development during the Electronics Entertainment Exposition in June 2013. A trailer was released announcing the game's development. However, news regarding the game became scarce. A trailer was later released at the first D23 Exposition in Japan in October 2013, revealing the gameplay and graphics that had been developed to date.
As part of E3 2014, Square Enix released a new thirty-second trailer as part of a trailer to Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. During the Square Enix Present segment at E3 2014, co-director Tai Yasue revealed that the sequence seen in the E3 2014 teaser would be relevant from the beginning of the game, and that the text seen and heard was going to "be a real integral part of the story". On September 17th, 2014, Square Enix announced that Tetsuya Nomura would be stepping down as director for Final Fantasy XV so that he can focus his efforts on other upcoming titles, namely Kingdom Hearts III.
During Square Enix E3 Conference on June 16, 2015, the Kingdom Hearts series's executive producer, Shinji Hashimoto, revealed the first gameplay trailer for Kingdom Hearts III, which shows Sora in a new outfit. Sora is seen wielding new Keyblades, fighting never-before-seen Heartless, and also exploring a world based on Tangled. During the Square Enix Presents segment of E3 2015, Tetsuya Nomura revealed that the Tangled world was one of the first to be considered for the game.
The beach of Destiny Islands is then shown, with the Master's Defender Keyblade lying on the sand. Sora, now in his Kingdom Hearts II attire, approaches it and lifts it, looking at it curiously before shifting his gaze to the horizon. The game logo then appears.
A gameplay video follows, Sora begins running through Twilight Town, wielding the Kingdom Key. He is chased by a swarm of Shadow Heartless and flees, dodging the swarm by jumping off the sides of buildings in a way similar to his Flowmotion abilities from Dream Drop Distance. After riding the swarm in a manner similar to Vanitas riding the Keyblades in Birth by Sleep, Sora turns around and leaps to confront the swarm head on. The screen then cuts to black and reveals that the game is in development.
The trailer begins with Sora, Donald and Goofy running into a group of Heartless in Twilight Town's Tram Common, consisting of Shadows and Large Bodies. Sora casts Fire as Donald and Goofy begin to aid him. Sora then commences to enter "Two Shoot Blaster" mode, a new battle technique achieved through transforming the Keyblade that allows Sora to turn his Keyblade into twin pistols. Afterwards, the video fades to Sora using a "Pirate Ship" and swinging dealing damage to the Heartless below, finally ending with a massive barrage of spinning the boat around.
Gameplay fades into another scene where Sora, Donald and Goofy are on a "Big Magic Mountain" train ride going around the Rock Titan, the camera closes in on Sora then out as Sora attacks the Titan a couple of times before jumping on top of the Titan's hand and landing back onto his seat. The camera closes in on Donald now then back out as Sora attacks the Titan yet again. Sora leads the train upwards into the sky, high above the Titan, turns around facing the Titan and sends the train ride right into the Titan. As the group falls in the sky, the screen then fades to black and reveals that the game is in development.
On June 5, 2014, Square Enix released the E3 2014 trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. Towards the end of the E3 2014 trailer, there is a teaser for Kingdom Hearts III. The 30-second teaser begins with several scenes from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance along with the line "The next act opens--" and then the line "KINGDOM HEARTS III" appears. The remainder of the teaser features two unidentified people, revealed to be Xehanort and Eraqus in the 2015 tailer, discussing the Keyblade War. The screen remains black, with sketches of their faces in white, though their faces are too zoomed-in to identify.
""Have you heard of the ancient Keyblade War? Many years ago, Keyblade wielders started a war over the ownership of light." "Yep, the Master loves telling that story." "Then I take it you also know of the 'lost masters'." "Nope, where'd you hear that?" "On that land shall darkness prevail and light expire,""
—Xehanort and Eraqus
This is followed by a black screen and a flash of the Roman numeral III from the Kingdom Hearts III logo. The last line appears: "But you knew that, didn't you?" The roman numeral III from the logo flashes again, followed by the note that the game is "Now in Development".
The trailer opens with a scene of Master Xehanort and Master Eraqus in their youth, playing chess in the Land of Departure. Xehanort asks Eraqus about the ancient Keyblade War, which Eraqus claims is their master's favorite story. However, when Xehanort mentions the "Lost Masters" who actually started the war, Eraqus feigns ignorance, and Xehanort remains unconvinced. The trailer then cuts to gameplay videos featuring Sora, Donald, and Goofy fighting Heartless in Olympus Coliseum, a world based on Tangled, and Twilight Town, with Sora displaying new abilities with the Keyblade.
The trailer cuts back to the original scene, where Xehanort muses on how on the land where the Keyblade War was fought, darkness will prevail and light expire, looking up at the Keyblade that he will one day wield, while Eraqus counters him by claiming that the light might surprise Xehanort and prevail, and Xehanort expresses interest in this possibility. The camera cuts to a close-up of their respective king pieces, showing that their game has ended in a stalemate. The trailer concludes by flashing the game's logo.
↑Dengeki PlayStation interview with Tetsuya Nomura: "The battle gameplay returns to commands such as 'attack' and 'magic' rather than deck commands. I thought that king of gameplay styles had the royal right to be used in a numbered Kingdom Hearts title."
↑ 7.07.14Gamer interview with Tetusya Nomura: 4Gamer: There were various techniques that strongly resembled theme park attractions, weren't there? Nomura: The train, ship and tea cups and such decorated with lights are a skill called 'Attraction Flow'. There's also another feature where the Keyblade turns into things such as a chariot, or a double bow gun that transforms further and shoots magic bullets. That's a system where one Keyblade can transform into several phases, and we have created many more transformations that weren't in the trailer.
↑4Gamer interview with Tetusya Nomura: There was a scene in the trailer where Sora ran up a wall to fight - that freerunning is also something you can connect techniques to for bold moves.
↑ 9.09.1Rountable chat between various KH fansites and Tetsuya Nomura: --How did magic evolve for Kingdom Hearts 3? Nomura: When it comes to magic in Kingdom Hearts 3, we really wanted to try to leave an effect on the surrounding environment. In the trailer when Sora would cast Blizzard, the blast would leave behind a sheet of ice for Sora to slide on, and when he cast Aero in a field, the wind would make an impression in the grass.
↑Dengeki interview with Tetsuya Nomura: In regards to supplementing the gameplay, we have removed the Reaction Commands in KINGDOM HEARTS III. QTE (Quick Time Event. Actions that execute at the touch of a button according to when it displays on screen) isn't there anymore. For people who have seen the "flashy" battles in KINGDOM HEARTS II, it felt like there were too many of them when doing these operations. Are there no longer Reaction Commands in boss battles? That's right. While removing the elements of QTE in KINGDOM HEARTS III, being referred to as flashy battles, we are making it more challenging. All actions will be based on good or favorable timing.
↑Rountable chat between various KH fansites and Tetsuya Nomura: --In Kingdom Hearts I & II we were used to have a Disney character joining our party in each new world Sora and his friends visit. Will this mechanic be present in Kingdom Hearts 3? Nomura: Right, the idea of having a Disney character joining your party was an important part of KH 1 & 2, so, yes you will be able to have Disney characters joining your team across the game, not just as a temporary party member in the worlds, but also as summons.
↑4Gamer interview with Tetusya Nomura: Also, the AI during battle has been enhanced quite a bit. There was that scene where Donald and Sora are moving with Goofy has he wields his shield - you don't only execute that sort of thing yourself, Goofy and Donald can invite you into it too. On the other hand, the enemy AI is also more advanced, and we are also including the element of mutual enemies working together, so for example they can join together to charge at you and things like that.
↑Famitsu interview with Tetsuya Nomura: We are steadily progressing and deciding what to do with the ending… as well as considering content for the secret movie.
↑ 14.014.114.2Dengeki interview with Tetsuya Nomura: -- It looks like Xehanort and Eraqus were having a conversation when they were younger, is this an actual scene at the beginning of KINGDOM HEARTS III? Nomura: That’s right. From the conversation between these two, that’s how this story begins. The scene’s conversation is actually longer but in the trailer we only showed excerpts. From what can be understood from these two, it also connects to an ancient story from KINGDOM HEARTS Unchained χ.
↑ 15.015.1Dengeki interview with Tetsuya Nomura: -- In regards to the worlds, can you confirm what they are? Nomura: Disney titles such as Tangled and Hercules, and another familiar to the series, Twilight Town. So that makes three. -- Since Tangled made a new appearance for the series, what other new worlds are there? Nomura: I can’t talk about any further details except that Mt. Olympus will be a new world.
↑Famitsu interview with Tetusya Nomura: The Osaka development team wants to challenge themselves with Rapunzel’s hair. They are saying they want to use her hair for combat and it seems that the creators of Rapunzel are acknowledging our efforts.