Kingdom Hearts III
is the third numbered sequel
in Square Enix
's long running Kingdom Hearts
franchise. It is set to be released for the PlayStation 4
and Xbox One
Believing himself to be protecting an even balance between light and darkness
, Master Xehanort sets out to instigate a war between his forces of darkness and the "tyranny of light." To undermine Xehanort's schemes, Sora, Donald, and Goofy reunite to comb the worlds for seven guardians of light and the mysterious Key to Return Hearts, while King Mickey and Riku search for previous Keyblade wielders.
Previews: E3 2013 tech demo, D23 2013 gameplay trailer
Due to its nature as a Saga Finale
, expect unmarked spoilers
about prior entries in the series.
Kingdom Hearts III provides examples of:
- Art Evolution: A given, since this game is taking advantage of the new consoles. The art style may change as development progresses, but the E3 2013 trailer maintains the original anime-influenced style (that is, it's closer to the rest of the series' in-engine rendering as opposed to resembling the photo-realistic full motion videos) but with better shading, more detail, and brighter colors.
- That said, the tech demo's graphics indicate a small shift from the previous games' anime-styled character designs to a more stylized design that shows some clearer Disney influences.
- Art Shift: According to Nomura, each world uses its own shaders. The new graphics make the game look more like how it did in previous game during the CGI cutscenes.
- Avengers Assemble: On two fronts, if not three. We have Sora, Donald, and Goofy fighting together for the first time since Kingdom Hearts II, their quest to gather the Princesses of Heart, and Riku teaming up with King Mickey to search for the remaining Keybladers of the Light. Numerous details from previous games all but state that Kairi will join them in some Keyblade-wielding capacity, as will Lea, in all probability.
- Continuity Nod:
- Grand Finale: Kingdom Hearts III is set to end the Xehanort "Dark Seeker" Saga, but not the franchise as a whole.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Seemingly reintegrated. According to Nomura, there is an enemy that is shaped like a vehicle that can be commandeered by the heroes.
- Le Parkour: The trailer shows that Sora is able to use a variation on Flowmotion in this game after learning it in the Sleeping Worlds.
- Minecart Madness: Footage shown at D23 Expo Japan showed Sora fighting the Rock Titan using a train from Big Thunder Mountain.
- Morph Weapon: Like the Keybladers of old, Sora has learned how to do this, including a Guns Akimbo Fire Breathing Weapon.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The "gameplay" in the E3 2013 trailer is actually a target render—i.e. pre-rendered footage of what the game is intended to look like. The shader technology was not complete enough to show off for actual gameplay.
- Scenery Porn: The peeks at the graphics we've gotten so far are gorgeous.
- Serial Escalation: In one of the gameplay trailers, Sora appears to be using Strike Raid as a standard attack to take on an enemy the size of Chernabog from a distance (instead of whittling away at weak points at close range as has been the series' tradition).
- Took a Level in Badass: The usual lowest level mooks, Shadows, come in flying torrents in this game, forcing Sora to have to dodge them more often and fight dozens at once.
- Trilogy Creep: Not counting remakes or special editions, four games have come out between Kingdom Hearts II and III note , not to mention that Kingdom Hearts II was actually the third game in the series. According to Word of God, this is not even necessarily the end of the series, just Xehanort's arc as Big Bad.
- Vapor Ware: Of a sort. While not having been officially announced until E3 2013, fans have been anxiously waiting to see confirmation that this game is indeed in development since the last numbered entry, Kingdom Hearts II, was released back in spring of 2006. Previous speculation based on Square Enix's current development plans was that it wouldn't hit its development period until up to 2016 * .
- Wall Jump: Part of Sora's acrobatics.