The long-running Disney/Square Enix crossover series Kingdom Hearts revealed its newest trailer for the current-gen sequel Kingdom Hearts 3 at E3 2018. With approximately six years having passed since a new console entry in the fan-favorite action-RPG franchise released, the game was met with applause by the E3 audience, and included a broad variety of the familiar returning faces and modern Disney characters that will be appearing this time around.
The Kingdom Hearts series began in 2002 on the PlayStation 2 and represented an unprecedented collaboration, and one which combined mechanics drawn from Square’s legendary Final Fantasy series with action-oriented gameplay. Utilizing characters and settings from Disney’s films offered an aesthetically different approach to an RPG, with a completely original narrative that threaded through its way through animated settings that were instantly recognizable to most gamers.
With Kingdom Hearts 3, those settings have been expanded to include many of Disney/Pixar’s more recent films, and this year’s D3 trailer centered on the introduction of a Monster’s Inc. setting and characters like Mike Wazowski. The E3 2018 trailer goes further, with characters popping up from films like Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled, among others. Regardless, series mainstay Sora and his iconic Keyblade weapon remain central, along with characters Goofy, Donald Duck, and King Mickey.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is the last full entry in the series, with a Nintendo 3DS release in mid-2012. Portable gaming devices have been the routine for recent Kingdom Hearts games, which grants added significance to the number “3” in the title of this new long-awaited follow-up on current-gen systems.
Fans have been waiting quite a long time for it, prompting director Tetsuya Nomura to humbly apologize for the extended delay. Although those same fans have been able to enjoy HD remakes and collected editions of previous Kingdom Hearts games, this looks to be the real and proper continuation of the series that many have been waiting for. And, despite the fact that the new trailer gives up a few additional cameos and details, it’s a safe bet that there will be a slew of additional easter eggs, secret characters, and other untold aspects of Kingdom Hearts 3 that are still being kept under wraps for the time being.
With the announced worldwide release date of January 29, 2019 — Japan will get the game a few days earlier on January 25 — Kingdom Hearts 3 is now less than a year away, releasing simultaneously on consoles Xbox One and PS4. And there will be a $230 special edition available in the U.S. that includes three Bring Arts figures, a steelbook case, an art book, and and a collectible pin, so consumers better start saving now!