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Who’s got your favorite new look in KH3?(63 members have cast votes)

  1. Regular Sora (18 votes [28.57%])

    Percentage of vote: 28.57%

  2. Guard-form Sora (1 votes [1.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.59%

  3. Power-form Sora (2 votes [3.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.17%

  4. Riku (18 votes [28.57%])

    Percentage of vote: 28.57%

  5. Mickey (3 votes [4.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.76%

  6. Kairi (teased outfit) (5 votes [7.94%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.94%

  7. Hayner (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  8. Pence (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  9. Olette (1 votes [1.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.59%

  10. Monster Sora (5 votes [7.94%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.94%

  11. Toy Sora (3 votes [4.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.76%

  12. Monster Donald (1 votes [1.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.59%

  13. Toy Donald (1 votes [1.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.59%

  14. Monster Goofy (3 votes [4.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.76%

  15. Toy Goofy (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  16. Someone else? Share below! (2 votes [3.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.17%

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Coverage: Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event

Welcome to KH13.com’s live coverage of the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event in Santa Monica, California!

The event will run from 11:00 AM PDT to 3:00 PM PDT. Doors will open at 10:30 AM PDT. The event is invite-only, and we've got staff members Toominator (@ToominatorKH13) and Raxaimus (@RaxaimusKH13) representing us at the event!

Kingdom Hearts Director Tetsuya Nomura will be in attendance alongside Co-Director Tai Yasue and several Square Enix staff members. Attendees will be using the hashtag #KH3Premiere to share information from the event!

Stay tuned to our live coverage and on Twitter as we keep you up to date with info provided by attendees and all available news!

For more news updates, follow us on Facebook and Tumblr!



Article

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Recaps

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Updates

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Pre-event
May 15, 2018: Kingdom Hearts III Invitational Premiere Event overview

Event Day [May 18th, 2018]
5:50 AM PDT: The Kingdom Hearts Twitter is getting ready for the event!
6:00 AM PDT: The Embargo has been lifted!
6:01 AM PDT: Kingdom Hearts Facebook uploaded new screenshots, including Wreck-ItRalph as a summon!
6:40 AM PDT: Toy Story's world name revealed to be Toy Box!
7:30 AM PDT: Button assignments and commands available in English for the first time!
8:30 AM PDT Staff MembersRaxaimus and Toominator have arrived at the #KH3Premiere!
8:42 AM PDT: It has been confirmed that the names of the Keyblades will be "Ever After" for Tangled, "Infinity Badge" for Toy Story, and "Smile Gear" for Monsters, Inc.!
9:28 AM PDT: Ariel's Link is called "Lagoon Showtime" and Wreck-It Ralph's is "8-Bit Blast"!
10:23 AM PDT: Everyone has arrived for the event!
10:27 AM PDT: And they're headed in!
11:00 AM PDT: A first glimpse at the venue as our staff head inside!
11:00 AM PDT: The panel is starting soon!
11:02 AM PDT: Shinji Hashimoto has taken the stage!
11:03 AM PDT: The demo played today will be fully in English!
11:05 AM PDT: Tetsuya Nomura and Tai Yasue begin the panel. They explain the theme of KH3 is heart and resolution. Expect some surprises and the ending might be hard for us to take!
11:10 AM PDT: Pixar has been "a necessity". Nomura talks about the scale of the Pixar worlds and Square Enix's unique influence!
11:16 AM PDT: The panel offers some tips for playing the demo!
11:18 AM PDT: Audience was shown a video of the development process for Tangled and Monster, Inc.!
11:19 AM PDT: You can switch Keyblades while using Keyblade Transformations!
11:22 AM PDT: Yasue and Nomura gives closing messages, Yasue notes how he loves how expressive YouTubers are and looks foward to their reactions while playing today!
11:25 AM PDT: Nomura's closing message: more information coming next month that will help us understand the game better! Says we might have a hard time keeping up with info!
11:33 AM PDT: King Mickey is here to celebrate and take pictures with the attendees!
11:38 AM PDT: Nomura spotted wearing a Stark Industries shirt!
11:39 AM PDT: Attendees get a better look at the venue and are invited to try Sea-Salt Ice Cream!
12:17 PM PDT: Toominator and Raxaimus meet co-director Tai Yasue and try some Sea-Salt Ice Cream!

Gallery

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Ralph Gameplay Ralph Reveal 32746458 10155474718435841 6310464503049879552 N 32690307 10155474716965841 3603745159281377280 N 32718462 10155474719190841 2847319762537545728 N 32723689 10155474715705841 2208837096909570048 N 32727621 10155474719220841 7624851003887583232 N 32740275 10155474719435841 8897021369229770752 N 32745663 10155474721745841 687673308321153024 N 32746455 10155474720785841 4524824385084719104 N 32765944 10155474721415841 3904521190739279872 N 32778142 10155474715690841 3222401601549369344 N 32785945 10155474718195841 2693764154740703232 N 32808425 10155474719905841 4514911183953723392 N 32875003 10155474720400841 7332514261043773440 N 32894061 10155474718215841 6277089811136249856 N 32897230 10155474717060841 7551636946955534336 N 32919668 10155474715715841 7091717327615426560 N 32944230 10155474720165841 6965556485816320000 N 33023456 10155474716920841 6597631814666289152 N


"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?"

Previously only teased in Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]'s third anniversary artwork, Square Enix has yet to debut Kairi in her new outfit in any trailer. As fans of the Princess of Heart await her screen time, Twitter user @Roboloid has uncovered her new outfit in a data mine of an upcoming update!

Kairi KH3 Outfit


Both her and Sora's Kingdom Hearts III outfits will soon be available as avatar boards in a future update!

It's no surprise that Kairi too will be sporting plaid, a reoccurring look in the new designs for our favorite characters. What do you think? Which character design are you most excited for? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

As we near the release of Utada Hikaru's seventh album, Hatuskoi, her website has uploaded an extended look at the highly anticipated Japanese track "Chikai".

The song has received a 43 second sound clip that can be previewed here on her website. "Chikai" or "Oath" will be the fourth song on her new album and is noted on her site as being the theme from Kingdom Hearts III!

Hatsukoi will be released on June 27th, 2018 and is currently available for pre-order through CDJapan!

Are you as excited as we are for the new theme? Let us know in the comments below!

UPDATE: Episodes 16 and 17 of Everglow's series KINGDOM HEARTS TIMELINE has been released!

KINGDOM HEARTS TIMELINE is an episodic look at the events of the Kingdom Hearts series, compiled chronologically. Featuring important scenes and gameplay from all games, Everglow works hard towards having a "perfect road to the final chapter of the Xehanort Saga".

You can view the latest episodes of KINGDOM HEARTS TIMELINE Birth by Sleep below:


Episode 16: Keep on Believing
Episode 15: Off on the Wrong Foot
Episode 14: Departure
Episode 13: The Mark of Mastery
Episode 12: Birth by Sleep

Keeping up with KINGDOM HEARTS TIMELINE? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

New assets and files from Kingdom Hearts II have been discovered by 13th Vessel. Some of the assets found include unused textures, maps, and items. Many of the assets have been discovered by others over the years, but something that wasn't revealed was that the Keyblade Graveyard could have been in the regular version of Kingdom Hearts II.

A transcript of the post can be viewed below.



Hi there! :)

I'm 13th Vessel, some of you may remember me for some stuff that I found in the past, like the weird rooms in KH3D or the Jungle Book colission file that was inside that same game.

This time I wanted to do my research with KH2 and surprisingly I found a lot of unused stuff that was hidden inside the game files. This is a dense research that covers almost every file of the game and it's very interesting because it's strongly tied to Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, so please take a look if you like :)

This video took me a lot of hours, not only the research itself but the video editing too (+15 hours doing the research and +20 making the video). Also, while I was doing the research I noticed that some part of the stuff was previously found by other friends of the KH hacking community, but the thing is that most people ignore it, so I added some names in order to let you know if someone found any of these before.

I consider this one of my most ambitious works so I hope you enjoy the video!


You can check out the video below!



For more videos like this one, check out his Youtube channel. We also have a few articles about the assets in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- that 13th Vessel had a hand in. You can check them out right here and here.

What do you think of his video? Let us know in the comments below!



As an attendee of the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event, I got the chance to play the highly-anticipated Kingdom Hearts III alongside other Kingdom Hearts content creators, as well as the opportunity to provide direct feedback to the game’s developers. Before I begin, I’d like to thank Square Enix and the other members of KH13.com’s staff yet again, for allowing me the privilege to attend this event. It was a lot of fun to see some familiar faces, meet a bunch of new friends, and finally get my hands on Kingdom Hearts III. I hope that similar community-focused events will continue to take place in the future!

The two segments of Kingdom Hearts III that we were given the opportunity to play were the Rock Titan boss fight in Olympus, and around 30% of the much more exploration-focused Toy Box. In the short Olympus segment, Sora had access to Second Form, Wonder Balloon, and Big Magic Mountain, and players used these to defeat the Rock Titan. In the Toy Box demo, players explored Andy’s room, Andy’s front yard, and the massive Galaxy Toys toy store, experimenting with the rest of Sora’s abilities.

Within the demo, there were a great deal of positives interspersed with some very noticeable negatives. To provide a more structured critique, I’d like to give my impressions of this demo in the following format; I will be starting with pros, followed by cons, and then a few concerns that I have for Kingdom Hearts III that are unrelated to the demo itself. Keep in mind that Square Enix informed the event's attendees that they would be watching for our feedback in the week following the event. If it seems as though I am bringing up my concerns in a way that would directly address Square Enix and the Kingdom Hearts development team, please be aware that presenting this feedback for the team is one of my primary goals. I hope you enjoy my critique!

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Pros


First, I’d like to praise the sheer amount of options that are available in Kingdom Hearts III's combat. Between regular combos, Keyblade transformations, Links, Attraction Flows, Flowmotion, and Situation Commands that utilize party members, players are able to construct a very detailed play style that is ideal for their own tastes. In addition, many of these options are currently well-balanced, so a significant portion of the game’s combat system is equally valuable, rather than just a handful of abilities that shine above all others. The Fire/Thunder/Barrier Surge and Balloon/Balloonra/Balloonga commands in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, respectively, both come to mind as examples of absurdly powerful abilities that outranked everything else, and for the most part, it seems that Square Enix has elected to avoid this flaw when designing the intricacies of the combat.

Keyblade transformations are a staple of Kingdom Hearts III’s combat, changing Sora’s attack patterns and allowing for unique play styles to shine. For instance, the magic-heavy Mirage Staff (my personal favorite of the three we got) features movement similar to Kingdom Hearts II’s Wisdom Form, and also allows Sora to attack from farther away. In addition, its Air Slide leaves copies of Sora that will shoot at enemies when prompted. Hyper Hammer, by contrast, is used to deal damage in a wide area of effect, and tends to stun enemies that get caught in its wide swings. These transformations also include additional tiers, bringing new attacks and finishers into the mix. They also change the player's magic spells, to keep them consistent with the design philosophy behind each transformation. All of this is great, and gets even better with my next point.

Alongside Keyblade transformations, Keyblade switching is a new (and hopefully permanent) addition to the Kingdom Hearts series. Within the Toy Box portion of the demo, we were able to switch between the Infinity Badge, Ever After, and Smile Gear Keyblades in the middle of combat (in the middle of a combo, even!). These Keyblades all come with their own transformations, and if the player activates a transformation and then switches their Keyblade, the transformed Keyblade is “stored” for later use, allowing players to go straight from a standard combo to a transformation with the press of a button. In line with this feeling of fluidity, I’m happy to report that combos can be modified with a mix of melee and magic attacks, which is a welcome inclusion from Kingdom Hearts II’s combat system. In addition, Sora now has an aerial guard maneuver, giving players the capability to remain defensive in most situations.

While some players may worry that the Focus gauge may not be utilized enough, I was pleasantly surprised to find that traditional Shotlocks and Flowchain both provide good uses of the Focus gauge, and don’t sacrifice game balance for the sake of flashy, overly stylish attacks. These attacks are all fast and responsive, and most importantly, the damage they deal is quite reasonable.

Compared to previous installments, Sora’s movement options have been expanded and changed for the better. Flowmotion returns from Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, but has been heavily re-balanced. The infamous Flowmotion attacks have become drastically less powerful (Shock Dive no longer produces a large shockwave, for instance), and players can only jump off of walls about two or three times, meaning that it is now impossible to scale giant objects with Flowmotion alone. However, this does not mean that scaling walls is impossible. Certain walls, indicated by an upward-traveling wave effect, can be used to wall-run. This movement is three-directional, allowing Sora to travel upwards or to the left or right. If Sora falls off of a wall, or needs to get onto the wall from midair, simply pressing against the wall while falling will allow players to continue their ascent. Due to the aforementioned factors, platforming has never been more fun to partake in, since Sora’s varied movement options present players with both a great deal of freedom, as well as a significant feeling of responsiveness.

Moving on to the game’s visual presentation, I have to say that I am very impressed by the level of detail on display. The addition of idle animations for the party members and physics-based interactions have given Kingdom Hearts III those extra touches that elevate its already legendary visuals to new heights. For a few examples, individual blades of grass react to the movement of characters, a crumpled paper ball can be juggled, and Sora’s hair blows faintly in the wind. The game’s worlds feel very alive, containing plenty of interactive elements and secrets. Even though there weren’t many NPCs like there will be in the Kingdom of Corona world, there are plenty of little touches and details that make exploring Toy Box a real treat. I’m fairly certain that none of the attendees were able to explore and find everything that the demo had to offer on their own, and with only 30% of Toy Box available to us with this demo, it seems like the exploration aspect of the game will only get much bigger and much better as we explore the final game.

As my final positive point, I’d like to touch on the game’s music. Kingdom Hearts has consistently provided me with some of my favorite musical tracks ever, and Kingdom Hearts III is certainly no slouch in this department. The new tracks present within Toy Box are very catchy, with Toy Story’s famous song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” making an appearance as the field theme. The battle theme is equal parts uplifting and frenetic, in classic Disney fashion. However, we also heard several returning tracks that got a welcome overhaul. “The Deep End” is probably the most notable of these, being fully orchestrated and having entirely new segments interwoven into the familiar melody. However, tracks such as “Hand in Hand” are also present, and have received a slight EDM-style flair. Overall, I think Yoko Shimomura has absolutely given the soundtrack of Kingdom Hearts III everything that she can muster, and I’m extremely happy with the results.

Cons


Moving on to discuss Kingdom Hearts III’s current flaws, I’d be doing this critique a disservice if I did not mention the floaty feeling within the combat. After attacking in the air or performing an Air Slide, Sora has a bit of a delay before starting to fall to the ground. This can most closely be compared to Aqua’s physics in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, where any action taken in the air carried a delay of a fraction of a second, before the animation resolved and gravity took over. This floaty feeling was not present in Kingdom Hearts II, where Sora’s actions would be subject to gravity while an animation was in its final frames. In addition, a lot of the attacks themselves feel somewhat sluggish and clunky to transition between, making Sora feel a little stiff to control in the middle of a combo, especially when compared to the quick, fluid, and responsive combos from Kingdom Hearts II. A stronger adherence to Kingdom Hearts II's physics and responsiveness would be very well received by the majority of fans.

One of the other major complaints that has arisen in response to prior trailers and this demo is the frequency of Situation Commands. I’d like to think that the values were tweaked regarding how often these commands appear, as trailers and demos are meant to market a game, and showing off some of the flashier attacks that Sora can use is an effective way of doing that. These values, therefore, may not be representative of the final product. However, when playing Kingdom Hearts III in a more free-form environment, being overwhelmed by a large amount of Situation Commands will present the feeling that these are meant to be the primary form of combat, above all other methods, which I think is an unfortunately shallow representation of the game (see the Surge/Balloon point I made at the beginning of my discussion on the game’s pros).

An ideal philosophy, mechanics-wise, would be for Sora’s innate abilities to have their place in the spotlight, and then to use the secondary abilities and Situation Commands as a complement to Sora’s own power, rather than making them the focus. These abilities should instead feel rewarding to obtain, rather than being handed to players for using one or two spells, for example. By making them the focus and having them be so frequent, Sora's combos, spells, and original abilities are devalued, and players will elect not to use them as a result.

In addition, based on what I played, the various Attraction Flows and Limits (Situation Commands utilizing Sora’s party members) seemed to appear quite randomly, rather than having some easily discernible cause for being given. I initially thought that Attraction Flows showed up based solely on the present location, but these commands have apparently appeared for other players when they are in completely different environments. For instance, the Pirate Ship command only appeared in Andy’s front yard for me, but it is also apparently available in various sections of the toy store, according to other players’ footage of the game.

Due to the aforementioned points, perhaps allowing us to adjust the frequency of Situation Commands, or even completely disable those we don't like, would be a good gameplay element to include. These attacks are an extension of Sora's abilities and those of his friends, so they should be treated as such, rather than becoming the main weapon in their arsenal. They should also be able to be toggled, and their frequency tweaked, just like similar abilities' options in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. Another good course of action, in addition to what I just mentioned, would be to make the seemingly random conditions for activating certain commands more apparent.

I previously believed that summons (referred to as Links in the game) were also overhauled, keeping party members around while the summon is occurring. Unfortunately, this is not the case, even though the party's health bars are still present. These health bars should disappear to avoid causing confusion, as several players made this mistake the first time they saw a summon.

On a related note, though, I'd like to talk about how invincibility frames are handled. During the finishers of several different commands, including the aforementioned summons, Sora is locked into a particular animation, unable to avoid any damage. Players don't have any invincibility during these sections, which can often lead to Sora suffering an unfortunate death through no fault of the player.

This next point may seem minor, but has been a serious concern amongst those who’ve played the demo. The colored wave effect that travels up the entirety of a wall-run compatible surface has often been noted as being “too distracting” and “a case of visual overload”. Since the wave effect travels along any surface that can be climbed, it has capacity to appear far too often, potentially overwhelming the appearance of an area, and distracting players who are exploring or fighting. A more subtle effect would be a much better way to effectively communicate the intended function to the player, without sacrificing the aesthetic of the area or dividing the player’s attention.

As the final negative critique I have, I'd like to bring up the topic of input lag. All of the demo setups at the event had a large amount of delay between pressing a button and receiving a response from the game, making actions feel even more sluggish than they already appear and feel. This could be a result of the specific TV models we were playing on, but it’s a point that has been very commonly complained about by attendees, so it is worth taking into serious consideration. If there is any sort of input delay inherent within Kingdom Hearts III, it should ideally be fixed while optimizing other aspects of performance such as the game’s framerate.

Miscellaneous Concerns


Finally, there are a few concerns that I would like to bring up that are unrelated to the material that I played in the demo. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance started the trend of having to play the game once to unlock the much-beloved Critical Mode, and this trend continued with the release of Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-. A large portion of the fanbase, myself included, believe that Critical Mode should be made available from the start of Kingdom Hearts III, rather than being unlocked by beating the game once. Speaking personally, I usually play Kingdom Hearts games on the highest difficulty available, because I love a good challenge. Having to play through a game once to unlock a higher difficulty is usually an unwanted chore that challenge-oriented players just slog through to get what they wanted in the first place. There is no reason for Kingdom Hearts III to feel like a chore, especially when it is meant to be fun for anyone who plays. As a result, Critical Mode should be an immediately available option for players looking to challenge themselves, rather than a reward to be unlocked later.

Similar to the previous point, Critical Mode should also be properly balanced and rewarding. In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, Critical Mode not only increased enemies’ damage output, as one would expect, but also took away crucial abilities and halved the player’s MP. This made Critical Mode feel like an unfair and punishing experience, rather than a fair challenge that is fun to proceed through. Instead of making Critical Mode absurdly hard for the sake of being absurdly hard, this difficulty should be developed with the philosophy of offering the player a legitimate and fun challenge.

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I hope you've enjoyed what I have to say! Whether you are a developer at Square Enix who is working on Kingdom Hearts III, or just an average fan who wants the best for a series we love, I hope you value my impressions and feedback, as well as the impressions and feedback of everyone else who got to play the game!

What do you think of my impressions of the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event demo? Do you have any concerns of your own that you hope Square Enix will address? Let us know in the comments below!

Another wave of Kingdom Hearts III Funko POP figures has been rumored to release by popcurated. This wave is reported to include Kingdom Hearts III Mickey, Riku, Soldier Heartless, and Vanitas.

POP


This rumor comes a week after the first wave was rumored. There isn't a release date announced yet or confirmation by Funko.

What do you think of this set? Will there be more Kingdom Hearts III Funko figures? Let us know in the comments below!

Square Enix released a press release detailing some key points from the Kingdom Hearts III Premium Event. Included on the key points are Keyblade transformations, interacting with the environments (dive deep underwater, scaling massive cliffs, free-falling), using Attractions in combat, and Classic Kingdom minigames.

You can view the transcript below.

Overview

KINGDOM HEARTS III tells the story of the power of friendship as Sora and his friends embark on a perilous adventure and support each other through difficult times. Set in a vast array of Disney worlds, KINGDOM HEARTS follows the journey of Sora, a young boy and unknowing heir to a spectacular power. Sora is joined by Donald Duck and Goofy, two emissaries sent by King Mickey from Disney Castle, to stop an evil force known as the Heartless from invading and overtaking the universe. Through the power of positivity and friendship, Sora, Donald and Goofy unite with iconic Disney-Pixar characters old and new to prevail tremendous challenges and persevere against the darkness threatening their worlds.

Key Features

Adventure in Disney and Pixar Worlds
Embark on an adventure that spans the Disney universe: Travel across Disney-Pixar worlds to protect them from the Heartless invasion, and befriend and join heroes from Toy Story, Big Hero 6, Tangled, Hercules and more.

Unlock the Power of the Keyblades
The powerful Keyblade can now transform into additional forms with new attacks, moves and animations. Players can equip multiple Keyblades, and combo their attacks between different themed Keyblades.

Experience the Magic
Cast visually stunning, powerful magic spells to battle the Heartless. Call upon Disney-Pixar friends and partner with them for support. Turn the tide of combat by summoning theme park inspired attractions using the all-new “Attractions.”

Prepare for Battle
Interact directly with the Disney-Pixar world. Players will fight off swarms of Heartless as they scale massive cliffs, dive deep underwater or even as they fall freely through the air.

Relive Classic Disney Shorts Through Minigames
Take a break from saving the world with minigames inspired by classic Disney short films.



What do you think of this fact sheet? Let us know in the comments below and check out our coverage from the Premiere Event here!

The Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event, held in Santa Monica, California on May 17th and 18th, offered media outlets, community influencers, and VIP guests the opportunity to play Kingdom Hearts III and offer their feedback to the development staff. Since KH13.com received an invitation to this event alongside several fellow Kingdom Hearts YouTubers and fansites, staff members Toominator and Raxaimus were chosen to represent us at the event. Throughout the week, we will be bringing you recaps and hands-on impressions on the game. Please look forward to all of this upcoming content!

To kick off our recap, during the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event, attendees were given the privilege of viewing a panel between Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura, co-director Tai Yasue, and Square Enix community manager Sunil Godhania, with translation by Aileen Matsuoka. A transcript of this panel can be found below.

(Please note that this panel does not include a presentation by Pixar staff members Jason Katz and Tasha Sounart. That segment was held for media outlets on the previous day of the event.)

Godhania: Welcome everyone, to the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event here in Santa Monica. I hope you're excited to be here, because in just a few moments, you will be able to play Kingdom Hearts III.To begin with, please welcome to the stage the Kingdom Hearts series executive producer, Mr. Shinji Hashimoto, and Aileen, who will be translating.

Hashimoto: [in English] Hi, good morning!

[The crowd responds enthusiastically.]

Hashimoto: We're all so excited to be here and we hope you are too. What we brought here today is the first ever playable demo of Kingdom Hearts III. We brought PlayStation and Xbox versions; it's also in English so you can understand everything. Now, I do believe that you are like our cheerleading group, so I hope you'll continue to support us over time. Thank you so much!

Godhania: Thank you very much, Hashimoto-san. Next, I would like to invite to the stage the Kingdom Hearts series franchise director Mr. Tetsuya Nomura and Kingdom Hearts III co-director Mr. Tai Yasue. Nomura-san, can you tell us a little more about the overall storyline and the themes of Kingdom Hearts III?

Nomura: For the Kingdom Hearts series as a whole, I'm sure you guys are quite knowledgeable about it already, but the theme is heart. What is heart? For Kingdom Hearts III, the theme is resolution. For all these problems that you've seen throughout the series, I believe you will see some kind of a resolution in Kingdom Hearts III.

Godhania: And as we head towards that resolution, can we expect Kingdom Hearts III to have a darker story than other entries in the series?

Nomura: The series as a whole has had a serious storyline so it'd make sense if you think Kingdom Hearts III will have a serious storyline as well. But because it is a resolution of things that have been happening until now, I think there will be many surprises that you may not expect to happen.

If you have been playing Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross] on your mobile platform, you would know that we have foreshadowed that light will be defeated by darkness. So you may see what happens with that being foreshadowed. I actually do believe it may have some kind of a "difficult ending" that you may find a bit difficult to grasp. It depends on whether or not everyone can go against all odds and overcome what's being foretold.

Godhania: Many Disney worlds have made an appearance throughout the series, and now for the first time in Kingdom Hearts III, we're going to see Pixar worlds. Can you tell us a little bit more about the scale of each Pixar world?

Nomura: When we first started talking about Kingdom Hearts III, I always thought that Pixar worlds would be a necessity to have. So I have been communicating with Disney, telling them that I do feel that it's necessary to have a title from the Pixar world. We finally have been able to come to a realization of that, so in that sense, Kingdom Hearts III has become a very special title for myself as well.

As for the scale of the worlds, I'd like Yasue-san to answer that.

Yasue: For the worlds, we wanted to have our own endings to those and implement things that we had our own desires to do. So we had to make sure that we did something unique for every different world. For example, in Toy Box, I really wanted to have a robot that you could control and ride, so we had to make sure that the world was big enough for players to satisfyingly use it. Today when you play the demo, you'll be seeing about 30% of the Toy Story world. I think it'll give you a little bit of an idea of how big that world will be when the game's released.

Godhania: Given that each world in Kingdom Hearts III has so many intricate details that we may not notice at first glance, and each space is a different world that has a different feel and animation style, how exactly do you handle all of that from a developer's perspective?

Nomura: It's actually very difficult to talk through the details so we brought a video to show you through the process. Yasue will show the video to give you a glance at what we do.

[The D23 Japan 2018 behind-the-scenes video is shown, while Yasue speaks in English over the video’s Japanese narration.]

Yasue: Okay! The development process. What we're showing you right now is our office in Osaka. We have hundreds of people working in our Osaka office and our Tokyo office.
These are the cutscenes. What we first do is we start off with story. We go off of storyboards, and from there we record the voices. Then we start to make that into a scene. Here we have a rough layout of one of the cutscenes.

Now, this one's actually almost finished, but this is the first part of production when making a cutscene. By creating rough layouts like this with assets that aren't really done yet, you get a general idea of the length of the cutscenes. From here, we add things like lighting effects and sounds.

[The video shows an untextured scene, where Rapunzel looks out of her window. Even the skyboxes are missing, replaced with flat images of KH-themed icons.]

Yasue: This is a very iconic scene.

[The audience laughs at how unfinished the assets are. Footage changes to Rapunzel and Sora walking around in an empty space. Rapunzel is being controlled by the developer in the video.]
Yasue: Rapunzel's hair was very difficult to animate. We worked with Disney to make it look natural and also fun. It really reacts to the environment, as you can see it moves along the bumps in the earth.

We developed a special middleware to accommodate movement and how her hair reacts to the environments.

[A tree and a Shadow Heartless are spawned. Rapunzel loops her hair on a tree branch and swings from it to attack the Shadow.]

Yasue: Here is a tree. We wanted it to be fun, so Rapunzel will use things in her surroundings, like these trees in the environment, to attack enemies.

[An industrial area in Monsters Inc. in shown.]

Yasue: This is a level design stage for Monsters Inc. This map is pretty much done, but I'll explain a few points about how we built it. We first come up with a rough mock-up to gauge the overall feel, and plant enemies and treasure boxes throughout the stage. We go through many iterations to reach that ideal gameplay experience. This is called Phase 0. After that, we move on to Phase 1, 2 and 3, and little by little, the stage approaches completion.

[The video switches to the plaza in the Kingdom of Corona, populated by dozens of NPCs. This portion of the video appears to have been largely unoptimized at the time of recording, as the framerate is very low. Nevertheless, the crowd expresses a great deal of excitement and surprise at the NPC density and variety within this area.]

Yasue: Here we have an area from Tangled. We really wanted to populate our cities with a lot of people this time around, so the worlds don't feel lonely. You can see Sora will react to the characters.

[Sora moves to the port, approaching the lighthouse. Everyone laughs at a man who is floating above the ground in a sitting animation.]

Yasue: This stage is not really done yet, but it's very close. When it comes to this type of stage, we have to include the lighting...
That's about it.

Godhania: Thank you so much for talking through some of the aspects of development for Kingdom Hearts III. Since everyone's going to have the chance to play through some of the Hercules and Toy Story content today, do you have any special tips or anything they should look out for?

Nomura: Has everyone read all of the articles that have been popping up this morning?

[The crowd nods and murmurs affirmatively.]

Nomura: Since you have read them, I think you will find different surprises when you finally play it for yourself. We have new features in Kingdom Hearts III, the biggest one being the Keyblade transformations that can change the shape of the weapons, and you can even change Keyblades while you're fighting. This leads to creating different types of combos depending on which Keyblade and transformation you want to use. So you'd want to sit down and take your time, try to understand the breadth of what you can do.

Yasue: Keyblade transformations are definitely an interesting part of this game and provides a unique twist. For example, if you start off with the Toy Story Keyblade and you transform it into a hammer, you can switch to the Monsters Inc. Keyblade and use a yo-yo right after. You can actually switch from one transformed weapon to another, which creates new combos. We also have a new Link system in this game that will allow you to call forth familiar Disney characters like Ralph and Ariel.

In this demo, we do offer the Toy Story world and Olympus, but Olympus is a little bit higher in difficulty, so we'd like you to do your best to reach the end and use the attraction in that battle. As for the Toy Story world, exploration is the main focus of the demo that we brought, and I definitely want you to try and control the robots there. Look into the details of the map and try to find all the hidden gimmicks in there. Try to interact with different aspects of the map; for example, if you find a gas tank, I would really love it if you were to try and hit it just to see what happens.

Other than that, like I mentioned earlier, we do have a lot of Link systems and combos available, but I did notice yesterday that many people weren't actually using the final attack. Whenever you use these, try pressing the triangle button on the PS4 and the Y button on the Xbox at the very end and see what happens.

Godhania: As we're running out of time, Nomura-san, Yasue-san, I'd like to ask if you have any closing messages?

Yasue: Since this is the first ever demo that we are bringing over, and I know we have a lot of streamers and YouTubers in the audience, I'm actually very happy that you're here today. In Japan, I actually watch YouTube, and I watch all of your videos. I see your expressions in these videos and it gives us strength. A lot of streamers in Japan are not that expressive. I don't want to be rude to anyone, but your expressions are great and sometimes funny. I even have screenshots of your faces sometimes, to show whoever I'm presenting to that this is the feeling you will get when you play our games. I might be secretly watching you play today, but don't mind me! Just please enjoy the demo.

Nomura: I see some familiar faces here myself, and I do watch your videos pretty often, as well. But I think a lot of you here are able to play our games from a player perspective, so I'd like for you to just experience this game as is. We do plan on revealing more information next month, so I believe your experience here, along with the news we're going to release, will give you a better understanding of our game. I do hope you start to create your hype for us starting from here, and I don't think I really need to say this, but I hope you'll enjoy our game today.

However, I would like to add one more thing. Next month, we are going to reveal some information, and I think after a certain period, our fellow YouTubers are going to have a hard time following up with the news and may experience difficulty putting up daily videos. I wish you good luck on that.

Godhania: Gentlemen, thank you both so much for taking the time out of your extremely busy schedules to talk more about Kingdom Hearts III today, and thank you Aileen for translating. Thank you.


What are your thoughts on this developer panel? Do you have a favorite thing that the developers mentioned? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for our continuing recap of the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event!

Episode 15 of Everglow's new series Kingdom Hearts Timeline series has been released! This episode marks the fourth installment in the series' Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep section. It follows the events of Terra's and Ven's adventures in Enchanted Dominion and Dwarf Woodlands.

You can view Kingdom Hearts Timeline episode 15 below.


What's your favorite part of this episode of Kingdom Hearts Timeline? Let us know in the comments below!