Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts III is the upcoming eleventh title 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.
Kingdom Hearts III will serve as the final chapter of the Dark Seeker Saga, and will focus primarily on Sora's showdown with Master Xehanort.
Kingdom Hearts III was originally scheduled to be released in 2018, but at the 2018 E3 presentation, Square Enix announced it had been postponed until January 25, 2019 for Japan and January 29, 2019 for the rest of the world.
There is a playable prologue to Kingdom Hearts III called Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- as part of the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
The theme song for the game is "Don't Think Twice" (titled "Chikai" in the Japanese version) performed by Utada Hikaru.
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 Kingdom of Corona, a world based on Tangled. During the Square Enix Presents segment of E3 2015, Tetsuya Nomura revealed that Kingdom of Corona was one of the first to be considered for the game. In an interview with PlayStation Access, Nomura confirmed that characters from the Final Fantasy series will appear once again.
In an interview with Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Nomura confirmed that the game would contain a secret movie.
In their financial Results Briefing Session, Square Enix President and Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda and Chief Financial Officer Kazuharu Watanabe stated that the expected released of Kingdom Hearts III can be sometime between 2018 and 2020.
During Disney D23 Expo 2017, Tetsuya Nomura showed a trailer depicting a world based on Toy Story, and confirmed that the game will be released in 2018. Nomura confirms that game will feature a completely original and exclusive storyline for the Toy Story world, which takes place sometime after Toy Story 2, and hints there will be another playable character aside from Sora.
During Disney's D23 Expo Japan 2018 Conference, a private Kingdom Hearts event was held during which two new trailers were revealed. During one, the world based on Monsters, Inc. was confirmed, while the second one announced that Utada Hikaru would be performing the theme song for the game, titled "Don't Think Twice" ("Oath" in Japanese). The event also revealed that the game was being developed by the largest developing team in the history of the series, including 100 people from the Square Enix's Tokyo offices. The return of the Gummi Ship was also reaffirmed, and it was revealed that the gameplay for it, now playable as open-world instead of the preset paths from the first two games, had been split into "Battle" and "Searching" phases. The game was revealed to have been developed in three parts, with the first part being about 90% done, and the second between 60% and 70% done. Nomura also noted that the final world would feature "something incredible" that he has been wanting to do for a while, though no details were given.
During the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour-, the game was announced with a released date of January 25, 2019 and January 29, 2019 for Japan and worldwide, respectively. Two trailers were released, the first one confirming that Frozen was a playable world along with confirming a number of returning characters, the second video, a Square Enix E3 Showcase 2018 trailer, which is similar to the first but with extra footage confirming a few more returning characters. Another video was released shortly afterwards to show a new Pirates of the Caribbean world, this one based on Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
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Worlds and Characters
A special and Deluxe edition will also be available alongside the main release. The Special edition is available for $79.99 which includes a exclusive steelbook packaging, a mini-art book with concept artwork by Tetsuya Nomura and a collectible KHIII pin. The Deluxe edition will be available for $229.99 which has the contents from special edition along with three Bring Arts figures of Sora, Donald, and Goofy from their appearance in the Toy Box.
The trailer begins as scenes and images of past games and their scenes from the Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance intro fill the screen, starting with Kingdom Hearts, followed by Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. As the computer-generated Sora from the intro of Dream Drop Distance rises, he slowly changes in appearance to a newer, in-game model.
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 Shadows similar to a Demon Tide 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.
D23 Expo Japan 2013 Trailer
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 discussing the Keyblade War. The screen remains black, with sketches of their faces in white, though their faces are too far zoomed-in to identify.
E3 2015 Trailer
The trailer opens with a scene of Master Xehanort and Master Eraqus in their youth, playing chess in the Land of Departure. Following the conversation in the previous trailer, 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, Kingdom of Corona, 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 No Name, his future Keyblade, 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.
Jump Festa 2016 Trailer
The trailer shows regular combat in Kingdom of Corona, Twilight Town, and Mysterious Tower with Sora, Donald and Goofy. Sora's combat options are the focus, demonstrating the return of Flowmotion, Shotlock, physical combos similar to those available in Kingdom Hearts II, as well as the new Attraction Flows. Sora is seen fighting a group of scythe-wielding Nobodies[please confirm], as well as new flying Heartless similar to Red Nocturnes. The trailer ends with the Kingdom Hearts III logo, and "Now in Development."
Orchestra -World Tour- Trailer
As part of the first performance of Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- in Los Angeles on June 10, 2017, Square Enix launched a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III. The new trailer further showcases Olympus Coliseum and gameplay in that world, as Sora dives into Mt. Olympus and fights several Heartless using Shotlock-style attacks, alongside Donald, Goofy, and Hercules. It also showcases an attack using both Sora and Goofy. It then features a conversation amongst Maleficent, Pete, and Hades, where Maleficent asks for knowledge concerning a black box. Further gameplay and a battle against the Rock Titan is then shown. Later, Xemnas confronts Sora at the Old Mansion, stating that the only way to bring back Roxas is to use the power of darkness. The trailer ends with the logo, then an invitation for all to watch the next trailer at D23 in July.
D23 2017 Trailer
The trailer begins with new footage of Sora engaging in combat and exploration in Twilight Town and Mount Olympus, battling Heartless and Nobodies and displaying a new Drive Form and Keyblade transformations. During this sequence, the phrase "Don't assume your dreams are just fantasy. If you can imagine a world, believe in it...and dive in." scrolls by in giant letters and concludes with the phrase in normal font. It then fades into an introduction to the Toy Story-based world, followed by Sora striking an alliance with Woody and Buzz. Gameplay set in the world follows, with Sora showcasing new Keyblade transformations and the ability to commandeer vehicle-based enemies. Later, Sora encounters Young Xehanort, who muses on the world and how hearts connect. The trailer then ends with the logo, followed by a release year of 2018.
D23 Japan 2018 Trailers
The trailer begins with the phrase "Don't assume your dreams are just fantasy. If you can imagine a world, believe in it...and dive in."
In the Kingdom of Corona, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are confronted by Marluxia, who introduces himself and claims to be serving the Real Organization XIII; having met him at a time when their memories had been tampered with, Sora, Donald and Goofy obviously do not recognize him. In the Toy Story world, Buzz, Woody, Ham, and Rex plan to attack a Heartless on the floor, but stop when they see Sora, Donald, and Goofy heading for it themselves. It then cuts to a scene of Sora, Donald, and Goofy entering the Monsters, Inc. facility in the newly-revealed Monsters, Inc. world, where they meet Sulley, Boo, and Mike Wazowski in the lobby. The trailer then cuts to several gameplay sequences in the Tangled, Toy Story, and Monsters, Inc.-based worlds, featuring new combat mechanics, a summmon-like feature with Ariel, and Dream Eaters. The scenes also reveals Mike, Sulley, Rapunzel, and Flynn Rider as party members, bringing the total of known party members in their respective worlds to five. The trailer ends with a cutscene revealing Vanitas, now wearing a black coat, who reaches out to Sora in an attempt to reclaim his other half that rests within him. Due to Ventus's heart once again reacting, Sora recognizes Vanitas, much to his own confusion. Vanitas approaches Sora as the game logo ends the trailer.
The second trailer reveals the game's title theme, "Don't Think Twice", performed by Utada Hikaru. In the Japanese version of the trailer, the theme is titled "Oath (誓い, Chikai?)". The trailer showcases several scenes from the past trailers and one previously-unseen scene in the newly-announced Monsters, Inc. world, where Sora, Donald, Goofy, Mike, and Sulley confront Vanitas on the Laugh Floor (previously known as Scare Floor). The trailer contains no audible dialogue until the end, where it reveals King Mickey and Riku in the Dark Margin. Riku examines his now-broken Way to the Dawn Keyblade and embeds it into the ground, deciding he wouldn't be able to use it any longer and remarking that perhaps "the other me" might need it. The game logo ends the trailer, with a release year of 2018.
Classic Kingdom Trailer
As part of the Kingdom Hearts Union χ Dandelion Meeting at Anaheim, California, Square Enix unveiled a trailer for Kingdom Hearts III. It begins with Sora, Donald, and Goofy in Twilight Town. Sora receives a device from Hayner, Pence, and Olette, and begins to play it. A montage of gameplay follows, revealing a series of minigames inspired by classic Disney cartoons and 1980's LCD games. The trailer then ends with the game logo.
Famitsu Gameplay Video
In May 2018, Square Enix invited several press outlets to California to play a demo of Kingdom Hearts III. In addition to an interview with Tetsuya Nomura and Tai Yasue, Famitsu released a gameplay video of the demo. A montage of gameplay follows, revealing segments of the Mount Olympus and Toy Box worlds, several new Keyblades, Attractions attacks, and the Shotlock combat system. Ralph from the film Wreck-It Ralph is revealed to be a summon.
E3 2018 Trailers
The first trailer, the E3 2018 Frozen Trailer, begins with a new message: "The light is gathering together. Hearts driven by one oath, one purpose." Following this, the trailer shows Sora, Donald, and Goofy in Arendelle, encountering Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven. It then cuts to gameplay of the party battling Marshmallow and many Heartless, displaying the Blizzard Blade Keyblade transformation and Simba as a Link summon. Following further gameplay in various worlds and a Gummi Ship sequence, the trailer cuts to a scene of Elsa rescuing Sora, Donald, and Goofy from a Heartless before confessing her fear of her powers, then more scenes in Olympus, the Toy Box, the Monsters, Inc. world, Kingdom of Corona, and Twilight Town. Back in Arendelle, Larxene is revealed to be working for the real Organization and goading Elsa towards darkness. The last scene features Riku and Mickey encountering a shadowy figure at the End of Sea; the figure is revealed to be a corrupted Aqua as she picks up an unknown Keyblade and claims that Mickey is too late. The trailer then ends with the logo, and then the release date of January 29, 2019.
The second trailer, the E3 2018 Square Enix Showcase Trailer, starts off with the same message from the first, followed by new footage in Arendelle. After seeing more footage from the first video it shows Sora cooking with Remy. After more footage from the first trailer is shown it shows Xigbar confronting Sora, followed by Mickey and Riku returning to Mysterious Tower to reunite with the group, then Sora, Donald, and Goofy saving Hayner's group in Twilight Town. After more footage from the first trailer is shown, it shows new footage of Sora asserting Roxas's existence to Ansem and Xemnas in Twilight Town to which Xemnas states it would please him more if Roxas returns, followed by a new scene in Ansem the Wise's old lab in Twilight Town of Ienzo stating that he would have included Roxas's full data in the construction of the Simulated Twilight Town. The trailer ends the same way as the first one with Aqua, along with a brief scene of Kairi and Lea in a field.
The third trailer, the E3 2018 Pirates of the Caribbean Trailer, starts with the same message from the first two trailers, then shows a scene with Sora, Donald, and Goofy in the new Caribbean world in new pirate clothes with Sora happy to be a pirate again. After showing a cutscene with the Black Pearl (taken from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) as well as Jack Sparrow and his group, different gameplay is shown from this world followed by a cutscene of the group confronting Luxord who confirms he is "back with the Organization". Sora tries to fight Luxord, but Jack, like before, reminds Sora they have to follow the pirate's code. The next few cutscenes show Hades attempting to sic the remaining three Titans on Sora and company before Hercules shows up, the Little Green Men being abducted by a spaceship, Elsa believing Arendelle is safer without her, Rapunzel dancing, and Vanitas encountering Sora's group at Monstropolis. A new scene of Larxene is then shown, with Larxene suggesting Elsa may be one of the "New Seven Hearts" they are looking for, followed by new footage for cutscenes from the earlier trailers with Xemnas, Ansem, and Xigbar. Another new scene is then shown with Lea and Kairi, with Lea commenting on her new look and that she cut her hair. The video ends showing Riku on Destiny Islands with another Riku who is powered by darkness.
TGS 2018 Trailers
A short Big Hero 6 Trailer was released in advance of Tokyo Game Show. The trailer shows Sora, Donald, and Goofy on a city bridge encountering Hiro, Baymax, and the rest of the cast from the movie battling against a swarm of Bug Blox. A brief scene of Sora encountering Randall is shown. It cuts to another brief scene of Sora with Rapunzel and Flynn, and then to another brief scene of Sora encountering Xehanort in Toy Box. Gameplay of Sora fighting with Baymax as a party member is shown. A montage of the Gummi Ship and its customization is seen. Constant flashes of images then show various scenes, including the two Pictures from Kingdom Hearts II, one with and one without Roxas, an unidentified cloaked figure with white hair, and Aqua in her new, darker outfit.
The longer Big Hero 6 Extended Trailer was released. It begins with young Xehanort playing chess with young Eraqus. Sora then fights in San Fransokyo, even flying on Baymax, and engaging in a racing minigame. On the city bridge, Hiro talks about his brother with Sora, Baymax, and Gogo while eating ice cream, making Roxas in Sora's heart remember his Twilight Town friends. Mickey encourages Riku about how he has the strength to overcome darkness. Sora receives a call and hopes the caller is Riku, but it turns out to be Ienzo instead. Jiminy Cricket is seen in the Gummi Ship. Brief scenes show Rapunzel touching a gigantic dandelion puff, which alerts a bevy of dandelion Heartless, Jack Sparrow fleeing from Davy Jones, and Anna talking to Sora about her sister. Sora finds the Master's Defender on Destiny Islands with Goofy. After brief scenes of Luxord and Larxene, the Twilight Town group has come to the mansion to search for Roxas in the alternate Twilight Town. Gameplay shows Sora fighting on a pirate ship, taking a selfie, and fighting an enemy with Marshmallow as a party member. After a scene of Ansem talking to Xigbar in Twilight Town about needing to find another vessel, a yellow-eyed Vexen talks to Demyx. In San Fransokyo, Sora talks to a version of Riku wearing the Black Coat. Vanitas has found Ventus's unconscious body, wondering what to do with his "brother." The corrupted Aqua says only misery and despair is in her heart. Sora, Donald and Mickey finally encounter Xehanort. The final montage includes an uncorrupted Aqua fighting the Guardian; Kairi with Lea; Demyx emerging from a Corridor of Darkness in Ansem's computer room; a coated Ansem the Wise apparently comforting Ienzo; Saïx visiting Lea on Twilight Town's clock tower; Terra-Xehanort holding his face; Vanitas aiming his Keyblade at an unconscious Aqua; Aqua reaching for Sora's hand; Sora seeing Ventus's Dive to the Heart; Sora talking to Kairi on Destiny Islands; Lea weeping; and a coated dual-wielding Roxas removing his hood.
Notes and references
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