Kingdom Hearts III - Monsters, Inc. World
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Credit: Square Enix

Everything we know about Kingdom Hearts III so far

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Feb 15, 2018, 3:02 PM EST

Kingdom Hearts III is the long-awaited third entry in the Disney-meets-Final Fantasy role-playing series. We've been waiting on pins and needles for more information about the game, and finally, just recently during the D23 Expo in Japan, we got a brand new trailer with the promise of an actual release date to debut at E3 2018. 

It can be difficult to keep up with the deluge of information we've had in bits and pieces since five years ago when Kingdom Hearts III was initially announced at E3 2013 alongside Final Fantasy XV. Things have changed, and we know a lot more than we used to. But what do we know about Kingdom Hearts III right now that's been confirmed as fact? We've got it all here for you to digest so you don't have to go on yet another journey through countless explainer articles with tiny tidbits of text. 

The basics and what Kingdom Hearts is

First off, we know Kingdom Hearts III is set for a 2018 release date for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One from Square Enix. It's an action role-playing title that will be the third core entry in the Kingdom Hearts game series. Kingdom Hearts typically blends the worlds and characters from Disney with Final Fantasy characters from throughout the popular role-playing series to great effect.

For instance, Final Fantasy VII's Cloud and Aerith appear in their own roles, to name just a few familiar faces. You take up the role of Sora, who travels with friends Donald and Goofy throughout various different Disney worlds ranging from The Little Mermaid to Tron as a fairly complicated narrative unfolds. 

Kingdom Hearts III - Toy Story

Credit: Square Enix

What happens in Kingdom Hearts III?

If you haven't played the first two Kingdom Hearts games or at the very least have a basic understanding of the story, you might want to visit the games' extensive Wiki pages to get up to speed before the game launches, because the series is extremely convoluted. With that said, in its most basic form, Kingdom Hearts III takes place following the events of the 3DS title Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. This has been confirmed by game director Tetsuya Nomura.

King Mickey and Riku are searching for anyone in the world who wields a Keyblade weapon, and Sora, Donald, and Goofy are hard at work looking for a group known as the Seven Guardians of Light. All the while, everyone is looking to keep the evil Xehanort at bay. It seriously is complicated, so it's my suggestion that you read up on the stories or play through, at least, the first two games to have a baseline understanding of the plot. There have been so many sequels and spinoffs that it can be difficult to understand just what's happening, but luckily there are plenty of resources online to assist. 

What can we expect in terms of gameplay from Kingdom Hearts III?

Kingdom Hearts III will play largely like the other games in the series, as series director Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed in the past. Sora is your playable character, honed by Goofy and Donald as support party members. You don't control them directly, but they fight alongside you. This time, special abilities known as "Drive Forms" that were previously seen in other Kingdom Hearts games will be up for grabs. This transforms Sora into new outfits that have special world-specific traits. For instance, one of the new forms outfits him with a powerful hammer, and another turns his keybfade weapon into a shield. 

Kingdom Hearts III - Rapunzel

Credit: Square Enix

As far as interacting with the world around him, Nomura described the game as a "frantic" experience with new moves for Sora including wall-running and jumping on larger enemies. It looks like a lot is going on with Sora and the party in general, with new friends joining the team as you make your way through. 

What kinds of worlds have been confirmed for Kingdom Hearts III?

To date, the following worlds have been confirmed for the game:

  • Big Hero 6
  • Hercules (Mount Olympus)
  • Twilight Town
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • Mysterious Tower
  • Tangled (Kingdom of Corona)
  • Toy Story

What does the game look like so far in action?

There are several trailers out to give you a small glimpse into what you can expect from Kingdom Hearts III, but perhaps the most impressive was the D23 Expo Japan release, showing off the worlds of Tangled, Toy Story, and Monsters, Inc. with a heaping dose of experiences in each. It looks extremely polished and graphically impressive, so if you've only seen the older titles before their HD remakes, you're in for a real treat. 

Who's performing the theme song?

Utada Hikaru returns for the new theme song in both Japanese and English: "Don't Think Twice" in Japanese and "Chikai (Oath)" in Japanese. This marks the first time the popular J-Pop superstar has returned to Kingdom Hearts since the smash hit "Passion" (or "Sanctuary" in English) in 2005. Previously, she provided "Hikari," or "Simple and Clean" for the original Kingdom Hearts in 2002. It's been 13 years since Hikki, as she's known, has worked on music for the series, so this is a big milestone. 

As you can tell, it's going to be a bop. 

That's about it for now, but there's sure to be a lot more to come as the months wear on and E3 2018 is right around the corner. Kingdom Hearts III is finally going to be realized, so you may want to take the time to make sure you're well-versed in what's around the corner before taking the plunge into the game. You'll be glad that you did. 

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