Don’t freak out, don’t freak out.
Okay, freak out. Earlier this week, long-time (and sometimes lovable) developer Square Enix released a new gameplay demo for Kingdom Hearts III, and boy is it awesome. The demo once again highlights a stunning next-gen visual style as well as new abilities for Sora and his gang of Disney legends.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Kingdom Hearts III gameplay. Earlier this year at E3, Square Enix unveiled the first-ever Kingdom Hearts III footage that shocked and excited gamers around the world. Although the footage is incredibly beautiful and nostalgic to a T, what do we actually know about the game?
Kindgom Hearts III will be the 8th installment into the KH franchise, and it will be the first multi-platform entry in the series — releasing for both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Not much is extensively known about the game’s narrative, but here’s what we have so far: we’ll be playing as Sora (take that, Roxas!), and he’ll once again be joined by his lovable and fiesty sidekicks, Donald and Goofy. Players will also see the return of Riku, King Mickey, and an onslaught of other famous Disney character’s we have all grown to love over the franchise’s history. The plot as we know it seems to be straightforward — but of course, it’s never been as easy as it sounds. While Sora and his gang must go off in search of the Seven Guardians of Light and the ‘Key to Return Hearts’, Riku and King Mickey must traverse the universe for long lost wielders of the Keyblade. It won’t be an easy journey, as our adventurers must keep up hope in order to thwart Master Xehanort’s plan to balance light and dark.
Pretty great, right? What’s even more interesting is the fact that Disney recently acquired rights to Lucasfilm, Pixar Animation, and Marvel Entertainment. Could it be possible to see the inclusion of some of these companies heavy hitters? If I had to take a guess, I’d say no. Although Tetsuya Nomura has been quoted telling serveral outlets that he’d love to see the inclusion of Star Wars characters, it’s still up to Disney’s discretion. Disney is notorious for being stingy with their intellectual property, and Star Wars is no exception. Pixar seems like the only sensible addition to the game, while Mavel’s arsenal of characters would seem too far out of place for the long-running franchise. I don’t have it in my heart to imagine Sora fighting alongside Skywalker — as cool as it would be — destroying the Death Star with the Gummi Ship. I mean, these are not the Keyblades you’re looking for. Although I would find it cool if Pete could somehow find himself dropped into a pit with Sarlacc.
Whether or not we’ll see any of this in Kingdom Hearts III is purely speculation at this point, and with the release date lingering in a 2015 limbo, we’ll have more than enough time to theorize. Right now, let’s just focus on how awesome the gameplay is. In the demo above, we’re seeing some pretty neat abilities, as well as what appears to be more Final Fantasy-esque battle sequences. What’s even more exciting is the fact that we’ll get to battle at least one Titan from the Hercules canon — and I’m hoping he won’t be the only one. The addition of what appears to be Disney attractions is an interesting move on the developer’s part — one that could prove to bring an innovative and more dynamic gaming experience.
Needless to say, Kingdom Hearts III is looking like it will be a fine addition to the ultra-beloved series, and I for one cannot wait to see the game come to fruition. Whatever may happen, I know I’ll stick with the series until the end of time, and with release of the HD 1.5 ReMIX — as well as 2.5 in the works — I’m hoping gamers of this generation will be able to experience the joy of a series that has carried and held my imagination like no other.
If you missed the E3 gameplay footage, be sure to check it out below. After viewing both demos, how do you feel about Kingdom Hearts III, and what direction would you like to see it taken? Be sure to comment below and let me know! Theories are my favorite.
Happy gaming, everyone! And, as always — thanks for reading, nerds.