It feels as though Kingdom Hearts 3 was announced so long ago, yet there are still a lot of questions to be asked concerning the highly anticipated sequel. The title had a minimal showing at E3 2015, but we're expecting to get quite a bit of info from the upcoming D23 Expo taking place next month in California. There's a chance we'll get some information at Gamescom, but we already know Final Fantasy 15 and Dragon Quest 11 are the main focuses for Square Enix at the event.
While we don't yet have a firm release date for Kingdom Hearts 3, most people in the know agree that Final Fantasy 15 will release before Kingdom Hearts 3. That gives Square Enix plenty of time to get the title ready to wow fans who have been waiting years for a new game. Still, despite the lack of significant info at E3 2015 we've compiled some of the features you need to know about Kingdom Hearts 3.
The confirmed characters so far are Sora, Donald, Goofy, Riku and King Mickey. As with any Kingdom Hearts game, you can expect a bevy appearances by popular characters in the Disney universe. While no one has outright confirmed Pixar, Marvel or Star Wars characters, you can rest assured that we'll see at least a few characters from each of Disney's other properties. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if that's the big announcement at the D23 Expo.
If you're looking to keep up with everything going on in the Kingdom Hearts universe, you're going to have to play every game that's been released thus far. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 will give you easy access to most of the story, but to provide a brief summary, Kingdom Hearts 3 picks up right where Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance left off.
The Mark of Mastery exams have been completed by Sora and Riku, but Sora failed to be recognized as a Keyblade Master. Master Xehanort is still the big bag guy who will likely be bested by the end of Kingdom Hearts 3. He believes that light and darkness must remain in balance and Sora, Donald and Goofy must put a stop to his evil ways. They're off to search for the seven Guardians of Light and the Key to Return Hearts. Meanwhile, King Mickey and Riku are offer trying to find the previous Keyblade wielders.
Kingdom Hearts 3 has been through a lot during the development process. The director of the game, Tetsuya Nomura, was once directing Final Fantasy 15 as well as Kingdom Hearts 3. However, after development on Kingdom Hearts hit a snag and the game was transferred over to run on Unreal Engine, Nomura stepped down from his position as director of Final Fantasy 15 to focus his attention on Kingdom Hearts 3. Since that time he has taken on directing duties for the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 remake, but it's unlikely he'll be focused on that until after Kingdom Hearts 3 is complete.
While the early trailers for the game do not show it, Kingdom Hearts 3 will have a more realistic approach compared to the previous titles in the series. That isn't to say Kingdom Hearts 3 looks like Final Fantasy 15 in terms of realism, but the development team came up with what they call the "Kingdom Shader" to make the characters look more like the original cartoons many of them hail from.
Combat is also much more action-oriented. While you're still limited to a party of three, several ancillary characters from the worlds you visit will be joining in on the battles. The combat is much more intense with a bit of flash thrown in for good measure. In addition, enemy AI has come a long way since the earlier games in the series, and while Kingdom Hearts 3 won't necessarily be more challenging than the previous games, the enemies will have more realistic reactions to your play style.
Be sure to check out our first look at the Final Fantasy 7 remake and some insight into Final Fantasy 15. Keep an eye on Prima Games as well report any new Kingdom Hearts findings from the D23 Expo next month!