Mark your calendars fellow Keybladers, the long, long awaited Kingdom Hearts III will be releasing early next year, Tuesday, January 29th. Thirteen years after Kingdom Hearts II, and four years after it was revealed to be in development, we now know when we will finally be able to play the final chapter of the Xehanort saga.
Due to many circumstances, namely due to director Tetsuya Nomura working on Final Fantasy XV, core production of Kingdom Hearts III took a long time to begin. It seems that soon after Square Enix decided to scrap Final Fantasy XV’s progress on the custom in house engine they had developed, and moved to a custom Unreal Engine 4 build, that it finally entered production.
In the years between, Sora and his friends’ stories have been greatly expanded in a myriad of prequels, midquels, and sequels. A lot of fans were put off by this, due each game coming out on a different console, and simply wanting a direct sequel that we knew was coming since prior to Kingdom Hearts II’s release.
Kingdom Hearts III will take place directly after Fragmentary Passage – a vignette bundled with Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue which shows Sora, saddened by his failure to earn the Mark of Mastery, set out to meet with Hercules and Phil to receive training. Sora was meant to earn the Mark of Mastery in order to prove he will be ready to take on the series main antagonist Xehanort in his many, many forms.
The latest trailer depicts Sora in the kingdom of Arendelle from Disney’s hit film Frozen. The world shares this name, and Sora is seen interacting with the four main characters, as well as fighting the ice monster Elsa creates in the film. Simba is shown to return as a Link, the new summoning mechanic for Kingdom Hearts III, and a cooking mini game is seen with Remy from Pixar’s Ratatouille.
Some more footage from the Kingdom of Corona is shown, with Rapunzel assisting Sora with platforming via her hair. Gummi Ship levels are seen for the first time, appearing similar to how they did in Kingdom Hearts II.
The last half of the trailer gives us some story scenes, starting with Xigbar/Braig stringing Sora along similarly to how he did in Kingdom Hearts II. Hayner, Pence, and Olette are shown running from the Shadow Torrent first seen in the announcement trailer. Ienzo, the human form of prior antagonist Zexion is shown working with Ansem the Wise’s computer, which housed the digital Twilight Town used in the opening hours of the second game. Larxene, a previously defeated Organization XIII member has returned. Aqua, a character known to be the incorruptible stalwart of the prequel game is shown to have succumbed to the darkness, after being trapped in the Realm of Darkness for twelve years. Lastly, a brief shot of Lea and Kairi sitting together is shown.
Despite the release date finally being secured, the frenzy will only build from here as more information is released. Kingdom Hearts III will be available on Xbox One and Playstation 4 for $59.99 USD / $79.99 CAD.