The anticipation is mounting. Final Fantasy XV is approaching. The wait seems to be closing. Kingdom Hearts 3 might be getting closer to becoming a reality.
At E3 2013, Kingdom Hearts 3 was first revealed to great acclaim and surprise. I remember when I watched the trailer. Nervous and cheering after Tetsuya Nomura mentioned another project after Final Fantasy XV‘s trailer, I clasped my desk as I saw the Disney logo. And then as we saw the transition between Dream Drop Distance‘s intro cinematic to Kingdom Hearts 3‘s footage, I jumped up and down cheering! That surprise, that joy, was my favorite E3 moment. It was still prototype footage, but man, it was a great announcement. It wasn’t until E3 2015 that Kingdom Hearts 3 would be shown again in a proper fashion. Boasting visuals from Unreal Engine 4, the game stunned audiences as its trailer showed off Twilight Town, Mount Olympus, and the new Tangled world. The trailer also revealed a fast paced combat system as well as the larger worlds to explore, Sora’s new sporty style and story elements between the younger versions of Eraqus and Xehenort.
Now, how about this year? So far this year, Square Enix have been mostly silent about the game. Rumors have spread about Kingdom Hearts 3 and its development, especially its voice acting. Bill Farmer (the voice of Goofy), Jim Cummings (the voice of Pete, Pooh, and Tigger), and Steve Burton (the voice of Cloud) via KHInsider have been teasing that they’ve been working on the project. I think we will finally get the release window of 2017 and maybe even a season.
The reason? Haley Joel Osment during an interview with zap2it said, “The recording of the dialogue is one of the last parts of the process.” Without any basis at all, I think the game will be released sometime late Spring for a March/April release. Now that Final Fantasy XV is nearing completion with a release date in sight (that will be announced at the Final Fantasy XV Uncovered event) as well as the voice actors reportedly working on the project, I think Kingdom Hearts 3 is geared for a 2017 release, and it will be announced at E3 this year.
At E3, I expect to see the Big Hero 6 world be revealed in a new trailer because they previously announced the inclusion of Big Hero 6 at D23 last year. My prediction is we will see the bustling streets of San Fransokyo in an almost open world-like scope. Maybe the same size of one of Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s landscapes.
Will there be a demo of Kingdom Hearts 3 on the floor? Perhaps, but their big focus will most likely be Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD ReMIX, which features Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep 0.2, Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, and the main event, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance HD. The collection is scheduled to be released sometime this year. It will be interesting to see how they manage with the lack of the 3DS touch screen for the PS4 version. Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep 0.2 and Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover will also be featured in the engine that Kingdom Hearts 3 is using. Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep 0.2 is a smaller campaign featuring Aqua in the Realm of Darkness, and like Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5, the third inclusion in the collection, which has a cinematic story (with Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover). The game will be exclusive on PS4.
So what do I hope to see from Kingdom Hearts 3 at E3. The already mentioned release date is something that should be stated during E3 2016 rather than the dreaded “Now In Development.” Next, the worlds. Personally, I hope they don’t reveal all of them before the game comes out, but some I would like to see appear are: The Incredibles, Robin Hood, the return of Port Royale, Treasure Planet, and controversially Star Wars. I think Star Wars would be cool. The themes of good versus evil are there, the conversations that Sora and Han can have could be potentially hilarious, and I just like wacky picks. One of the best things about Kingdom Hearts is that anything is possible. Even a straight-to-DVD movie like The Three Musketeers can have representation.
Tron and Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, were really interesting additions as they changed up the formula and look of the series. Now with a better graphical engine, more powerful consoles, and the touted Kingdom Shader, I think these live action worlds can look far better than previous games. I hope Star Wars gets included though. Come on, tell me that you wouldn’t like a lightsaber keyblade?
Another quick prediction I would like to make is that it could be announced for PC at the PC Gaming Show or a potential Square Enix conference. Unlike previous games, it is being developed on a more open engine, Unreal Engine 4, and with Square Enix releasing the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy (as well as Type-0 HD, VII, VIII, and eventually IX among others), Dragon Quest Heroes, and now their upcoming J-RPG I Am Setsuna on PC and PS4, I think this is possible. A PC version would be so awesome as it could have higher graphics quality, mod support, and it would be available to an all new platform like the Xbox One. As a side note, I also predict that Final Fantasy XV will be coming to PC and could be announced at the Final Fantasy XV Uncovered event.
After an underwhelming (and predictable) trailer during Jump Festa, I hope Square Enix with E3 2016 can pick up the pace by showing something spectacular for Kingdom Hearts 3 that will amaze us like E3 2013 and E3 2015’s trailers. No official word has been given, as of the time of writing, on if Kingdom Hearts 3 will be shown during E3 2016.