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15 Years of Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts turns 15 this week. We look at the series and discuss the new trailer.

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There were some incredibly excited Square Enix fans at E3 earlier this summer.  Among other game sagas such as Final Fantasy and NieR: Automata, Square Enix had a surprise for fans; a new Kingdom Hearts III trailer.  Anxiously anticipated for 11 years, there was lots of excitement surrounding the event.  With drastically improved graphics, new plot teases and the return of dearly beloved characters, it offered appeasement- until Square announced there would be another new trailer at Disney Expo.  And these trailers, besides playing with our emotions, revealed something more important than anything else; a release date set for 2018!

However, there are things you need to note before expecting to go in and play Kingdom Hearts III; the games Birth By Sleep, Dream Drop Distance, 358/2 Days, and RE: Chain of Memories are NOT side games.  These contribute and guide the main storyline, adding essential characters to the mix where they couldn’t have been covered in I or II.  If you need a refresher or didn’t play the middle games, you can play I.5 or II.5 for all the important information.  If you can’t-do that either, you can check out this video by GameTrailers.  However, I will recommend that you get the free mobile game, Kingdom Hearts Union Crossing.  It covers events leading up to the original Keyblade War.

“Kingdom Hearts III looks incredible after switching to Unreal Engine.”

Kingdom Hearts Union Crossing

But back to the main focus of this.  Kingdom Hearts III looks incredible after switching to Unreal Engine.  Progress was lost and remade, the quality is looking absolutely fantastic, while still retaining its characteristic style.

There are a few things that Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed at various events or interviews; there will be fewer Disney worlds, but they’ll be more dense, more packed.  Within those worlds, though, they unlock some interesting new mechanics, like Keyblade Transformations.  Unlocked after completing all the missions in a world.  The Coliseum, for example, enables Sora to use Zeus’ lightning, as well as a Pegasus-drawn carriage.  Attraction flow attacks are also new and are power moves- like Limits in KHII, or Shotlocks in BBS.  They are triggered in battle by currently undisclosed conditions.  They’re actually based on Disney’s amusement park’s largest rides; as of now, Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Teacups, and the Pirate Ship are among them.

Five made unions, groups, and teams that worked together to destroy heartless.

On top of the new game mechanics, there’s a new world that has been released.  Originally, it was the Olympus Coliseum, followed by Tangled in the later trailers.  The most recent trailers confirmed Toy Story!  Meeting the toys sparked new art and memes amongst fans.  Art posts about Sora “giving Donald a hand” and Woody trying to tell Sora off about being a toy and trying to do something big.  Fighting the Keyblade Master Xehanort is certainly something big.

Although I’m not going to cover it all here, the plot teasers make me the most excited.  In KHUX- (the international, free mobile game)- and in Back Cover, released with 2.8, there were lots of new things.  One of the most notable, tied to the trailer released at E3, was the six imperative wielders that guided the future of wielders.  Five made unions, groups, and teams that worked together to destroy heartless.  The sixth was given the “Book of Prophecy”, leading up to the original Keyblade War.  What caught my eye in the new trailer was the reference to a certain “black box.”  Now, they certainly aren’t being generous with information, but my theory is that this “black box” is the same one the sixth wielder carries- perhaps with the Book inside?

The most important thing to note- Sora is confirmed to be attempting to bring Roxas back.  This means that Sora may or may not give into the darkness.  Maybe he will go to Riku and ask for help handling the darkness?  Maybe he’s stubborn and ends up losing himself entirely, giving back to Roxas what was never really his?

All of this speculation just makes me want 2018 to come all the faster. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see!

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