Over a decade has passed since the release of Kingdom Hearts 2 on the PlayStation 2. Since then, all of the fans have been desperately clamoring for the sequel to one of the biggest franchises in video gaming. We were given tons of supplemental material in side-games, but they've been fairly hit-or-miss with its audiences. So it's with great relief (and a bit of impatience) that we can finally expect Kingdom Hearts 3 to be released around the end of 2018.
This main entry to the series is supposed to be the final part of the 'Dark Seeker Saga' trilogy that began with the first game. Many storylines are supposed to come together here for the end, giving the players some much-needed closure. Sadly, the game was rife with delays. This is mainly attributed to higher-ups deciding to switch to Unreal Engine 4, after a whole year of development and over the heads of its main developers.
Still, now that we're regularly getting teasers and trailers about KH3, the hype is back on! Though most of these clips are only small tastes of what to expect in the final product, many fans are able to extrapolate theories regarding what the game includes. Here, I've compiled the top 15 major gossip about KH3's contents, and what information I've found regarding whether or not they were confirmed.
15 It Might Be Secretly Open-World
Tetsuya Nomura stated that there would be less Disney worlds than in KH2, which implies that there will be less than twelve (though it's important to note that this doesn't include KH-original worlds). However, to counterbalance this lower quantity, the developers intend on making the worlds much more expansive.
To put it plainly, each world is huge, with towering heights and wide open fields. One example of this is the Toy Story world, where the shrunken Sora ventures out of Andy's room and into a suburban landscape that is giant to the fellow toys. It seems the developers intend on having the players enjoy these richer environments for longer, but not have to revisit previous worlds anymore as was usual in previous games.
14 The Real Toy Story 2.5
The developers have wanted to include a Toy Story world for a long time, but this came with many negotiations. Now that they've finally gotten the rights to include it, they're going all out with its presentation. Sora and the gang find themselves in Andy's room, magically appearing as toys to blend in with the locals. They are mistaken for action figures from a recent game.
Sora helps the toys with their newfound Heartless problem as he continues his journey. But fans are most interested in the fact that this plot won't take place in some parallel universe to the Toy Story movies, but rather fit into the canon of the movies. Their visit is supposed to take place between the events of Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. This has some fans even suggesting Sora will be mentioned in any future Toy Story movies.
13 Party Of Four: Add Some More!
For a long time, fans hoped that KH3 would feature the capability to have four members on your team at a time, as a stronger game engine would be able to handle more units on the field. This would do away with the precedent in the first two main entries where the player would have to switch out either Goofy or Donald whenever they wanted to use the token guest teammate of the world they visited.
In the most recent trailer, this speculation seemed to be confirmed, as Sora's party of three is also joined by Hercules in the Olympus stage. However, within a few minutes, fans were pleased to find that the upper limit of team members was actually five, as Sora's team is joined by both Woody and Buzz Lightyear in the second half of the trailer.
12 First-Person Shooting... In Kingdom Hearts!?
With the Athletic Flow, Keyblade Transformations, Drive Forms, limits, summons, spells (you can slide on your own ice!), and Attraction Flow abilities, combat is rightly deemed pretty hectic. The developers wanted to give the players multiple options for how they interact with the stages, and how they take down enemies. Now, gameplay looks like a frantic dance of swinging limbs and flashing lights.
But this still isn't all the game has to offer. There are apparently gimmicks that are unique to each world. The Toy Story world must be the biggest proprietor of such actions, as Sora can utilize a bevy of toys in combat on each floor of Galaxy Toys. The main example of this is Sora's piloting mech suits. He shoots and mows down dozens of little enemies in a first-person thrashing.
11 There's More To The Keyblades Than You Knew
We've been given our fair share of tantalizing footage portraying Sora wielding a litany of different weapons in combat, but not everyone knows what to make of our keyblade wielder using something new. Well, Sora is now capable of having his keyblades transform. Each and every keyblade will have at least two forms that it can take, and each of these forms call for different ways of dispatching enemies.
One of the earlier trailers showed Sora wielding the dual bowguns, and these are capable of further transforming into a bazooka. We've also seen Sora utilizing a shield, which we presume is available in Olympus. This seems to be capable of transforming into a flying chariot. Most recently, Sora used a giant hammer, a laser whip, and a drill in the Toy Story world.
10 Theme Park Rides Debut
At first, fans were uncertain what to make of Sora's magical ride through the air in what seemed to be a roller coaster. However, this ability has since been confirmed as the Attraction Flow system. These super-powerful attacks were inspired by the rides at the Disney theme parks. They are only usable under a specific set of circumstances, and which one is available depends on the map you are on.
In the trailers we've seen, we can confirm four rides so far. The first that we saw is based on the Thunder Mountain Railroad, for riding high in the sky. We also witnessed Sora aboard the Pirate Ship, rocking back and forth atop the enemies. Sora can twist around the map on the memorable Teacups. And finally, Sora and the party can pelt down enemies on the Shooting Ride.
9 They Might KILL Sephiroth
With the release of Sephiroth's Kingdom Hearts attire this year in the new Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, some fans' hopes were revitalized as to whether or not they would see him reappear in KH3 as he was already rendered for the PlayStation 4. However, Tetsuya Nomura expressed that the developers are still in deliberation about whether to include him or not, as they worry that his inclusion is becoming redundant.
In the same interview, in regards to new Square-Enix characters, Nomura expressed doubt as to whether it was necessary to add in more, as they already have too big of a roster as it is. Rather than introduce more characters that they hadn't brought into Kingdom Hearts previously, he would be looking mainly at characters that already have precedence unless they were "a perfect fit".
8 Dynamic Movements
The new game apparently draws some actions from the Flowmotion system in KH3DS. However, audiences found that system hard to control, and were uncertain how to use it efficiently, deeming it too "free". Now, Sora is much more mobile than in previous games, and many of these options had to be made more intuitive in the temporarily deemed 'Athletic Flow' system. This refined version was shown off with Sora leaping atop rocks.
The development team hoped that the player would be able to take better advantage of the new game's wider range of obstacles and environments. Now, depending on the circumstances, Sora is capable of jumping on certain enemies, changing the way he falls, or run along walls and up cliffs.
7 The Graphics Are In Flux
Some fans claim that the graphics for KH3 are astounding, and seeing them in person (and not as screenshots or on Youtube) is something that can truly grip one's heart. The developers had intended from the first game to try and represent Disney's brushwork, but only now have the processing power for the adjusting lighting. From what I've seen, the visuals are indeed impressive, but it's hard to say that they're breathtaking.
Well, it's true that the developers worked hard on reaching a certain bar for how the game should look. This is particularly true in the Toy Story world, where the intention was to try and match the characters and setting to the visuals of the original movie, which is considered a masterpiece of computer-generated graphics. Still, even the current trailers might not be a complete representation of how the game will really look. We'll just have to wait and see.
6 The Console Catalogue
Back when it was first announced, fans of Kingdom Hearts expected KH3 to come out for the PlayStation 3. However, so much time has passed that the game was instead developed for the PlayStation 4. And now, for the first time, Xbox users aren't ignored by the KH series. The newest game will be concurrently available for the Xbox One upon release.
The apparent main focus of the developers is to make the game for these two systems. Upon being asked whether or not it was possible to make the game for the Nintendo Switch, Tetsuya Nomura stated that it was a possibility. However, it was a consideration that they might not even think about, perhaps until after the game was released for the Xbox One and PS4.
5 New Utada Hikaru
For American shores, we were graced with "Simple and Clean" and "Sanctuary" for Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II respectively. These songs were such major facets of the marketing for these games. But now, fans are still uncertain as to whether or not Utada Hikaru will be writing and performing a new theme song for the third major installment in the series.
In 2009, Teruzane Utada (her father) stated that they had rejected Disney's offer due to low pay. In 2013, upon being asked for an update as to whether our favorite songstress was returning for KH3, the dad did confirm it, before quickly rescinding this claim and saying it was still undecided. In December of 2016, he did pretty much the exact same thing again, confirming his daughter's involvement and then taking it back.
4 More Than Sora
It's apparent that Sora is the main focus of KH3. However, Tetsuya Nomura stated that there is the intention of adding a playable character besides Sora. There's already precedent for this, even when ignoring the side entries to the series. There were circumstances where the player would take control of Roxas, Riku, and Mickey in KH2.
Well, during the events of KH3, we know that Riku and Mickey are once again off on their own mission, looking for more keyblade wielders. We also know that Lea and Kairi are in the process of training. These are possible options, but speculation currently points to Roxas's return, as his rescue is a major plot point for both Sora and Lea. Then again, some point to Aqua instead, as the other major keyblade wielder in the story.
3 A Dark Ending For The Franchise
Sora and the gang now seek the "Seven Guardians of Light." Well, the story to Kingdom Hearts is notorious for being hard to follow. And yet, we've been told that this end to the trilogy will wrap up all the plotlines, settling everyone's stories. Admittedly, that sounds daunting and unrealistic, as the collective character arcs seem so branched out from each other.
That's not to say I have expectations that the game will be bad, by any means. Just that there's too much to tie together in one game. We've been told that this story will be notably darker than previous games, which is exciting. And we hear that there will be slow resolutions paced throughout the game as you progress, rather than it all ending at once, which I believe is a good sign.
2 Finding The Perfect Villain
The most recent trailer for KH3 gave us a good look at Maleficent back at her schemes. In the first game, we saw an alliance of Disney villains, which was fairly exciting in its time. However, by the second game, it had pretty much completely crumbled sans Pete an underling of Maleficent. Quite frankly, Organization XIII was a rather bland league of antagonists by comparison.
Many hope that Maleficent's new plan to find the black box will include forging ties with the other worlds' villains again (obviously, with some fresh faces to replace the rejects). She and Pete do probe Hades for information regarding whether he's seen it in his world. Perhaps she'll be requesting the help of other major foes as well.
1 Marvel Is CONFIRMED... So Star Wars?
Though we know some old worlds will make an appearance like Olympus and Twilight Town, fans are excited to guess which new worlds will appear in KH3. One such example that was confirmed early on is the Kingdom of Corona, the setting of Tangled, where perhaps Sora will team up with Rapunzel. Though, when it comes to hype, fans were recently quite touched by the inclusion of the world of Toy Story.
Many were conflicted on whether or not they would be happy with Star Wars or anything from Marvel Comics having a world included in KH3, as the franchises became incorporated into Disney. But regardless of how they feel, such a communion is doubtful. The Marvel world that was confirmed to be included was the fitting world of Big Hero 6. The developers also left the possibility open for DLC worlds, if deemed justifiable.