Kingdom Hearts II was released in 2005. Since then, there have been a slew of spinoffs, but Kingdom Hearts III has been slow going with every new announcement worthy of attention. This weekend at Japan’s D23 Expo, Square-Enix released a new Kingdom Hearts III trailer, and the trailer revealed that Sora, Donald, and Goofy would be traveling to the world of Monstropolis, i.e. Monsters, Inc. That makes Monsters, Inc. the second Pixar movie to get the Kingdom Hearts treatment following the announcement last July that Toy Story would be in the mix.
As you’ll see from the trailer, the series continues to keep up the tradition that when the trio travels to a new world, they take on attributes of that world, whether it’s aquatic appendages like when they went to The Little Mermaid or Halloween costumes when they visited The Nightmare Before Christmas. The group doesn’t always change appearances, as we saw from footage of their visit to the worlds of Hercules and Tangled and there’s word that they’ll also go to Big Hero 6, but will be interesting to see how many more Disney settings are on deck for Kingdom Hearts III. Keep in mind that Disney is a much bigger company than it was back in 2005, and conceivably there could be worlds based on Marvel or Star Wars.
The bigger question is how the new game will get old or new players on board. The problem with Kingdom Hearts is all the spinoffs, which have served to screw up the mythology. The first game was fairly straightforward, but now if you want a video explainer on the plot of Kingdom Hearts thus far, the timeline explanation will take at least 20 minutes. Square-Enix has tried to reach out to players by releasing the Final Mix collection, but the question becomes how much time players are willing to invest before being able to even understand what’s happening with Kingdom Hearts III.
The trailers have kept saying that the game arrives this year, so we’ll see if Square-Enix holds to that release date or pushes the title back into 2019. In the meantime, they may want to think about how they’re going to hook players with more than just Disney worlds.
Check out the new trailer below along with the new theme song.