It’s more than a little hard to keep track of the Kingdom Hearts series, especially with the naming conventions that Square Enix has been using recently. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is (finally) a direct continuation of the “main” storyline in the series, but it isn’t “Kingdom Hearts III” specifically, if that you can wrap your head around it.
Siliconera talked about the game with director Tai Yasue, dissecting the different features and changes that were made during development to expand on the combat. Although the localization process has taken a while, there’s apparently very little changes between the original Japanese release and the North American version, in the interesting of keeping audiences in the loop.
When asked about the 10th anniversary of Kingdom Hearts, Yasue admitted that Dream Drop Distance was the last “event” in the celebration, but did hint at more projects in the works for the series:
Do you have any other plans for the 10th anniversary?
Not at the moment, no. [Kingdom Hearts] 3D is definitely our 10th anniversary title.
Without spoiling it, can we talk about the ending a bit?
I would just like to say that, this time the game is more centered on Riku and how he comes to terms with the darkness. Kingdom Hearts 3D really connects to the next Kingdom Hearts–Kingdom Hearts 3. And in a way, I think you’ll be able to see a glimpse of the future by playing Kingdom Hearts 3D.
Hopefully, Kingdom Hearts III happens sometime in the PS3’s lifecycle (or as a PS4 launch title), especially now that Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura appears to no longer be tied up with working on Final Fantasy Versus XIII anymore. Personally, it feels like Kingdom Hearts has been dragged out way beyond what feels natural for the RPG series.