During the recent D23 Expo in Japan, Kingdom Hearts III fans were treated to a brand new trailer packed with exciting details. Apart from a preview of the now confirmed Monsters, Inc. world, the clip revealed two returning villains and revival of the character summon gameplay feature. Square Enix also provided a few progress updates on the game’s development, teasing a major “surprise” coming to players.
A majority of the trailer, seen below, focuses on the previously rumored Monsters, Inc. world, with quick looks at the already announced Tangled and Toy Story areas. Most importantly, the game is still slated to arrive in 2018.
Much like other worlds in the series that require Sora, Donald, and Goofy to arrive in disguise, the three are turned into monsters in the new Monsters, Inc. area. Sora will get more world-based attacks here, too, such as a yo-yo style command form that can damage massive waves of enemies. It was also shown that The Little Mermaid‘s Ariel will be a character summon, letting Sora and the gang bring her into battle in any world for a limited time. Continuing the story teases from previous trailers, the number of antagonists for Sora to handle are growing. Organization XIII’s Marluxia, who first appeared in Chain of Memories, will play a part, along with Birth by Sleep‘s Vanitas.
Apart from the reveal trailer for the new world, Square Enix had a great deal to say about the status of development. According to Square Enix (via GameSpot), “everyone in the Osaka studio is working on Kingdom Hearts III, with 100 people from its Tokyo studio also involved.” The team has divided development into early, middle, and late stages, with each group working on up to three worlds at a time. However, the developer stated this doesn’t confirm there are nine worlds in the upcoming game.
As for the current overall progress of these phases, it seems 90 percent of the early stage is done, the middle portion is 60 percent completed, and the final phase is still a mystery. Series director Tetsuya Nomura did hint the final stages will include “something he’s always wanted to do and put into Kingdom Hearts, ever since the days of working on Final Fantasy.” “It is bound to surprise everyone,” he added.
Attendees of the Japan event were also treated to more details from Nomura in an event-only video. According to various posts from social media, Nomura gave insight into the struggles of rendering Rapunzel’s hair, as it will react to wind and other elements in the Tangled-themed world. Also, the Gummi Ship from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II will return with new features. Players can expect an open-world style set up for the Gummi Ship missions that will offer 360-degree movement. Once again, customization of the ships will be available but will be “richer in content” than before.
Final thing to add to this: Gummi Ship exploration now takes place in a 360 degree space akin to an open world with a “Battle” and “Exploration” phase. Customization also returns and is richer in content than ever before.
— Mystic (@MysticDistance) February 10, 2018
A final exciting detail on the possible release date has also been making waves online, but there’s reason to doubt it. Some online posts claimed Nomura stated the formal release date for the game will be announced at this year’s E3. However, Kingdom Hearts Insider has also noted the source for this comment was never properly identified, and the rumor is just a misinterpreted statement that spread quickly. With the trailer still listing this year as the release date, though, E3 would be a fitting place to provide the launch date, so fans should stay tuned for more information.
Kingdom Hearts III is expected to launch this year for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Source: Kingdom Hearts on YouTube