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Coverage: Kingdom Hearts III at D23 Expo 2017

Our coverage of Kingdom Hearts III at D23 Expo 2017 in Anaheim, California has begun!

Beginning on July 14th and continuing through the 16th, D23 Expo is the ultimate Disney fan event where major Disney-owned companies and trademarks make various announcements related to Disney movies, games, etc. to create the ultimate experience for Disney fans.

At the first Orchestra concert in Los Angeles, California, Tetsuya Nomura confirmed that Kingdom Hearts III will make an appearance at D23 Expo 2017 on July 15th. This appearance includes a brand new trailer and a new world announcement. The official D23 website confirms that Kingdom Hearts III will appear during the Level Up! The Walt Disney Company’s Video Game Showcase at 1:00 PM USA PDT inside the D23 Expo Arena.

During D23 Expo 2015, Square Enix revealed a brand new world featuring the Disney film, Big Hero 6. What will they have in store for us this time? Stay tuned throughout the event to find out what announcements will be made for Kingdom Hearts III!

KINGDOM HEARTS III – D23 2017 Toy Story Trailer

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KINGDOM HEARTS 3 – D23 2017 Trailer Excerpt—Hercules

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Full Level Up! Conference

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Articles

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- Kingdom Hearts III confirmed to be at D23 Expo 2017 Anaheim
- Square Enix confirms a "special surprise" is coming to Kingdom Hearts Union χ%5BCross%5D to celebrate D23 Expo 2017
- New Kingdom Hearts III trailer shown at D23 Expo 2017
- New Toy Story world for Kingdom Hearts III revealed at D23 Expo 2017
- D23 Expo 2017: Kingdom Hearts III releasing on PlayStation 4 & Xbox One in 2018
- New Kingdom Hearts III BRING ARTS action figures of Toy Sora, Donald, and Goofy announced
- New Kingdom Hearts III Bring Arts Sora (Guardian Form) available for pre-order on SENA store; releasing End of September 2017 for $69.99
- Analysis of the Kingdom Hearts III – D23 2017 Toy Story Trailer
- Kingdom Hearts III will feature in Weekly Famitsu with a Tetsuya Nomura interview and a recap of D23 Expo 2017

Interviews

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- Tetsuya Nomura says a Nintendo Switch version of Kingdom Hearts III is possible after the PS4 and Xbox One versions
- Tetsuya Nomura hints that another playable character besides Sora will be available in Kingdom Hearts III
- Tetsuya Nomura discusses the Gummi Ship in Kingdom Hearts III
- Tetsuya Nomura discusses the Toy Story world in Kingdom Hearts III
- Tetsuya Nomura discusses a "higher tier of magic" in Kingdom Hearts III
- Tetsuya Nomura discusses a new mechanic "Athletic Flow", Summons, and Keyblade transformations in Kingdom Hearts III
- Tetsuya Nomura explains why Kingdom Hearts III has taken so long; also says they'll likely reveal all worlds before release
- Tetsuya Nomura is “confident” about 2018 release, and is not changing his original plans for Kingdom Hearts III
- Tetsuya Nomura discusses Attraction Flow in Kingdom Hearts III; says it'll be a surprise depending on the area
- Less Disney worlds in KH3 than KH2, but with more content; Big Hero 6 world development going well and next info is on its way; Toy Story world canon to the Toy Story timeline
- Tetsuya Nomura discusses Maleficient's role in Kingdom Hearts III, the possibility of Roxas's return, and more with IGN
- Every character's story will be settled in Kingdom Hearts III; the world Young Xehanort and Eraqus are at is an original world; Kingdom Hearts Union χ%5BCross%5D 5th Union leader reveal in early August
- Famitsu features Kingdom Hearts III with exclusive interview with Tetsuya Nomura discussing development and promotion of the game, Toy Story, and more
- Tetsuya Nomura answers fan questions about Kingdom Hearts III; discusses Square Enix characters, secret bosses, CGI movie, and more
- Tetsuya Nomura reveals new Kingdom Hearts III details in Dengeki Online interview; discusses tutorial stage, toy robots, and Keyblade transformations

Updates

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8:00 AM (USA PDT) - Exclusive Kingdom Hearts III posters will be given out to D23 attendees!
8:06 AM (USA PDT) - D23 Expo is already packed with dedicated fans waiting for today's presentations!
10:54 AM (USA PDT) - People are starting to line up. Only 2 hours to go!
11:00 AM (USA PDT) - It's starting!
11:01 AM (USA PDT) - Starting off with a sizzle reel!
11:02 AM (USA PDT) - Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of Disney Consumer Products is now on stage!
11:09 AM (USA PDT) - Kingdom Hearts III news will be last in the panel!
11:51 AM (USA PDT) - Orchestra trailer playing now
11:52 AM (USA PDT) - Testsuya Nomura is on the stage now!
11:57 AM (USA PDT) - New trailer is being shown!
11:58 AM (USA PDT) - Toy Story is the new world in Kingdom Hearts III!
12:02 PM (USA PDT) - Finally! Kingdom Hearts III will release in 2018!
12:04 PM (USA PDT) - A special Kingdom Hearts III Sora medal has been distributed to players of Kingdom Hearts Union Cross!

Screenshots

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Battle (1) Battle (2) Battle (3) Battle (4) Battle (5) Battle (6) Battle (7) Battle (8) Battle (9) Battle (10) Battle (11) Battle (12) Battle (13) Battle (14) Battle (15) Toy Story Trailer Screens (1) Toy Story Trailer Screens (2) Toy Story Trailer Screens (3) Toy Story Trailer Screens (4) Toy Story Trailer Screens (5) Toy Story Trailer Screens (6) Toy Story Trailer Screens (7)

SORA Hercules 1000 TS Toy Donald TS Toy Goofy TS Toy Sora KH3 Sora


Square Enix just released today an official Kingdom Hearts theme for Line messenger, the theme is now available for 150 Line points ($2.99). You can take a look at the screenshots below to see how the theme will look like on your Line app with it.

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On Instagram, @funkofinderz has posted an abundance of photos of different Funko brand figures that have been revealed at Funko Fundays 2017. Among these photos, are a couple photos of Kingdom Hearts vinyl figurines under the Funko line "Mystery Minis." These figurines include Sora, Sora (Halloween Town outfit), Sora (Space Paranoids outfit), Riku, Riku (black coat), Kairi, Roxas, Roxas (black coat), Axel, Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse (black coat), Donald Duck, Donald Duck (Halloween Town outfit), Donald Duck (Space Paranoids outfit), Goofy, Goofy (Halloween Town outfit), Goofy (Space Paranoids outfit), Chip & Dale, Pete, a Soldier Heartless, and a Large Body Heartless.

Check out the photos in the gallery below:

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This is the first time Kingdom Hearts has appeared in Funko's "Mystery Minis" line of figurines. Previously, Kingdom Hearts has been a part of the Funko Pop! Vinyl line of figures, but only Disney characters from the series have been featured. This is first time Kingdom Hearts original characters, such as Sora and Riku, would be featured as Funko figures or figurines.

UPDATE: Disney Dan has confirmed this to be, in fact, true! Also, view another photo of the Kingdom Hearts Mystery Minis at the Funko Fundays 2017 event, provided by Disney Dan.

Thanks to KHInsider for the tip!

In a recent interview with Dengeki Online, Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura has revealed more details about the upcoming game. We are currently in the process of translating the article, but in the meantime, here are some translated highlights from the article:
  • Nomura has confirmed that he and the development team are taking a new direction in worlds that won’t have Sora and co. visiting worlds multiple times.
  • Twilight Town is set to be the game’s tutorial stage and will be visited early in the game.
  • Each toy robot in Galaxy Toys will have different mechanics from other toy robots.
  • Nomura also discusses Kingdom Hearts Union x[Cross] but this information has been announced before.
When more of the article is translated, we will update when possible. In the meantime, if you would like to look at the untranslated page, check it out here.

Kingdom Hearts III was recently revealed to be coming in 2018.

Do any of these new details excite you? Let us know in the comments below.

UPDATE: Translations are now available. You can read the interview below.

Dengeki: There was a lot of info in the video that was showed a few days ago. But the most impressive was the announcement of the release of the game in 2018.
Nomura: Because we became really careful about announcing release date, we announced it as a way to show that the game was on its way, even if we only know the year of release.

You also announced the toy story world that makes its first appearance.
We wanted to have a toy story world since KH II. Although it was really hard, we managed to add it because during the discussions we couldn't think of a KH III without the Toy Story World. As for the timeline, it's happening after the second movie and will be an original story.

If you think about Toy Story you think of a toy as the main character, in KH III which character will appear ?
There will be Woody and Buzz among others, the ones you can see in the video are going to be main characters. The plot is that the other toys have been forced to go with Andy and you have to look for them.

In order for Sora and his friends to blend in the world they turned into toys isn't it ?
Getting to that appearance was quite long. We tried to make them look like figurines, or like pixelized characters made into 3D and other varied forms.

During battle, Woody and Buzz joined Sora, Donald and Goofy. Does that mean that you can have a party of five characters ?
In the movie you can see all five of them fight together at one point. Depending on the world you can have more than four party characters fighting. You can also link attacks with them but the information about the party composition system will come later.

While fighting outside of the house, Sora and the others fight at the size of toys and we can really feel the difference in size.
That size difference is amazing, I wonder until where can we push it? (Laugh) The main objective of the Toy Story world is to reach the Toy Shop. The "Galaxy Toys" shop we can see in the trailer is quite big.

There are situations where Sora can fight on a robot.
The idea to have Sora fight while riding a robot was early in the development process. Different robots have different ways of fighting. And different floors will have different gimmicks as well.

In Olympus there is a battle with a brutal Rock Titan, there seems to be more variation in each element of each world than before.
We created them while bearing that in mind. In KH 0.2 Birth By Sleep -Fragmentary Passage, it was the same. Every map was built while keeping in mind the three dimensional aspect and the heights. I think it looks like a big city. Compared to KH II, KH III there are less Disney worlds, but we took more time designing them.

In KH II, once you had completed each world you had to back in each world again. Will it be the same in KH III ?
Some people liked this and other didn't. It will be different in KH III.

In the video we can see Sora falling from high heights spread-eagled, is this some kind of special action ?
It was a way to make the fall more realistic. Depending on what you do at the time, it will do a different move. The weapon change and the outfit will vary based on the keyblade.

The shapeshift of the keyblade is one of the special features of KH III, This time we could see it change into a drill and a hammer.
The keyblade can change to a lot of forms, but indeed the drill is ambitious (Laugh).

The drill and hammer can only be used in the toy story world ?
It's not limited to that world but it's linked to the keyblade you can obtain from the toy story world. Basically, each keyblade can change into different things. The one from Toy Story can change into a drill or a hammer. Also in KH III, the form system is linked to the keyblade too.

What do you mean?
In KH II you changed form during battle, but this time you will change form depending on the keyblade.

You mean that there are as many forms as there are keyblades ?
No, each keyblade have its own type influencing it's offensive and defensive potency, and the form will change depending on what type of keyblade you use. Also the Kingdom Key from KH II will make its return and change Sora into his "second form" (Temporary name) that has the same colors as KH II. This form is limited to the Kingdom Key and while the keyblade won't shapeshift, the battle skills you can use will change. There are different forms like that limited to only one keyblade.

It's quite fun to fight while the keyblade shapeshifts.
We focused a lot of battle actions. As I said it before, each keyblade can only turn into different shapes. The Olympus Keyblade can turn into a shield or a chariot. Also the Arrow and Bazooka that you can see in the beginning of the video are a set combination too. You can use the kind of actions you saw in the trailer as soon as you get your hand on the keyblade.

We can see Sora having a new form in the battle scene of the toy story world, what about it?
Forms adapt to the changes of entering worlds such as Toy Story. So when Sora was using the drill and the hammer in that world, you can see the form even in this world. You will have to wait for the next dump of information to learn more about the forms.

In the trailer shown before the E3, we could see a scene in the twilight town, as expected this world will have a great importance in the game isn't it ?
This time the Twilight town will serve as a tutorial area and will be visited early in the game.

In the ending of the trailer from before the E3, there is a really important line related to Roxas, the development seems unusual.
There are too many characters, the story reaches a critical part. There are a lot of characters that appeared until now, there will be lots of characters appearing in different forms.
There was a lot of problems going on but how are they going to be settled as we reach the end of the story... ?

Will KH III settle the fate of special characters and answer remaining mysteries ?
This is the end of the Dark Seeker arc, so it will take some form of conclusion

What are the meaning of the words from both the last trailer and the one from before E3 ?
You mean “Don't assume your dreams are just fantasy. If you can imagine a world, believe in it... and dive in”? (Litteral translation of the japanese is« Don't let your dreams end in a fantasy. Dive into the worlds of this imagination ») ?
This is a catch phrase for the trailer, there is no connection to the actual plot of KH III. The first video started by showing Sora diving, so we wanted to keep on with that message.


Monogram Direct is currently selling a San Diego Comic Con exclusive Kingdom Hearts Keyblade pewter Key Ring set at their booth, (#3645), at the convention. Included in the pin set are the Kingdom Key, Way to the Dawn, Fenrir, and Circle of Life Keyblades. It's the first time Fenrir and Circle of Life key rings have been in Pearl. Also, the Kingdom Key is exclusively silver and gold and the Way to the Dawn is exclusively black.

Each set is listed at $40.00 USD, but only 500 sets will be produced and will only be sold during San Diego Comic Con.

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Thanks to Action Figure Insider for the tip!

Video games writer at Mirror Online and long time Kingdom Hearts fan Ryan Brown (@Toadsanime) had the chance to ask Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura a few questions from curious fans in the Kingdom Hearts community regarding Kingdom Hearts III and the series in general. This followed the release of the latest Kingdom Hearts III trailer and Toy Story world reveal at the D23 Expo 2017.

You can read the questions and answers below:

Ryan: Is there already a plan for what happens after the Xehanort Saga that concludes in Kingdom Hearts III? Are there ideas for what future mainline and non-mainline titles might consist of already??

Nomura: Of course there are different plans that are in my mind and things that I would like to work on or depict in terms of narrative, but it's not like we have anything finalised with Disney as of yet, so I'm not able to introduce it or mention it at this time, but again, I do have different ideas in my head.

Ryan: What did you think of Kingdom Hearts III being announced back in 2013? Were you consulted about the announcement and did you think it was the correct time for it to be announced?

Nomura: I understand some of the voices that are raised state that the announcement timing was a bit too early and I acknowledge that, but I do not like information going out in the form of a leak. Rather than having that leaked out unofficially, I'd rather make an official statement.

Ryan: How far in development is Kingdom Hearts III at the moment, percentage-wise?

Nomura: In terms of percentage of completion, and this is from previously as well, I tend to not describe it in terms of percentage because it's difficult to sort of say it as a straight number. But we do have a plan of development and we have said a period in which the project is being developed. Based on that, we have made our announcement for the release timing.

Of course, there are things that are out of the development team and my control which includes company decisions, the decision to change the engine that we're utilising or having personnel being shifted so that we have more resources to develop; things like that may have contributed to our development period being shifted, but that period itself we feel is still on track.

It's not like the development team had any sort of issues or troubles amongst ourselves in terms of the scheduling, but due to things out of our control that period sort of got shifted a little bit, but I feel that we are still working as planned in terms of our development period.

Ryan: With so much action going on in the game, such as Keyblade transformations, situation commands and the attraction flow rides, how have you balanced things so that nothing feels overpowered or so that players don't forget all the different things that they can do?

Nomura: So with these various different actions that are available in the game, each of them are very unique and very different if you compare the different actions that are available. For example, with the attraction flow that you brought up, you see the train and the spinning teacups and a ship was introduced. What's unique about those is that they're not part of a repretoire that you accumulate and choose from.

It will depend on what situation you're in, so depending on what enemies you're facing and what world you're in, what attraction will show up is unknown until you've actually activated it. Once you do activate it it's a very flashy move and you can attack your enemies in that way.

Ryan: What are some of your favourite Disney and Pixar movies? I'm not asking hoping for a world reveal!

Nomura: In terms of favourite movies then, I like Lion King. Something more recent would be Alice in Wonderland; it'd be kind of cool to have The White Queen appear in Kingdom Hearts.

Ryan: How many of the worlds and Keyblades will there be and how many of them are going to be new?

Nomura: I can't reveal all of that information! (laughs)

Ryan: Is there a chance of more Final Fantasy characters making an appearance, or other Square Enix properties like NieR and Dragon Quest?

Nomura: Of course, we do have precedence. There have been characters that have appeared throughout the series, so I don't think it's impossible but I'm not actively seeking to incorporate existing characters, only because we have such a large roster of original characters in their already.
If there is a perfect fit, I'm sure the idea might come up, but at the same time I have to consider, is it worth allocating the resources to create the character and give it a role within Kingdom Hearts? Would it merit the effort that's put into it? We're not really actively looking for existing characters.


Ryan: Are there going to be more secret bosses? Will Sephiroth return?

Nomura: I can't say for certain, I hope, hint hint hint. I can't say for certain. In terms of Sephiroth, do you feel like you want to battle Sephiroth again? (laughs)

Ryan: I might cry, but yes, definitely.

Nomura: Even though you fought him twice? (laughs)

Ryan: My mum managed to beat him! She plays the games and she beat him!

Nomura: She's really good!

Ryan: She is! My friends were always impressed by her Kingdom Hearts skills.

Nomura: I don't think I can beat him! (laughs). In terms of the secret boss, we can't say anything at this time, but in terms of Sephiroth specifically, my development team are worried that we've had him come back so many times so they're maybe worried it might be redundant at this point. We're still deliberating on it.

Ryan: Have you ever imagined there being a Kingdom Hearts CGI movie, similar to Advent Children of Kingsglaive?

Nomura: Nothing has been thought about in terms of a cinematic piece, only because it's difficult to put into a narrative that has become as complex as Kingdom Hearts. Of course, we do have a 15 year history so it has come up in discussions about doing some sort of cinematic piece, especially from Disney.

They are interested in making a CG movie of sort, but again, it's difficult to make the call on how we want to execute it and how to form it. I still haven't come to a resolution about what would be the most appropriate way in which we depict the narrative, so nothing specific has been formulated.

Ryan: So, zips and belts are prevalent in the character design. Is that just because you like the aesthetic? Does it have meaning behind it? Why does Donald's hat have zips?

Nomura: That was my preference back when I first designed the characters, so 15 years ago. At that time, people teased me about zippers and belts and whatnot and I'm the type of person if somebody eggs me on I'm gonna do it more! Nowadays, I'm not as conscious about adding them in.

I'm not the type of person that would shrink down when people tease me about it. I'm gonna fight back! I'm gonna go back at it and do it more. So, if people egg me on saying 'oh, Kingdom Hearts III is delayed' well, I might even delay it further! (laughs)

Ryan: How did Lea obtain his keyblade?

Nomura: Just out of curiosity, did you go to any of our Kingdom Hearts world orchestras?

Ryan: Yes, I did.

Nomura: In terms of Lea and him obtaining the Keyblade, it's not really depicted specifically that's for sure. During the events of Dream Drop Distance it's conveyed that he is training under Merlin's care and it was just a brief mention. There will be a bit more of a mention in Kingdom Hearts III on how Lea is aiming to become a Keyblade wielder.

In the concert, you may remember one of the videos where a girl is narrating. That's actually Kairi writing a letter about her training, so Kingdom Hearts III touches upon that part of the story. Unfortunately, it's not going to be going into details about what happened in the events of Dream Drop Distance, but it will be addressed in some way in Kingdom Hearts III.

Ryan: Have you ever read any Kingdom Hearts fan fiction and did any either inspire or disturb you?

Nomura: I've not read any sort of fan fiction, but if you go on the internet of course you see images. I've seen different drawings and art that was created based on the games, but I haven't read any fan fiction unfortunately.

Ryan: Lastly, will Kingdom Hearts III be playable at any events in the near future? When can people expect to get their hands on it?

Nomura: Perhaps when we're finally able to reveal the month and date of the release.


Famitsu has released its latest weekly issue today, showcasing a 12-pages feature on Kingdom Hearts III in light of its newest trailer and Toy Story world announcement at D23 Expo 2017 in Anaheim, California. The feature talks about the events that unfolded at the Expo and the latest trailer, and includes an exclusive interview with series director Tetsuya Nomura.

We have already published a summary of highlights of the feature, including discussion points on the plot and characters in Kingdom Hearts III, information about its worlds and gameplay, and upcoming updates on the Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] story.

You can read the summaries here and here, and look at the scans of the magazine below.

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Meanwhile, keep an eye on this space for full translations!

A Kingdom Hearts III feature will be included in the upcoming Weekly Famitsu issue, and earlier today, Esoteru posted a summary of its highlights online. Since then, more leaks have released from Hachima. Some parts of this have already been covered in the aforementioned highlights summary, but now, we have the information in more detail and new information as well.

Check out the first half, translated by Katie Armstrong, below:
  • Tetsuya Nomura would like for you to wait for the next report, which will be some time in 2018.
  • There was some last-minute post-editing on the D23 and the Orchestral Concert PVs; Nomura wanted to tie things back to something with the word "dive," thinking back to the original concept of KH.
  • There were some strong feelings about the Toy Story world, because Nomura wanted to include it in KH2. Nomura's been negotiating for it since the first KH game. He met with John Lasseter when he came to Japan and told him about every element he wanted to include.
  • The Toy Story world does not take place during the original story, but picks up somewhere after Toy Story 2 and is consistent with the timeline of the movies.
  • This isn’t in the PV, but there is a scene where Sora is mistaken for an action figure of a game character by Rex.
  • Sora and company’s Toy Story world looks were designed by art directors who interacted to combine designs; the first team’s design was similar to action figures while the other group tried to match the aesthetic of Toy Story. The two had to come together and discuss and convince one another to arrive at the final design.
  • The staff was surprised at how easy it was to reproduce the graphic appearance of the original films. The looks of other worlds and gimmicks and such have been difficult for this game.
  • The Toy Story world’s percentage [of completeness] and quality was high enough to be seen earlier, but based on our PR plans it wasn’t shown until now. When they announced the Big Hero 6 world, Nomura could only show one illustration because it was a somewhat sudden request, so this time Nomura wanted to show video.
  • Production on the Big Hero 6 world is going well, though the matter of the last selected world is still ahead of them.
  • Multiple battle commands are displayed in the PV because there is always a choice in what to do in battle, there’s some tactical fun in assembling combos of your choosing. It might seem tough, but I want to reassure you that you can pull off some fancy techniques with the right button combinations.
Check out the second half, translated by News Team member Dengojin, below:
  • Each world will have it's own guest party members and they will have their unique collaboration commands, since it is a new system it will be introduced in details later.
  • Riding a robot to fight was an early idea sent at the beginning of the development to the dev team, each floor of the toy shop will have it's own gimmick.
  • The toy shop will be the main area in the Toy Story world you can enjoy other gimmicks with various toys sold there.
  • There is surprise in the future.*
  • The world where Young Eraqus and Xehanort is an original world. Also he mentions that KH3 will have less Disney worlds than KH2 in numbers, but they will be richer and more playable.
  • There are so many characters, so the story is dark and he is not planning it to end it all at once.
  • Each character story must be settled. This will involve members from the former Organization XIII.
  • Nomura is not directing anything else beside the announced titles, but he is involved with many.
  • Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross] fifth Union leader chapter has been written and it will be released early August.
  • Nomura would like to give us more information about Kingdom Hearts III battle later.
*Pretty vague, maybe referring to the Toy Story world to be full of surprises?

Toy Story is the latest world revealed for Kingdom Hearts III through the trailer unveiled last week at the D23 Expo in Anaheim. The Weekly Famitsu feature, which will recap the event and include an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, will be published on July 20 in Japan. Stay tuned with us for updates and translations!

UPDATE 1: The Weekly Famitsu issue has been released! Check out full scans of it, as well as full translations, here.

The official Japanese Disney website has confirmed that Kingdom Hearts will be making an appearance at D23 Expo Japan 2018, held from February 10, 2018 through the 12th. The listing confirms Kingdom Hearts, calling it the "Kingdom Hearts Fan Event," which is currently just a tentative title.

Kingdom Hearts had made an appearance at D23 Expo Japan in 2015, showing off a new Kingdom Hearts III trailer and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. This event was called the Kingdom Hearts Premium Theater.

What do you expect out of the Kingdom Hearts appearance at D23 Expo Japan 2018? Let us know in the comments below!

Following up on Tetsuya Nomura's statements on a higher tier of magic and the return on Gummi Ships in Kingdom Hearts III, IGN published more interview insights from the Kingdom Hearts series director. They are summarized below.
  • Despite series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto's reassurance, some fans have still been questioning the existence of a future "Kingdom Hearts 2.9", especially after the epilogue of Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- bearing the name "2.9: The First Volume". But Nomura dispelled that concern stating that the epilogue has already bridged the gap to Kingdom Hearts III. He said:

“Of course [the 2.9: The First Volume] narrative does connect to Kingdom Hearts III, but I understand that there were some speculations about, like, is there going to be another 2.9 that's going to come out? But rest assured, it is already – that bridge, that link is already bridged, so we are now leading up towards Kingdom Hearts III."

  • Nomura also talked about some plot points in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III. He said that Maleficient and Pete are working separately from the (new) Organization XIII without conflicting with them or Sora. His statement is as follows:

“Whenever [Maleficent and Pete] go to different worlds, they may interact with some of the villains, Disney villains that exist in that world, but they are their own thing, with Maleficent leading the way. They have no sort of cooperation [with Organization XIII], nor are they conflicting or enemies against those people. Sora is battling the 13 Darkness, but Maleficent and Pete are kind of separate from that... So she doesn't necessarily actively poke at Sora or try to bother him.”

  • In regards to the scene in the Kingdom Hearts III Orchestra trailer where Xemnas asks Sora if he is ready to "call upon the darkness", Nomura stated that that scene "is actually a bit longer" and suggestive to Xemnas and Ansem Seeker of Darkness - Xehanort's Nobody and Heartless - existing at the same time.

“That brings to Sora's attention, if a Heartless and Nobody can exist at the same time, can Sora and Roxas exist at the same time, too? And to do that, Xemnas is asking Sora, do you intend on utilizing the power of darkness? So that's the kind of narrative that we wanted to talk about in that section [of the game].”

  • In regards to the exclusive scene performed by Kairi's Japanese voice actress for the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World Tour -, where Kairi narrates a letter she wrote about training with Lea, Nomura only said that in Kingdom Hearts III, she is training in a timeless environment to face the battles ahead.

“With the help of Merlin, she's now in the sort of environment where there's no limitation of time. So she can train, and focus on training, to become a Keyblade wielder. And so, in Kingdom Hearts III itself, also, it will be touched upon that those two are currently training.”

  • Nomura also stuck with his initial statement about summons returning to Kingdom Hearts III.
  • He said that they've been avoiding showcasing more information on Attraction Flow as they feared they've shown it "so many times" in the previous trailers (such as the Kingdom Hearts III - E3 2015 trailer), and that the team is interested in showing it off again when when the right opportunity arises.
  • Nomura also followed up on his previous statement about almost all the worlds in Kingdom Hearts III (apart from Olympus Coliseum) being new worlds.

“With Kingdom Hearts III, there was deliberate intent to kind of focus on the more [sic] newer titles. And then in terms of previous titles, we tried to balance it so that we have a good mix of some of the older IPs as well as some of the new worlds as well. But, yeah, with Kingdom Hearts III, there was a shift in that sort of thinking so we can focus on some of the newer titles.”

  • When discussing the development team's approach to choosing a Disney world for the game, Nomura said they would firstly look at projected fan enjoyment. He said that if two worlds had a similar theme, for example two jungle worlds, or if two levels had similar content, the team would shortlist only one.
  • Nomura talked again about Athletic Flow being a refined version of Flowmotion after processing fan feedback of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Athletic Flow is shown off in the Hercules excerpt of the Kingdom Hearts III D23 2017 trailer when Sora jumps from rock to rock.

"With the previous Flowmotion... it seemed a little too free. And we did receive feedback from the consumers that it was – they didn't know what to do with it, and it was kind of hard to control on their end. So we tried to refine it and it's evolved into now what we call Athletic Flow."

  • Nomura stated that the focal point of the Toy Story arc will be at Galaxy Toys.

"That toy store is going to be sort of a very central focus of that arc of Kingdom Hearts III, and it's in that section you see those robots being sold on the shelves."

  • Lastly, he concluded by saying that the players can expect more variety in the gameplay, and that fighting in first person perspective with the mechs is just one of several engaging gameplay elements in the Toy Story world.

"You can expect to see different sort of gameplay happening in each of the different worlds, and we have those specific points that we would love for the players to pay attention to."


Stay tuned with KH13.com for more upcoming information on Kingdom Hearts III!