Kingdom Hearts 3 took a long time to happen. It was finally revealed at E3 2013, but we haven’t heard a lot about the game since. In fact, what little we heard doesn’t bode well to get fans hopes up that they’ll play the game in 2015. Still, Square Enix has yet to announce a specific release date for the title. While we wait for the inevitable announcement, let’s take a look at what we know about the game and when we expect it to be in our hands.
First and foremost, Tetsuya Nomura, lead director of Kingdom Hearts 3 stepped down from his work on Final Fantasy 15 to give Kingdom Hearts an extra boost. Now we can take this a couple of different ways. First off, for Nomura to drop Final Fantasy 15 in order to focus exclusively on Kingdom Hearts, something must have happened during the development of the game that would cause him to make this change. We’re fairly certain this was caused by the game’s shift to Unreal Engine 4.
The internal engine Square was originally using wasn’t working out for Kingdom Hearts 3. While the shift to Unreal Engine 4 almost certainly delayed the title a bit, Nomura shifting focus exclusively to Kingdom Hearts 3 likely put things back on track. Keep in mind, this is a relatively unfamiliar development tool for Square Enix, which means even with Nomura’s focused attention, the game could have slipped from internal release projections. It also means the game will look a bit different than previous entries in the series, but it won’t be a drastic change.
We already knew that Kingdom Hearts 3 wouldn’t release in 2014 because Kingdom Hearts 2.5 was set to release very late in the year. There’s no way Square Enix would put the two titles in a head to head battle. The same can be said for Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3. While Square Enix has yet to issue a release date for either title, it’s virtually guaranteed they won’t release anywhere close to each other. We know Square is releasing a demo of Final Fantasy 15 in March as a bundle with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. However, current speculation puts Final Fantasy 15 releasing sometime in 2016.
With a presumed 2016 release date for Final Fantasy 15, that means there’s a good chance we’ll see Kingdom Hearts 3 by the end of 2015, or March 2016 at the very latest (in which case FF15 would likely release in late 2016).We’ll find out more about when we can expect Kingdom Hearts 3 at E3 2015 if not before, but there’s a lot of working going into the game that should excite fans during the long wait.
We know Nomura is considering the inclusion of Star Wars and Marvel characters and worlds in the game. In addition, the keyblade now has the ability to transform into different weapons, offering some new gameplay experiences for players. The main cast of the game, Sora, Donald, Goofy, etc., will also be wearing some new clothes. It’s rare to see any of these characters in new outfits, which makes it a bit of a treat for Kingdom Hearts and Disney fans alike.
While Kingdom Hearts 3 will end the current story line of the series, it won’t be the last Kingdom Hearts title. We know that throughout the new game, Sora, Donald and Goofy are searching for the seven guardians of light and the key to return hearts, while King Mickey and Riku are in search of former Keyblade wielders. Meanwhile, Sora faces off against Master Xehanort as the final chapter in the Dark Seeker Saga; the game takes place after the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
We’ll have more on Kingdom Hearts 3 in the coming months. However, you can also check out the opening cinematic for the game right now. The preview trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3 that was on display at E3 2014 is a bonus that was included in Kingdom Hearts 2.5, but it’s fairly easy to find on YouTube as well. This is actually the opening cinematic for Kingdom Hearts 3 that you can watch over and over as you wait for more news to surface.