Kingdom Hearts III

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Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts III Logo KHIII.png
キングダム ハーツ III
Kingudamu Hātsu Surī
Developer(s) Square Enix
Publisher(s) United States/Canada, Japan Square Enix
Release date(s) Japan January 25, 2019[1]

United States/Canada January 29, 2019[2][3]
Europe January 29, 2019
Australia January 29, 2019

Genre Console action role-playing game
Game modes Single player
Ratings ESRB:Everyone 10+Everyone 10+
Platform(s) PlayStation 4
Xbox One[4]

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 the events leading up to the final showdown between Sora and Master Xehanort.

Kingdom Hearts III was originally scheduled to be released in 2018,[3] 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.[2]

There is a playable prologue to Kingdom Hearts III called Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- as part of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.

The game has two theme songs. The opening theme song is "Face My Fears" which is a collaboration between Utada Hikaru and Skrillex. The ending theme song is "Don't Think Twice" (titled "Chikai" in the Japanese version) performed by Utada Hikaru.

Development

The game was announced to be in development alongside a trailer during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June 2013. A trailer was later released at the first D23 Exposition in Japan in October 2013, revealing initial gameplay.

For E3 2014, Square Enix released a thirty-second trailer as part of a trailer to Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. In the Square Enix Present segment, co-director Tai Yasue revealed the sequence seen in the E3 2014 teaser would be relevant from the beginning of the game and the text seen and heard was going to "be a real integral part of the story".[5] On September 17th, 2014, Square Enix announced Tetsuya Nomura would be stepping down as director for Final Fantasy XV so he can focus his efforts on other upcoming titles, namely Kingdom Hearts III.[6]

During the Square Enix E3 Conference on June 16, 2015, the Kingdom Hearts series's executive producer, Shinji Hashimoto, revealed the first gameplay trailer which shows Sora in a new outfit. Sora is seen wielding new Keyblades, fighting new Heartless, and also exploring Kingdom of Corona, a world based on Tangled.[7] In the Square Enix Presents segment, Nomura revealed Kingdom of Corona was one of the first to be considered for the game.[8] In a PlayStation Access interview, Nomura confirmed Final Fantasy characters will return.[9]

During Disney's D23 Expo 2015, Shinji Hashimoto announced a world based on Big Hero 6.[10]

In a Famitsu interview, Nomura confirmed the game would contain a secret movie.[11]

In their financial Results Briefing Session, Square Enix President and Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda and Chief Financial Officer Kazuharu Watanabe stated the expected release can be sometime between 2018 and 2020.[12]

During Disney D23 Expo 2017, Nomura showed a trailer depicting a Toy Story world, and announced the game would be released in 2018.[3] Nomura stated the game's delay is not due to development issues, but rather technical decisions made by Square Enix such as moving the game to Unreal Engine 4.[13][please confirm] Nomura confirmed the Toy Story world features an original storyline set sometime after Toy Story 2, and hinted there would be another playable character besides Sora.[14]

During Disney's D23 Expo Japan 2018 Conference, a private Kingdom Hearts event was held where two trailers were revealed. In one, a Monsters, Inc. world was confirmed, while the other announced Utada Hikaru would perform the theme song, titled "Don't Think Twice" ("Oath" in Japanese). The event also revealed the game was being developed by the largest developing team in the history of the series,[15] including 100 people from the Square Enix's Tokyo offices.[16] The return of the Gummi Ship was confirmed, and it was revealed 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.[15] 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 noted the final world would feature "something incredible" he wanted to do for a while.[16]

During the Los Angeles performance of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- in 2018, the game's release date was announced as January 25, 2019 in Japan and January 29, 2019 worldwide.[2] Two trailers were released, the first one confirming 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.[17] Nomura confirmed there were no plans for a Final Mix version and that if there was additional content, it would be through patches and DLC.[18]

During Tokyo Game Show 2018, Nomura talked more about the Secret Ending and how staff were considering a different unlock method from before, such as having the Secret Ending be exclusive DLC to avoid spoilers. They also considered adding online features.[19]

On November 20 2018, the development for the game was confirmed to be completed.[20]

In December 2018, several videos of the game were leaked online after an individual stole copies from the manufacturer a month prior to release. Nomura released a statement on the Kingdom Hearts official Twitter account, notifying fans Square Enix was aware of the leaks and are working to rectify the situation, as well as urging fans not to share leaked media before the game's release.[21][22]

Star Wars and Marvel titles were some of the most requested themes to appear in the game, but due to legal issues, this is extremely unlikely.[23]

Story

"Believing light and darkness must remain in balance, Master Xehanort seeks to spark war against the ‘tyranny of light’ to restore equilibrium.

In an effort to undermine Xehanort’s plot, Sora, Donald and Goofy search for seven guardians of light and the “Key to Return Hearts,” while King Mickey and Riku search for previous Keyblade wielders.
"
Kingdom Hearts III press release

Gameplay

Combat features

  • The gauges for Donald and Goofy now appear next to Sora's in the bottom right corner instead of above. The MP gauge from KHII returns. The "Focus" gauge which originated from Birth by Sleep returns and is also meant for Shotlocks.[citation needed]
  • Drive Forms return. These include;
    • "Guardian Form,"[25] a form that transforms Sora's Keyblade into a shield,
    • "Power Form,"[26]
    • "Second Form," a form that grants Sora's clothing similar to that of his outfit from Kingdom Hearts II.[27]
Situation Commands seen on the left side are unlocked through battle performance.
  • Attraction Flow is a new feature, which lets the party execute skills based on theme park attractions.[30] This includes "Big Magic Mountain", "Pirate Ship", "Blaster Blaze", "Splash Run", "Magic Carousel", and "Mad Tea Cups".
  • Sora's Keyblade can transform into various items, such as a double bow gun or a chariot to attack enemies.[30] It is currently planned for each Keyblade to have two transformations, with the second activating if Sora connects enough combos, similar to Command Styles or Situation Commands.[31][32] Trailers indicate that these transformations will sometimes change Sora's outfit, as well.[3]

Publicized Keychains include: "Shooting Star", "Ever After", "Smile Gear", "Infinity Badge", "Rudder of Fate", "Crystal Snow", "Nano Gear", "Starlight", (Kingdom Hearts Union χ event exclusive), and "Dawn Till Dusk" (7/11 / Amazon preorder exclusive), Phantom Green (Xbox One pre-order exclusive), Midnight Blue (PlayStation 4 pre-order exclusive)

  • Sora can now switch between three Keychains on the fly by pressing the Right Directional Button while the the cursor in on the Attack Command. Also after activating a Keyblade transformation, said transformation will be saved when switching out.
    • Furthermore, Keychains can now level up to become stronger.[33]
  • Blizzard and Aero magic will return. Similar to 0.2, magic will affect the surrounding environment—for example, Blizzard will create a sheet of ice to slide on and Aero will move and shape the grass.[34] Sora will be also able to cast fourth tier spells (previously localized as -za, -ja, or -agun).[35]
  • Disney characters will join Sora's team as temporary party members or summons.[36] Trailers indicate that some worlds will have more than one local party member, and that they will be able to fight alongside Sora without replacing Donald or Goofy.[3]
  • The Summon system will operate very differently from in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II.[37] Summons are now called Links with Ariel's "Lagoon Showtime", Ralph's "8 Bit Blast", Simba's "Kingsflare", Meow Wow's "Wonder Balloon", and Stitch's "Plasma Encounter". A summon sequence can easily be skipped by pressing Square.
  • The AI has been improved, so allies can invite Sora into special techniques, and enemies can work together.[38]

Exploration

  • Nearly all worlds are new to the series. However, there is some familiarity seen in Twilight Town, Hercules's world and the Pirates of the Carribean world.[39]
  • Autorunning (Athletic Flow in Japanese), a mechanic based on Flowmotion, will allow the player to interact with the environment, like running up walls that faintly glow.[40]
  • Textboxes when talking to NPCs are removed. The dialog is now voiced.

Other features

  • The game will contain mini-games.[41] There is a cooking mini-game with Remy in Twilight Town.
  • The Gummi Ship will return with a revised system.[42] Traveling is described as being more "open world".[43]
  • Sora has a Gummiphone which can take selfies.

Worlds and Characters

Other
Scala ad Caelum[46][47]
Dive to the Heart
Destiny Islands
The Mysterious Tower
Disney Castle
Land of Departure
Radiant Garden
Keyblade Graveyard
Twilight Town[46][48]
End of Sea
Olympus[48][49]
Kingdom of Corona[51]
San Fransokyo[54] [55][56][57]
Toy Box[3][59]
Monstropolis [60][59]
Arendelle[59]
The Caribbean[62][59]
Classic Kingdom
100 Acre Wood[65][66]

Special Editions

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.[68]

DLC

There is downloadable contents (DLC) for the game either adding additional elements[69] or in the form of Keyblades. Some are only available as pre-order bonuses.[70] These include:

  • Patch update data
  • A Memory Archive that will be available on launch date based on the respective region that will show past events of the series to help inexperienced players catch up with the storyline, which is currently being used on Square Enix's Japanese website.
  • The epilogue ending for Kingdom Hearts III that will be available on the day after the date of release for each region which is unlockable by completing the game
  • A secret ending video will be added on January 31 for all regions, and has been stated to require completing the game under certain conditions based on the difficulty level, similar to past games.

Notes and references

  1. 'Kingdom Hearts's JP twitter
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kingdom Hearts's twitter
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 KINGDOM HEARTS III – D23 2017 Toy Story Trailer
  4. Kingdom Hearts III official site
  5. Dengeki Playstation: "『キングダム ハーツ HD 2.5 リミックス』安江泰氏インタビュー。HD化にまつわる開発秘話の他、最新作『KHIII』の話題も【E3 2014】"
  6. Siliconera: "Tabata Takes Over Final Fantasy XV; Tetsuya Nomura Moves On To Kingdom Hearts III"
  7. 'Square Enix E3 Conference 2015
  8. 'Square Enix Presents E3 2015 - Day 1
  9. PlayStation Access: "Kingdom Hearts 3: 8 Things You Need To Know", "#2 Final Fantasy characters in KH3", Nomura: "I want them in."
  10. Siliconera: "Kingdom Hearts III Has A Big Hero 6 World"
  11. Famitsu, 25 June 2015, Nomura: "We are steadily progressing and deciding what to do with the ending… as well as considering content for the secret movie."
  12. Siliconera: "Expect Final Fantasy VII Remake And Kingdom Hearts III To Release Sometime In “Three Years Or So”"
  13. https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/07/kingdom-hearts-3-director-says-its-squares-fault-the-game-is-taking-so-long/
  14. IGN: "KINGDOM HEARTS 3 DIRECTOR HINTS AT SECOND PLAYABLE CHARACTER", Nomura: "So it would be tough to introduce many, multiple playable characters, but there is an intention of adding a playable character aside from Sora. Unfortunately we’re not able to disclose who it is yet, but there will be [another playable character]."
  15. 15.0 15.1 IGN: 11 New pieces of information from D23 Expo Japan that have shed some light on Kingdom Hearts 3
  16. 16.0 16.1 PlayStation Access: "Kingdom Hearts 3: 10 New Things we've had Confirmed"
  17. Kingdom Hearts 3 Showcases Pirates of the Caribbean
  18. Kingdom Hearts 3 Won’t Get Any Final Mix Release, Confirmed To Have A Secret Movie
  19. Tetsuya Nomura: Kingdom Hearts Will Not End with Kingdom Hearts III
  20. Twitter (@KINGDOMHEARTS): "...And guess what? We've wrapped up development of #KingdomHearts III! If you haven't had the chance yet, now would be a good time to prep by playing 1.5+2.5 & 2.8. See you next month!"
  21. An important message for Kingdom Hearts III from Director Tetsuya Nomura
  22. UPDATE: KINGDOM HEARTS III DIRECTOR RESPONDS TO REPORTED LEAKS
  23. Kingdom Hearts III Not Having Star Wars or Avengers Is Finally Explained
  24. Dengeki Playstation, 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."
  25. Square Enix Online Store: "KINGDOM HEARTS III BRING ARTS SORA (GUARDIAN FORM VER.)"
  26. Kingdom Hearts Official Twitter, "This power form was edited as it is the Keyblade from a world that hasn’t been released yet, so it has changed into a hammer shape."
  27. Kingdom Hearts III Orchestra trailer
  28. Dengeki Playstation: "リメイク版『FFVII』クラウド女装イベントの有無を野村哲也氏に聞く。『KHIII』にQTEはない【E3 2015】", 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." / Interviewer: "Are there no longer Reaction Commands in boss battles?" / Nomura: "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."
  29. Dengeki Playstation, Nomura: "Regarding Situational Commands, there's been some trial and error, how to make sure it doesn't look like a simple quick time event etc.-->
    Situational Commands are the evolved form of KH2's Reaction Commands, and pivotal to KH3."
  30. 30.0 30.1 4Gamer: "「KINGDOM HEARTS III」「FF VII」のディレクター・野村哲也氏インタビュー", 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."
  31. D23 2015 presentation, Nomura: "I am very happy to say that all the Keyblades in the game are going to have special transformations, and each of them will be totally different from the next."
  32. GameInformer: "Nomura Reveals More On Kingdom Hearts III's Keyblade Transformations And Summons", Nomura: "First and foremost, each keyblade will have its own form that it can transform into, and it’s different per keyblade. There are at least two different forms it can take. For example, in Toy Story, you saw the giant hammer and then the drill. Another one was at the beginning of the trailer where you saw Sora shoot arrows and it [then] turned into a bazooka, so there are two different forms. It also has multiple layers in terms of transforming; you start out with your first phase of transformation, and if you successfully connect your combos, the [next] transformation will happen. We’re still trying to finalize the specifications, but that being said, it is subject to change, so it might evolve into something even more impressive."
  33. Geek.com: "Hands-On: Kingdom Hearts 3 is Fun Even if You've New to the Series", "Players can now equip up to three different keyblades at once. They can also level up each keyblade to make them stronger. Before, there was no incentive to continue using keyblades obtained from previous worlds since the newer keyblades were more powerful. Now, keyblades you have a fondness for are viable even later in the game since you can level them up."
  34. KHInsider: "Roundtable Chat with Tetsuya Nomura at E3 2015!", Interviewer: "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."
  35. IGN: "KINGDOM HEARTS 3 DIRECTOR CONFIRMS GUMMI SHIP WILL RETURN, NEW MAGIC ABILITY TIERS", Nomura: "The background of the tier of the magic, up until now, only King Mickey was able to utilize the most powerful form of magic [which was "Stopza" in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance]. It has existed, and then in 2.8, as Aqua becomes Key Blade Master, she is also able to control the highest form of certain magic. As you noticed, it is a higher tier of magic, and Sora is going to be able to use that in Kingdom Hearts III as well."
  36. KHInsider: "Roundtable Chat with Tetsuya Nomura at E3 2015!", Interviewer: "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."
  37. Square Enix Members livestream, Interviewer: "Will summoning be returning to Kingdom Hearts III?" / Nomura: "Yes. Summon is going to be available, but in a very different form. In previous titles, Disney characters could be summoned. But in Kingdom Hearts III, it will be a completely different system."
  38. 4Gamer: "「KINGDOM HEARTS III」「FF VII」のディレクター・野村哲也氏インタビュー", 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."
  39. Dengeki Playstation, Nomura: "I can't speak in detail, but apart from Olympus, nearly all the worlds are new."
  40. GameInformer: "Nomura Reveals More On Kingdom Hearts III's Keyblade Transformations And Summons", Nomura: "It’s a new mechanic that we’re implementing in Kingdom Hearts III. The Japanese name is Athletic Flow. I don’t know what the English final name is just yet. It’s based on the Flow Motion mechanic, and it’s basically revamped and introduced as a new mechanic in Kingdom Hearts III. You’ll be utilizing the environment to propel yourself to an area that you’re not normally able to go to, or again, running up the cliff during battle. Those can be expected in each of the different worlds you’ll be traversing through."
  41. Playstation Universe: "Kingdom Hearts 3 director issues a new development update", Nomura: "Other elements, including the mini-games and other various smaller items; their progress is very varied...some of them are polished and very close to final state, but at the same time some elements are still in the planning phase and I haven't laid out the groundwork yet."
  42. IGN: "KINGDOM HEARTS 3 DIRECTOR CONFIRMS GUMMI SHIP WILL RETURN, NEW MAGIC ABILITY TIERS", Nomura: "We can confirm that we do have Gummi Ships in Kingdom Hearts III because it is a numbered Kingdom Hearts title. You can expect that to show up, but it has evolved. We can't say how it has evolved, it's a secret, but Gummi Ships will be in Kingdom Hearts III."
  43. Recap: KINGDOM HEARTS 3 Stage Show at TGS 2018, "Gummi Ship is more open world. You can collect materials and upgrade your ship, there are 20-30 staff working on the Gummi stuff."
  44. 44.0 44.1 Kingdom Hearts III launches January 25, 2019 in Japan and Asia, January 29 in North America and Europe
  45. As mentioned in the "100 Acre Wood" summary, Sora is told by Merlin about the accident on the front page of Winnie's book
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 KHInsider: Scans of Kingdom Hearts III from Dengeki Online!
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Dengeki Playstation via KHInsider, Interviewer: "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."
  48. 48.0 48.1 Dengeki Playstation via KHInsider, Interviewer: "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." / Interviewer: "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."
  49. Kingdom Hearts Official Twitter, "The #KH3 D23 trailer featured a closer look at Mount Olympus & showed off the double Arrowguns and Magical Launcher, which will you wield?"
  50. 50.0 50.1 NEW KINGDOM HEARTS III CM 120sec 2019【NEW KH3 TRAILER】
  51. Kingdom Hearts Official Twitter, "The Heartless Dandelions make quite an entrance in Rapunzel's Kingdom of Corona in the #kingdomhearts III trailer!"
  52. Kingdom Hearts III's Voice Cast Includes Movie Voice Actors From Frozen And Tangled , "From Tangled, Zachary Levi reprises his role as Flynn Rider from the movie, while Donna Murphy appears as Mother Gothel."
  53. Famitsu, 25 June 2015, 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."
  54. TGS 2018 Kingdom Hearts III pamphlet
  55. Disney Interactive Official Twitter, "Just announced: @KINGDOMHEARTS III will feature a world based on #BigHero6! #D23Expo"
  56. KINGDOM HEARTS III – Big Hero 6 Trailer (Closed Captions)
  57. "SORA THROUGH THE SKIES OF SAN FRANSOKYO WITH BAYMAX IN KINGDOM HEARTS III" - Square Enix Press Center
  58. KINGDOM HEARTS III - BIG HERO 6 Announce trailer, Roy Conli: "We'll also get to see Baymax again."
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.3 World | Kingdom Hearts III
  60. D23 Expo Japan Trailer
  61. Orchestra 2018 Trailer (low quality)
  62. E3 2018: KINGDOM HEARTS 3 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN WORLD ANNOUNCED
  63. Kingdom Hearts III director explains why Pirates of the Caribbean is back
  64. 64.0 64.1 New Kingdom Hearts III Trailer Reveals Pirates of the Caribbean
  65. Kingdom Hearts III ‘Winnie the Pooh’ trailer
  66. New Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer Is Full Of Pooh
  67. Square Enix Press Center - KINGDOM HEARTS III RETURNS TO 100 ACRE WOOD WITH WINNIE THE POOH
  68. Kingdom Hearts III special editions announced, E3 2018 Square Enix showcase trailer
  69. Twitter (@KINGDOMHEARTS): "#KingdomHearts III free game update release schedule..."
  70. Twitter (@KINGDOMHEARTS): "Fans in the US and Canada, pre-order #KingdomHearts III from @amazongames for this exclusive Keyblade, Dawn Till Dusk!"

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