Everything we know so far about Kingdom Hearts 3
Fans of the long-running partnership between Disney and Square Enix have been waiting for the fabled third installment for over a decade now, receiving little more than small drops of information through trailers, screenshots and cheeky comments from developers.
Directed by Tetsuya Nomura, the same mind behind Final Fantasy 15, Kingdom Hearts 3 has likely been put on the backburner until work on the JRPG giant has been completed and released in November 2016.
Set to feature a selection of new characters, worlds and gameplay systems, Kingdom Hearts 3 will finally put an end to the convuluted yet surprisingly compelling story that began back in March 2002. However, with no release date in sight, we may have a long time to wait.
Keep this page bookmarked for all the latest information on Kingdom Hearts 3.
Watch the E3 2015 Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer here:
Kingdom Hearts 3 Release Date – When is it coming out?
Sadly there's a giant question mark over the Kingdom Hearts 3 release date, with Square Enix only able to say the game is "currently in development" during the game's showcase at E3 2015.
Square Enix has confirmed that Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts 3 will not be released until after April 2017, so we have a long wait ahead of us.
Kingdom Hearts 3 News – What do we know so far?
E3 2015 trailer reveals a load of gameplay details
Square Enix's E3 2015 press conference was used to reveal a brand-new trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3 that you can see below.
It takes the form of a highlights reel of gameplay, giving us a look at Sora, Donald and Goofy in action in the game. Sora is seen engaging in combat with several enemies in the Hercules world, as he's facing a Titan from that universe.
Kingdom Hearts 3 gifts Sora with some powerful new abilities, including exciting new finishing moves.
We particularly liked the fact that he can now turn the Keyblade into either dual-wielded pistols or a unique double-bladed weapon. This was shown off in the new lush greenlands of what we presume to be the Tangled world.
You also see Sora summon a chariot in the Hercules world.
It runs on Unreal Engine 4
Kingdom Hearts 3 will now run on Unreal Engine 4. That's instead of Square Enix's own Luminous engine.
However, the developer has promised that this won't affect the development timeline for the game.
More information to come in Winter 2016
In the latest trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Square Enix confirmed that more information on Kingdom Hearts 3 is coming later this year.
This onfirmed that the game would not be at E3 2016, with the publisher instead focusing on Final Fantasy 15, which is due out in November.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Story
The Kingdom Hearts 3 storyline takes place directly after the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. If you remember, Riku and Sora have just completed their Mark of Mastery exams and Sora has failed to be recognised as a Keyblade master.
At the moment, we only have this description from Square Enix to give us some details of the Kingdom Hearts 3 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.”
This is the final game in the Xehanort Saga and the third instalment in the main line of games in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
See also: Titanfall 2 - Everything we know so far
Kingdom Hearts 3 Worlds
During the Square Enix press conference at E3 2015, the developer confirmed that there's a brand-new world inbound that's based on Disney's Tangled film.
We also know that the Colosseum from Hercules world is returning for Kingdom Hearts 3.
Two other locations were revealed during the original E3 2013 trailer: Destiny Island and Twilight Town.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Characters
If you’ve played any of the previous Kingdom Hearts games, you’ll know that two of the highlights are the cast of characters and the worlds you get to explore.
At the moment all we know is that some of the series’ staples are going to feature in Kingdom Hearts 3. Those include Sora, Donald, Goofy, King Mickey and Riku.
The return of several other prominent characters is also expected with the full launch of Kingdom Hearts 3, such as Kairi, Lea, Yen Sid and co. Roxas has also been teased.
In the E3 2015 trailer, we got to see the Keyblade Masters Eraqus and Xehanort in their youth playing a game of chess – and supposedly representing the light and the dark sides.
See also: PS4 vs Xbox One
Kingdom Hearts 3 Gameplay
As you can see in the trailer above, the gameplay maintains a similar structure to the previous games. However, you might notice that there are a few instances where Sora leaps great distances. Previously, this would have been halted by an invisible wall.
This is a sign that the worlds in Kingdom Hearts 3 are going to be much more open and interconnected than in previous games. That's probably down to the power of the Xbox One and PS4, though.
“The action’s pretty frantic. The really bold action we’ve always had is getting even crazier. Kingdom Hearts 3 has three-person parties, but NPCs and other characters join the fight in each individual world, and the resulting action is really flashy and exciting," explained the game's director, Tetsuya Nomura. "The enemy AI is a lot more intricate too, and I think the gameplay will reflect that new dynamic balance. For example, there’s a foe that’s shaped like a vehicle, and Sora may jump on it and fly around; that’s already implemented.”
It's also been confirmed that the Kingdom Hearts 3 gameplay will lack any kind of QTE (Quick Time Events: actions that execute at the touch of a button when that button icon displays on screen). Although we'll believe that when we see it.
“QTE isn’t there anymore. For people who have seen the 'flashy' battles in Kingdom Hearts 2, it felt like there were too many of them when doing these operations,” said Nomura.
This time around, you’ll still need to have good timing when it comes to getting through certain parts of the game, but it isn't yet clear how different this good timing will be to just having QTEs.
Let us know what you'd like to see in Kingdom Hearts 3 in the comments below.