It’s been 13 years, 10 months, 22 days, and 18 hours since Kingdom Hearts 2 was released. And now, Kingdom Hearts 3 looks to be more than just a far-fetched fantasy.
I know, we’ve been getting brief Kingdom Hearts 3 trailers for years now, but that’s just it. It’s been years. The first Kingdom Hearts 3 teaser was released in 2013 — five years ago. Forgive me for not believing we would get this game until we were all six feet under. But, the time has come. We have a theme song. And a new trailer that reveals more of the (extremely confusing) story. And Mike Wazowski!
Square Enix surprised us all by dropping not one, but three trailers at the D23 Expo Japan 2018. The first was a full-fledged game trailer, with sneak peeks at new worlds — including Monsters, Inc. — and gameplay, as well as some hints at the plot. But the next two trailers are what solidified this video game’s existence for me: Utada Hikaru is back with the theme song.
The trailer opens with Sora, Donald, and Goofy meeting the mysterious Marluxia, who cryptically hints that they have met before. And they have, back in the 2004 Game Boy Advance game Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, which found Sora and the gang battling Organization XIII in a labyrinthine castle before getting their memories erased of the entire adventure. It’s a whole thing.
The plot for Kingdom Hearts 3 looks to be no less confusing than those past two sentences. From the appearance of the mysterious helmeted figure (Ventus? Vanitas? Who knows) it appears that you’ll need to catch up on the story not just from Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, but from the series’ off-console games like Chain of Memories, 358/2 Days, Birth By Sleep, and maybe even Dream Drop Distance. Yes, this series has long had us poor Disney and Final Fantasy fans wrapped around their little finger. And yes, I’ve watched the YouTube walkthroughs for half of these games so I can be up to date on the “plot.”
But we know that no one plays this game for its convoluted narrative. It’s for the worlds! And oh the worlds we’ll go. We got a tease of the Toy Story world in the last Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer back in summer 2017, but the new trailer offers us a glimpse at the Monsters, Inc. world, where Sora and the gang get awful monster make-overs and use Mike Wazowski as a bowling ball. The gameplay in the Door Vault looks incredibly cool and offers so much potential in a game that is all about world-hopping. We also get a peek at Rapunzel in Tangled world and an intriguing new battle move with Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
But wait, what was that about a new theme song by Utada Hikaru? The bilingual pop singer has long been associated with Kingdom Hearts, providing the iconic theme songs for the first two games, “Simple and Clean” and “Sanctuary.”
She won’t be breaking tradition for the third, with a new song called “Don’t Think Twice” in English and “Oath” in Japanese.
In a first for any Kingdom Hearts entry, Kingdom Hearts 3 is coming to Xbox One in addition to PS4. No official release date has yet been announced, though it is due out sometime in 2018.