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Kingdom Hearts III
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January 29, 2019
"Don't believe your dreams are just fantasy. If you can imagine a world, believe in it and dive in."
"The light is gathering together, hearts driven by one oath, one purpose"
Kingdom Hearts III is the twelfth title in the Kingdom Hearts series. It was first officially announced at E3 2013, and released on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Kingdom Hearts III will serve as the conclusion to the Dark Seeker Saga.
Kingdom Hearts III released on January 25, 2019 in Japan and January 29, 2019 internationally.
Story[edit | edit source]
After Master Yen Sid instructs Sora to talk to Hercules about regaining the strength he had lost during his Mark of Mastery exam, Sora, Donald, and Goofy make their way to Olympus. There, they help Hercules stop Hades's attempt to take over the cosmos and overthrowing Zeus. During the visit, Sora runs into Maleficent and Pete, who are looking for a Black box and dismiss Sora as unnecessary to fight. They also soon run into Xigbar, who dismisses both Sora and Hercules's reasons for fighting, arguing that whenever they put their lives in harms way for others, someone else has to go in to save them. In the end, they defeat Hades, but Hercules finds he is unable to explain how he recovered his strength when he almost lost Megara during Sora's previous visit, though Sora picks up on a clue.
Meanwhile, Riku and King Mickey make their way through the Realm of Darkness, trying to find Aqua, where Riku reminisces his previous visits there. They soon arrive at the Dark Margin, where King Mickey senses Aqua's trail ends, and Riku recognizes the shore as the same place where he and Sora had arrived after defeating Xemnas. They are then suddenly attacked by a Demon Tide, and in the process, Riku's Way to the Dawn breaks. They decide to regroup at The Mysterious Tower and try again afterwards.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy meet up with King Mickey and Riku at The Mysterious Tower, where they learn of Aqua's trail ending, and not knowing of anyone that could help bring her back. Although Sora spontaneously offers to rescue her, Master Yen Sid reminds him that he needs the power of waking. Sora gets new clothes from Master Yen Sid, while King Mickey and Riku journey to Radiant Garden to take special garments to Lea and Kairi, who are training there under Merlin. Sora, Donald, and Goofy decide to follow Roxas's heart, and they journey to Twilight Town.
While in Twilight Town, Sora and company encounter and defeat a Demon Tide, and work with Hayner, Pence, and Olette to try to find a way back to the virtual Twilight Town. However, they soon run into Ansem and Xemnas, who question their ability to bring Roxas back. Meanwhile, Riku and the King, having arrived in Radiant Garden, investigate the place where Ansem the Wise's apprentice Xehanort had been found, and realize that Xehanort had been using Terra's body at the time, opening the possibility that Terra, under the influence of Master Xehanort, is likely a member of the Real Organizaiton XIII.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy travel through various worlds, seeking to help Sora gain the power of waking, all the while learning more about Master Xehanort's plan to reclaim Kingdom Hearts. They learn of the New Seven Hearts, new maidens who had the power of the Princesses of Light passed down to them following the defeat of Ansem during Sora's Kingdom Hearts. They also find that Luxord, Larxene, Marluxia, and Riku from when Ansem had control of his heart are also members of the Real Organization. Riku and Ienzo also realize that Vexen, who had led the previous Organization's Replica Program, had also likely joined the Organization.
Meanwhile, in the Realm of Darkness, Ansem confronts Ansem the Wise about a girl that had gone missing back when Ansem the Wise first discovered Xehanort's experiments and put an end to them. Though Ansem the Wise does not remember the girl, he agrees to join Ansem when the latter sends his guardian to attack Aqua. Aqua, now without a Keyblade, attempts to fight back, only to be weakened by darkness and thrown into the deep abyss beneath the Realm of Darkness. When Ansem the Wise returns with Xehanort's Heartless to Twilight Town, he pleads to be left alone, remorseful for all the children sacrificed because of the research he had started. Before they're able to enter the Old Mansion, however, they are distracted by both Hayner and Pence, long enough for Olette to sneak in and guide Ansem the Wise away. Frustrated, Ansem sends Nobodies to attack Hayner, only for him to be saved by a Dusk. Ansem then understood that a betrayal had occurred within the Organizaiton.
At the same time, in Twilight Town's corridors, Vexen confronts Ansem the Wise. Although he had joined the Organization to regain access to the Replica Program, he had actually done so to be able to atone for his mistakes in betraying Ansem the Wise.
Worlds and Characters[edit | edit source]
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
Gameplay for Kingdom Hearts III returns to the free-roam hack-and-slash combat from the previous two numbered titles in the series. Sora is once more the main playable character, although Riku is playable in both visits to Dark World. Sora is again accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy, and once more can be accompanied by characters from the worlds he's visiting, though as a first in the series, rather than replace Donald or Goofy, the additional party members add to the party for a maximum of five party members, Sora, Donald, and Goofy included. Though they cannot be played themselves, their AI is once again customizable in the game's menu.
Development and Release[edit | edit source]
Although the game was under consideration as early as 2006, shortly after the release of Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts III was first announced as being in development at the 2013 Electronics Entertainment Exposition (E3 2013) on June 10, 2013. At the time, Square Enix released a trailer and a press release with the synopsis for the title. The trailer also revealed the game's eventual release on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the first time a series title would be released on multiple platforms simultaneously. A brief gameplay trailer was shown off at the first D23 Expo Japan conference in October 2013, showing combat in both Twilight Town, and a battle with the Rock Titan. The trailer was the first time the Attraction attacks were shown off.
At E3 2014, a trailer promoting Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX contained a brief teaser for Kingdom Hearts III. The short clip showed still illustrations of what appeared to be a younger Master Eraqus and Master Xehanort, having a discussion about the Keyblade War. Tai Yasue, co-director for the game, revealed that the sequence would be part of the beginning of the game, and would be relevant to the plot of the whole. On September 17, 2014, Tetsuya Nomura stepped down as director for Final Fantasy XV to focus efforts on other upcoming titles, specifically Kingdom Hearts III.
At E3 2015, Kingdom Hearts series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto revealed a new gameplay trailer for Kingdom Hearts III. The new trailer showed Sora for the first time in his new outfit and the new Kingdom of Corona world based on the 2011 Disney film Tangled. The trailer also showed off parts of Olympus, and the new Focus gauge, which in previous trailers had been named "EX". In an interview later with Famitsu, Nomura confirmed that the game would contain a secret movie. In an interview with PlayStation Access, Nomura confirmed that characters from the Final Fantasy series will appear once again. At D23 Expo Japan later that year, Shinji Hashimoto revealed a world based on Disney's 2015 film Big Hero 6.
News went scarce following 2015. In May 2017, Square Enix President and Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda and Chief Financial Officer Kazuharu Watanabe stated in the company's Financial Results Briefing Session that the expected released of Kingdom Hearts III would be sometime between 2018 and 2020. The following month, during the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- performance in Los Angeles, series director Tetsuya Nomura revealed a new trailer, showing off various Keyblade transformations and the new Second Form. At D23 Expo Japan in July, Nomura revealed another trailer, this time showing off a new world based on the Disney/Pixar film franchise Toy Story and announcing a release year of 2018 for Kingdom Hearts III. Nomura confirmed the story to take place sometime after Toy Story 2, and would be canon to the Toy Story franchise. He also then revealed another character would be playable in Kingdom Hearts III.
Towards the end of the year, screenshots leaked from a Square Enix server which revealed a Monsters, Inc.-based world. By the end of the year, thirteen such development screenshots had leaked. Square Enix did not address the screenshots; however, during Disney's D23 Expo Japan 2018 Conference, a private Kingdom Hearts event was held during which two new trailers were revealed, the first trailer confirming the inclusion of a Monsters, Inc.-based world. The second one announced that Utada Hikaru would be performing the theme song for the game, titled "Don't Think Twice" ("Chikai", or "Oath", in Japanese). The event also revealed that the game was being developed by the largest development team in the history of the series, including 100 people from the Square Enix's Tokyo offices. The Gummi ship was also revealed to be returning, now playable as an open-world instead of the preset paths from the first two games, and its gameplay 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.
In April 2018, Square Enix held a fan event for Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross], titled Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]: Dandelion Meeting. During the event, a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III was revealed, showing off new minigames based on old Mickey Mouse cartoons and playable in a 1980's-style LCD format. The minigames, which would be unlockable as the game progressed, would be playable within the mobile game before the release of Kingdom Hearts III. That same month, various members of the Kingdom Hearts fan community announced publicly that they would soon be able to play Kingdom Hearts III. Square Enix held a private event, named Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Invitation, on May 17–18, 2018, where these community members and members of the gaming press were invited to be among the first to play Kingdom Hearts III. The demo revealed a Wreck-It Ralph link and featured the Olympus and Toy Box worlds. During a development panel at the event, Nomura revealed that a release date would be revealed in early June.
At the end of the premiere performance of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- Encore in Los Angeles on June 9, 2018, Tetsuya Nomura revealed a new trailer and the release date, pushing the game back to January 25, 2019 for Japan and January 29, 2019 for the rest of the world. On June 10, 2018, Xbox executive Phil Spencer revealed a new trailer featuring a new world based on Disney's Frozen, as well as confirming the return of Aqua and revealing the return of Larxene and Simba, the latter as a link. The next day, during Sony's PlayStation conference, another trailer was revealed introducing the world based on the live-action film Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Kairi's new outfit was also introduced, as well as Ienzo
New trailers were revealed ahead of Tokyo Game Show 2018, both featuring San Fransokyo. The new trailers teased a lot of story elements, including an increasingly-dark Aqua, and the return of Demyx, Vexen, and Roxas. The official box art for the game was also revealed ahead of the gaming event, featuring all the main protagonists of the series. Shortly thereafter, on September 27, Square Enix and Disney announced that the opening theme for Kingdom Hearts III would be a collaboration theme by both Utada Hikaru and American singer-songwriter Skrillex, titled "Face My Fears," marking the first time a Kingdom Hearts title would have more than one new theme song.
A short trailer was revealed at Lucca Comics and Games on November 3, 2018, featuring gameplay and the first English voice acting in Kingdom of Corona. At the same event where the trailer premiered, Executive Producer Shinji Hashimoto explained that DLC was being considered, and that the summary videos released over the summer would possibly release internationally before the game's release. On November 7, additional voice actors for the characters from San Fransokyo's Big Hero 6 were announced. Square Enix revealed that the 100 Acre Wood would be back in Kingdom Hearts III in a trailer shown at Microsoft's X018 conference on November 10, 2018. Shortly thereafter, a short promotional trailer was revealed at cinemas in North America, which was later shared in full. Series director Tetsuya Nomura that multiple trailers would follow in December.
On December 15, 2018, an individual claimed to have received multiple copies of the Xbox One edition of Kingdom Hearts III, just forty-one days before the game's launch. The individual was said to have attempted to sell the copies via Facebook's Marketplace feature, though the listing was shortly thereafter removed. Tetsuya Nomura issued a statement several hours later on the incident, and reassured fans that the ending to the game would not be spoiled because it was not on the disc, but would be revealed at a later date. The game's theft and subsequent online leak marks the largest leak in Kingdom Hearts history, and came just one year after the leak of the development images from Monstropolis.
Release[edit | edit source]
Kingdom Hearts III released on Friday, January 25, 2019 in Japan and Tuesday, January 29, 2019 internationally. On June 11, 2018, Square Enix announced two special pre-order bundles. The Deluxe Edition would come with the game, a limited edition pin, a SteelBook case, and a mini art book with concept art from the game. The other bundle is the Deluxe Edition + Bring Arts Figures, which feature Bring Arts figurines of Sora, Donald, and Goofy as they appear in Toy Box.
Various other options for pre-ordering Kingdom Hearts III were announced in the days following E3 2018. GameStop has since announced an exclusive fabric poster, and started a campaign on Twitter that would allow the community to choose between three different designs for the final poster, the designs being based on Toy Box, Monstropolis, and Arendelle. Additionally, Square Enix announced during Sony's PlayStation E3 2018 conference a Kingdom Hearts-themed PlayStation 4 Pro, as well as an All-in-One digital bundle that would include instant downloads of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue with the digital pre-order of Kingdom Hearts III, exclusive to the PlayStation Store. Additionally, special console-based Keyblades for Kingdom Hearts III are available for pre-ordering the game via the PlayStation Store or the Microsoft Store. Pre-ordering Kingdom Hearts III from the PlayStation Store also includes the "Impossible Odds" PS4 theme. On November 26, Amazon announced that players who pre-ordered the game from Amazon would get the Dusk Till Dawn DLC Keyblade.
In Japan, there are different pre-order, depending on the retailer being pre-ordered from. The Square Enix Online Store is offering three bundles for the physical copy of the game in Japan. One of the bundles features an all-in-one physical bundle that includes Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, and Kingdom Hearts III, as well as the art book, a special PlayStation 4 theme, and a special box for all three titles. The second bundle features the game and the Bring Arts figures from the international Deluxe + Bring Arts Figures bundles, as well as the SteelBook case. The third bundle features only the game and the SteelBook case. The Square Enix Store is also selling the Kingdom Hearts-themed PlayStation 4 Pro via a lottery system, which includes its own theme. SevenNet is offering the second and third bundles for the game, as well as the PlayStation 4, but each bundle comes with a Sora rubber strap and the Dusk Till Dawn Keyblade for the game.
References[edit | edit source]
- Kingdom Hearts Database: "Kingdom Hearts III will release on January 29, 2019"
- Kingdom Hearts Database - "Coverage of the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Invitation event"
- 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."
- 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?"
- KHInsider: Scans of Kingdom Hearts III from Dengeki Online!
- Kingdom Hearts Database - "Kingdom Hearts III "Classic Kingdom" trailer revealed at Dandelion Meeting"
- @KINGDOMHEARTS on Twitter: "The Heartless Dandelions make quite an entrance in Rapunzel's Kingdom of Corona in the #kingdomhearts III trailer!"
- 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."
- Kingdom Hearts Database: "E3 2018 Kingdom Hearts III trailer at Xbox Conference"
- D23 Expo Japan Trailer
- @DisneyInteract on Twitter: "Just announced: @KINGDOMHEARTS III will feature a world based on #BigHero6! #D23Expo"
- KINGDOM HEARTS III - BIG HERO 6 Announce trailer, Roy Conli: "We'll also get to see Baymax again."
- Square Enix Press Center: "SORA THROUGH THE SKIES OF SAN FRANSOKYO WITH BAYMAX IN KINGDOM HEARTS III"
- Kingdom Hearts Database: "E3 2018 Kingdom Hearts III trailer at PlayStation Conference"
- 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."
- Kingdom Hearts II Ultimania Interview
- E3 2013 Trailer
- Siliconera: "Tabata Takes Over Final Fantasy XV; Tetsuya Nomura Moves On To Kingdom Hearts III"
- E3 2015 Trailer
- 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."
- PlayStation Access: "Kingdom Hearts 3: 8 Things You Need To Know", "#2 Final Fantasy characters in KH3", Nomura: "I want them in."
- Siliconera: "Expect Final Fantasy VII Remake And Kingdom Hearts III To Release Sometime In “Three Years Or So”"
- 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]."
- IGN: 11 New pieces of information from D23 Expo Japan that have shed some light on Kingdom Hearts 3
- PlayStation Access: "Kingdom Hearts 3: 10 New Things we've had Confirmed"
- Kingdom Hearts Database - "Kingdom Hearts III Trailer Uploaded Right Before Tokyo Game Show"
- Kingdom Hearts Database - "Kingdom Hearts III Shown at Playstation Lineup Tour"
- Kingdom Hearts Database - "Collaboration for Kingdom Hearts III opening theme featuring Skrillex confirmed!"
- Kingdom Hearts Database: "Kingdom Hearts III at Lucca Comics and Games 2018 Coverage"
- Kingdom Hearts Database: "100 Acre Wood featured in new Kingdom Hearts III trailer at X018"
- Kingdom Hearts Database: "Nomura announces December trailer launch times, reveals three additional trailers"
- Kingdom Hearts Database: "Copies of Kingdom Hearts III stolen in largest leak in Kingdom Hearts history"
- Kingdom Hearts Database - "Pre-order bonuses and special edition bundles for Kingdom Hearts III announced"
- Kingdom Hearts Database - "News:Amazon reveals DLC for Kingdom Hearts III"