Here at TheGamer, we get to do this really cool thing where we discuss video games—even those that have yet to premiere. One of such turns out to be the most highly-anticipated game of 2019: Kingdom Hearts III. The hype and anxiety surrounding this game are so intense that Square Enix has battled many a spoiler and hacking attempt in order to keep the story a secret until its release in January. Similarly, fans have gone to lengths such as social media blackouts and ignoring trailers just so that nothing is ruined before the game is in their hands.
Luckily, I have not bared witness to any rumored spoilers or screenshots. Everything in this article is either confirmed by Tetsuya Nomura himself or speculation from hardcore fans based on earlier games. If you haven't played Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, Birth by Sleep, Dream Drop Distance, or watched Back Cover, then some of these might be "spoilers" for you—if you want to be a dedicated Kingdom Hearts fan, play the earlier games. If you have, then you'll find these confirmed tidbits to be comforting, while finding you either agree or despise some of these fan theories. Whatever your opinion, we can all agree on the fact that this game will rip our hearts to shreds and force us to stock up on Kleenex. It might even leave us emotionally vulnerable and unapproachable, and that's okay... Because our hearts will be our guiding light and our friends are our power. Let's do this!
30 Confirmed: Riku Is A Playable Character
This is the most recent addition to the list of confirmed Kingdom Hearts facts and it's one that many fans, myself included, rejoiced over. It was no secret that there would be more than one playable character (similar to Dream Drop Distance) so when Nomura announced that Riku would be one, suddenly things began to make more sense. Riku will likely be a huge part in this final chapter and now we know the "how," but not the "why."
29 Theory: Xion Is Norted
Since the last and final trailer, theories on Xion have been buzzing around the fandom. With a glimpse of her in the form Axel remembers her as, fans are convinced that she has white hair. In a normal circumstance, this would likely imply that she has been "norted." However, there's no confirming whether she's even back as a character or not, only speculation. For all we know, this could be purely a flashback with no actual substance other than Axel's emotional distress.
28 Confirmed: The Largest Game In Kingdom Hearts History
In comparison, NieR Automata, an open-world RPG, takes up roughly 63GB of game space. Kingdom Hearts III was rumored to be a larger game, but it has recently been confirmed that it will, indeed, exceed the hype.
Topping out at only 20 gigs less than NieR, Kingdom Hearts will be a hefty game for one that does not have an open-world feature or downloadable content (yet). Get ready to clear off your consoles, because you're not going to want to miss out on this release because you've run out of data space.
27 Theory: Aqua Is Only A Darkling
Perhaps it comes from a place of not wanting to believe that Aqua has been norted, or maybe there is some actual truth to it. The first trailer to show Aqua has been studied and analyzed (and overanalyzed) by nearly every fan.
Screenshots were taken and details were discussed, and some have the pension to believe that Aqua isn't actually norted.
She's just turning into a darkling. This theory would go hand-in-hand with the idea that she can be saved, but has yet to provide any solid evidence.
26 Confirmed: New Players And Hardcore Fans Will Be Able To Play
Much to the disappointment of dedicated Kingdom Hearts fans, Nomura announced that this game—in both its gameplay and its story—will be new-user-friendly. That basically means that if you are new to the series, you'll be able to pick up on its game mechanics easily without being too lost amidst the story. The most recent combo-pack of games included a "theater mode," which allows players to watch important scenes from prior games in order to appreciate the whole picture.
25 Theory: Who Is Norted And Who Isn't?
There are too many theories about this to write them all out here, but everyone seems to have their own ideas as to who is part of the darkness and who isn't. While it's pretty much determined that we're aware of every form of Xehanort, what's not confirmed is which of the Organization XIII members have turned their backs on their former selves. These members still remain a mystery, although people have drawn connections between the chess board seen in the trailer and the members who make an appearance.
24 Confirmed: The Worlds Are The Size Of A Single Game
If you've played .2 (which you should, because that's what Kingdom Hearts III gameplay is being compared to), then you know it'll take you roughly an hour and a half to complete. Rumor had it that each world was the size of a single game—.2, in particular—therefore resulting in plenty of gameplay as well as an anticipated story. Nomura soon confirmed this, letting fans know that they were absolutely getting their money's worth with this final installment of the Dark Seeker Saga.
23 Theory: Terra Will Inherit Riku's Old Keyblade
If you've kept up with the games up to this point and kept a mental note of the connections between Birth by Sleep and the other games, as well as the connections between each character, then this could be plausible. Both Aqua and Terra visit Sora and Riku ten years prior—when Birth by Sleep takes place—therefore it's easy to believe that they could be connected in the final game. Riku will obviously be a major part of the plot and might be the one to save Terra, as Terra once did for him and Sora.
22 Confirmed: The 1.5 + 2.5 Remix Has Theater Mode
As stated before, the 1.5 + 2.5 Remix will indeed have an option for theater mode. To go further into detail, that means fans will be able to skip around or watch every cutscene in order. This is excellent for those who have yet to play all the major games and also for those who need a bit of a refresher before Kingdom Hearts III is released. Rather than having to juggle discs or replay entire games, this allows players to easily revisit important parts of the story as needed.
21 Theory: Which Side Is Marluxia On?
It's theorized that Marluxia is the wild card when it comes to the Organization members. He had some strange business going on in the games prior, and even in the trailers things were a little muddy. There was a mistake in the first trailer that showed the pink-haired villain that was corrected in the later trailers, leading fans to become unsure whether or not he was "norted." It's still up in the air at this point and with no more trailers to look forward to, this is a mystery we'll just need to wait to solve.
20 Confirmed: Legendary 13 Vs. 7 Rings True
This has been hinted at but if you pay attention to the trailers, it appears that there will, indeed, be a full force of 13 wielders of darkness as well as seven wielders of light.
Who they are is still a mystery and though there has been much speculation, absolutely nothing in this matter has been confirmed.
This is for the best, as any of it would likely spoil the plot quite a bit. We do know more about the wielders of darkness based on prior games and some trailer footage, but who most of them are still remains questionable.
19 Theory: Showing Final Fantasy Characters Could Be A Spoiler
Once again, if you've followed every game up to this point, then you're well aware of the fact that certain characters from Final Fantasy could lead to potential spoilers of worlds. For example, Squall and Aeris (Aerith, for some of you) are partial to Hollow Bastion while Auron is found in the Underworld. Appearances from these characters may actually spoil pivotal points in the plot, which would explain why we have yet to see any yet—including new characters, such as Final Fantasy XV characters.
18 Confirmed: Aqua Has Fallen To Darkness
It's true—Although it shattered my feels to admit that Aqua has finally fallen to the darkness, this was confirmed by Nomura himself via the first full trailer. While we've only seen Aqua—affectionately renamed "Aquanort" by fans—a couple of times, it's very clear that she has been overcome by her yellow eyes and darkling-like hands and arms. The one line she's uttered so far tells us everything that we need to know: "Mickey, you're too late." Will it be too late to save the champion of justice? Time will tell.
17 Theory: Sora Will Need To Make A Sacrifice
At this point, it all seems to be riding on poor Sora's shoulders. The end of the most recent trailer was perhaps the most heartbreaking, showing Sora screaming out in angst... completely by himself. His heart is home to three others, and it's unclear still whether or not this will come into play. It can be surmised that everything will rest heavy on Sora to sacrifice himself in order to save the others. He alone has the key to unlock these hearts and if that's the case, it can't be done without him losing parts of himself.
16 Confirmed: Link Summons Are Available
There are three confirmed links that we've witnessed in the trailers thus far. Each one looks just as awesome and radical as the next, and they include Wreck-It Ralph, Ariel from The Little Mermaid (reign in your hatred of Atlantis), and Simba from The Lion King. While two of these worlds were familiar to us in Kingdom Hearts II, Wreck-It Ralph is the only newcomer which will make for some interesting gameplay. We're psyched to see what abilities these link characters bring to the game if linking is your go-to choice of attack.
15 Theory: Heartless And Nobodies Will Bring About A New Enemy
Based on a quote from Young Xehanort: "One heart's shadows fill the emptiness of another. See how they bring them to life? Like Heartless and Nobodies, they fit together," it's speculated that there will be a new type of enemy. We've seen both Heartless and Nobodies in the trailers, but will we see a new creature as well that could be a combination of the two? There's no proof at all for this, but it's interesting to think about.
14 Confirmed: All The Worlds
Additionally, we do have some worlds that have definitely been confirmed for the third and final game in the saga. These were easily revealed in the trailer and hinted at based on certain characters who made appearances. The worlds that we know for sure will be playable is as follows: Kingdom of Corona, Olympus Coliseum, San Fransokyo, Monstropolis, Andy's Room, Port Royal, Kingdom of Arendelle, 100-Acre Wood, a mystery "cloud" world, Twilight Town, and, most recently, Scala ad Caelum—Otherwise known as "Stairway to Heaven."
13 Theory: Sora And Mickey's Keyblades... Is Sora The True King?
This fan theory is based on the simplest of facts that can be traced all the way back to the early games. Game art shows Sora, more than once, sitting atop a throne with a crown that would be indicative of some type of title. He also bears the symbol of the crown around his neck, which has yet to be explained in full. Whether or not this holds water is unclear, as it could be just as metaphorical is it is speculative. We really know nothing about who Sora will become in the final game or what his ultimate fate will be.
12 Confirmed: Stairway To Heaven Will Be A Playable World
Fans received a bit of a surprise at the end of the most recent trailer. It was confirmed that Scala ad Caelum would be a world and in it, we see what are assumed to be wielders of darkness (possible Xehanorts?) rising in some act of defiance.
While the trailer didn't give away much other than the setting and a lonely Sora, it's presumed that some sort of final battle will take place here...
Or at least one that leads to a monstrous turning point in the storyline. This world is likely the culmination of all the story up to that point which will be a rather intense face-off.
11 Theory: Who Is Luxu, Really?
It's already been confirmed that the Master of Masters will serve no active role in the final game. This has led to some confusion as to whether Back Cover and its characters served as anything more than a history, but there's no denying that Luxu was the last one seen with the infamous "black box."
Everyone is searching for this in the trailer, and it's speculated that this could have been an early form of Xehanort himself.
It's rumored that the Master of Masters was actually a Nobody, using the box to keep his Heartless.
10 Confirmed: There Are Two Rikus
It is unconfirmed exactly who this second Riku is that the real (assumedly) Riku is clashing keyblades with, but it's confirmed that there is another copy of him walking around. One of the most recent trailers displays this intense showdown without, of course, telling who this other Riku is. It looks an awful lot like Replica Riku but, alas, it is not for us to make speculation for. Right now, it's only confirmed that Riku is fighting a carbon-copy of himself, and that's that.
9 Theory: Sora Is Not A Wielder Of Light But Maybe A Heartless
In order for this to be correct, that would mean that, in all likelihood, Riku, Mickey, Aqua, Ventus, Kairi, Lea, and Roxas would be the wielders of light. This would leave no room for Sora, who would have a tough job—this goes hand in hand with the theory that Sora is the only one who is able to become a Heartless since he has done it already—Giving him power in the darkness as well as in the light. Could this be the key to defeating Xehanort?
8 Confirmed: Roxas Might Be Back
During the E3 trailer, Sora is questioned as to how he plans to bring Roxas back. If you played Dream Drop Distance, then you know Sora was filled with guilt over the people it was left up to him to save. He carries Roxas' heart inside of his own, and it's rumored that he'll need to turn to darkness in order to bring back his other half (literally). While it's unconfirmed whether or not he'll do this, it is confirmed that Roxas is a topic of interest in the third game.
7 Theory: Riku And Terra Are Connected Metaphysically
In Bith by Sleep, there is an exchange between Terra and Riku. This ability to protect and use the keyblade is theorized to go much deeper than we initially perceive if the fan theory is true. The idea is that Riku holds Terra's heart, which not only protects him but allows him the ability to wield both the light and the darkness. Interestingly enough, Riku can also use the Guardian command, which might suggest a further connection to Terra than initially thought.
6 Confirmed: Ansem (The Real One) The Wise Is Back
Three cheers for the most recent trailer, which allowed us a glimpse into some pretty good character insight. Ansem the Wise—the real Ansem—appears to have made a comeback. In order to fully understand the gravity of this scene, you would have needed to play through Birth by Sleep and get the real ending in order to know that Ansem is still alive. He appears to be standing in Twilight Town (perhaps just outside the mansion?) deep in an intense conversation.
5 Theory: Time Travel Could Be The Key (No Pun Intended)
There's no telling what Xehanort has set into motion or ruined with his ability to time travel, as you find out that he's been doing this for years. This time travel has allowed him the ability to create various versions of himself throughout time, which he could then round up and use when it came time to inherit the darkness. However, this time travel could be the key to bringing back Terra and reversing Terranort—If Lingering Will plays any part in this, the key could be to combine all versions of Terra, in order for them to reform as one.
4 Confirmed: Xion Made An Appearance
It's still unclear as to whether or not Xion will actually come back in the third game. While many fans have their hopes up that this Nobody will come back, many understand the reality of how challenging that would be—considering she, like Roxas, was never meant to exist in the first place. Her heart is the joining of two actual people, making her even less likely to have anything to do with the third and final game—but it's not completely ruled out, as Axel seems to have flashbacks of her in the trailers.
3 Theory: The Book Of Prophecies Is Hidden In The Master's Box
The one thing that seems to be on everyone's mind is, "what's really hidden in the black box?" Everyone is after it, therefore it must be holding something important.
If you interpret the theory that Luxu and/or the Master of Masters is somehow connected to Xehanort, then it could be that the black box holds the Book of Prophecies.
This would have allowed Xehanort to constantly be three steps ahead of everyone, as he would already know the future and what it held for him.
2 Confirmed: Aqua Can Be Saved According To Nomura
Nomura didn't exactly sway one way or the other when it came to Aqua's personal story in Kindom Hearts III, only that fans will need to hold onto their patience. He was well aware of the fact that seeing such a strong and determined character lose heart (maybe literally), as well as hope, was tough, and he gave a tidbit for those seeking it. He said that although Aqua has seemingly fallen, it doesn't mean that she can't be saved and that players will need to "do their best" when that time finally comes.
1 Theory: Or Could The Master's Box Hold X-Blade Parts?
This is by far the most interesting theory. Since the light has already entered seven princesses, all that's left is determining where the 13 dark pieces of the X-Blade are hidden. If you look closely, you'll realize that the black box has thirteen locks and that in itself is intriguing. Upon further examination, there's a sigil on the box that could imply it has something to do with the X-Blade. This theory has many different details but the idea is still the same, in which case, Kingdom Hearts III is bound to be as tragic and intense as it's anticipated to be.