Kingdom Hearts 3 has been a long time coming, but it looks like its release date will finally be this year. Here, we explore release date rumours as well as speculation about the game’s Disney worlds (some of which have already been revealed), new gameplay features and trailers that give a sneak peek at the game.
The Kingdom Hearts games have widespread appeal thanks to their ties with Disney and Final Fantasy, so we expect this to be among the best-selling games of the year. See more of our most anticipated games of 2018 here.
Kingdom Hearts 3 release date
It’s been almost 13 years since Kingdom Hearts 2 came out on PS2 in 2005. Since then, fans of the roleplaying game have been eagerly awaiting the next instalment. There was a time when we doubted whether there would be one at all.
However, in 2013 it was finally confirmed by Square Enix that Kingdom Hearts 3 is coming. Back then, we thought we might be playing it in 2015, but it soon became clear that we were suffering from wishful thinking.
Aside from the generic ‘2018,’ we’ve not heard anything more specific about Kingdom Hearts 3’s release date. Target did change its placeholder date to 1 November 2018 recently, rather than the usual 31 December 2018, though.
The latest Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer from D32 in February, which you can watch above, has us firmly believing that 2018 really is going to be the year we get to play the game, though. It still says ‘2018,’ and as far as we can remember this is the first time a trailer has mentioned the year we’re actually currently living in. Huzzah!
Kingdom Hearts 3 platforms
Kingdom Hearts 3 will be available to play on Xbox One and PS4 consoles.
Pre-order Kingdom Hearts 3
Despite the lack of a release date, you can pre-order Kingdom Hearts 3 now. Click the links below to go to the relevant retailer and pre-order there. Most of the retailers will have a pre-order price promise that means, if they drop the price of the game before it comes out, they'll charge you the lower price. Be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure this is the case with your purchase.
Why is Kingdom Hearts 3 taking so long?
When Square Enix first announced Kingdom Hearts 3 in 2013 we certainly didn’t anticipate that we would wait five years for it to be released. It’s been teased at E3 and D23 events ever since, with trailers, world reveals and gameplay videos to make us even more desperate to get our hands on it.
Part of the reason for the delay is Square Enix’s decision to remaster previous Kingdom Hearts games for PS3, then again for PS4. There have been plenty of ‘spinoff’ type games for mobile and handheld consoles, too, including Chain of Memories, 358/2 Days, Birth By Sleep and Dream Drop Distance.
Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura has recently stated that the game is taking ages because Square Enix is making technology decisions that are “out of his hands.”
It looks like these include a personnel shortage and the decision to switch to the third-party Unreal Engine 4. 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 13 years. One more can’t hurt!
During the most recent Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer release at D23 in February, Nomura said that development of the game has been split into three parts. The early part is almost complete, the middle part is more than half way there, but the end stage is a mystery, with Nomura stating that it will be something he has “always wanted to do and put into Kingdom Hearts ever since the days of working on Final Fantasy.” Intriguing.
If you’re as impatient as we are about its release, you might be interested in playing 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.
Kingdom Hearts 3 worlds
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 with Kingdom Hearts 3, because, since the release of the previous game, 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 this time, because Electronic Arts already published the Star Wars Battlefront games.
So far, we know that the following worlds and/or characters will feature in the game:
- Toy Story
- Monsters Inc
- Mount Olympus
- Baymax from Big Hero 6 (world not yet confirmed, but Baymax will be a Summon used to help in battle)
- Ariel (world not yet confirmed but it looks like Ariel will also be a Summon. We’ve seen The Little Mermaid world featured in Kingdom Hearts before).
Kingdom Hearts co-director Tai Yasue has said that we will see a mix of new worlds and worlds we’ve seen before in the franchise. “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 3 may well include Frozen. Exciting much?
Currently rumoured worlds include:
- The Jungle Book
- Darkwing Duck
Kingdom Hearts 3 gameplay
Kingdom Hearts 3 gameplay looks incredible, with huge improvements over previous games. The Keyblade has some powerful new features including transformations that you’ll see in the trailers below, and Disney’s theme park rides will play a fun part in combat, too. We’ve seen rides including a Pirate Ship, Runaway Train and Teacups used by Sora during battle during the trailers released so far.
“There’s a lot of stuff we have ever ever done before,” Yasue has said about gameplay. “ 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. It looks amazing as well.”
We don’t yet know whether Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to have a multiplayer element to it, but it is possible. Stay tuned for updates on that. We do, however, know that Sora won’t be the only playable character in the game.
Speaking to IGN in July of last year, Nomura said: “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].”
In addition to the main gameplay details we know so far, we've also been treated to a new trailer that reveals minigames available to play within Kingdom Hearts III, in what's described as Classic Kingdom.
As you can see in the trailer, Kingdom Hearts characters are transported into games inspired by classic LCD games from the 80's.
The trailer also reveals a tiny bit of a town square that could be a version of Traverse Town from previous games, or could be something more than that. Some fans have suggested a Ratatouille world, while others have been reminded of Twilight Town. What do you think?