During E3 weekend, Square Enix release a surprise teaser trailer for the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III. The teaser featured new gameplay in Mount Olympus, the world based on Disney's Hercules. At the end of the trailer, they revealed that another trailer for the game would be revealed at D23 (Disney's Comic Con-like event) with a new world. Square Enix finally released the trailer and it revealed a new world with a release window of 2018.
Before the trailer dropped, fans speculated on what the new world could be, but few expected the next Kingdom Hearts area to be Pixar's animated classic Toy Story. This is the first Pixar movie to ever be featured in the Kingdom Hearts series, which means that there could be more on the way.
The new Toy Story trailer is a mix of cinematics and gameplay. It starts with Sora, Donald, and Goofy first entering the world of Toy Story, starting off in Andy's room. Like other worlds in previous games, the main trio's appearances were altered so they look like toys instead of their regular selves. Of course, they immediately run into Heartless, and after disposing of them, they are greeted by the Toy Story gang led by Woody and Buzz Lightyear. English speaking fans of the movie might be a little disappointed though as the trailer is in Japanese—meaning the iconic Tom Hanks and Tim Allen voices aren't there.
A lot goes down in the trailer. Sora learns that he has been turned into a toy, the new world has only recently been affected by Heartless, Andy is missing, and around the same time, a hooded man in a black robe appears, meaning he is from Organization XIII. Sora wants to tackle the Heartless with just Donald and Goofy, but Woody and Buzz join them since their friend and owner is in trouble. The visual fidelity of the characters is incredible, looking like a perfect replication of assets from Toy Story 3. In comparison, Woody and company look even better than the original movie.
After the two groups decide to work together, there is gameplay shown around Andy's house and at a new toy store called Galaxy Toys. Sora can have four companions at once, meaning that Woody, Buzz, Donald, and Goofy are all helping out in the action, so players won't have to worry about which party member to leave behind. Since the action is scaled down, regular environments feel huge. There is even a scene in Galaxy Toys where Sora pilots a mech, akin to D.Va from Overwatch.
In an interview with Game Informer, Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura revealed more information on the Toy Story world. With most worlds, Sora travels through the story of the movie with some Heartless thrown in. In this case, Pixar "preferred for us to not follow the film directly" and to "create something original to Kingdom Hearts." This completely original story takes place sometime after Toy Story 2. Nomura made sure to provide "rich gameplay in an individual world," so fans can spend their time enjoying the world of Toy Story.
The addition of Toy Story to Kingdom Hearts is an incredibly welcome one. It has arguably been the most requested world since the release of Kingdom Hearts II even though there was no history of Pixar worlds featured in the series. Along with Big Hero 6 and Tangled, this is a great addition to the universe. Perhaps next, Sora and the gang will adventure alongside WALL-E.