These days Disney seems to own a piece of every major pie. The company owns all things Marvel, along with the acquisition of Lucasfilms, which includes the likes of Star Wars and Indiana Jones just to name a few. Now, one of the most highly anticipated games coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is another Disney venture, Kingdom Hearts 3. The title is developed in cooperation with Square Enix, as Tetsuya Nomura leads his development team toward an eventual release date. We don’t yet know when that release date will be announced, but some new information has surfaced on Kingdom Hearts 3 over the past few months.

With the announcement of Final Fantasy 7 Remake (also directed by Nomura) and more information surfacing on Final Fantasy 15, Kingdom Hearts 3 has been quietly moving closer and closer to completion. Development on the title slowed down a bit when Square Enix announced the transition to Unreal Engine 4. Nomura and his team had to make sure all of the effects specific to Kingdom Hearts could be recreated in Unreal Engine 4, in addition to a new shader the team was using to create the cartoon-like effects of the graphics.

The transition to the new development tools was a lengthy process, which is one of the reasons why you haven’t heard or seen much from Kingdom Hearts 3 since it was first announced. That transition is now complete and the knowledge is being passed on to the Final Fantasy 7 Remake team to help them with Unreal Engine 4 as well. If you’ve seen any of the more recent videos of Kingdom Hearts 3, you should already know that the game looks very much like the previous titles, even after making the switch to Unreal Engine 4.

Kingdom Hearts 3 won’t just look better on the new generation of consoles, the development team is making changes and additions to the battle system as well. Nomura looked at the battle systems in many of the side games in the series and added some of the combat features of those games to the new battle system in Kingdom Hearts 3. We previously reported on the new Keyblade Transformations which is just one of the many new battle system changes coming to the game.

We know of at least two new keyblades and their transformations. The first keyblade was shown off in the E3 2015 gameplay trailer with a transformation into a projectile gun-like weapon and eventually into a cannon for even more fire power. The second keyblade comes from the Olympus Coliseum area in the game, and transforms by growing in size and electrifying, then shrinking into a shield, and finally transitioning into a chariot that you can ride in (with Pegasus pulling it).

The new keyblades in Kingdom Hearts 3 also change in appearance based on the magic you use. For example, the keyblade will change to a greenish color after casting the wind-based Aero spell. We don’t yet know all of the new additions to the combat system, but the Keyblade Transformation ability adds a considerable amount of strategy to the game. Being able to start with an offensive keyblade, then transform it into a shield is something that Kingdom Hearts players haven’t really seen in the past. This quick transition from attacking to a defensive position should make for some interesting battle tactics.

One final new tidbit of information was how many playable characters we can expect from Kingdom Hearts 3. In the original game only Sora was playable. In the sequel there were two playable characters. When asked if Kingdom Hearts 3 would allow for three or more playable characters, Nomura wouldn’t give a direct answer, but he did state that by not giving a direct answer he was implying there would be additional playable characters. With this admission from the director of the game, we look forward to discovering which new characters will be playable in Kingdom Hearts 3.

We don’t yet know when more new information will be released, but stay tuned to Prima Games as we continue to offer new updates as news is confirmed. If you the long wait for Kingdom Hearts 3 is starting to get to you, check out our first look at Kingdom Hearts 2.8, which includes what is essentially the prequel to Kingdom Hearts 3. We also have additional details on the combat system and story in Kingdom Hearts 3!

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