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 2018[1]

United States/Canada 2018[2]

Genre Console action role-playing game
Game modes Single player
Ratings N/A
Platform(s) PlayStation 4
Xbox One[3]

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.

Development

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"[4]. 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[5].

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.[6] 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.[7] In an interview with Access Playstation, Nomura confirmed that characters from the Final Fantasy series will appear once again.[citation needed][8]

During Disney's D23 Expo 2015, Shinji Hashimoto announced a world based on Big Hero 6.[9]

The game will contain a secret movie.[citation needed][10]

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.[11]

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.[2] 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.[12]

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

  • The Command Menu from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II will return.[13]
  • 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. A "Focus"/"EX" gauge similar to the Drive gauge also appears.
  • Athletic Flow, a mechanic based on Flowmotion, will allow the player to interact with the environment, like run up walls.[14]
  • Attraction Flow (アトラクションフロー Atorakushon Furō?) is a new feature, which lets the party execute skills based on theme park attractions.[15]
  • Sora's Keyblade can transform into various items, such as a double bow gun or a chariot to attack enemies.[15] 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.[16][17] Trailers indicate that these transformations will sometimes change Sora's outfit, as well.[citation needed]
  • Blizzard and Aero magic will return. Similar to 0.2, the 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.[18] Sora will be also able to cast fourth tier spells (previously localized as -za, -ja, or -agun).[19]
  • Reaction Commands will be replaced by Situation Commands.[20][21]
  • Nearly all worlds are new to the series.[22]
  • Disney characters will join Sora's team as temporary party members or summons.[23] 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.[2] Meanwhile, the Summon system will operate very differently from in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II.[24]
  • The AI has been improved, so allies can invite Sora into special techniques, and enemies can work together.[25]
  • The game will contain mini-games.[26]
  • Drive Forms return, with three new additions; "Guardian Form,"[27] a form that transforms Sora's Keyblade into a shield, "Power Form,"[28] and "Second Form," a form that grants Sora's clothing similar to that of his outfit from Kingdom Hearts II.[29]
  • The Gummi Ship will return with a revised system.[30]

Worlds and Characters

Big Hero 6 world concept art.
Other
New World[citation needed][31]
Twilight Town[citation needed][32]
Mount Olympus[33]
Kingdom of Corona[34]
Big Hero 6 world [36]
Toy Story world[2]
  • Woody
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Rex
  • Hamm
  • Sarge
  • Green Army Men
  • Aliens

Videos

E3 2013 Sony Conference Teaser

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.

Kingdom Hearts III E3 2013 Teaser


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[38] 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.

Kingdom Hearts III D23 Expo Japan 2013 Trailer


E3 2014 Teaser Trailer

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.

""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 about 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."

E3 2014


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.

E3 2015


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."

Jump Festa 2016


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.

Orchestra -World Tour- Trailer


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 2017 Trailer


Notes and references

  1. 【KINGDOM HEARTS III】 D23 EXPO 2017 Trailer
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 KINGDOM HEARTS III – D23 2017 Toy Story Trailer
  3. Kingdom Hearts III official site
  4. 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】"
  5. Siliconera: "Tabata Takes Over Final Fantasy XV; Tetsuya Nomura Moves On To Kingdom Hearts III"
  6. 'Square Enix E3 Conference 2015
  7. 'Square Enix Presents E3 2015 - Day 1
  8. PlayStation Access: "Kingdom Hearts 3: 8 Things You Need To Know", "#2 Final Fantasy characters in KH3: Can't reveal anything yet, but definitely are going to include them."
  9. Siliconera: "Kingdom Hearts III Has A Big Hero 6 World"
  10. Famitsu, Nomura: "We are steadily progressing and deciding what to do with the ending… as well as considering content for the secret movie."
  11. Siliconera: "Expect Final Fantasy VII Remake And Kingdom Hearts III To Release Sometime In “Three Years Or So”"
  12. 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]."
  13. 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."
  14. 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."
  15. 15.0 15.1 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."
  16. 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."
  17. 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."
  18. 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."
  19. 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."
  20. 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."
  21. 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."
  22. Dengeki Playstation, Nomura: "I can't speak in detail, but apart from Olympus, nearly all the worlds are new."
  23. 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."
  24. 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."
  25. 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."
  26. 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."
  27. Square Enix Online Store: "KINGDOM HEARTS III BRING ARTS SORA (GUARDIAN FORM VER.)"
  28. 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."
  29. Kingdom Hearts III Orchestra trailer
  30. 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."
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Dengeki Playstation, 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."
  32. Dengeki Playstation, 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."
  33. 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?"
  34. Kingdom Hearts Official Twitter, "The Heartless Dandelions make quite an entrance in Rapunzel's Kingdom of Corona in the #kingdomhearts III trailer!"
  35. Famitsu, 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."
  36. Disney Interactive Official Twitter, "Just announced: @KINGDOMHEARTS III will feature a world based on #BigHero6! #D23Expo"
  37. KINGDOM HEARTS III - BIG HERO 6 Announce trailer, Roy Conli: "We'll also get to see Baymax again."
  38. EGMNOW: "Kingdom Hearts III Director Touches Upon New Powers Seen in Gameplay Trailer"

External links

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