Even though it was technically only announced in 2013, fans have been asking for Kingdom Hearts III since Kingdom Hearts II released in 2006. It’s no secret that this game had a lengthy development, even being delayed from it’s once-promised 2018 release window. Now, Co-Director Tai Yasue shed a little light on just why Kingdom Hearts III took so long, and it’s actually a fairly mundane reason. A mid-development engine switch and the problems that followed were the main reasons behind why it took so long to develop.
In an interview with Newsweek, Yasue admitted that there were some growing pains after switching to a new engine:
One of the main factors was the decision to switch the game engine to develop the game. Our current engine is great in terms of developing a high end AAA title, but because there was a change in technology and work flows, it took some time for the team to adapt and adjust.
In case you weren’t aware, Kingdom Hearts III switched to Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 around 2014. Prior to that, the team had been using Square Enix’s in-house Luminous Engine, most notably used in Final Fantasy XV. The Unreal Engine is likely more accessible and easier to use (considering it’s one of the most widely-used engines), but that still doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps in the road.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Delays Were Due to Difficulties with Engine
Any change in technology is going to need some adjustment, so it’s not surprising to see this admission. It also echoes statements previously made by Tetsuya Nomura, although he did mention that the engine switch was not his call. No matter what issues development faced, it was worth it, as Kingdom Hearts III completed production in November in 2018. If you want a taste of Kingdom Hearts in the Unreal Engine, check out Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, featured in Kingdom Hearts – The Story So Far –. It’s a new episode in the series that’s designed to give players a taste of how Kingdom Hearts III will play.
Kingdom Hearts III releases on January 29, 2018 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.