All confirmed information is in regular text, and speculations appear in [square brackets]. Also note that the announcement trailer may be more of a concept design and may change.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Developer: Disney and Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: TBA [Maybe late 2014, most likely 2015 or later]
Development: “In development” [Most likely beta]
Announced: Pre-E3 Sony Press Conference, June 10th, 2013, at the Los Angeles Convention Center
Official Site: Japanese
TRAILERS AND MEDIA
1080p HD Trailer
The plot has already been revealed before the official announcement to tie together all plot points from previous games, and will conclude the Xehanort story arc (though this won’t be the end of the series!). More specifically, the clash between Master Xehanort and the seven guardians of light who must be found.
Official summary: “Believing light and darkness must remain in balance, Master Xehanort seeks to spark war against the tyranny of light to restore equilibrium. In an effort to undermine Xehanort’s plot, Sora, Donald and Goofy search for seven guardians of light and the Key to Return Hearts, while King Mickey and Riku search for previous Keyblade wielders. KINGDOM HEARTS III features a mature Sora as the main protagonist who sets forth on an adventure with Mickey, Donald and Goofy through new and legendary Disney worlds.”
MUSIC AND VOICE ACTING
Sora (Haley Joel Osment) and Riku’s (David Gallagher) voices appear in the trailer, confirming they will be returning. Any other voice actors have not been said. [However, more than likely most regular Disney actors will return to reprise their voices.]
Yoko Shimomura, who has done the series music, will return as composer. [Whether or not Utada Hikaru will return to do the main theme (such as with “Simple and Clean” in Kingdom Hearts and “Sanctuary” in Kingdom Hearts II) has not been confirmed, though is more than likely.] Although “Simple and Clean” and not a new song is featured in the trailer, this doesn’t confirm her absence as this same song was also used in early Kingdom Hearts II trailers and all handheld titles.
Many worlds will be featured, though specifics weren’t detailed. However, it was stated that there will be numerous “surprise” worlds. [This could mean Pixar worlds, and maybe even Marvel or Star Wars (though the Pixar universe is most likely to happen out of the three). It was said that “stable” worlds will be used for story purposes, which might mean the surprise worlds will be for extra gameplay opportunities that may not tie in with the main story arc.] When asked about Pixar, however, they “couldn’t comment on it.”
The actual Kingdom Hearts location was almost confirmed when the director, Tetsuya Nomura, said, “I think it will be appear.” Of course this could change at any time, but it’s definitely a strong possibility.
Nomura mentioned a Jungle Book world in an interview, meaning he has it in mind. Twilight Town is featured to be playable, with Destiny Islands also appearing (though not revealed to be playable, such as in Kingdom Hearts II). Returning existing worlds from past games will indeed be featured alongside the new ones.
Regular main characters (Sora, Riku, Donald, Goofy) will of course be returning, with Final Fantasy characters “most likely” appearing. [Kairi hasn’t officially been confirmed, but as she’s a huge part to the story, it’s almost a given that she will appear in some form. Characters from The World Ends with You were not mentioned or hinted at, but due to their appearance in Kingdom Hearts 3D: dream drop distance, it is definitely a possibility.]
We are assured that Sora will be the main character that is controlled. King Mickey as playable is in consideration, and any other characters were not mentioned, but sounds like it is possible to control others.
No keyblades have been confirmed, though Master Eraqus’ keyblade and Sora’s Kingdom Key are shown in the trailer.
As per usual, Kingdom Hearts III is mainly a single-player game. However, Nomura stated how he believes the next generation consoles have good online functions and online modes are “in consideration.” [With online capabilities appearing in past recent handheld titles, this gives a huge chance that some form of multiplayer/online will be implemented.]
Fighting is said to be an advancement of the Kingdom Hearts II core system, while incorporating the mechanics seen in 3D. [This possibly means deck commands (though not seen in the HUD in the trailer) may be a key feature], with other gameplay additions (like Flowmotion) are seen in the trailer.
Summons will be included (mainly absent in recent games) though specifics have not been given. The only information revealed was that Disney characters have been summons before, but this will be “different.” Whether this means no summon will be Disney-related, or Disney summons will appear alongside other characters or games, is yet to be seen [though Disney summons are still highly probable to appear].
HEARTLESS AND NOBODIES
As revealed in the trailer, the Shadow heartless are in the game, [which means Heartless are still the main enemies], but also was said that the Organization members will return. [Whether this means regular Nobody enemies will return isn’t confirmed, Nomura said this is “not necessarily the end of Nobodies” meaning it’s highly probable.]
The main graphics architect remains the same, rather than looking like the more realistic-looking CG scenes in previous games (and most notably in 3D). Visiting different specific worlds means that the regular visual style will change to appear more like the movie universe (for example, how the world design textures changed drastically visiting Port Royal in KHII.) [This may also mean that characters will transform to fit the world (such as lion Sora and merman Sora).]
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND PRE-ORDERS
No exclusive content (such as differences between consoles) have been revealed. Pre-orders are not yet available, but will be offered closer to the game’s launch.
TROPHIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
No details have been provided, though all games on each console are required to implement these, so they will appear.
TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT
The game is designed mainly with DirectX 11. The base of the technology will be developed on PC, then ported to consoles with the proper adjustments for each specific architecture. Official summary: “KINGDOM HEARTS III will make full use of next generation console technologies to showcase a stunning universe packed full of worlds based on Disney properties.”
No other Kingdom Hearts games are “in mind” for Xbox platforms. [HD remasters or future spin-offs will most likely not be featured on them, at least at this given time.] A Wii U port could not be commented on.
Development time (8 years) between KH2 and 3 has been too long!
INTERVIEW AND SOURCES
Square Enix Presents