Want to know what’s going on with Kingdom Hearts 3? Here’s everything we know so far.
In the early years of gaming, there were quite a few swings taken at the creation of a game utilizing Disney properties. Most of those games ranged anywhere from unplayable to mediocre as far as quality goes. Then in 2002, Square Enix released Kingdom Hearts onto the PlayStation 2.
Disney fans and gamers rejoiced as they finally had a significant video game with Disney characters. Thus far, there have been a total of nine Kingdom Hearts games, and here in 2018, Square Enix stands poised to release a new entry to the gaming public.
We have been hearing rumblings about Kingdom Hearts 3 for years now, but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for fans of the series. As it stands now, we should see a release toward the end of 2018. However, what do we know about Kingdom Hearts 3 right now? Let’s take a look.
What’s new with Kingdom Hearts 3?
December 12 — A Kingdom Hearts Christmas Experience
With all the excitement for the Opening Cinematic trailer that dropped recently, it’s easy to forget some of the big news for Kingdom Hearts fans that have a PSVR. At TGS this year, it was announced that there would be a new Kingdom Hearts VR experience for Playstation VR owners and we finally got more information about this experience.
Releasing on Christmas Day, 25th of December we will be able to enjoy a musical experience of our journeys so far through the main series. It’ll be 10 minutes in duration, and you will be able to enjoy your favourite memories and maybe bop some heartless to boot! Square Enix confirmed that you will be able to unlock more content as you proceed through the experience. There is also an update due on January 18th, so a week before the release of Kingdom Hearts 3.
The VR experience will be free for everyone to download, so I’d recommend folks who don’t have a PSVR to download it, as this would be a good one to keep in your libraries should you get a PSVR later in 2019! This way you still get to enjoy the experience along with everyone else.
December 9 — New trailer shows off scenes and old battles from opening movie
We’re finally 50 days from the release of Kingdom Hearts 3, and the hype is starting to get intense. Kingdom Hearts has been releasing trailers every few weeks showcasing new worlds, weapons, attacks, and allies, but today’s new trailer doesn’t show off new gameplay or new battles.
It shows off all the battles that led up to this point.
This “Opening Movie Trailer” takes us back before the beginning of Kingdom Heart I and gives us an ultra-compressed history of the Dark Seeker Saga in less than 90 seconds, from Aqua being trapped in the realm of darkness after her battles with Xehanort and Ven’s heart taking refuge inside Sora up to Sora, Riku, and Kairi reuniting — along with Donald, Goofy, and Mickey reuniting — as they prepare to face Xehanort’s “13 wielders of darkness”.
It’s hard to sum up the drama of a decades-long war taking place over half a dozen games involving dozens of important players, but it’s great to see that Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to fill in the blanks for those of us who didn’t play every KH game released in the last 16 years.
November 27, 2018 – Cyber Monday Amazon & Kinda Funny Games & New Trailers
Black Friday is an exciting time of the year for shoppers of all kinds, but this year’s Black Friday came with an exciting teaser for Kingdom Hearts fans. Amazon and Kinda Funny Games revealed in a live stream that on Cyber Monday that there would be some new DLC for the game, as well as another world premiere trailer.
This wasn’t to be, however.
Shortly before the live stream was due to start, Amazon Video Games released the following tweet about the trailer.
Apologies, the KH3 video featuring our awesome new, exclusive DLC has been consumed by Heartless and not available. Learn what that DLC is, how to get it exclusively from Amazon, and score a Twitch Prime bonus on Monday Nov. 26 around 1pm PST on https://t.co/Um2rnH0H2k!
— Amazon Video Games (@amazongames) November 26, 2018
With the new trailer devoured by heartless, an unsuspecting fan base that still joined in on the live stream expecting brand new content was only to be left disappointed by a 30-second re-edit of the Together trailer launched earlier this month! To add insult to injury, the exclusive DLC is the Dusk till Dawn Keyblade which was already released to pre-orders in Japan at E3 this year!
— KINGDOM HEARTS (@KINGDOMHEARTS) November 26, 2018
In happier news, Tetsuya Nomura took to the Japanese Kingdom Hearts Twitter account to let fans know the schedule for next month. While the translations are a little inaccurate at present, what we can take from the tweets is that there will be a new trailer on the 10th of December, a new video on the 18th of December and on the 21st a combination of a new trailer, 30 seconds of footage and cinematics. So there is plenty for fans to look forward to next month!
— キングダム ハーツ (@_KINGDOMHEARTS) November 27, 2018
November 26, 2018 – Another Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer, Water spells & Clothing Lines
How blessed are we that the trailer gods decided to rain down upon us this month! We have received one trailer a week this month with the Together, Winnie The Pooh and Lucca trailers all dropping this month it’s been a whirlwind of content for the franchise. With there being rumors of another trailer releasing this week to round out the month, we recommend keeping your eyes peeled to here and the official Kingdom Hearts Youtube Channel for the latest updates.
In exciting news for a magic user of the series, there seems to be new elemental magic that has been included in the series. As long-time players will know, water magic has been excluded from Sora’s magic. However, it seems like in the Winnie the Pooh Japanese trailer that there is confirmation that there is a water spell. While we’re unsure as to what type of spell this would be, it’s exciting news for magic users.
Ever wanted your own Kingdom Hearts clothes? No, I don’t mean specially branded merchandise with the logos on it. But items of clothing and accessories that are designed after the main characters of Kingdom Hearts 3. Yes? Me too.
Our prayers have been answered by the brand Super Groupies as they have released a limited edition line for Kingdom Hearts 3 which starts preorders on December 1st. There is a pop-up store at the Seibu Ikebukuro main store for a limited time from the Saturday, December 1, 2018, to Wednesday, December 5, 2018! For those of us who aren’t in Tokyo; fear not! International shipping is available, but you’ll need to be quick as orders are from Saturday, December 1, 2018 – Sunday, December 16.
November 20, 2018 — Development has wrapped!
Square Enix has announced that development on Kingdom Hearts 3 has officially wrapped. Bet you never thought you’d read that sentence. To celebrate the occasion, the studio released an extended version of the trailer that’s been playing in North American theaters. It all comes down to this as our heroes band together from all across the worlds of Disney to take down Organization XIII.
November 10, 2018 — Winnie the Pooh is back!
During Microsoft’s X018 livestream a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3 was shown featuring everyone’s favorite bear, Winnie the Pooh, and his gang of friends. The 100 Acre Wood will be home to mini-games focusing on puzzles that players can complete.
Aside from Winnie the Pooh, this trailer also gave us a new glimpse of Organization XIII. Whatever Master Xenohart is up to, it doesn’t bode well for Sora and his pals.
November 3, 2018 — New trailer shows off the Kingdom of Corona
During the Italian comic and games festival LUCCA 2018, Square Enix revealed a new Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer showcasing the Tangled world, Kingdom of Corona. While fans got a better look at the upcoming game, franchise director Tetsuya Nomura could unfortunately not be in attendance as planned.
“I was supposed to visit #LuccaCG18 but as development on #KingdomHearts III is coming to an end, I have to focus on development,” he said. “Instead, I’ve prepared a special trailer for everyone – please watch!”
October 3, 2018 — Grab the Deluxe Edition for a tad cheaper
Amazon is putting on a nice deal for the Deluxe Edition of Kingdom Hearts 3. Normally $80, the game is sitting on Amazon for $75.16. That’s a savings of 6%. Take another $1.53 off when applying the coupon attached to this deal.
The total upfront discount isn’t massive, but it effectively eliminates your tax obligation, so that’s a win. Don’t forget that Amazon offers a $10 credit for Prime members who pre-order it. The credit is delivered 30-35 days after the game ships. That’s nearly $20 in savings with no hoops to jump through if you’re already a Prime member (and if you’re not, a free trial gets you there just as well).
The Kingdom Hearts 3 Deluxe Edition comes complete with a premium steelbook case, a hardcover art book, and a collectible pin. Look forward to the game launching in the west on January 29, 2019.
September 18, 2018
Following the trailer released last week, Square Enix has released an extended trailer diving deep into the world of Big Hero 6! This is our best look at the recreation of San Fransokyo yet. Expect to hear more information soon as Tokyo Game Show 2018 begins in a couple of short days.
September 10, 2018
Ahead of Tokyo Game Show (TGS) 2018, Square Enix has released a new Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer showcasing the world of San Fransokyo in Big Hero 6. Along with new gameplay, we got a glimpse at cinematics from the worlds of Monsters, Inc., Tangled, and Toy Story.
July 17, 2018
Those looking to pre-order Kingdom Hearts 3 just received some extra incentive to do so from GameStop. The company has revealed that one of three fabric posters will be included with your pre-order of the game, and it’s up to you to cast your vote on Twitter with the hashtags noted in the image above to decide which one it will be.
June 11, 2018
Sony had their own piece of exclusive Kingdom Hearts 3 footage to show at E3 2018. The new footage confirms the inclusion of Pirates of the Caribbean. This isn’t the franchise’s first appearance in a Kingdom Hearts game, with Kingdom Hearts 2 having been the first.
Yes, Captain Jack Sparrow is back, and Sora’s crew are on deck to help him live the pirate’s life. The gameplay sequences for this world seem pretty epic, with both a ship battle and a fight with a huge sea monster being featured. The trailer also shows that a replica version of Riku will make an appearance.
Alongside that new footage, we get word that not only will there be a special edition Kingdom Hearts 3 PlayStation 4 console, but you’ll also be able to buy all three mainline Kingdom Hearts games as a bundle. That means you’ll get Kindom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix, Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix, and Kingdom Hearts 3 in the same package. They’ve even thrown in Kingdom Hearts 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue for good measure.
A release date for the special edition PS4 has not yet been confirmed, though it’s likely we’ll see it on or close to Kingdom Hearts 3’s release date, which was previously confirmed to be January 29th, 2019.
June 10, 2018
Square Enix has announced a release date for Kingdom Hearts 3. It’ll be arriving January 29th, 2019. Originally, their goal was to get the game out in 2018. However, the company needs more time to ensure the game is the best it can be before launch.
With that news, we also saw a new trailer at E3 2018 that revealed new details, namely showing off new content and abilities surrounding previously unannounced Disney franchises. Those franchises include heavy-hitting staples such as Frozen and Lion King, with Elsa and Mufasa making appearances, respectively.
A whole new world
Since its inception, an important element of the Kingdom Hearts games has been the setting. Part of the joy of these games is the opportunity to explore familiar Disney worlds in a way that is not possible when you’re watching a film. Some of the worlds which have been tapped for inclusion in KH3 include Andy’s House from Toy Story, Twilight Town, Mount Olympus from Hercules, Monsters Inc, Tangled, and even San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6.
With Disney owning just about every existing IP under the sun there doesn’t seem to be many worlds left that are not within their reach. However, everything indicates that all the worlds tapped for inclusion will remain those who lie directly under the Disney Umbrella, as well as some from underling Pixar.
While Kingdom Hearts 3 isn’t a traditional open world game, Square Enix has a clear goal to increase the scope and capacity of each world. Some of these levels are the most expansive we’ve ever seen in a Kingdom Hearts game. You’ll especially feel the scale at places like Toy Box in the Toy Story world, or Mount Olympus over in Hercules’ corner. Despite the increased size, Square Enix manages to create each world with the level of detail that’ll make you feel like you’re in the theater watching your favorite movies all over again. It’s this nice balance of scope and focus that gets us excited to be sucked into Disney’s magical kingdom once more.
Another critical element of the Kingdom Hearts series has, of course, been characters. There is something undeniably exciting about running into some of your favorite Disney denizens while you progress through a KH game.
While your main characters will remain steadfast – Sora and the gang are back – there are some additions. With the inclusion of the aforementioned worlds, it should come as no surprise that we will see end up crossing paths with their related character inhabitants. You’ll certainly be seeing Woody, Buzz, and the glutton of other toys living in Andy’s room for the Toy Story sections. I, for one, am totally ready to get some heals from Beymax.
And that’s alongside mainstays such as Goofy, Donald Duck, and Mickey Mouse, all of whom have proven to be valuable comrades for Sora over the years.
Kingdom Hearts 3 will seemingly feature a keen blend of all the combat mechanics introduced in each previous title. Keyblades still cut foes down with ease and magic is still here to help you quickly dispel waves of enemies. However, we’ll also be seeing new mechanics such as character summons, keyblade transformations, link attacks, something Square Enix is calling “attractions,” and more. Here’s a quick rundown of what those types of attacks are:
- Character Summons: You can call on one of your Disney or Pixar friends to fight alongside you for a short time.
- Keyblade Transformations: Alongside your keyblade’s normal abilities and combos, you can transform the keyblade after hitting a series of uninterrupted attacks. The temporary transformation unlocks a wealth of new abilities, as well as a finisher attack.
- Link Attacks: Like Character Summons, this mechanic brings your friends into the fray, but instead of being there as a sidekick they’ll execute a more coordinated and powerful attack with Sora.
- Attractions: These are flashy, big abilities that play out like rides you’d see at Disneyworld and Disneyland. For instance, you can call on something like a water ride to splash through a ton of foes.
There will also be other miscellaneous gameplay mechanics that may be unique to certain worlds and sequences. For instance, Sora can take control of robot Gigas at Toy Box to help him get around the store and fight enemies faster. Expect a lot of variety in this regard.
Players will get stronger as the game goes on with a leveling system that should increase your power, health total, mana pool, and offer new abilities. And it’s not just Sora getting this treatment, either – all your mainstay companions have their own experience to grow.
World traversal has been a big part of the Kingdom Hearts series, and Sora’s movement abilities are seeing some interesting changes with this entry. Sora has seemingly been practicing parkour as a new mechanic allows him to scale up, down, and across walls. This is likely to help players quickly maneuver through a world is just as wide as it is tall, with verticality being a staple element of Kingdom Hearts.
As was the case in most Kingdom Hearts games to date, you’ll be fighting enemies who use Darkness for evil. Darkness is both an alternate realm and an actual force of energy. Good characters can use Darkness to augment their abilities, though the bad ones use it with far more malevolent intentions. Much of your battling will be done against those known as the Heartless, a common enemy in the game. The Heartless are actually living forms of the darkness that exists in everyone’s heart. Their goals are likely driven by some evil no-gooder behind the scenes, as the heartless don’t act on any sort of feeling or emotion of their own.
When can I play?
Square Enix has announced that Kingdom Hearts 3 will now launch January 29th, 2019. The game was originally given a 2018 launch window, but Square Enix has felt the need to delay it, likely to make sure it gets the polish it needs.
If you want to get in line early, you can always head over and preorder a copy for $60.
In its long and storied history, Kingdom Hearts has done a stellar job of taking the elements that work and adding new ones. Like a fine wine, Kingdom Hearts has (mostly) gotten better with age. At this point, we don’t know everything about what is in store for us but as the year progresses we will undoubtedly see more new pieces of the puzzle unveiled.
I think Square knows that part of the magic and joy in these games is the surprise of running into unexpected characters. I have no doubt that they are holding a few cards close to their chests for the time being but I can’t wait to find out what those cards are.
What do you want to see in Kingdom Hearts 3?
Updated November 2018: Square Enix has wrapped development on Kingdom Hearts 3! The studio celebrated by releasing a new trailer packed with characters from the game.