Kingdom Hearts III Articles RSS Feed | Kingdom Hearts III RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Toy Story World and Release Window for Kingdom Hearts 3 Announced at D23 Mon, 17 Jul 2017 09:33:30 -0400 daisy_blonde

During Disney's D23 Expo Video Games Showcase this weekend, the company revealed that Toy Story would be the newest world to come to Kingdom Hearts 3

To introduce this new world, Tetsuya Nomura took the stage and began talking about fans' positive reactions at the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra world tour. This was followed by a trailer which opened with Sora jumping off some clouds and what looked to be the Olympus Coliseum and Twilight Town. A quote was transposed on the screen in blue text, which read:

"Don't assume your dreams are just fantasy. If you can imagine a world, believe in it...and dive in."

This lead into a reveal of the new world -- where Sora, Donald, and Goofy appeared as miniature toys underneath Andy's bed. They are faced with miniature toy enemies, and then bump into Woody, Buzz, Rex, Hamm, the Pizza Planet Aliens, and the toy green soldiers.

These toys explain that Andy and his family had disappeared not long after the Heartless showed up -- and they were with a guy in a black hood. Sora suspects that this may be Organization XIII at work. And with the toys' help, he sets out to Galaxy Toys to investigate further. 

The trailer showcased gameplay outside Andy's house, where Sora uses a Drill attack and a Draw Punch attack using a powerup. Then we see gameplay inside the Galaxy Toys store, where Sora cimbed into a robot and used laser cannons to deal with the enemies surrounding him -- reminiscent of the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast ride at Disney parks.

The release year was then revealed as 2018 -- but there is no definitive date yet.

After the trailer, Nomura was joined on stage by Jason Katz and Tasha Sounart from Pixar. Jason has worked at Pixar for the past 23 years and was the Story Supervisor for Toy Story 3. He confirmed that the Kingdom Hearts story relating to the Toy Story franchise is brand new. Tasha Sounart, who is an Associate Creative Director at Pixar and animated for Toy Story 2, confirmed that she had helped to design the toy versions of Sora, Donald and Goofy, and the Keyblade for the Toy Story world.

Nomura added that players of iPhone and Android game Kingdom Hearts: Union Cross will be able to get a special Toy Story medal in-game.

You can watch the trailer above if you haven't seen it for yourself. And if you want to watch the whole D23 conference to see the interviews with Nomura and Pixar, check out the official D23 YouTube channel.

Stay tuned for more Kingdom Hearts 3 news as we get closer to release!

New details on Kingdom Hearts III, Star Wars games coming to Disney's D23 Expo 2015 Mon, 13 Jul 2015 19:04:38 -0400 Bryan C. Tan

As the D23 Expo 2015 rolls around next month, Disney gamer fans can start getting excited, because it's going to be one great show at the Anaheim Convention Center.

On Sunday, August 16th at 11am PT, "never-before-seen gameplay, trailers, new reveals, and surprises from Disney Interactive’s most anticipated games" will be featured at a special presentation in the signature 7,500-seat Hall D23 theater.

Disney Infinity 3.0 EditionStar Wars: Battlefront, and Kingdom Hearts III will be the stars of the presentation, with new Star Wars characters and Play Sets to be showcased by Disney Interactive, an in-depth look to be given by EA, and new information to be revealed by special guests brought by Square Enix.

Besides the special presentation, the Disney Interactive pavilion on the show floor will provide hands-on demos of Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition and Star Wars: Battlefront, interactive experiences such as the augmented-reality "Only in the Toy Box" Experience and arcade Star Wars: Battle Pod, and limited-edition giveaways of thousands of pre-release Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition figures.

Tickets for the biannual event cost $74 for a one-day adult admission and $54 for children 3 to 12 years old, while a three-day admission from August 14th to 16th costs $216 for adults and $156 for children.

So if you're looking for the best opportunity to celebrate all things Disney, look no further than the D23 Expo 2015; it's going to be the happiest place of the year.

Make Kairi an actual hero in Kingdom Hearts III or we riot Mon, 22 Jun 2015 09:20:06 -0400 Jackson Ingram

Kairi, supposedly the “leading lady” of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, is a tease. “We made it this far by sticking together. You can’t go alone.” Give me a break. You're not going. You’re not going to do anything. You might even get captured again.

I am sick and tired of waiting on Square Enix to make Kairi the heroine we’ve been promised.

Kingdom Hearts I

Kairi without her heart in Hollow Bastion.Since the very beginning, Kairi has been the embodiment of everything wrong with the female representation in Kingdom Hearts; her biggest problem has always been objectification. First, she’s used to fuel the rivalry between Sora and Riku and then she loses her heart, becoming an inert MacGuffin for Sora to chase all over the worlds. She has no agency. She has no independence.

She and the rest of the Princesses of Heart could be replaced with magical sweet potatoes, and the story would be almost unchanged: Sora and Riku fight over their magical sweet potato. Maleficent collects the magical sweet potatoes. Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, uses the seven magical sweet potatoes to create the Keyblade of Sweet Potato Hearts.

And then finally she gets this amazing moment where she saves Sora! She recognizes him immediately in his Shadow form, runs through a bunch of Heartless, and saves him. Finally, we get to see Kairi do something. It’s loving. It’s bold. It’s . . . brief. Because shortly afterward, Kairi tries to join Sora in saving the worlds and is immediately shot down.

Why? It’s too dangerous for her.

It’s not like Sora and Riku literally just started this adventuring stuff. Granted, she didn’t get to level grind like they did, but it would have been cool if she could have whipped out some of those Princess of Heart powers we keep hearing so much about. Even if this would just put her in a supporting role, at least she’d be part of the action with Sora.

Sora and Kairi at the end of Kingdom Hearts.To add insult to injury, the game ends with them being torn apart, again. Sora (somehow) saves all of the worlds taken by the Heartless and, while the Destiny Islands are reforming, Kairi appears on a segment of the beach. As she’s pulled back to her own world, Sora and Kairi cling to one another for as long as they can, Sora promising to come back for her before they are finally pulled apart by the mystical world reforming magic that the creators never bothered explaining in-game.

Kingdom Hearts II

Several side games later, we’re chronologically up to Kingdom Hearts II. Kairi’s still stuck on the Destiny Islands while Sora and Riku traipse their separate ways all over the Realm of Light. She feeds us lines like “Maybe waiting isn’t good enough,” and makes us think that this is it.

Kairi’s about to get her moment in the spotlight. She’s even taking the search for her loved ones into her own hands. Right when it seems like she’s on the right track . . . she gets captured by Axel. And then she’s captured by Saïx. That’s a lot of hostage situations for one princess.

But hope is not lost. In one of the most talked about moments in the game, Riku hands Kairi her own freakin’ Keyblade while in the (for lack of a better term) heart of the Organization’s stronghold. This was a big deal back then. Kingdom Hearts II was released during a simpler time, before every ‘Nort and his mother were Keybearers'. So yeah, we were kind of freaking out as she hacked away at a bunch of Shadows with Riku. Could it be? Will Kairi finally be given an active role in her own story arc? Will she actually have a story arc?

Kairi holding her keyblade in Kingdom Hearts II

Before the final battle with Xemnas, Kairi talks to Sora about continuously being separated from him and Riku. "I'm tired of waiting, so don't tell me to stay behind! From now on, wherever one of us goes, the other follows, got it?" Obviously the writers didn’t, because a few minutes later, Kairi’s back on Destiny Islands while Sora and Riku are kicking incredibly firm Xemnas butt. Dang, this girl can’t catch a break!

Would it have really been the end of the worlds if Kairi had gotten to go with them to the final showdown?

Dream Drop Distance

Kairi appears in an illusion in Dream Drop Distance.By the time Kairi shows back up for secret ending in Dream Drop Distance, we’ve had more than enough of this crap.

Where was she for the rest of the game?! While the relationship between Sora and Riku is very special and engaging, it’s meant to be shared with Kairi. If the developers didn’t want to overcomplicate the drop-in/drop-out gameplay, she could have served a Dream Eater-like role, hopping in and out of Sora and Riku’s sides as a party member. For crying out loud, she could have at least gotten to come see the Mark of Mastery exam. I mean she is a Keybearer and a Princess of Heart. Kind of a big deal. You’d think they’d want to keep her up to date on Xehanort news.

So when Yen Sid announced Kairi’s impending training, I remained unconvinced. We’ve endured so many promises to bring Kairi to the forefront and Square Enix hasn’t once delivered. Of course, I want Kingdom Hearts III to prove me wrong. Until then, however, I’ll keep my hopes high and expectations low.

Kingdom Hearts III

If and when Kairi becomes a major, active, combative participant in the Kingdom Hearts series, I don’t want to settle for a stereotypical magical girl healer role. Some fans, like Tumblr's "solfeggioninja," have noticed how, especially in Dream Drop Distance, Sora's fighting style naturally resemble's Ven's, while Riku's has begun to look more and more like Aqua's. Instead of keeping Kairi on the sidelines, casting Cure and yelling "Sora!" every time he gets hit, I want her to be a heavy-hitter, like Terra.

She was always prone to rushing headfirst into danger and that time we got to see her use her Keyblade, she was one-hit KO'ing those Heartless. Let Kairi take up that flowery little Destiny's Embrace and just WRECK all the bad guys on the battlefield.

Screenshot of Kairi from Dead Fantasy.

Don't give me that "She doesn't have any experience!" or "It's too dangerous!"

Shut. Up. Sora and Riku didn't have experience in the first game. Why do you have a problem with Kairi jumping into the action? Plus, Dream Drop Distance has set up the perfect opportunity for Kairi and Lea to be trained together, maybe even as playable characters.

The fans have continuously voiced their support for Kairi, demonstrating their wishes for KH3 with fanart and even setting up an event to bring her attention during E3. If you want to see what Kairi might look like in action, you don't have to look any further than the late Monty Oum's Dead Fantasy series. She kicks some serious butt in the fandom. So why isn't it already a canon reality?

It's time for Kairi to be an actual hero. We won't settle for anything less.

13 fan-made Kingdom Hearts musical arrangements that will break your feels Fri, 26 Jun 2015 10:58:05 -0400 Jackson Ingram


14: "Xion's Theme"


And that concludes our- Wait, what? Isn't this thing only supposed to have 13 arrangements?


Well, just like the enigmatic Organization, this set of 13 contains a surprising 14th member. Xion's theme, also known as "Musique pour la tristesse de Xion" ("Music for the sadness of Xion"), is one of the most popular character themes of the series, quickly garnering the attention of fan-arrangers everywhere even before the English release of 358/2 Days.

What this brings us back to . . .

This song plays during what is arguably the most heart-breaking scene of the series: Xion's death. After spending the entirety of the game grappling with the question of her existence, Xion decides to do what she believes is right and return to Sora. Knowing that she and Roxas cannot coexist, Xion engages him in battle, forcing him to absorb her.


As a memory-based replica, Xion's destruction means erasing every memory of her. Though Roxas immediately begins to forget Xion after the battle, he pulls his memories together long enough to cradle her dying body. Needless to say, Roxas wasn't the only one crying as Xion's form iced over and dissolved into the sunset.


Do you have any fan-made arrangements to add to the list? Or maybe these pieces reminded you of a different classic Kingdom Hearts moment. Tell us about it in the comments below!


13. "Dearly Beloved" - Kingdom Hearts III Version


"Dearly Beloved" is no doubt returning as the title theme for Kingdom Hearts III. It's even appeared in the most recent trailer. Prior to that, however, we had no idea how composer Yoko Shimomura would top herself. Sam Yung took it upon himself to arrange a potential version for the long-awaited finale to the Dark Seeker Saga, incorporating several well-known character themes into this classic KH number.

What this brings us back to . . .

Nothing. Yet. But it definitely gets us hyped for the destined clash between the 13 Seekers of Darkness and the 7 Guardians of Light by reminding us of how far we've come.


Midway through the song, Xion and Roxas's themes hit us hard. While Sora, Riku, and Kairi may have made it home relatively unscathed, many other characters didn't fare quite as well. As illustrated in the secret movie "Blank Points," several people with whom Sora's heart connected are still waiting, lost in pain and darkness. A major part of KH3's plot is going to be finding a way to save them.


12. "Passion"


Also known as "Sanctuary" by English-speaking fans, "Passion" is Utada's second gift to the series, notably replacing "Simple and Clean" as the main theme for Kingdom Hearts II. Kyle Landry's arrangement, first released in 2003, has become a fan-favorite among his uploads and reappears as the finale in his Kingdom Hearts medley.

What this brings us back to . . .

"Passion" and "Sanctuary" are both love songs, be it romantic, platonic, or both.


"In you and I, there's a new land . . . Where fears and lies melt away."


When you're with this person (or these people), you're safe. You're home. They are your sanctuary.


This is illustrated perfectly by KH2's ending, one of the only happy ones of the series, in which Sora, Riku, and Kairi are finally reunited on Destiny Islands. A new version of the song, subtitled "After the Battle," plays as they feel secure and complete for the first time since their journey began, back before keyblades, and heartless, and the darkness. Nothing is the same. They've changed. The worlds have changed. But they still have each other, and that's all they've ever needed.


11. "Duet of the Keyblade Masters" or "Darkness of the Unknown"


"Darkness of the Unknown," the song that plays during part of the climactic battle with Xemnas at the end of Kingdom Hearts II, is also known as "Duet of the Keyblade Masters," so-named for the perfect harmony exercised by Sora and Riku during the fight.

What this brings us back to . . .

Despite how easy it would be to attach Sora and Riku's tender moment on the Dark Margin to a title like "Duet of the Keyblade Masters", "Darkness of the Unknown" feels like its significance remains firmly tied to those deemed unworthy of existence. Xemnas's boss music is highly reminiscent of the "13th" series ("Struggle"/"Dilemma"/"Reflection") that is used for the other members of the Organization. Xemnas manipulated them all, using them like the emotionless tools he led them to believe they had become. It seems fitting that his theme, only heard after every other member had been finished off in one way or another, is the culmination of all their final dirges.


Throughout the series, the effects of these manipulations are shown on a variety of characters, particularly Roxas, Axel, and Xion. Several scenes show the trio grappling with orders given to them by the Superior. In one such instance, Axel has to retrieve Xion, who is about to go rogue. As he agonizes over the situation, he is forced to deal with three different ideas of what is "right," coming from Xemnas, Xion, and of course, Axel himself. In the end, he fights Xion and brings her back to the castle, not knowing if he had undone the friendships he had managed to build.


10. "Hikari" (Piano Duet)


What's better than one piano playing Utada's smash hit "Hikari"? How about two? With an extra eighty-eight keys to capture every nuance of the original song, Project Destati's cover is just as clean as its one-piano counterparts, but it's anything but simple.

What this brings us back to . . .

We've already talked about how "Simple and Clean" is a song of separation, but "Hikari"'s translated lyrics have a slightly different meaning. Check out these translated lyrics and ask yourself: who are you reminded you of? "I'm just alone / Destiny forgotten"? I think of Naminé, Sora being the "light" that awakens her, and her guardians, the abusive Marluxia and Larxene, being the "family," with which she sarcastically hopes Sora gets along. "And about the recent promises, is it just that I'm so anxious? / A wish that's wanting to be said, but shall be repressed"? This is literally the plot of Chain of Memories. I could go on, but let's get to the scene.


Throughout CoM, Naminé is forced to manipulate Sora, who she secretly hopes will be her salvation from the Organization. In the end, she turns against her captors to help him, but the damage is already done. Sora is given the choice to either keep the false memories of Naminé or allow her to repair his memories, thereby forgetting her and his time in Castle Oblivion. You can see her heart (that, according to Xemnas, doesn't exist) break as he chooses the latter. As "Hikari" plays over the credits, we're reminded that Naminé gave up what she perceived as her one shot at happiness to set things right. In this way, she has a lot in common with her eventual ally, Riku.


9. "Riku" (Orchestral Version)


Backer Ruth fills out Riku's theme beautifully with a driving beat and a variety of additional instruments. Its steady and persistent style is perfectly suited for Riku's journey towards self-redemption.

What this brings us back to . . .

Riku's theme is utilized particularly effectively during 358/2 Days, in which Riku works behind the scenes, trying to orchestrate Sora's awakening in collaboration with DiZ and Naminé. Most prominently, it appears as Riku defeats Xion outside of Beast's Castle midway through the game.


Riku's story arc runs on his tenacity. He's willing to do whatever it takes to make things right again. Along the way, he's forced to make several sacrifices to save Sora. Xion's very existence becomes a major moral conflict, as her absorption of Sora's memories makes it impossible for him to awaken. In this early scene, Riku, dressed in an Organization cloak, remarks that Xion's keyblade is a sham. When Xion asks him who he is, he answers that he "is the biggest nobody of them all." Cue spine-chilling Xion scream of frustration.


This scene, and the accompanying track, are so important to Riku's character because it isn't just Roxas and Xion's existences that he has to contend with. Riku essentially gives up his own life and future to fix what's been broken. Whatever it takes "to make sure [his] best friend sleeps in peace."


8. "Enter the Void"


While this number only appears in the Vanitas Remant battle of Birth by Sleep Final Mix, "Enter the Void" has quickly surged in popularity among the fandom. HypochondriacPiano returns to bring the piece to life, and her performance is anything but "Unversed" with our ears.

What this brings us back to . . .

While "Enter the Void" is technically one of Vanitas's themes, its energy and direction follow the unraveling of the Wayfinder Trio (Terra, Aqua, and Ventus). Throughout Birth by Sleep, these three find themselves manipulated as pieces in an ancient game of light against darkness. In many ways, Vanitas fares no better, being created and valued specifically because of his potential to forge the X-Blade. While Master Xehanort may have been playing Terra when he described Vanitas as an "abomination beyond hope of salvation," its pretty clear that the old man thinks of Vanitas as no more than a tool.


The paths of the these young people converge at a crossroads in the Keyblade Graveyard. "Enter the Void," a song encapsulating the process of losing oneself completely, is particularly apt for this moment. Ventus' words still give me goosebumps every time I hear them. 


"I'm asking you, as a friend. Just . . . put an end to me."


7. "Kairi"


Project Destati takes Kairi's short, sweet refrain and elevates it into a masterpiece. Each movement artfully pulls the listener through all the emotions that Kairi hasn't been allowed to fully express in-game.

What this brings us back to . . .

Not that I'm salty, but Kairi hasn't exactly been the poster child of positive female representation in the series. She's constantly pushed to the side, captured, or forgotten. This song reminds me of all of her best moments, like when she dives right into Axel's corridor of darkness, or when she shows Riku's true form to Sora, or even back in the original game when she shoves her way through a group of Heartless to save Sora after he turns into a Shadow.


It also gives me hope for Kairi's future. If her theme can express complex emotions, or just be active and engaged in general, maybe Kairi can too.


6. "Terra's Theme" (Violin Loop Cover)


Autumn Raine brilliantly uses pedal-operated recordings of himself playing every part to pull together Terra's theme from Birth by Sleep.

What this brings us back to . . .

Terra kind of gets the shaft within the fandom. Yes, he's pretty gullible. Yes, he made a ton of bad decisions. That doesn't make his path into the darkness any less tragic.


There's no doubt that Terra reaches his lowest point while fighting his father figure, Master Eraqus, in the Land of Departure. While he fought to protect his friend Ventus, Terra was also being manipulated by Master Xehanort, who struck Eraqus down after Terra gave into the darkness and won the match.


Terra's theme builds in parallel to his rising feelings of guilt, envy, and anger that eventually overtake his heart.


5. "Roxas's Theme" (Violin and Piano Duet)


Piano powerhouse Lara6688 and incredibly gifted violinist Taylor Davis team up to weave together a masterful rendition of Roxas's theme, as featured in Kingdom Hearts II.

What this brings us back to . . .

When it comes to sad moments, Roxas has an endless supply. It's hard to choose just one when his theme seems to capture the full range of his experiences throughout the series. For this reason, Taylor and Lara's performance reminds me most of the end of Roxas' seven days in the simulated Twilight Town.


As Roxas returns to Sora and realizes his "summer vacation is...over," his theme undercuts the brutal heartbreak of gaining some semblance of a normal independent life before losing it all to those who consider him to only be a "a tool," at best.


4. "Destiny Islands"/"Missing You"


HypochondriacPiano brings us back to Sora, Riku, and Kairi's home on Destiny Islands, taking the soothing tropical number and easing down its tempo. About two minutes into "Destiny Islands," the key and the listeners drop somberly into "Missing You." The transition is seamless and chilling.

What this brings us back to . . .

The arrangement arguably puts us in Kairi's shoes between the events of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. She has returned to Destiny Islands, her home, and everything's been left unchanged...except for her. The Kairi that finds the paopu fruit addition to the drawing in the secret place is not the one that drew Sora in the first place. She's back, but it feels like an empty homecoming. The choice to slow down "Destiny Islands" represents Kairi's reflections on these feelings.


And then, of course, there's the question of whether or not Destiny Islands even feels like home to her anymore without Sora and Riku. "Missing You" is full of her longing to be with them again.


3. "'Twas a Sunset of Marmalade"


While they admit that coining titles isn't their strong suit, dreadjoker10 has certainly found their niche at the piano. Combining Twilight Town favorites "At Dusk, I Will Think of You" and "Lazy Afternoons," they've created a bittersweet lullaby that's equal parts heartwarming and breaking.

What this brings us back to . . . 

"Day 352: Us and the Sunset


Me and Xion and Axel had ice cream. The sunset was beautiful.
I don't have to write anything else down, because I'll never forget this day."


That was one of the last excerpts from the diary Roxas kept throughout 358/2 Days. This piece feels specifically connected to that last sunset they were able to share together. While nostalgia for the old days was enough to briefly bring Roxas, Axel, and Xion back to the clock tower amidst the Organization's foreboding plots, their time together was increasingly tainted with sadness, mistrust, and anguish.


"'Twas a Sunset of Marmalade" is their time together. It may have been twisted by secrets and impossible decisions, but it still pulled at emotions they didn't know they could even experience. This arrangement beautifully orchestrates the deep sadness permeating Roxas's time with Organization XIII.


2. "Dear to My Heart"


Combining classics like "Simple and Clean"/"Hikari," "Dearly Beloved," and "Hollow Bastion," "Dear to My Heart" is an eight-minute ride through Sora's first adventure in the original Kingdom Hearts.

What this brings us back to . . .

Obviously, this arrangement is an homage to the first game, and it seems to be pulling us right into the climax. The scene it most directly embodies is Sora's confrontation with (the then Ansem-possessed) Riku before the Princesses of Heart are used to unlock the Final Keyhole. After spending the whole game scattered across the worlds, Sora, Riku, and Kairi are physically reunited, but still hopelessly disconnected.


"Simple and Clean" itself is a song about falling apart. This relationship that was once complete and nurturing is now filled with uncertainty, miscommunication, and fear. "Don't get me wrong I love you, but . . ." is an accurate summary of Sora, Riku, and Kairi's friendship in the first game. What was whole is now crumbling. And so Sora reaches this place, this Hollow Bastion, a twisted imitation of something that was once beautiful, and finds his friends - one lifeless and missing her heart, the other estranged and jealous - both so far gone from their time together on the islands.


But Sora, being the optimistic little scamp we've grown to love, knows that his friends are still somewhere in his heart (quite literally, in Kairi's case). After all: "Regardless of warnings, the future doesn't scare me at all. Nothing's like before."


1. "Dearly Beloved 2014"


Since the original Kingdom Hearts dropped back in 2002, "Dearly Beloved" has been used as the backdrop of the title screen, setting the tone for the series before you even press "New Game." With each new game in the series, "Dearly Beloved" returns, usually having evolved in complexity, not unlike the central plot. 


Popular YouTuber and pianist Kyle Landry has done covers of countless video game songs, but "Dearly Beloved" has fittingly captured his attention to warrant a revised arrangement every year. Counting his first cover of "Dearly Beloved" back in 2008, and his most recent rendition this year, Landry has released seven versions of this iconic opening number.

What this brings us back to . . .

Rather than a specific scene from the series, Kyle Landry's "Dearly Beloved" takes us back to our first Kingdom Hearts game, whichever title that might have been. Sitting there, controller in hand, we were welcomed by some spiky-haired character and this sweet, simple melody, suggesting that there would be more to this quirky amalgamation of Disney and Square Enix than first meets the eye.


In-game, the song seems to represent a simpler time that has since been lost. Usual spots where friends could meet and share thoughts or feelings - a crooked palm tree, a clock tower, the edge of a fortress wall - now empty. "Dearly Beloved" is the music of a self-made home.


The music of Kingdom Hearts is known for being both beautiful and emotionally destructive. With the brilliant minds of people like Yoko Shimomura, Kaoru Wad, and Utada, the most poignant moments of the series are made far more impactful by the gorgeous soundtracks cradling them.


Naturally, Kingdom Hearts' dedicated fanbase has spent a good portion of the past decade learning, covering, and sharing these iconic numbers. Here are 13 fan-made arrangements to bring you back into the raw emotions of the series and break your heart all over again. 


Warning: this slideshow contains major spoilers for the series.

7 most important moments in the new Kingdom Hearts III trailer Tue, 16 Jun 2015 19:20:21 -0400 Jackson Ingram


Moment #7: Master Xehanort's Keyblade


Near the end of the trailer, Xehanort looks up from his "friendly" chess match to gaze at the mantle, upon which a familiar keyblade hangs. As he stares on reverently, he remarks that "the future . . . it's already been written." Destiny is a pretty big deal to Master Xehanort, playing into his big plans for the Keyblade War.


In a scene exclusive to the 2.5 HD ReMIX, Young Xehanort mentions that his older self's keyblade is the most ancient of all. This appearance suggests that the keyblade was not originally Xehanort's, but the sixth Foreteller's, which has yet to be shown in-game.


What were your favorite moments from E3's Kingdom Hearts III trailer? Which features struck you the most?


Moment #6: Disneyland Power-ups


We've already seen Sora smash roller coasters and pendulum pirate ships into his enemies, but with the recently revealed spinning tea cups, we can safely assume that Disney park attractions will be playing a major role in combat.


For years, Kingdom Hearts and Disneyland/World didn't really know what to do with one another. Sometimes there'd be a KH promotion in the park, and you can still find merchandise if you look hard enough, but the attractions have never appeared in the game, despite their popularity and role in Disney culture. They decided to leave that to Epic Mickey. Now it would seem that all of your favorite rides will be hitting the screen (and the Heartless) in Kingdom Hearts III.


Moment #5: Tangled


After almost ten years of speculation, the first new world of Kingdom Hearts III has been confirmed. And it's Tangled! Since its release in 2010, Tangled has often been theorized as a new world for the Kingdom Hearts series. With Rapunzel and Flynn Rider as natural party member candidates, a lush variety of areas, and a villain guided by the darkness in her heart, the movie will fit in perfectly.


While we loved seeing Sora explore Corona, we were especially thrilled to see Rapunzel's tower. Now all that's left is to see how they're going to animate all that hair.


No word yet on other fandom front-runners like Brave or Frozen.


Moment #4: Sora's new outfit


Ever since Sora got a new look from Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather in Kingdom Hearts II, fans have been expecting an appearance update in Kingdom Hearts III. Following Sora's magical makeover, however, he's ended up sporting is classic red look for most side games, usually because some form of his 14-year-old self is making the appearance. This new look appears to take inspiration from his KH2 and Dream Drop Distance designs, while streamlining some of the messier bits for an older, more mature Sora.


We're glad to see Sora is keeping his trademark necklace, gloves, baggy pants, and over-sized shoes while moving towards a fashion-forward future. The hair, while still in iconic spikes, is a little different too. Kinda swoopy. Not that we're complaining, mind you. Sora 3.0 is fine.


Moment #3: Olympus Coliseum won't just be the Coliseum


Olympus Coliseum has been a staple of the Kingdom Hearts series since the beginning, appearing in every game except Dream Drop Distance. While Kingdom Hearts II let us explore the Underworld and Birth by Sleep gave us a brief foray into town, we really haven't gotten to leave the Coliseum much otherwise.


The Kingdom Hearts III trailer brings us all over, sending us up and down grassy mountainsides and into battle with the Rock Titan. With the recently announced collaboration with Disney animators, we'll be able to explore the world of Hercules like never before. Hopefully all of the worlds will be this expansive.


Moment #2: New Enemies


Okay, hear me out. While we know Heartless are going to reappear in Kingdom Hearts III, and while these certainly look like Heartless . . . Do we actually know they are? These new water-slinging enemies attack Sora early in the trailer and are noticeably missing the emblem emblazoned on most Heartless. This either means they're of the purebred variety or they're something else entirely.


With Vanitas making a cameo in Dream Drop Distance, rumors are flying that Ven's dark half will be one of the thirteen seekers, priming the universe for a reintroduction to the Unversed. Could these monsters in the trailer be Unversed?


Moment #1: "You can drop the facade."


We already knew from Birth by Sleep that Eraqus and Xehanort go way back. Now, we're getting a look at their (admittedly adorable) days growing up in what we presume to be the Land of Departure. We already got a dose of the weirdly-hot young version of Xehanort through his older form's time shenanigans in Dream Drop Distance, but this is the first we're seeing of lil' Eraqus.


The trailer opens with them discussing the Keyblade War in an apparent continuation of last year's trailer. When Eraqus plays dumb about the "lost masters," Xehanort calls him out. How long has Eraqus known about Xehanort's ambitions? And why did he forgive him before the events of Birth by Sleep?


The latest Kingdom Hearts III trailer was officially released by Square Enix at their E3 Conference, sending the fandom, already ravenous for any new information, into an all-out frenzy. Since most of us blacked out for a bit due to the excitement, it's time to take a closer look at the trailer and examine the most important revelations.

What You Missed: Square Enix E3 Conference Tue, 16 Jun 2015 19:04:51 -0400 Jackson Ingram

Square Enix took the E3 Stage today to make major announcements on all of their upcoming games. For those of us who couldn't make it to LA, livestreams brought us up to speed on the action.

While waiting through a short delay, Twitch users were treated various trivia about past Square Enix games, while a never-ending feed of fan comments scrolled by on the side. Recurring themes in the chat included cries for a sequel to The World Ends With You, "KH3 or riot," "FF7 HYPE TRAIN," Illuminati symbols, and, of course, complaints on the late start.

When the conference finally did begin, it kicked everything off with a bang. Several bangs. Probably a few low-grade missile explosions.

Just Cause 3

Screenshot from upcoming Just Cause 3Avalanche Studios is upping the ante on their popular open-world series, promising to allow you to basically do whatever, whenever. Explore 400 square miles of freedom, providing "a new benchmark for action and destruction."

Rico Rodriguez returns to his mother's home in Medici, where a dictator has taken complete control of the island and is setting his sights on global domination. The preview gives us a nice look at the game's main feature: lots and lots of explosions. With improved physics-based motions, you can watch that whole building go down with unparalleled realism.

Other major features include an all-new wingsuit for exploring the skies, stablized parachute gameplay, and a completely redone grappling hook sporting multiple tethers and a manuel retract function. You can do a lot of damage with the grappling hook alone - form a wrecking ball, attach your enemies to explosives, even bring entire helicoptors down. And with over 80 land, sea, and air vehicles, you'll be able to test out these new functions all over the island.

"Set the world on fire" this December on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

New NieR Project

Screenshot from the announcement trailer for the new NieR project at E3 2015.

Yosake Saito of Business Division 6 started with a coy presentation of a mysterious new project. In the following artwork showcase, we were treated to various landscapes featuring a mysterious generator, a ramshackle treehouse, and sprawling urban ruins.

A white-haired girl wielding a sword rises from the ground in the previews only action shot, teasing more information this fall.

Director Yoko Taro dropped by in full Emil Weapon Mode cosplay, thanking the fans, but refusing to disclose much information, not even the game's subtitle, besides confirming development by Platinum Games.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Promotional shot of Rise of the Tomb Raider, as revealed in the E3 2015 Square Enix Conference.

We then jumped right into the action for the upcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider, showing video game icon Lara Croft trudging through an arctic expanse, making weapons, and discovering the enigmatic Prophet's Temple. This new installment will push Lara's limits, allowing her (and you, the player) to explore and survive in completely innovative ways.

Game Director Brian Horton made an appearance, promising to make Lara as human and believable as possible. In an exclusive look behind the scenes, we see staff members focusing on the finite details of character design, even down to the last nuanced facial expression. Finally, they've decided to use actual people as models to make sure they get the proportions right (good bye and good riddance, back-breaking boobs), but don't worry. This is still the Lara we all know and love. She's even sporting the scars she got in the last game.

Additionally, Lara and the environment can affect one another, with various natural objects available for use and Lara's appearance changing based on her experiences. So if you go trekking through the mud, you'll actually get muddy. If you tumble down the hill, you can see the scrapes and bruises.

The hyper-realistic Rise of the Tomb Raider is looking at an Xbox-exclusive release November 10, 2015.

Lara Croft Go

Gameplay from Lara Croft Go, an upcoming mobile game announced at E3.

In the same vein as Hitman Go, Lara Croft Go will distill all of your favorite elements of the Tomb Raider series into a puzzle adventure game for mobile platforms.

The visuals are simple and clean (sorry, I have Kingdom Hearts on my mind), a departure from the gritty graphics of the main games in the franchise. The moving platforms and art style are reminiscent of another popular mobile game, Monument Valley

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Screenshot of Final Fantasy VII Remake. E3 2015.

Though Sony already dropped the big bombshell yesterday that Final Fantasy VII was getting a full remake, Square Enix brought up the monumental news again today, featuring the same preview. Everything is beautiful. Cloud is beautiful. The Buster Sword is beautiful. Even that ominous feather floating in the puddle was beautiful.

The already-promised PC version of the original game is still on, coming to PC this winter and iOS as early as Summer's end.

Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X promotional shot. E3 2015.

One mention of Kingdom Hearts and the crowd basically lost their minds. They became considerably less excited however, when they realized they were watching news about Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ, a remake of the Japanese-exclusive mobile game Kingdom Hearts χ [chi]. 

After a brief view of the gameplay, featuring power-ups based on the familiar fighting styles of old characters, and a reaffirmation that this is in fact relevant to the main series, Square Enix confirmed that the game would be coming to North America.

Kingdom Hearts III

Sora official new outfit in Kingdom Hearts III; Square Enix E3 2015

Wow. I admittedly had trouble hearing this one over the sound of my own sobbing. Before showing us any footage, Square Enix revealed that they would be working with Disney Animators to make it feel like you jump right into the movies. Also confirmed: a Tangled world, one of the most highly speculated additions to the franchise.

The all-new sneak peak started off with a gorgeous shot of young Xehanort and Eraqus discussing the Keyblade War over a game of chess. They are adorable. We then get another look at the gameplay, featuring the transforming keyblade as previously advertised, making each fight new and dynamic. While we've already seen the rollercoaster, gun, and ship transformations, the Pegasus-drawn carriage is new.

It also looks like Sora's getting a new look. Halfway through the video, he ditches his magical KH2 threads for a sleek red and black ensemble, sticking true to his past aesthetic while bringing a fresh twist on his Dream Drop Distance outfit.

World of Final Fantasy

Screenshot from World of Final Fantasy

Another one previously announced in the Sony Conference, the World of Final Fantasy showcases a new chibi style, taking characters both old and new to a completely original universe.

Director Hiroki Chiba says that the main purpose of the game is the introduce new players to a long-established series like Final Fantasy. Its simple but accessible style is meant to appeal to players of all ages and genders.

The World of Final Fantasy will also feature "towers" of players and monsters that you can use in battle. Different formations create different outcomes, adding a whole new layer of strategy.


Hitman (2015) game unveiled at Square Enix's conference at E3.

"Enter a world of assassination" with the newest addition to the Hitman series. With a digital release scheduled for December 8th, Io Interactive plans on releasing new content at regular intervals, while adjusting the game based on user feedback.

In the trailer, we take control of Agent 47, who has been hired to take out Victor Novacov, the ring leader of a corrupt organization known as Iago. Hitman is a sandbox game that gives you the freedom of approach. You can choose brute force or get a little more creative. Decide on a disguise and get ready to improvise as you create a "genuine masterpiece of assassination."

The online aspect of the game will revolutionize the Hitman series. The preview showcased two new features. The first of which allows players to mark their own targets and then challenge their friends. The second advertised hits that will appear only once before disappearing forever, encouraging the Hitman community to take them out.

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness as shown in E3 2015.Despite its admittedly clunky title, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness is all about "seamlessness." From exploration to battle, the transitions will be smooth, aiming to maintain immersion. Additionally, tri-Ace will be incorporating "dynamic cutscenes," blending the story perfectly into the gameplay.

The preview started off with a brief recap of the last six years of Star Ocean, promising new and exciting plots and "heart-wrenching farewells" in this fifth installment of the main series. While Integrity and Faithlessness had already been confirmed for a Japanese release this winter, E3 confirmed future availability in North America and Europe.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Screenshot of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

The year is 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution. Adam Jensen returns, decked out with cybernetic enhancements as one of the augmented, a type of human facing wide scale discrimination and being forced to live in "aug-only" slums. Adam joins Task Force 29, a division of Interpol, as a double-agent, believing them to be controlled by the Illuminati. Apparently the Twitch stream had some truth behind it after all.

The augmentation provides all-new weapons including a gun built into Adam's mechanical arm and detachable nano blades that can be used as projectiles. Other highlights of the trailer include nano-based body armor and a rare look at Adam's eyes behind the shades.

Choices will play heavily into the gameplay and will ultimately decide the ending you're shown.

Mankind Divided will be released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One early 2016.

Final Fantasy Portal AppFinal Fantasy Portal App.

In a penultimate anticlimax, Square Enix announced the Final Fantasy Portal App, providing up-to-date info on all things Final Fantasy, set for a Japanese release this summer. English release dates and how this will differ from the Final Fantasy Wiki will supposedly be provided at a later time.

Project Setsuna

To finish things off, Square Enix officially announced Project Setsuna, a completely original console RPG. They made it a point to mention that this was neither sequel nor spinoff, remake nor reboot. It's all-new. In honor of that, a new studio, the Tokyo RPG Factory, is taking the reigns on development. Though they refused to give us more than a few gorgeous pieces of landscape artwork, Square Enix confirmed a global release in 2016.

What did you think of Square Enix's conference? Which of these games are you most excited for?

World premiere of Kingdom Hearts 3 is here Tue, 16 Jun 2015 09:47:40 -0400 Joe Garcia

Today during the Square Enix Press Conference, Kingdom Hearts 3 was revealed in a brand new gameplay trailer. The trailer was preceded by the world première of the latest game that ties into KH3, Kingdom Hearts: Unchained X.

New Powers, New Design, Same Old Loveable Sora

With the announced release of the Japan-exclusive PC game Kingdom Hearts X coming to smartphones in North America, the world was rewarded for its patience and was given the newest trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3. The trailer shows a young Eraques and young Xehanort (before they became masters) playing chess which serves as an undertone for the great battle of light vs darkness. 

Following their dialogue we see the new gameplay mechanics, the new open world environments and new enemies. In addition to the new mechanics, we got to see a glimpse of Sora's new design. This older version of Sora looks amazing! His hair has been cut leaving only the front of his hair spiky, his clothes are still black in color, similar to his KH2 outfit, but the style of clothing has changed completely. 

Other than his new design, we get to see Sora's new powers in action against the Heartless. Sora can now change the shape of his Keyblade and use brand new attacks and magic spells depending on the Keyblade he is wielding. The events after Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance gave Sora the proper training he needed to become a full-fledged Keyblade Master and it appears that these new fighting forms reflect that.

With this trailer out, fans of the series have gotten what they wished for to ties them over until the highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts 3 is released. No release date for the game has been confirmed. 

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X could finally bring exclusive Kingdom Hearts III plot points overseas Thu, 28 May 2015 21:22:47 -0400 Jackson Ingram

For almost two years now, Western Kingdom Hearts fans have enviously watched Japanese players enjoy Kingdom Hearts χ[chi], an online browser game set during the Keyblade War, a cataclysmic chunk of KH history that the main series only mentions. With the recently announced remake Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ (pronounced Kingdom Hearts Unchained Key) for iOS and Android smartphones, this crucial link to Kingdom Hearts III could be closer than ever to a global release.

 English Translation by Goldpanner: 'Kingdom Hearts Unchained Key' for iOS/Android, scheduled to release 2015, free to play (with in-app purchasable items), the gameplay of 'Kingdom Hearts Key' remade for smartphones, setup for the plot has also been prepared for this newest title in the series. (@htmk73)

This news comes from a six-page spread in Famitsu Weekly (translation provided by KHInsider, Goldpanner, Zephyr, and Kazr10). KH13 user SkyKeybladeHero recently translated one of the featured interviews, in which director Tetsuya Nomura addresses the decision to adapt χ[chi]’s battle system, swapping the cards for medals:

“Since we are considering developing this game overseas, we have adjusted it accordingly. When our testing team in America had Smartphone users play it, if they saw cards as they appeared in [KHX], they tended to think of it as the so called ‘card games.’ Although after having they play it for a while we had good reactions, the first impression of the game wasn't good. Since the first impression of a game is very important, we tried something other than cards.”

So not only is a global release planned, but Square Enix is already conducting tests in North America. Nomura goes on to discuss plans to add language-specific servers and reaffirms χ[chi]’s plot-relevance to the highly-anticipated Kingdom Hearts III.

χ[chi]'s importance to Kingdom Hearts III

Early in its development, it was difficult to connect χ[chi] to the main series. It looked a little like a rehash of the short-lived and entirely pointless cutefest that was Kingdom Hearts Mobile. Now the game is dripping with potential tie-ins to the Dark Seeker Saga. Here’s the top three most important connections:

(Contains χ[chi] spoilers. Read at your own risk!)

  1. The Foretellers: The five mysterious leaders of the Unions fighting the darkness all bear a mysterious resemblance to five prominent characters in the main series. Additionally, each of their Keyblades bears an “Eye of Darkness,” as seen throughout the series on weapons such as Soul Eater, Way to Dawn, Void Gear, and, of course, Master Xehanort’s Keyblade. There is also a sixth Foreteller whose appearance and motives remain obscured. It’s been speculated that the Unknown’s Keyblade follows the “Eye of Darkness” trend and is actually Master Xehanort’s own Keyblade, which is described as “the most ancient” of those passed down throughout the generations. This would connect the Foretellers directly to a recent Kingdom Hearts III teaser.The Foretellers beside their Keyblades and main character counterparts.
  2. The Book of Prophecies: The tome bestowed on the five Foretellers of the Unions not only alludes to Master Xehanort’s plan to restart the Keyblade War, but is specifically brought up by Maleficent in a scene exclusive to the Re:coded movie, foreshadowing its continued importance. Its ability to transcribe future events and even conjure entire worlds sets up the Book of Prophecies as a major plot point of Kingdom Hearts III.
  3. Chirithy revealed to be a Dream Eater.Illusionary worlds: In χ[chi], Ephemera claims that the Lux you’re collecting belongs to Daybreak Town and that all the other “fairytale worlds” are just illusions stemming from the Book of Prophecies. Later, Chirithy is revealed to be a Spirit Dream Eater, a class of creatures once exclusive to Dream Drop Distance. This means Daybreak Town might not just exist thousands of years in the past, but could very well exist in the main series’ present, trapped in the Realm of Sleep. With so much of Kingdom Hearts III’s plot revolving around saving those lost to the darkness and the “Key to Return Hearts,” Daybreak Town could easily make a reappearance.

With each update, χ[chi] becomes increasingly relevant to Kingdom Hearts III, to the point that it may become just as critical to the main plot as the other so-called “side games.” Unchained χ could be the answer to the long-standing Twitter campaign to bring #ChiToTheWest and to smartphones everywhere.

Square Enix Will Hold a Press Conference at E3 2015 Sat, 25 Apr 2015 12:19:03 -0400 Charly Mottet

For the first time since 2006, Square Enix will be holding a press conference on June 16th 9am PDT (12am ET, 5pm GMT, 1am in Japan) for E3 2015. They will be joining Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Bathesda, Sony and Microsoft - making that 7 conferences for this year's E3 edition. 

On the post announcing the news, Square Enix promises "a dose of some exciting news" without giving out any specifics, saying that fans will have to "wait and see". 

Does this mean there will be some talk about Final Fantasy XV (possibly a release date?), Kingdom Hearts 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and more information about Star Ocean V: Integrity and Faithlessness? 

The conference will be visible through Twitch Livestream and on Youtube as well as through Twitter, which they will be updating in real time. 

It's raining games

Square Enix has a large portfolio of games to be released. Here are a couple games that are getting fans squirming impatiently in their seats: 

Rise of the Tomb Raider

This game is being developed by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix, along with some help from Microsoft. Because of that help, Microsoft may be talking about this game through their press conference. This game will be an Xbox One exclusive upon its release on Holiday 2015. 

Final Fintasy XV

Continuing the Final Fantasy series, this JRPG takes on Noctis as a main character in a dark and modern setting. The game is to be launched end of 2015. 

Kingdom Hearts 3 Release Date Goof Up Fri, 09 Jan 2015 06:02:45 -0500 Lampstradamus

It's that time again, time for every Kingdom Hearts fan to pop their heads out of the woodwork and into the light as any news or rumors surface about Kingdom Hearts 3.

This time around the rumor mill revolves around the voice actor for Goofy, Bill Farmer. A week ago Farmer released a series of tweets stating that the game will come out in 2015.

The actor claimed that Kingdom Hearts 3 will come out in 2015, possibly because he had finished recording his lines for the game (as far as he could tell).

However, Farmer does not actually speak for Square Enix and as much as we would love to believe that the game will release this year, Square Enix USA has addressed the rumor this week.

So, unfortunately for Kingdom Hearts fans, this means that we do not have a release date for Kingdom Hearts 3, however we do now know that voice actor lines are being completed, so progress is certainly being made.

Amazon Indicates Kingdom Hearts III Release Will Be December 2015 Mon, 03 Nov 2014 20:35:11 -0500 Michael Falero

The wait for the much-anticipated Kingdom Hearts III is by no means over, but now at least we know when it will be.

Within the past few days, Amazon has listed Kingdom Hearts III on its site for pre-order with the release date "December 31st, 2015."

Square Enix will likely move that date next year to coincide with the holiday shopping season, but the placeholder date at least gives fans confirmation that, barring any further setbacks, the title will arrive in 2015, a full ten years after Kingdom Hearts II debuted in Japan.

What We Know So Far

Recent news about Kingdom Hearts III, however scant, has pointed to director Tetsuya Nomura and his team making significant progress on the project.

It began back in June 2013, when Nomura confirmed in a short teaser at E3 that the game was in development alongside Final Fantasy XV. In October 2013 at D23 Expo Japan, we saw about 90 seconds of new gameplay

While the developers chose not to speak about KH3 at E3 2014, we got a treat in a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix, the last minute of which has a cryptic message (and may also be the intro for Kingdom Hearts III):

Kingdom Hearts III Developments Since E3 2014

After a few more months of radio silence, two final developments have surfaced. First, a Square Enix statement in September announced Tetsuya Nomura is no longer director for FFXV and will be working on KH3 full-time, indicating that the latter project has gained steam and won't be languishing in development. And this past month, Nomura told Japanese magazine Famitsu that the title will use the Unreal Engine 4, instead of Square Enix's own Luminus engine.

So now that Amazon has set the first somewhat-definitive date for Kingdom Hearts III, all fans can do is what we've been doing: wait. 

What's another 14 months, anyhow?

Kingdom Hearts III Development Switches to Unreal Engine 4 Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:02:58 -0400 Chris_Lemus

Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura announced that the third installment of the Disney-fused game will be developed with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.  While Nomura did not elaborate on the “variety of reasons” for the switch, he said the development team had been facing rendering issues.

He also said that the switch has not interrupted the development of Kingdom Hearts III.

The change of engine will offer the capability for developers to use techniques such as subsurface light scattering that makes skin look natural and raytracing to produce genuine ambient light.  Previously, the Kingdom Hearts series used Square Enix’s in-house Luminous Engine for development. It is unknown if their engine will be used on Final Fantasy XV, a Square Enix title that Nomura was previously a director for.

Kingdom Hearts III does not have a release date, but is expected to be released on the Sony PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

I Must Be Sick: I Want Kingdom Hearts III More Than FFXV Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:26:54 -0400 Fathoms_4209

This is coming from someone who, despite the recent missteps, still believes Final Fantasy is the greatest role-playing franchise of all time.

It has been declining ever since Final Fantasy XII, even though I managed to enjoy FFXIII and FFXIII-2. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was an abomination and an insult to the legendary name, as far as I'm concerned, and I'm not expecting a return to glorious form with Final Fantasy XV.

Recently, Square Enix said they were surprised at the great response Bravely Default received, as if they were mystified that a traditional RPG could still earn great reviews and big sales numbers. I said in a previous article that if Square Enix isn't ready to learn, FFXV is toast. It's that simple.

Thing is, I don't believe Square Enix when they say they've "seen the light"

Why? Because we've heard it before. Just because the company says all the right things doesn't mean we'll see a great RPG. In fact, I have no idea what Lightning Returns even was. The fact that Square Enix was surprised at Bravely Default's success in the Western territories tells me just how clueless they really are. There's no chance they're going to revamp their current development plans for FFXV just to reflect these recent "lessons learned." That's the problem.

Therefore, when the action game with minor RPG elements called "Final Fantasy XV" arrives, I won't care. No, I'm not saying it has to be turn-based; I'm merely saying it could take cues from other fantastic modern RPGs and implement them effectively. They could take that classic Final Fantasy style and blend it with, you know, a real RPG. That's all I'd ask. I just refuse to believe it'll happen, though, and that's why I'm not holding my breath.

Had you told me there'd be a time when I chose Kingdom Hearts over Final Fantasy, I would've LAUGHED

Hey, I like Kingdom Hearts just fine. I've played the games and they're fun. They're not a patch on the best installments in the FF series but they're still great games. I have every confidence that Kingdom Hearts III will be another stellar entry, and I'm almost 100% certain I'll want to play it. I can't say the same for FFXV. This is a nigh-on unfathomable scenario for me, the lifelong FF follower who, at one time, honestly believed Final Fantasy could do no wrong.

The idea of a new Kingdom Hearts being ahead of a new FF on my "most wanted" list almost makes me want to cry. That's just because it illustrates how far my beloved Final Fantasy has fallen over the years; when Square Enix can't stop using the word "action" to describe a new game, I just want to throw something at the screen. Sure, KHIII will be real-time and everything but that's hardly a departure. I'm sure it'll play very much like its predecessor, which is what the fans want.

My, how times have changed. And not for the better.

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX Trailer Teases Kingdom Hearts 3 Fri, 06 Jun 2014 18:03:39 -0400 Kumotaru

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX got a new trailer for E3 coming up next week. The trailer shows off what the game will feature, including Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep: Final Mix, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded HD cutscenes. 

A release date of December 2nd, 2014 has been confirmed. The game will also be coming exclusively to the PlayStation 3.

The Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX trailer is cool, no doubt about that. But the real excitement is the last 30 seconds. A tease for Kingdom Heart 3

The scene is just two voices (in japanese) talking about, you know, Kingdom Hearts stuff. Light, darkness, keyblades, whatever. Here's a transcription.

"Have you heard of the ancient Keyblade War? Many years ago, Keyblade Weilders started a war over the ownership of light."

"Yep, the Master loves telling that story."

"Then I take it you also know of the 'lost masters'?"

"Nope, where'd you hear about that?"

"On that land shall darkness prevail and light expire. But you knew that, didn't you?"

Obviously it's hard to piece together what that really means. We already know about the Keyblade War from Birth By Sleep and Dream Drop Distance

What we don't know is who this specific master is. So far, the only masters we know of are Aqua, Yen Sid, Riku, Mickey, Xenonort, and the deceased Eraqus. So whoever the story is referring to, it could be someone new. Aqua is technically lost in the dark margin, so she could be referred to as lost, but the story references multiple lost masters... so that's no help.

We also don't exactly know what the land where darkness prevails and light expires. 

So yeah. It's confusing! Who knows what it means. Apparently more news on Kingdom Hearts 3 won't be revealed at E3, but at a later date. Of course. So expect an even longer delay of details. 

New D23 Expo Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer is a Parade of Light Tue, 15 Oct 2013 14:15:50 -0400 EdibleKnife

Need a bit of Kingdom Hearts 3 news to brighten your day? Well look no further.

At the D23 Expo, a trailer was shown of the upcoming game. Everything is still a work in progress, but the trailer reveals the return of some old enemies such as Large Body and Shadow Heartless, as well as the return of the Rock Titan (now like a trillion times bigger).

Sora is not without some new moves to handle his foes though, showing off blasters that seem to form from his Keyblade, alongside what seem to be summons or limit abilities that mimic Magic Kingdom rides and floats from the Main Street Electrical Parade.

All in all, the minor bit of footage shown looks awesome but might only serve to fuel hype in the Kingdom Hearts faithful rather than sate it.

Music Composer for Kingdom Hearts 3 Finally Released Wed, 25 Sep 2013 13:18:37 -0400 Alexa Serrano

Square Enix, the Japanese video game developer best known for their role-playing video game franchises Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and the Kingdom Hearts series, has just announced who the music composer will be for the Kingdom Hearts 3 video game. According to EnixOrigin, the news of the composer came from this year's Tokyo Game Show.

Yoko Shimomura, known for scoring several of the Kingdom Hearts video games, Final Fight, and Street Fighter II, among others, will be Kingdom Hearts 3 music composer. Shimomura, has been described as "the most famous female video game composer in the world" and many of her fans are excited that she will be reprising her role as music composer for the game. She will not only be working on Kingdom Hearts 3, but will also be working on the music for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV.

Below is Shimomura's most popular track from the Kingdom Hearts series.

According to the Examiner, Shimomura is not the only veteran returning to work on the Kingdom Hearts 3 game. Tetsuya Nomura, who previously worked on Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, will be helping direct the project as well. 

Release Date

Kingdom Hearts 3 will be coming out on the PS4 and Xbox One and there still are no details for the release date of the game.

There are several fans of Shimomura who are excited about her return. What are your thoughts? Is there another composer you would have liked to see join the project or are you satisfied with Shimomura rejoining?

Kingdom Hearts 3 will be the Swan Song of a Story, but not a Series Mon, 29 Jul 2013 12:51:40 -0400 Leah Augustine

The Kingdom Hearts series is a beloved franchise that spans seven games across multiple platforms. But consists of only two “core” games so far – the last of which was released in 2005.

The series is a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios with many crossovers between the characters and stories of the two properties. The games focus around the main protagonist of the series, a teenager named Sora. Sora is determined to save his friends who were taken from him at the beginning of the first game. In the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3 you’ll be able to play as Sora again.

Kingdom Hearts 3 is technically the third core game in the series, but Square Enix game director, Tetsuya Nomura, doesn’t consider it part of a “trilogy.” Nomura states that this game will conclude all the story elements that were introduced over ten years ago in 2002 with the first game.

Nomura also emphasized that although the current story will end, the franchise will continue on. The director was quoted saying,

“But the series will continue. Only the particular enemy they have been fighting the past 10 years will come to an end.”

Kingdom Hearts 3 is still in development and it was hinted that gameplay will be similar to Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, which was released last year.

Kingdom Hearts 3 was announced during Sony’s E3 2013 conference, but no official release date has been given yet. The game  will not be a PlayStation exclusive and is set to launch on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. 

Check out the game’s teaser below.

Kingdom Hearts Is Not A Trilogy Sun, 28 Jul 2013 17:03:25 -0400 Raymond W

After nearly a decade and a fair amount of spinoffs, Kingdom Hearts III is Sora, Donald, and Goofy's long-awaited return to the big screen. Here's some good news: series director Tetsuya Nomura has told the L.A. Times that the third main entry will not end the franchise.

“As a core game, [Kingdom Hearts III] is finally the third, and 10 years have passed," he said through a translator. "I couldn’t call this a trilogy. There have been so many spinoffs. In Kingdom Hearts III, the battles that the characters have been fighting for the past 10 years will come to a conclusion. That is the plan. But the series will continue. Only the particular enemy they have been fighting the past 10 years will come to an end.”

Also of note in the interview: Nomura recommended that fans play the latest entry in the series, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, for an idea of what to expect combat-wise from the next game, though he mentioned that little is concrete and much is subject to change.

“We tried many experiments in [Kingdom Hearts 3D] that will be applied to Kingdom Hearts III,” he said. “If you play 3D, you will get some hint of Kingdom Hearts III.”

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix will be released on the PS3 in September to hold fans over until III drops on the PS4 and Xbox One sometime next year.

Should Riku Be Kingdom Hearts' Main Protagonist? Thu, 18 Jul 2013 17:50:50 -0400 Cupcakecrisis

I’ve just recently gotten over the month long screaming/ crying session since Kingdom Hearts 3 was announced. It’s allowed me to take a bit of retrospective on the characters I hold dear to my very own kingdom heart. Although Sora is one of the bravest and most cheerful characters I’ve ever met, I can’t help feeling like he shouldn’t be the main protagonist of the series. I will always think Riku would be the better one, though maybe I’m a bit biased - he is my favorite character.

The other side

Considering what we know of Riku’s story, his would undoubtedly be the better arc. He was consumed by jealous feelings, leading him to turn his back on his most cherished friends. When he was stunned by realization of his wrong doing, he accepted the consequences of it, devoting himself to make things right. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Dream Drop Distance did allow us to play out some of Riku’s backstory, but gosh, I want more! His spiral down from a boy filled with wonderlust to a power obssesed one would be really interesting to play. Sora’s story, or maybe the way in which he handled his problems, always has an undercurrent of happiness. He’s a bit too joyful, even in the hard times. Whereas Riku's life is a constant struggle, he’s always fighting to forgive himself. Sometimes, we want to see a fight.

Final thoughts

Riku’s development throughout Kingdom Hearts is ever building, and even though viewing Kingdom Hearts from Sora’s point of view is great, his characterization is a bit flat. I imagine it would be that much better to view Kingdom Hearts from the silver haired boy from Destiny Islands.

Which character do you think would have been the better main protagonist? Leave a comment below! 

Kingdom Hearts 3 - Potential Star Wars Element? Tue, 09 Jul 2013 00:06:35 -0400 Lars Warn

Since Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars franchise there has been continued speculation towards the direction Disney will take with the classic series. Many people are wondering if we’re going to have Mickey Mouse as a Dark Lord of the Sith and what not in Episode 7, but the potential merging of Disney’s Kingdom Hearts III with Star Wars characters could be a very real possibility. 

This has a lot of potential for Disney to draw in a niche group of gamers to an already successful game title.

Kingdom Hearts creator Tetsuya Nomura had this to say about the possibility:

“We’ve been talking about Star Wars itself since it became Disney’s content recently," Nomura said, "When I [heard] the news I was like, 'wow! Wow!' Yeah, obviously it’s gonna be great if we could add it, but like I said, there are a lot of restrictions and rules by Disney so we don’t know what’s gonna happen but yeah, we’ll see."

The plot should continue to follow the Dream Drop Distance with the world selection still being decided in development, but does that include Alderaan, Tattooine, or even Nar Shaddaa? With Kingdom Hearts still being in an early stage of development, we should be given a better idea about certain events. Come October, events such as the Tokyo Game Show or the D23 Expo Japan will likely give us a more in depth look at this classic title.