We had originally hoped that Kingdom Hearts 3 would come out in 2015, but we're now not expecting the game to arrive until 2017 at the earliest. Kingdom Hearts' co-director, Tai Yasue, told GameInformer that it would instead focus on Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix in 2015.
"We were actually developing Kingdom Hearts III and 2.5 at the same time, and it's very difficult. There was a point where we wanted to switch our resources to Kingdom Hearts III and get that moving faster," Yasue said.
"We've been working full throttle on Kingdom Hearts III. It's moving along. We structured our team in a way that development of 2.5 doesn't impede Kingdom Hearts III. I'm actually every excited about Kingdom Hearts III." So are we Yasue, so are we.
Then, at E3 2015 during Square Enix's keynote on 16 June, the company premiered a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3 and it made our jaws drop. You can watch the new trailer at the top of this article.
Annoyingly, though, the end of the trailer doesn't offer up any idea about a release date. In fact, it simply says "Now in development," which is what we thought was happening two years ago when the game was first announced in 2013.
Kingdom Hearts 3 rumours: What new worlds will be in Kingdom Hearts III?
As soon as word of Kingdom Hearts 3 got out, speculation erupted over what new worlds we'd see in the game. Throughout the Kingdom Hearts series, we've been transported to Disney worlds including Hercules' Olympus Colosseum, Aladdin's Agrabah, Pirates of the Caribbean's Port Royal and The Lion King's Pride Lands.
It's particularly exciting because, since the release of Kingdom Hearts II, Disney has been rather busy releasing awesome new films and acquiring new companies like Marvel and Lucasfilm.
When asked whether, in addition to the new worlds we're bound to be treated to in Kingdom Hearts III, we'll see a reappearance of some of the original ones, Yasue said: "It's going to be a mix. Whenever we come up with worlds for Kingdom Hearts, we want to have them be varied. You don't want the same type of world, so we will have different categories. That will make it feel fresh, like you're having an adventure."
"There's a lot of Disney content that's new and coming out and we're considering which ones to use, which would be good from a gameplay perspective," Yasue continued. "This is not an announcement or anything, but personally I enjoyed watching Frozen. It was magical: the stories, the songs, the ice expressions."
Yep, that's right folks: Kingdom Hearts III may well include the widely popular new Disney movie, Frozen. Exciting much?
As of E3 2015, we now know that Tangled is one of the worlds featured in Kingdom Hearts 3. The grassy areas shown in the gameplay footage in the trailer are part of the Tangled world.
Also spotted in the trailer are Titans from Hercules as well as Pegasus, so it's likely we'll see Hercules and the Coliseum in the game, too.
Most recently, Square Enix announced a new world to featured in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3 at the D23 expo. To the excitement of fans, the company announced that fans will be able to ride the robot Baymax and fight their way through a Big Hero 6 world. Big Hero 6 is a hugely popular animated Disney film that was released in 2014, and went on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Film, and looks to be a welcome addition to the game.
Here's a list of rumoured and most wished-for worlds in Kingdom Hearts 3:
The Jungle Book
Kingdom Hearts 3: Gameplay & other rumours
There's not much information about Kingdom Hearts 3's gameplay, but that's not to say we don't know anything, and the recent E3 2015 trailer certainly revealed quite a lot.
As you can see from the trailer, the Keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3 can transform into an even more powerful weapon, and it looks like the fairground rides inspired by Disney's theme parks will play a big part in the magic of the game.
Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura has said: "The action is pretty frantic. The really bold action we've always had is getting even crazier."
"Kingdom Hearts III has three-person parties, but NPCs and other characters join the fight in each individual world, and the resulting action is really flash and exciting," he continued. "The enemy AI is a lot more intricate, too, and I think the gameplay will reflect that new dynamic balance. For example, there's a foe that's shaped like a vehicle, and Sora may jump on it and fly around; that's already implemented."
Additionally, we know that Sora will gain the ability to change the shape of his Keyblade like Aqua can in Birth By Sleep.
Nomura has also suggested that a multiplayer and/or online mode is possible, though there's no confirmation of that yet.
Nomura says that the game will pick up the story after the events of Dream Drop Distance. "It's the final episode in the 'Dark Seeker' saga that began with the original Kingdom Hearts, and it'll depict the final battle with Xehnort."
Nomura has spoken a bit about the new visual style of Kingdom Hearts III, as seen in the trailer. "We spent a while figuring out what direction to take Kingdom Heart's visuals in the next generation," he said. "Should we go for a more realistic look like in recent projects, or try something else? Along the way, we remembered that these Kingdom Hearts characters were originally paintbrush art from Disney productions, a texture that was one of our original aims, and that it was time to return to that."
One thing we can gather from watching the announcement trailer is that rides from Disney's theme parks will play a part in the game. In the trailer, you can see a pirate ship and a runaway train being taken advantage of by Sora during battle.
Tai Yasue has said that he's most excited about the technology and the creative stuff in Kingdom Hearts III.
"There's a lot of stuff we have never ever done before," he said. "There's a lot that's the same, but there's a lot that's changed. We're moving from a totally different console to a new console. The technology has evolved; it's very new and everyone is doing a lot of research. And look-wise, it looks amazing as well."
"We've shown you some of the trailers and teasers. There are a lot of Disney-themed attractions, so that's exciting as well. It's very exciting for me and I want to tell you more about it but I really can't at this moment."
Some rumours have suggested that multi-player gameplay could feature in Kingdom Hearts 3, too, but there are no further details about that yet.
E3 2016 didn't bring much new information about Kingdom Hearts III, but we do know that Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 will give hints about what to expect from the new game. According to the game's director Tetsuya Nomura, players will want to play through 2.8 in order to understand the third game fully, as it acts as a sort of prologue.
We'll bring you more information about Kingdom Hearts III as it arrives.
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Kingdom Hearts 3 videos: Trailers & opening sequence
There are now two Kingdom Hearts III trailers, the newest of which is shown at the top of this page and the older, original trailer is shown below.
While there are no other trailers for the game yet, the sequence seen at the end of the latest trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is the opening scene for Kingdom Hearts III. Skip to two minutes and thirty seconds into the trailer below to see it.
When asked whether there would be a teaser at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.5, Yasue replied: "For Kingdom Hearts 2.5, I think everything has to do with Kingdom Hearts III. It will connect. The whole experience, the theatre and the story, will all connect to Kingdom Hearts III. I'm not being specific on purpose."
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