When is Kingdom Hearts 3 coming out? What new worlds will be in Kingdom Hearts 3? We explore the rumours and bring you the latest Kingdom Hearts 3 news from E3 2017. You'll also find Kingdom Hearts 3 videos right here.
It's been 12 years since Kingdom Hearts II arrived on PS2 in 2005. Since then, fans of the roleplaying game have been eagerly awaiting the next instalment, and there was a time when we were unsure whether there would be one at all.
However, in 2013 it was finally confirmed by Square Enix that Kingdom Hearts 3 is coming. At E3 2015 we got our first proper look at the game thanks to a new Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer, which revealed new worlds and awesome new Keyblade features.
E3 2016 arrived with some further news about the game, too, and just as E3 2017 began the developers snuck out a new Kingdom Hearts III trailer which you can watch above.
And at D23 Expo on 15 July 2015, we saw potentially the most exciting trailer for the game yet, complete with plenty of action that shows off the Keyblade's new features in all their glory, but better yet reveals a new world. Click here to skip ahead to the new trailer and discover what the new world will be.
If you're as impatient as we are, you might be interested in playing Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue for PS4, and Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and 2.5 Remix for PS4 in the meantime.
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If you're unfamiliar with the Kingdom Hearts franchise and want to find out more about the many previous games and remasters, you can skip ahead to our explainer by clicking here.
When is Kingdom Hearts 3 coming out?
We had originally hoped that Kingdom Hearts 3 would come out in 2015, which was still two years after it was confirmed to be in the works, but it has now been revealed that the game is coming in 2018.
There's nothing more specific than that year-long time frame, and even then the game could be further delayed, but we're hoping for a September or October release for the game just in time for Christmas 2018.
Part of the reason for the delay is Square Enix's decision to remaster previous Kingdom Hearts games for PS3, and then again for PS4. (You can find out more about those remasters by clicking here).
Kingdom Hearts co-director Tai Yasue told GameInformer back in 2014: "We've been working full throttle on Kingdom Hearts III. It's moving along. We structured our team in a way that development of 2.5 doesn't impede Kingdom Hearts III. I'm actually every excited about Kingdom Hearts III." So are we Yasue, so are we.
Following the announcement that the game is set to arrive in 2018, the director of Kingdom Hearts Tetsuya Nomura has said that the game is taking ages because Square Enix is making technology decisions that are "out of his hands".
Reasons include a personnel shortage and the decision to switch to the third-party Unreal Engine 4, but honestly we'd rather the company takes its time and gets it right than rushes and pushes out something sub-standard. After all, we've already been waiting 12 years! Two more can't hurt, can it?
What new worlds will be in Kingdom Hearts 3?
As soon as word of Kingdom Hearts 3 got out, speculation erupted over what new worlds we'd see in the game. Throughout the Kingdom Hearts series, we've been transported to Disney worlds including Hercules' Olympus Colosseum, Aladdin's Agrabah, Pirates of the Caribbean's Port Royal, The Lion King's Pride Lands and so many more.
It's particularly exciting because, since the release of Kingdom Hearts II, Disney has been rather busy releasing awesome new films and acquiring new companies like Marvel and Lucasfilm.
However, Star Wars is unlikely to make an appearance in Kingdom Hearts 3, because Electronic Arts already publishes the Star Wars Battlefront games.
When asked whether, in addition to the new worlds we're bound to be treated to in Kingdom Hearts III, we'll see a reappearance of some of the original ones, Yasue said: "It's going to be a mix. Whenever we come up with worlds for Kingdom Hearts, we want to have them be varied. You don't want the same type of world, so we will have different categories. That will make it feel fresh, like you're having an adventure."
"There's a lot of Disney content that's new and coming out and we're considering which ones to use, which would be good from a gameplay perspective," Yasue continued. "This is not an announcement or anything, but personally I enjoyed watching Frozen. It was magical: the stories, the songs, the ice expressions."
Yep, that's right folks: Kingdom Hearts III may well include the widely popular new Disney movie, Frozen. Exciting much?
As of E3 2015, we know that Tangled is one of the worlds featured in Kingdom Hearts 3. The grassy areas shown in the gameplay footage in the trailer are part of the Tangled world.
Also spotted in the trailer are Titans from Hercules as well as Pegasus, so it's likely we'll see Hercules and the Coliseum in the game, too. (This was confirmed in E3 2017's trailer as shown at the top of this article).
Most recently, at D23 expo in July, Square Enix revealed that Sora is set to become an action figure in Toy Story world. We know that the story will take place after the events of Toy Story 2.
Additionally, to the excitement of fans, Square Enix has confirmed that players will be able to ride the robot Baymax and fight their way through a Big Hero 6 world.
Big Hero 6 is a hugely popular animated Disney film that was released in 2014, and went on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Film, and looks to be a welcome addition to the game.
Here's a list of rumoured and most wished-for worlds in Kingdom Hearts 3 thathave yet to be confirmed:
The Jungle Book
What will the gameplay of Kingdom Hearts 3 be like?
There's not much information about Kingdom Hearts 3's gameplay, but that's not to say we don't know anything, and the E3 2015 trailer (above) and E3 2017 trailer shown at the top of this article certainly revealed a lot.
Then, in July 2017, Square Enix revealed that Toy Story is coming to Kingdom Hearts 3. It also showed off even more of the Keyblade's new features, and it looks fantastic. Watch the D23 trailer below.
As you can see from the trailers, the Keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3 can transform into an even more powerful weapon, and it looks like the fairground rides inspired by Disney's theme parks will play a big part in the magic of the game too.
Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura has said: "The action is pretty frantic. The really bold action we've always had is getting even crazier."
"Kingdom Hearts III has three-person parties, but NPCs and other characters join the fight in each individual world, and the resulting action is really flash and exciting," he continued. "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."
Additionally, we know that Sora will gain the ability to change the shape of his Keyblade like Aqua can in Birth By Sleep.
Nomura has also suggested that a multiplayer and/or online mode is possible, though there's no confirmation of that yet.
Nomura says that the game will pick up the story after the events of Dream Drop Distance. "It's the final episode in the 'Dark Seeker' saga that began with the original Kingdom Hearts, and it'll depict the final battle with Xehnort."
Nomura has spoken a bit about the new visual style of Kingdom Hearts III, as seen in the trailer. "We spent a while figuring out what direction to take Kingdom Heart's visuals in the next generation," he said. "Should we go for a more realistic look like in recent projects, or try something else? Along the way, we remembered that these Kingdom Hearts characters were originally paintbrush art from Disney productions, a texture that was one of our original aims, and that it was time to return to that."
One thing we can gather from watching the announcement trailer is that rides from Disney's theme parks will play a part in the game. In the trailer, you can see a pirate ship and a runaway train being taken advantage of by Sora during battle.
Tai Yasue has said that he's most excited about the technology and the creative stuff in Kingdom Hearts III.
"There's a lot of stuff we have never ever done before," he said. "There's a lot that's the same, but there's a lot that's changed. We're moving from a totally different console to a new console. The technology has evolved; it's very new and everyone is doing a lot of research. And look-wise, it looks amazing as well."
"We've shown you some of the trailers and teasers. There are a lot of Disney-themed attractions, so that's exciting as well. It's very exciting for me and I want to tell you more about it but I really can't at this moment."
Some rumours have suggested that multi-player gameplay could feature in Kingdom Hearts 3, too, but there are no further details about that yet.
Kingdom Hearts 3 videos: Trailers & opening sequence
There are now two Kingdom Hearts III trailers, the newest of which is shown at the top of this page and the older, original trailer is shown below.
While there are no other trailers for the game yet, the sequence seen at the end of the latest trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is the opening scene for Kingdom Hearts III. Skip to two minutes and thirty seconds into the trailer below to see it.
When asked whether there would be a teaser at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.5, Yasue replied: "For Kingdom Hearts 2.5, I think everything has to do with Kingdom Hearts III. It will connect. The whole experience, the theatre and the story, will all connect to Kingdom Hearts III. I'm not being specific on purpose."
Even though it's been 12 years since Kingdom Hearts 2, Square Enix hasn't stopped working on the franchise. Our favourite Disney and Final Fantasy characters, as well as some of Kingdom Hearts' own, have starred in several Kingdom Hearts games that have been released within those two years, but none of them continue the main story of Sora and friends.
The first of these sorts of 'spinoff' games was Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, which was released on Game Boy Advance in 2004 and again in 2007 for PS2.
In 2012, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance was released for Nintendo 3DS (buy from Amazon).
As mentioned, though, those games haven't continued the main story told through Kingdom Hearts I and II. Instead, they build upon the story by filling us in on additional characters, on what happened before Kingdom Hearts began, or what happened between the events of Kingdom Hearts I and Kingdom Hearts II.
Square Enix has now collected together all of those extra games into two remastered Remix collections.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, which was released in September 2013 for PS3 (buy from Amazon), encompasses Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (a tweaked and refined version of the first Kingdom Hearts game) and Re:Chain of Memories, as well as 358/2 days in non-playable cinematic form.
The second collection, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix (buy from Amazon), was released in December 2015, encompassing Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Similar to 1.5 Remix, this game offers a cinematic version of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
Yet another game, called Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, arrived in December of 2016. It features high-definition remaster of Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, as well as two new Kingdom Hearts games. The first is Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, which tells a new tale of the Foretellers in HD Cinematics, and the other is Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage, which is set after the events of Birth by Sleep and is played from the perspective of Aqua. This game is coming out for PS4, so represents the first Kingdom Hearts game for the latest generation of consoles.
The first is Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, which tells a new tale of the Foretellers in HD Cinematics, and the other is Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage, which is set after the events of Birth by Sleep and is played from the perspective of Aqua. This was the first time Kingdom Hearts had been available on PS4.
But since then, Square Enix has launched a combination of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix and 2.5 Remix for PS4, which contains everything from both of the remixes released on PS3. It doesn't, however, feature any of Kingdom Hearts 2 HD 2.8. The PS4 Remix was released in March of 2017 and is available to buy now here.
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