It’s been a long time coming—too long, perhaps—but
is now so close, we can almost feel the magic emanating from the Walt Disney vault. San Fransokyo, Monstropolis and the snow-covered hills of Arendelle are among the many worlds that await Sora and his plucky compadres, most of whom are inspired by the likes of Buzz Lightyear, Elsa, and Captain Jack Sparrow. Yes, it wouldn’t be a Kingdom Hearts III Kingdom Hearts title without some universe-hopping mayhem involving Sora, Master Xehanort, and worlds torn asunder by a group of malevolent, power-mongerers who triggered the fabled Keyblade War.
And so begins a story so complex—so downright convoluted—that even die-hard
Kingdom Hearts fans struggle to stay on top of things. But don’t fret; we’ve assembled the franchise’s sprawling timeline into a single feature, and have now combed the four corners of the Internet to present to you everything you need to know about Kingdom Hearts III—its file size, its opening theme, you name it—in anticipation of the big day.
Let’s get to it.
At long last,
Kingdom Hearts III will reach these shores on Tuesday, January 29, precisely four days after its initial debut in Japan. Not long now.
Kingdom Hearts III info dump
Kingdom Hearts III – EYNTK
busy serving up some A-grade nostalgia, Resident Evil 2 is primed and ready to become 2019's first megaton. And we can hardly wait. Kingdom Hearts III
What is Kingdom Hearts III?
Kingdom Hearts III is, in essence, a sequel to the second game, the 12th instalment in the Kingdom Hearts series, and the overall finale to Square's Dark Seeker saga.
Sounds simple, right? Think again.
What's the Story?
Something about a Keyblade War?
In all seriousness,
Kingdom Hearts III tells the story of Sora and his allies as they seek to bring about an end to the darkness. If that all sounds a little confusing, KHIII ships with a three-hour story recap. Thank the heavens.
Per Square Enix,
Kingdom Hearts III "tells the story of the power of friendship as Sora and his friends embark on a perilous adventure. Set in a vast array of Disney and Pixar worlds, KINGDOM HEARTS follows the journey of Sora, a young boy and unknowing heir to a spectacular power. Sora is joined by Donald Duck and Goofy to stop an evil force known as the Heartless from invading and overtaking the universe.
"Through the power of friendship, Sora, Donald and Goofy unite with iconic Disney-Pixar characters old and new to overcome tremendous challenges and persevere against the darkness threatening their worlds."
How Does it Play?
Like any other third-person action RPG, really. Combat in
Kingdom Hearts III is said to be much more fluid and dynamic than previous incarnations, so we're excited to get to grips with what Square has in store.
A Long Time Coming
It's no secret that
Kingdom Hearts III has spent years gestating in development. Turns out there's a very good reason for the lengthy delay.
Said Co-Director Tai Yasue:
"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."
A Shiny New Engine
Speaking of which,
Kingdom Hearts III changed gears mid-way through development, opting for Unreal Engine 4 over its old game engine.
Here's what series mainstay Tetsuya Nomura had to share:
"We had our own company reasons, essentially. It wasn’t something that we had anything to do with, it was decided higher up. It was a whole year that we had to kind of rewind and restart. As a dev tool, Unreal Engine 4 is kind of an all-in-one – it’s got all of the stuff that is needed in it, it’s used around the world, and we also got really great support from Epic Games. They were very helpful through the entire process.
"It would have been a different story if the team making Luminous had been members of the Kingdom Hearts team. But they were a different team, so that did make things a bit more difficult."
A Lengthy Story
Early estimates peg
Kingdom Hearts III at 40 hours in length, though that figure will likely ebb and flow as we inch closer to release day.
No Surprise Disney Worlds
We hope you weren't expecting to stumble upon any
surprise Disney worlds; according to Yasue-san, Kingdom Hearts III ain't got 'em.
Upping the Ante
Avengers: Infinity War raised serious question marks over the fate of every character? It turns out Kingdom Hearts III may do the same, according to Nomura-san.
"Although I do feel a little sad when I think some characters will probably never appear ever again. Once I think about that, it makes me a little sad."
A Whole Bunch of Screenshots
Chalk it up to the game's lengthy development or the sheer scope of
Kingdom Hearts III, but there is currently a metric ton of screenshots to peruse.
here, here, and here. Okay, one more for good measure.
Watch the Opening Movie
Kingdom Hearts III opening movie is now available for your viewing pleasure. And it even features a small sample of Skrillex and Hikaru Utada's soundtrack.
The Gang's All Here
Big Hero 6 to Toy Story to the snow-covered world of Frozen, when it comes to Kingdom Hearts III, the gang's all here. Ditto for the voice cast, too.
You get a Keyblade, you get a Keyblade... everyone gets a Keyblade! Point is, there are a
whole lot of Keyblades in Kingdom Hearts III, and you can see them right here.
No Pixar, No Party
Here's a fun tidbit: when
Kingdom Hearts II hit store shelves 14 years ago (!), Disney had just shelled out $7.4 billion to purchase Pixar, the crown jewel of Hollywood's animation scene.
Fast forward to 2019, and
Kingdom Hearts III simply would not be possible if it weren't for Pixar. Or so says Game Director Tetsuya Nomura:
"After we were done with
Kingdom Hearts II and were starting to consider III, we started talks with Disney, I remember saying, ‘If we can’t use Pixar, then we can’t have a third game.' The whole world loves Toy Story–everybody feels the appeal of that story and those characters."
Back when PlayStation LifeStyle was dishing out its year-end awards for 2018,
Kingdom Hearts III nabbed the shiny Platinum trophy for 2019's Most Anticipated Game, beating out the likes of Dreams, Anthem, and Devil May Cry 5.
Announced Too Early?
Game Director Tetsuya Nomura is well aware that, much like the
Final Fantasy VII remake, Kingdom Hearts III was announced far too early.
"I understand why some companies wait as long as possible, and I definitely think it’s a good thing for them. But in our case, we receive pressure from the fans even when we do not announce anything. They’re always asking us ‘are you working on this?’ or ‘why don’t you make a sequel for that?’ Even after the announcement, the situation does not change, because then they’ll move onto asking us 'when will it release?' or 'when will you show a new trailer?'"
A Memorable Showcase at TGS 2018
TGS 2018 was perhaps Square's final chance to showcase
KHIII on the world stage prior to its 2019 release. And sure enough, the publisher pulled out all the stops, detailing the Sora vs. Aqua boss battle and plenty of new gameplay mechanics.
Standard Edition. Deluxe Edition. A life-size replica of Sora's Keyblade, but which is the best preorder package for you? Allow us to
point you in the right direction.
Soundtrack ft. Skrillex
Kingdom Hearts III soundtrack features a touch of Skrillex, who collaborated with Hikaru Utada to produce "Face My Fears."
You can catch a
sneak preview here, while the EP itself will feature both an English and Japanese version of the game’s opening theme, “Face My Fears.” Additionally, it will have “Don’t Think Twice” and “Chikai,” making the EP four tracks in total for $3.99.
Curious to know more about all the merch available for
Kingdom Hearts III? We've got you covered.
Limited Edition PS4
If you're wanting to go all-in on the
KHIII experience, you may be interested in the limited edition PS4 available at GameStop. Japan will also receive a glistening black console as part of Square's marketing push.
A Franchise of Fantastic Music
Ever since its inception,
Kingdom Hearts has been synonymous with magical music. You can even enjoy a concert rendition of KHIII's soundtrack, while Keri recently took a look back at the franchise's greatest hits.
Eager to take a peek at
Kingdom Hearts III in action? Feast thy eyes.
A Wondrous Opening Theme
Kingdom Hearts III opening theme is real, it's beautiful and it can be downloaded right now.
Kingdom Hearts III file weighs in at approximately 38GB, meaning you'll need to free up around 40GB to imitate the download.
Still, in an era of hefty patches and 100GB file sizes *cough*
RDR2 *cough* 40GB is a breeze.
Now Available to Pre-Load
Yes, you read that right:
pre-loading is now live on PlayStation 4.
What are you waiting for?
Our own Paulmichael Contreras had a chance to
go up close and personal with Kingdom Hearts III during E3 2018.
His impressions are as follows:
Kingdom Hearts III appears to be everything fans have been waiting for. It’s a melding of worlds, a mixture of video game genres, an audiovisual treat. Familiar mechanics mix with new combat options, including a larger party, to give players more options."
Kingdom Hearts III trophy list has been revealed ahead of launch, but fair warning: here lies spoilers.
Our Final Verdict
Following its Japanese debut on January 25,
Kingdom Hearts III will be with us on Tuesday, January 29. And the official PSLS review will be live just prior to the big day. Don't miss it.