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  1. More information on and a "few" trailers for Kingdom Hearts III to be released at E3 2018

    Kingdom Hearts III has been announced at the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- for release on January 25, 2019 in Japan, and on January 29, 2019, worldwide. The announcement on Twitter was followed by a note from series director Tetsuya Nomura, which can be read below.

    We’ve announced the release day for KINGDOM HEARTS III ahead of E3 at the KINGDOM HEARTS Orchestra -World Tour-. I’m sorry that we’re asking for a little more time than initially planned. Please look forward to other information, including a few trailers at E3. Thank you - Nomura


    In this tweet, Nomura stated that more information, and a few trailers will be released at E3 2018.

    It is unclear if this means that the same trailer will be released on Youtube for different countries, or if a brand new trailer or trailers will be available to watch in the next few days.

    UPDATE [Jun 10, 2018]: In Hour 5 of the Youtube Live at E3 show streamed on Sunday, it was stated that Toy Box and Olympus Coliseum will be the Kingdom Hearts III demos playable at E3.

    Follow our live coverage of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- on Twitter for live updates, and check our coverage for all updates from the event!

  2. New trailer for Kingdom Hearts III shown at Kingdom Hearts Orchestra in Los Angeles

    A new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III was shown to the attendees of Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- in Los Angeles! It featured exciting footage from the upcoming game, and concluded with a release date reveal for January 29, 2019!

    Series director Tetsuya Nomura, who was on-stage at the concert to present the trailer, also said that more information will be coming during E3 2018.

    Unfortunately, we have been requested to not discuss the contents of the trailer in our news articles, and there are yet no words on a public release of the footage. Keep an eye on this space for more updates on the footage when they are released to the public!

    Follow our live coverage of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- on Twitter for live updates, and check our coverage for all updates from the event!

  3. Kingdom Hearts III releasing on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 25, 2019 in Japan, and January 29, 2019 worldwide

    After 5 years since its announcement, the release date for Kingdom Hearts III has been revealed!

    Kingdom Hearts III will be releasing on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 25, 2019, in Japan, and January 29, 2019, worldwide!

    Screen Shot 2018 06 10 At 07.36.11


    This was revealed in a new Kingdom Hearts III trailer that was shown to the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- attendees at the Los Angeles concert today, and on Twitter. Series director Tetsuya Nomura, who presented the trailer on stage, apologized profusely for the slight delay. He also issued the following apology on Twitter:

    We’ve announced the release day for KINGDOM HEARTS III ahead of E3 at the KINGDOM HEARTS Orchestra -World Tour-. I’m sorry that we’re asking for a little more time than initially planned. Please look forward to other information, including a few trailers at E3. Thank you.


    The Kingdom Hearts Portal Site has also been updated.

    Follow our live coverage of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- on Twitter for live updates, and check our coverage for all updates from the event!

  4. Coverage: Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World Tour - Encore in Los Angeles, California

    The Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World Tour - Encore kicks off its 2018 season tonight! It will be premiering at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, at 8pm PDT today.

    Welcome to KH13.com's live coverage of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour - Encore concert in Los Angeles, California!

    After our successful presence at the KHO concerts last year in London, LA, and New York, we have decided to host another #KH13MeetUp! Staff member Raxaimus will be in attendance and hosting today's meet-up and distributing exclusive KH13 stickers! The meet-up will take place near the main entrance so that even fans without concert tickets will be able to attend!

    Stay tuned to KH13.com for full live coverage of the event and don't forget to also stay tuned to our social media accounts for instant live updates!

    Twitter| Facebook | Tumblr


    Articles

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    -Kingdom Hearts III releasing on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 25, 2019 in Japan, and January 29, 2019 worldwide

    -New trailer for Kingdom Hearts III shown at Kingdom Hearts Orchestra in Los Angeles

    -More information on and a "few" trailers for Kingdom Hearts III to be released at E3 2018

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    KINGDOM HEARTS III

    RELEASING: JANUARY 29, 2019 (NA/EU)

    JANUARY 25, 2019 (JAPAN)


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    Updates

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    Pre-concert
    (June 7, 2018 - 1:18 AM PDT) Kaoru Wada, who worked on the arrangements for the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- and the series, is boarding the plane to Los Angeles to attend the show!
    (June 8, 2018 - 1:31 PM PDT) Yoko Shimomura, the Kingdom Hearts series composer, went to Los Angeles to rehearse for the show! She will try hard this year so that everyone who attends it will enjoy it!
    (June 9, 2018 - 2:04 AM PDT) Yoko Shimomura, Kaoru Wada, Natsumi Kameoka, and other Square Enix staff have enjoyed Walt Disney Studios before the rehearsal!

    Concert Day
    (June 9, 2018 - 4:07 PM PDT) News Team staff Raxaimus, who is representing KH13 at the concert today, is getting ready! Spot him in his Project Destati shirt, hosting a #KH13MeetUp! He may be handing out KH13 stickers!
    (June 9, 2018 - 6:40 PM PDT) We have started our #KH13MeetUp, and have already met some fans and the X-Keepers!
    (June 9, 2018 - 8:00 PM PDT) Our team member, @RaxaimusKH13 has met with Kingdom Hearts Executive Producer, Shinji Hashimoto and the Vice President of Disney Japan, Justin Scarpone!
    (June 9, 2018 - 8:00 PM PDT) The concert is about to start! @RaxaimusKH13 has taken his seat next to @LimitForm72 and @Soraalam1!
    (June 9, 2018 - 8:04 PM PDT) According to @churroz, a lot of executives are present at the orchestra!
    (June 9, 2018 - 9:07 PM PDT) Intermission time! Two new songs added to the setlist: Dearly Beloved - Back Cover ver. and Traverse Town, Raxaimus reports!
    (June 9, 2018 - 10:17 PM PDT) Raxamius reports that they're playing a Toy Story Medley, "a special piece, just for us"!
    (June 9, 2018 - 10:23 PM PDT) Nomura is on stage!
    (June 9, 2018 - 10:25 PM PDT) They're showing attendees a new video!
    (June 9, 2018 - 10:28 PM PDT) Kingdom Hearts III release date announced!
    (June 9, 2018 - 10:36 PM PDT) Nomura apolgizes for the delay, but showcased a new trailer. January 29, 2019 in North America and Europe and January 25, 2019 in Japan!
    (June 9, 2018 - 10:36 PM PDT) Final piece of the evening is Fantasia alla Marcia performed by Shimomura herself!
    (June 9, 2018 - 11:01 PM PDT) Remy from Ratatouille confirmed to be in Kingdom Hearts III!
    (June 9, 2018 - 11:53 PM PDT) We have been asked to not post anything further on the concert today! We will update as soon as there is a public release!

    #KH13MeetUp and Kingdom Hearts Orchestra Gallery

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    DfS4TSRU8AEIoh9 DfSzM2VU0AEBTlP DfSzO6OVMAA8Bk DfSzP0wVMAASPEz DfSPH7vUYAAsZld DfSptd0V4AA PLP DfS5DQaU0AAaqee DfS6lUgVAAY Mu9 DfS7zMKUEAAZhA9 DfS70e V4AAjLy DfS CN4UwAAFd Z DfTEcoxV4AACnma DfTFGwrUcAEEnfX Screen Shot 2018 06 10 At 07.36.11

    • Jun 10 2018 03:09 AM
    • by Leamax
  5. Famitsu Weekly's Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Recap

    Famitsu Weekly released an article recapping everything revealed during the Kingdom Hearts III premiere event. Screenshots and their translations, provided by news team members Mio-Chan and NihonScribe, can be viewed below!

    FSP May1 May2 May3 May4 May5 May6

    JPG 1

    Text in red squares: Follow-up Report
    On May 17th (local time), the event held in the USA presented the world’s first demo. The characters shown below have also been revealed!

    Text on the middle right: Kingdom Hearts III (KH III for short) is the latest game of the world’s most famous action RPG series born from Disney and Square Enix. The demo, held in Santa Monica, USA, have finally shed some light on the game’s contents.

    (JPG 1 and 3) Golden text: In this first demo, new information comes one after another!


    JPG 2

    Under the copyright: The following pictures show contents under development.

    Blue frame: The power to call and borrow your friends’ power, the "Link."

    "Link" is a command that appeared in the previous games. When activated it consumes MP, you can borrow the power of a reliable friend, and use them to perform various actions. Each action depends on the summoned ally’s personality. Ralph from the movie "Wreck it Ralph" makes his appearance for the first time in the series, and you can summon him!

    Golden small text; Ariel picture: We were able to try out Ariel’s Link (from the movie "The Little Mermaid"); while bouncing she attacks and makes splashes. It is also known that linking with a Meow Wow is possible.

    Golden small text, Ralph pictures: The light that comes from the blocks that Ralph has created can stop the movement of enemies. Additionally, the finishing move causes a big explosion and one-shot wrecks the enemy!

    Game data: Kingdom Hearts III; Developer: Square Enix
    Release date: Expected in 2018; Price: To be announced; Genre: Action RPG; Rating: In review
    Team: Director: Nomura Tetsuya, Co-director: Yasue Tai, Composer: Shimomura Yoko, Producer: Nishi Rie


    JPG 3

    Hercule's world OLYMPUS

    In the demo, we experimented with dynamic actions, trying to defeat the powerful enemy standing at the mountain peak, the Rock Titan, all while running up the cliff and heading to the top.
    The moments when we were climbing its body, (the feeling of moving Sora) was emphasized.
    Boarding the Big Magic Mountain and shooting fireworks was refreshing too!

    Small golden text: Heading to the shining spots allows you to run on surfaces freely.
    The field in this game is fairly extensive and the coexistence with this new action is outstanding.


    JPG 4

    Toy Story’s world TOY BOX

    It’s the first appearance of this world in the series. There are plenty of event scenes including Woody and Buzz. Sora and his friends changed into toys to maintain the balance of this world. Many elements are highlighted, such as hopping in a robot, engaging in a battle against other robots, and more!

    Golden text: In the toy store, you can explore every corner of the floors. In addition to many playful and shining gimmicks, new varieties of Heartless appear!

    (text in blue) Animated Robot Battles

    In Toy Box, there are robots named "Gigas," which you can control and fight with, in a subjective viewpoint. Three different types exist: the blue Gigas have a rangee of bomb attacks, the red ones are good at physical attacks, and finally you can shoot and stun the enemies with the purple ones. It’s possible to switch between robots.
    And so in KH’s worlds, it’s possible to have a FPS-like experience.


    JPG 5

    Sora, the protagonist that we control, was chosen by a weapon called the "Keyblade."
    In the demo, pressing the left and right direction keys make switch Keyblade without opening the main menu. In addition, elements such as weapon transformations and the attack movements offer a refreshing feeling of in-battle strategy and actions.

    Transparent frame: Transformations through Situation commands!
    After a few hits, a "Situation Command" appears depending on the skills and Keyblade you use, and the situation you are in. When activated, a flashy animation with great effects occurs, and the Keyblade changes form. There are multiple stages of transformations, the attacks movements drastically change, enabling the player to unleash a powerful finish move.

    (JPG 5 and 7) Golden text: A rich amount of Keyblades


    JPG 6

    Monsters Inc.'s Keyblade SMILE GEAR

    The first transformation is named "Assault Claw." This form equips you with claws in both hands, making fierce combos available.
    After that the Keyblade can change into a second form, "The Twins Yo-yo," offering a wide range of attacks!

    Small golden text: The Twins Yo-yo are flexible. Their use is varied: bumping the yo-yo against the opponent, shortening the string and moving someone closer to you, and also stretching it and swinging it around. There is a lot of possibilities.


    JPG7

    Toy Story’s Keyblade INFINITY BADGE


    (Top left corner) The “Drill Punch” form allows you to hit multiple enemies easily, and the enemies HP can be seen as sparks fly surrounding them. Also, dodge roll allows you to drill into the ground and spike up, doing a lot of damage.

    Golden Text: Multiple Keyblades

    (Bottom right corner) The first Keyblade transformation can be used for powerful groups of enemies and is called, “Boost Hammer.” It extends your reach, allowing you to swing long and wide. In the second stage of the transformation, “Drill Punch,” you can perform a high concentration of attacks over a large group across a large space from in and out of the ground.

    JPG8
    Tangled’s Keyblade EVER AFTER


    (Top left) When dodge roll is utilized, copied forms in the shape of Sora appear. Alongside this, when enough of these Sora copies appear, they move towards the target and all attack at the same time, providing major damage.

    (Top Right) When the Keyblade transforms into “Mirage Staff,” while sliding one can attack and fight with magic to stand out. Even from far distances, your attacks are powerful and have a wide influence. Also, as a “finisher,” you create a tower and attack, affecting enemies within the entire frame of the screen for a wide range attack.

    (Bottom) A Note on Commands: At the same time Situation Commands can appear and you can choose where to do them, but they are contained within a time limit. After that, you will be unable to use these commands until the counter reaches zero. After you complete the finisher, the counter will reach zero and your keyblade will go back to its initial state.

    JPG9
    (Upper Right) During battle, besides Keyblade transformations, you can also attack using commands after fulfilling certain conditions. Managing these operations are uncomplicated and somehow with just the press of a button one can become efficient and perform a variety of actions.

    Golden Text: To Battle

    (Bottom left) Shooting Ride: Within a first-person perspective, players can attack in a command similar to a shooting game. Depending on how you shoot your score will change. It looks interesting and fun seeing how players can adjust and obtain a high score.

    JPG10
    (Top) The Power of Friends: With Donald you can release a countless number of fireworks flying into the air, attacking your surroundings. This attack doesn’t require a 4 button input and is a simple and effective range attack.

    (Bottom Right) Rocket Ruckus: With Woody and Buzz you ride the rocket and press various buttons to control the ride. For the finishing move the group jumps off and the rocket heads towards the target, attacking in a big explosion. This attack is also convenient for moving around?!

    (Middle Left) For efficient attacks, movement depends on the angle of the left and right stick, which allows you to make loops and attack while spinning (In case of using the rocket).

    (Bottom) Note on other commands: 1) Pirate Ship: one of the first that can be obtained through, “attraction flow.” Allows for big attacks rising up from the left to the right in an ride similar to the viking attraction. 2) Tea Party Cups: can be accessed using the same kind of attraction flow as the command mentioned above. The player rides in coffee cups, spinning and drawing enemies closer in a versatile attack.

    JPG11
    Golden Text: Various commands pile up

    (Middle Right) Shotluck: Holding the lock on button allows you to simultaneously attack a large group of enemies. This system was utilized in “KH Birth By Sleep,” allowing the player to prioritize and choose which enemies to attack and focus on. It is useful for dealing with troublesome enemies that are overwhelming from far away or located in the sky.

    (Bottom Left) The focus gauge is important for executing shotluck commands. The methods for locking on and attacking will change depending on the Keyblade you are using within your environment.

    (Bottom Right): With the spell, “blizzara,” you can slide and move on an icy path in the direction of the blast you fired. Situation commands and spells like “Fire” can also be used while in the air.

    JPG12
    (Top Left Corner) Magic: Once you consume MP, you will be able to attack through spells like fire or blizzard or heal yourself. Once your MP reaches zero it will start charging and while the meter is slowly filling up you will have to fight without magic. Magic can be quickly chosen and carried out outside of the command menu through the shortcut menu.

    (Middle) Minigame “Classic Kingdom” also revealed! Info regarding the retro style mini games resembling old school cartoons, “Classic Kingdom,” was discovered. Now below we will review the four different games revealed. 1) The Barnyard Battle: Sora and King Mickey move at the same time and dance and fight their opponents 2) The Karnival Kid: You serve customers according to what they request in their orders from the menu. 3) Giantland: Strike the giant and keep moving up higher to reach the goal and escape. 4) Musical Farmer: adjust the pipes and collect the falling eggs. (Left bottom corner of this section) There are plans to make these minigames playable in the phone app, “Kingdom Hearts Union X[Cross]”. There are over 20 minigames!
    (Bottom) A Note on Keyblades: When switching between Keyblades, the countdown for Keyblade A, if it is currently in a Keyblade transformation, will stop. This transformation will be saved and progress from its last point once you select this Keyblade again later on

  6. KH3 Confirmed For Youtube Live at E3 This Sunday

    Kingdom Hearts III has been announced to be a part of Youtube Live at E3, which will start from 11:45AM PDT. Kingdom Hearts III will be discussed at 7-8/4-5pm ET/PT, among other games this Sunday, June 10. No word on if new content will be shown. Youtube Live at E3 is a show dedicated to discuss news coming out of E3. Geoff Keighly will be hosting and during the hour Kingdom Hearts is slated to be discussed, he will be joined by industry analyst Michael Pachter to discuss E3 expectations.

    You can view the livestream here:









    Youtube Live E3


    E3 is here. What new KH3 content are you most hoping to see? Tell us in the comments!

  7. Listen to the extended preview of Utada Hikaru's "Chikai"!

    As we near the release of Utada Hikaru's seventh album, Hatsukoi, 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!

  8. Raxaimus' impressions of the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event demo

    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!

  9. RUMOR: More Kingdom Hearts III Funko Pop Announcement

    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!

    • May 23 2018 02:48 AM
    • by Leamax
  10. Kingdom Hearts III Premium Invitation Fact Sheet gives details on what to expect

    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!

    • May 23 2018 02:47 AM
    • by Leamax
  11. Voice Actors for Mike and Sulley for Kingdom Hearts III revealed in Press Release

    In a press release from Square Enix about the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event, the voice actors for Mike and Sulley were revealed. Carlos Alazraqui will be providing the voice of Mike while Christopher Swindle will be voicing Sulley.

    You can read a exert from the press release below.

    "The new game features the wondrous worlds and characters from Disney•Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Big Hero 6, Tangled and more. The evening gala gave celebrities and entertainment industry professionals the chance to journey through the Toy Story and Hercules worlds as they appear in the game. Event attendees included celebrity influencers, including Strawburry17, Kelly Eden, KittiesMama, GhostRobo, Wongfu and Maxmillian Dood, and voiceover actors Bill Farmer (Goofy), Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), Carlos Alazraqui (Mike Wazowski) and Christopher Swindle (Sulley) among other top talent."


    You can check out our coverage of the Premiere Event here.

    What do you think of the voice actors for Mike and Sulley? Let us know in the comments below!

    • May 21 2018 02:06 PM
    • by Leamax
  12. 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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    • May 25 2018 11:15 PM
    • by Leamax
  13. Famitsu features Question and Answer Discussion Panel with Tetsuya Nomura discussing development of Kingdom Hearts Union x[Cross] and More!

    Famitsu released an issue on April 18th, 2018 showcasing a three-page feature on the Kingdom Hearts Union x[cross] 2018 fan event, aka "Dandelion Meeting," which took place at Disney's House of Blues Anaheim in Anaheim, California. The feature talks about the activities carried out across the event, the Classic Kingdom Trailer, and the question and answer section of the discussion panel with Tetsuya Nomura among the development staff!

    Here is the full article with the panel discussion translated by team members Mio-Chan and NihonScribe. Images below are from the design panel discussion.


    A fan event "Dandelion Meeting" for the smartphone game "Kingdom Hearts Union Cross" (KHUχ for sort) was held in Anaheim, California on April 15, 2018.

    We will give a report of the event, in which was announced elements linked to Kingdom Hearts III (KH III for short). Some stages and panels wasn’t allowed to be shoot or filmed, so we apologize for the lack of images for those parts.


    The Dandelion Meeting took place at the House of Blues located near Disneyland in Anaheim.
    At this KHUx themed place, 1,000 fans were gathered. The interior was decorated for the event as well.
    In addition, KHUχ was playable on a huge touch screen, there were sections where photos could be taken, and a panel where you could write messages along with various other amenities provided to satisfy the fans.


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    (Fans in line legend): The opening of the doors was planned around 10 o’clock, the first fans began to be in line at 9 o’clock. Some famous Youtubers were also spotted among them.
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    (Interior decorations 1 legend): There are plenty of highlights, such as the walls decorated with KHUχ artworks, stage decorations imitating Daybreak Town, and character panels.

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    (Nomura illustration): There were also illustrations drawn by Tetsuya Nomura displayed!

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    (Huge touch screen legend): Playing at KHUχ on a huge touch screen was really compelling. In addition to this, there were various activities such as draw battles, a message board, and a stamp rally.

    Fans were allowed to sift through the attractions and assembly hall at their leisure, and when Kingdom Hearts brand manager, Shinji Hashimoto, appeared on stage, at last the “Dandelion Meeting” was able to start. On behalf of the fans, as the the panels were being announced, Hashimoto carried on with the commencement with a well-known quote by Sora in English stating, “My friends are my power!” (Literally in Japanese, “The people bound to my heart are my power!”), which was met with loud applause from the audience.




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    (Caption: When I went out for a break, Hashimoto was surrounded by fans. He was signing various items!)

    Next, as the director, the moment that Tetsuya Nomura was called and entered the stage there were shouts of excitement from all directions! Though the leftover tension permeated within the fans throughout the assembly hall, Nomura waited for them to calm down, reminding everyone that this was an event to celebrate “KHUx,” before stating, “there is something I wanted to show you.” After that, a Kingdom Hearts III video showcasing LSI mini-games (LCD in the US) started streaming, which was accompanied by more excited cheers erupting from the audience!

    Following the video was also a message from Kingdom Hearts III’s Co-director, Yasuuji Yasue. Yasue prefaced the video with, “About a year ago I received an unusual request from Tetsuya Nomura . . . this happened quite often,” and laughed before acknowledging what Nomura ordered; Nomura wanted the main development team to create LSI mini-games in the style of 1980s cartoons using cutting edge technology and free software. Out of the more than 20 mini games they completed using Unreal Engine 4, Mr. Yasue was most pleased with the game that involved changing the pipes in order to retrieve falling eggs. He laughed again, saying, “I didn’t think something like this, gathering eggs, could be fun,” and the audience laughed along with him.

    These mini games, created in black and white following the motif of classic Disney animations, were available for those to play within the assembly hall. There were places where fans could sit and be able to see and play the four mini-games shown in the video (Including Mr. Yasue’s egg game, “Musical Farmer”). Here we will reveal the rules and the feel of playing each game.

    THE BARNYARD BATTLE

    The player simultaneously controls Sora and Mickey to repel Pete who approaches towards the player from the background. Pressing the button causes Sora and Mickey to swing a hammer, and depending on the timing a score of GOOD or PERFECT is rewarded; the goal is to receive the highest score possible. As you succeed Pete increases the speed of his movements and moves over the hedge on the left and right, creating a thrilling experience. The game feels similar to that of rhythm action (rhythm games) with parts that depend on sound.





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    THE KARNIVAL KID

    This is a mini game in which the player provides drinks, french fries, and hotdogs depending on the customer’s order. Once the prescribed score is reached within the time limit you advance to the next stage. To avoid getting the order wrong and only receiving a low score, you must carefully check the orders such as whether the hotdog requires ketchup or not. The hotdog has to cook for a certain time to be fit to serve, but if you let it cook for too long the hotdog will be scorched!






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    GIANTLAND

    This mini adventure involves aiming towards the spot where Mickey is located on the top right of the screen by the window. After avoiding the feet of the giant, getting propelled up to the desk by spoon, and moving to the right to pull the chord, the curtain covering the window opens and causes the lamps to shake with the breeze. You then must go back the way you came, dodging the giant’s arms, and get carried by his sneeze in order to move across the lamps, which requires using the pepper . . . etc. In order to progress quickly one must be wary of the timing of the giant’s movements.


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    MUSICAL FARMER

    For this game you must manage the connections of the pipes in order to keep the eggs produced by the chickens from breaking and guide them into the crates. You clear the stage once you deliver the prescribed number of eggs to Mickey or Minney. It’s important that Sora moves up and down besides just left and right, for if you focus on delivering the eggs within the crates and neglect to monitor the ones traveling along the pipes, they will crash into each other and break. You will be very busy choosing your actions while foreseeing the eggs movements! The difference between game A and game B presented as buttons on the top right of the screen are the difficulty levels.
    “Toy Story Land” Project also in the works!
    Toy Story’s green army men also appear?! A fan generously chosen to attend Walt Disney World’s planned opening for “Toy Story Land,” on June 30th, 2018, was also invited up on stage. In celebration for the opening of “Toy Story Land,” according to Kingdom Hearts Union x[cross] producer, Mr. Hiroki Okayama, there are plans to introduce a Toy Story land limited to the English version of Kingdom Hearts Union x[cross].





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    (Caption photo 1: Hashimoto (left), Okayama (center), and North Asia Senior Vice President/General Manager Justin Scarpone representing World Disney Japan, also made an attendance. He conveyed his gratitude, stating, "I and my team are very honored to be working with Square Enix's development team on games such as KHUx and KHIII.")
    (Caption photo 2: Green Army Men bless the winner (?).)




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    (Caption: There was also a spot in the assembly hall where you could have your picture taken with the Green Army Men)

    After that announcement, a total of 7 artists led by the Art Director Mr. Tatsuya Kando entered the stage and talked about medals, Keyblades, characters, Heartless, background design, and the production struggles during the designer panel. We have drawn some points of the Q&A session and posted them below.

    DESIGNER PANEL

    Although it was forbidden to take photos during this session, several pictures were shown at the event, such as the stages of progress within design creation. This is usually a part of the development that does not appear easy to show, but the fans seemed really interested in it.




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    Artists photo legend: Members of the Art team are lined up, among them a lot of brilliant women are present. “I’m feeling bashful among all these women, I’ll try not to be kicked out by spoiling the mood (laughs)” said Mr. Daigo Tsukada, working on KHUχ and KHIII’s keyblades and Heartless design.


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    Heartless picture legend: The picture is framed and put as a decoration on a wall in the hall. A heartless is showed, with details and explanations written.

    For the creation of the medals, the team received orders from Mr. Kando, they think about the position of the characters, draw some patterns. If there’s a need to modify it, they rework, retouch and add effects until it’s complete. They show a Sephiroth medal as an example to support their explanation.

    Development Staff (DS): KHUχ original app icon was “KH mobile”. From there, we reviewed many elements such as the amount of actions, the size of the avatar’s head among others, it became the version we can see now.

    For Strelitzia’s design, Nomura specified that her name was inspired from a flower, that her theme color was orange and she was a quiet person, as such we submitted 13 different designs. Seeing them, Mr. Nomura said “Her hair is more like this, its color like that, but her hair’s tied like this, she got hair clips and her boots are……” his reaction was trivial and messy. We finally fixed it and here is how Strelitzia looks now.

    For the Heartless design, we received a concept from a planner, and from there our imagination amplifies. Furthermore, we also received motion instructions for the art parts, when we looked at its totality, we kept in mind to create a cute, interesting design with a fairy tale atmosphere.

    For the upcoming enemies, we are currently working on summoned creatures from Final Fantasy: Titan, Ramuh, and Shiva.

    Keyblade elements such as colors and shape, are consciously designed so they can fit on small smartphones screen.

    The backgrounds basically conform to the look of the original movies. After viewing the movie, we check the localization of the buildings; if there’s a relevant place later in the plot we make sure to select it. We also look for a balance of exploration elements and a three dimensional feeling. In some cases map areas may be newly created and adjusted for KHUχ.

    For the cutscenes, first we decided which background we need to use, then the position of the characters, movement route, and camera movements. It’s difficult because the point is that we mustn’t exactly recreate the movie. You can’t see it much due to the framing and the camera movement, but I’d like you to pay attention to the details as we put a lot of effort into them.

    For the initial design of the Keyblade “Starlight,” since players collect Lux that is star-shaped, we thought that all the Keyblade wielders should possess a weapon with a star on it.

    Q. There are many avatar parts limited by gender, do you plan in the future to create parts that can be equipped to men and women?

    To which Mr. Kando answered, “We will consider it if more people request it”.
    At a point in development, there was one difficulty: “Character deformation, especially the deformed version of the Charming Prince. It was hard to detach the over-cute version from the original while keeping the heartless design that our seniors have drawn; we’re struggling to bring out new aspects as well. It’s not easy to make non-human motion with 2D.”


    New elements of KHUχ have been revealed one after another!


    Next, Director Tetsuya Nomura re-appeared on stage. Along with Mr. Kando and Mr. Okayama, they talked about LSI mini-games, showed at the beginning of the event, and KHUχ updates.

    There are a total of 20 LSI-like mini-games, and are collectively called “Classic Kingdom.”
    Instead of being in a Kingdom Hearts III style, Sora moves one frame at a time in a linear way.

    Nomura: “In KHII, he adventured into a black and white world known as the Timeless River. This time I have prepared a mini-game inspired by Mickey’s classic shorts.”
    You’ll feel like you are playing KHIII in advance while playing the Classic Kingdom, and if you’re playing KHUχ, they are considering linking both games for good for people who play both.

    The Barnyard Battle legend: At the reveal of the Classic Kingdom, visitors were able to play at a demo on regular tablets, as well as on a huge touch screen at the event.


    QUESTION AND ANSWER PANEL/FINAL DISCUSSION

    Q. How are the players in KHUx carrying around their medals as they travel?

    Mr. Nomura: Wouldn’t they just be carrying them in their pockets? (laughter fills the room)

    Mr. Kando: What . . . then how do they equip them onto their keyblades?

    Mr. Nomura: Perhaps you can insert them once the Keyblade has been opened from the pocket, right? After all, this is derived from dreams and magic (laughs)

    Q. Are there any new worlds you want to add in KHUx?

    Mr. Nomura: There are plans to add a world that will not appear in Kingdom Hearts III. The main point is that this character will appear as a summon. However, this character hasn’t been introduced yet, so I think right now you won’t understand. From now on, pay attention to future Kingdom Hearts III trailers and you might get it.

    Q. (On the English Version) “Guilt,” is translated as, “Special Attack Bonus,” what was the reason for that?

    Mr. Nomura: Maybe . . . “Guilt” is short for Special Attack Bonus (Laughs)


    Q. Are there any collaboration events you would like to do in the future?

    Mr. Okayama: As I announced earlier, there will be the Toy Story Land collaboration.

    Mr. Nomura: And along with that, Mr. Kando would like to give us an interesting answer.

    Mr. Kando: Wha…do we have THAT freedom here?! Then how about a collaboration, you and me? *very resolved* (The room filled with laughter)

    Mr. Kando: See! (with a bright look on his face) What about you, Nomura?

    Mr. Nomura: There are currently a lot of collaborations between different Japanese games. KHUχ doesn’t need to focus on that. Although it is just an example, it might be interesting if collaborations with platforms such as Twitter and LINE, which are not games, occurred.
    A medal with Twitter’s bird logo perhaps? (laughs)

    Mr. Kando: A 7★ medal?

    Mr. Okayama: You sounds like you’re drunk, please don’t take it seriously everybody!

    Mr. Nomura: You can’t get drunk if you don’t drink in the first place (laughs). Everyone, if you have any requests about collaborations, please send it to the official Twitter account.

    Q. Please tell us more about the new Union leaders Ephemera and Skuld’s design, and about the intention behind their appearance.
    Mr. Nomura: It feels like you want to know about their story, rather than learning more about their design. In KHIII, their shadows have been caught in a flickering story. I think that you will often feel their presence, more than the five former Union leaders. The fate of the new Union leaders is sealed, their names have a relevant meaning.

    Mr. Okayama: The meaning of the names includes the spelling, do they not?

    Mr. Nomura: That’s right. Everything has a meaning. Including Strelitzia, who isn’t part of the other 5. A new character will also appear in the future, and the story of KHUχ will become something that cannot be simply overlooked.


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    After the panel, for the second time Nomura and company were all seen coming out to the podium and there were countless cheers and admiration in the form of whistling coming from the fans. In words of encouragement and hope for their next reunion, Hashimoto stated, (in English) “Kingdom Hearts is forever with you! See you next year . . . maybe.” Once he stated this there was positive applause and affirmation for a repeat of this event. Nomura then addressed everyone with, “For the purpose of promoting KHIII, we will be visiting the US again I think. Please look forward to it,” which led to the joyful shouts of, “Thank you!!!” and “We love you!” from the entire assembly hall in a string of Japanese from the fans, ending the Dandelion Meeting in a climactic finish. From such a positive response and the joyful, sparkling aura of the crowd there was no mistaking that this had been a highly festive and memorable event that American fans were more than satisfied with.

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    (Souvenirs were also distributed (tote bag, postcard set, badge set, languard) Till the very end this event was filled with consideration for the fans’ enjoyment)

  14. Kingdom Hearts III Invitational Premiere Event overview

    The wait is almost over! In just a few days, a select group of community members and media outlets will attend Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts III Invitational Premiere Event in Santa Monica, California! This invite-only event will give attendees the ability to play Kingdom Hearts III, as well as share hands-on impressions of their experiences! Several prominent Square Enix staff members will also be present, including Kingdom Hearts co-director Tai Yasue!

    We previously announced that KH13 have been given the great honor of being invited to this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and also announced that staff members Toominator and Raxaimus will be representing us at the event! Once again, we would like to thank the staff of Square Enix for this incredible opportunity!

    As seen from photos of the venue's exterior, Square Enix will be using the Twitter hashtag #KH3Premiere to promote this event. Several attendees and fans have already started using and spreading this hashtag, including those of us at KH13, so be on the lookout for it! Whenever you see it, you can be sure that information about the event will not be far behind!

    The embargo for this event ends on Friday, May 18th at 6:00 AM PT! Staff members Toominator (@ToominatorKH13) and Raxaimus (@RaxaimusKH13) will share information during the event using the #KH3Premiere hashtag, and we will post their full impressions of Kingdom Hearts III and the Kingdom Hearts Invitational Premiere Event shortly after the event concludes! Please be excited, everyone!

    IMPORTANT: We would like to stress once again that this event is invite-only. If you do not have an official invitation from Square Enix, we politely request that you do not show up to the venue on the day of the event with the hopes of getting inside. Please wait patiently for information and we will share what we can with you!

    What are you most excited to learn about from the Kingdom Hearts Invitational Premiere Event? Let us know in the comments below!

  15. RUMOR: Kingdom Hearts III Funko Pop Announcement

    Funko Pop fans rejoice! A new wave of figures featuring the Kingdom Hearts III versions of Sora, Donald, Goofy, and “Sora Mons” (most likely being Sora’s Monster’s Inc. form), have been reported coming soon via anerdydad and popcurated. No confirmed date as of this time.

    Funko Pop Rumor


    Please note that there was been no official announcement from Funko.

    Are you interested in this new line of Funko Pops? Let us know in the comments below!

  16. KH13's "Classic Kingdom" Kingdom Hearts III trailer analysis

    Welcome to KH13’s trailer analysis of the “Classic Kingdom” trailer revealed at this past weekend’s Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]: Dandelion Meeting fan event!

    With a title like “Classic Kingdom,” the trailer expertly hooks viewers in with a poignant call to gamers’ nostalgia in the form of LCD inspired minigames created through the unreal engine!

    But first, the graphics!

    We start off with Sora and Co. in an updated Twilight Town surrounded by Haynes, Pence, and Olette in new outfits. This is the first time the Twilight trio have been seen in the unreal engine and they look fantastic. They're rocking a new style, involving plaid similarly to Riku’s new makeover, but they are still similar enough to be recognizable as Roxas’ easygoing pals from Kingdom Hearts II.


    Posted Image



    Sora is in the middle of the group holding a device. In the next shot we see him and Donald and Goofy staring at a device he’s holding as well before we cut to the LCD goods (cue adorable soundtrack).

    Next we are introduced to Sora, Mickey, and Minnie in 2D, moving in a way similar to Mr. Game-And-Watch. We are then treated to a montage sequence of four mini games.

    First Sora and Mickey are introduced in the new gameplay style, traversing across unstable building beams being arranged by Pete to reach Minnie. Then the games start. Each one is based off a classic Disney cartoon with the same name.


    Posted Image



    The first game is called “The Barnyard Battle.” It is a rhythm game in which Mickey and Sora shift from left to right, bopping cows falling to the sides of them. It works similar in the vein of Dance Dance Revolution (and looks just as punishing).


    Posted Image



    The second game, “The Karnival Kid,” involves Sora working hard as a server, cooking hot dogs and piling up a specific dish upwards in the direction of a wanting customer (ranging from Goofy, Mickey, and beyond). Players will be able to tell the specifics of the order based on the speech bubble that shows up over the customer’s head.


    Posted Image



    “Giantland” is the next game shown with Sora working to avoid a giant’s tantrum through various obstacles before swinging on chandeliers above him to reach Mickey. This was the only minigame shown previously at the D23 Event 2017 in Japan. It’s nice to see its return here.


    Posted Image



    Lastly, “Musical Farmer” is the final minigame shown which has Sora shifting tubes and collecting eggs that birds drop down the tubes into baskets before delivering them to either Mickey or Minnie on the sidelines.

    Posted Image


    The trailer ends with Sora smiling at the pseudo-Switch-looking device before turning excitedly towards his friends. It's a great detailed close-up that really highlights Sora’s eyes and facial features. The graphics continue to improve with each trailer giving fans much hope for the finished product.

    But if you need a break from fighting heartless, these minigames should take you back to a simpler time. It serves as a nice reprieve and great addition to the various series of minigames in the Kingdom Hearts series along with the aesthetics of the Timeless River world in Kingdom Hearts II. No matter how much time passes, it looks like there will always be room for the classics and it's great to see Square Enix pull inspiration from early Disney cartoons once again! I’m looking forward to seeing what the others have in store.

    As someone who was lucky enough to experience a few of these games at the event itself, I think they are a great addition. “Karnival Kid” really had me on my toes. Cooking isn't easy folks!

    What were your favorite parts of this new trailer? Who thinks they’ll become addicted to these new minigames? And how do you feel about the Twilight trio’s new look?

    If there are any details I missed please let me know in the comments below! I hope you enjoyed this analysis!

    You can catch the charming trailer here. Don't forget to check on our live coverage of the event here for more details on some gameplay and other exciting info on Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]!

  17. Impressions of the "Musical Farmer" minigame from the Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross] Dandelion Meeting

    On April 15th, Square Enix hosted the first ever Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross] Dandelion Meeting, where fans could participate in various activities and meet fellow fans. One of the featured activities was called “Classics”, and was a demo for the Game & Watch-style minigames that would be featured in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III, collectively titled “Classic Kingdom”. The demo lineup consisted of four available games; Giantland, The Barnyard Battle, Musical Farmer, and The Karnival Kid. In addition, each game was played on a tablet, foreshadowing the later announcement that a selection of the Classic Kingdom minigames would be playable within Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross].

    Due to being one of the attendees of the Dandelion Meeting, I am able to give a written summary on the gameplay of the demo I played, as well as my personal impressions of the demo. Since attendees were lined up to play, we were directed to quickly take our seats, unfortunately giving us little to no choice as to the game each attendee was playing. The game I happened to be seated at was Musical Farmer, and I was given five minutes to play.

    Posted Image


    The Musical Farmer minigame is loosely based on the 1932 Mickey Mouse cartoon of the same name. Within the game, six hens are laying numerous eggs which fall slowly through six pipes. Several of the pipes are joined by a segment that Sora can rotate to complete a given pipe’s path, at the expense of another pipe being blocked off. At the bottom of the three ending pipes, there are three boxes which can each accept up to six eggs. Sora can then descend the ladder and pass the egg boxes to the left or right. If a box is passed to another box’s position, the two boxes swap places.

    The goal of the game is to pass egg-filled boxes to Mickey and Minnie on either edge of the screen, increasing the player’s score. After a given number of eggs is reached, the round ends and a new round begins, with a higher amount of eggs needed to complete the next round. If an egg hits one of the aforementioned intersections and cannot continue through the pipe (see pipes 2 and 6 in the above image), the egg breaks and Sora loses one of three lives. The board is cleared, and the player begins again, keeping the same score and amount of eggs collected in the round. A similar situation happens if an egg hits the ground as Sora is passing a box to Mickey or Minnie, or if an egg falls onto a box that already has six eggs. Upon losing all three lives, the game is over, and the player’s score is presumably recorded. (Unfortunately, I can not confirm this last point, as neither I nor the two players adjacent to me lost all of our lives in the time allotted.)

    Overall, I enjoyed Musical Farmer quite a lot! While the game is indeed simple in its mechanics, I found it genuinely addictive, and several other attendees I talked to were enamored during their play sessions, as well. The art style is both a faithful recreation of the classic Musical Farmer cartoon (complete with the Timeless River rendition of Sora), and an exact match to the Game & Watch handhelds and others like them. Unfortunately, the venue was quite loud, so I could not hear any music from the game itself, but I would not be surprised if Square Enix decided to use a chiptune version of the music from the cartoon itself, which audibly complements both of the above aspects of the visuals. Hearing something like that would absolutely complete the experience for me! I look forward to playing Musical Farmer again, along with trying the rest of the Classic Kingdom collection!

    What do you think of Musical Farmer? Did you get to try one of the Classic Kingdom games at the Dandelion Meeting? Which one do you think will be your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

  18. "Make Your Mark" event coming to Union χ[Cross]; chance for your name to be included in Kingdom Hearts III

    A new event has begun for Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]. The event, "Make Your Mark", will give 300 players a chance to have their player name included in Kingdom Hearts III. Each player can earn points based upon meeting certain conditions and filling out an entry form.


    There are 3 different sections that you can earn points. The top 100 in each section will be chosen.

    • Total Logins-Players will earn points based on the total amount of login days as on April 30, 2018. Those that login more than 600 days will receive 3 points. Those that have login between 400 and 599 days will receive 2 points. Those that have login between 300 and 399 days will receive 1 point.
    • High Score Challenge-Players will earn points based on their ranking in the High Score Challenge. Players that rank 1st to 10th will receive 3 points. Players that rank 11th to 100th will receive 2 points. Players that rank 101st to 500th will receive 1 point.
    • Toon Moogle Medals-Players will earn points based on how many Toon Moogle Medals they received. [More information will be available later] Each player that has 3 copies will receive 3 points. Each player that has 2 copies will receive 2 points. Each player that has 1 copy will receive 1 point.

    N1 N2 N3 N4


    NOTE: You must complete the entry form during the campaign period! Entry forms must be completed by May 1st at 3:59 PM PDT (6:59 PM EDT).

    What do you think of this event? Will you have a chance to get your player name in Kingdom Hearts III? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow our continuing coverage of the Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting!



    Twitter | KHUχ Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

    • Apr 15 2018 11:15 PM
    • by Leamax
  19. Exclusive new Kingdom Hearts III video at the Dandelion Meeting reveals over 20 LCD-type minigames playable

    During the Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]: Dandelion Meeting, new and exclusive Kingdom Hearts III footage was revealed, featuring Giantland, a minigame previously shown at the D23 Expo 2017 Japan.

    A recorded message by co-director Tai Yasue was shown, in which he talked about Giantland and said that it was created completely with Unreal Engine 4.

    In regards to LCD-type games, Kingdom Hearts III will feature over 20 different minigames! These will include elements such as carnival games, rearranging pipes, collecting eggs, and more. These games will be playable through a Game and Watch-style handheld device that Sora himself can play with; it is accessible in Twilight Town, where Sora was seen playing with it on a bench.

    It's been confirmed that Giantland is the name of one of the mini-games. The mini-games are based on short films that Mickey starred in the 1930's. Two other mini-games, Barnyard Battle and Musical Farmer, were playable at the meeting.

    To the delight of the audience, these minigames were made available to the attendees to play at the event! This footage was shown to those in attendance at the event and was later released on Youtube. You can view the trailer below.



    Screenshots of a few of the mini-games have been released. You can view them in the gallery below.



    CK 01 CK 02 CK 03 CK 04


    1


    UPDATE: News Team staff Raxaimus got a picture of one of the mini-games: The Barnyard Battle.




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    What do you think of the new information? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow our continuing coverage of the Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting!

    Twitter | KHUχ Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

  20. KH13 staff will be among first to play Kingdom Hearts III

    On April 6th, 2018 word got out that popular Kingdom Hearts YouTubers such as SkywardWing, HMK, and TheGamersJoint would be among the first people to play Kingdom Hearts III. We at KH13.com are pleased to share that staff members Toominator and Raxaimus will also be among the first people in the world to get their hands on Kingdom Hearts III! Unfortunately, we cannot share any further details.

    We thank the staff of Square Enix for this incredible opportunity, and we look forward to sharing more information in the future!

  21. Voice Actor James Woods Confirms work on Kingdom Hearts III

    James Woods confirmed on Twitter that he is working on Kingdom Hearts III! You can view the tweet below.



    KH James Woods voice work confirmation


    Previously, the only news we had on voice work for Kingdom Hearts III was the Japanese dub given to us in previous trailers from the 2015 E3 trailer up to the last ones revealed at D23 Expo 2018.

    Which other Kingdom Hearts voice actors do you think will be next to reveal their work for the latest installment? Let us know in the comments below!

  22. Interview with Tetsuya Nomura about his cats; Kingdom Hearts III to feature an element based on “Deshi” the cat

    On February 22nd, Famitsu released interviews with game developers and their pet cats in celebration of Cat Day. Tetsuya Nomura, series director for Kingdom Hearts III, was one of the developers featured. He spoke about how he interacts with his cats and how they have influenced the development of Kingdom Hearts III.

    You can see a scan of the original article below.



    CSF

    Here is the translation of the article, provided by KH13 Staff members Mio-chan and NihonScribe; special thanks to Keytotruth for the additional help.

    Square Enix: Tetsuya Nomura
    [Profile and newest projects]

    • Nomura is working as the director of the Kingdom Hearts series and Final Fantasy VII Remake. As for his current work on Kingdom Hearts III, a new world was introduced and the decisive battle between Sora and Xehanort is near.
    Kingdom Hearts III: Planned this year for PS4/Xbox One
    • Sora's form changes based on the world he’s in. Within the world of "Monsters, Inc." Sora changes into a catlike monster?! More details on page 40!
    About the Cats:

    Name: Hisho (*pseudonym)
    Cat Breed: Scottish Fold
    Age: 4 years old
    Sex: Female

    Name: Deshi (*pseudonym)
    Cat Breed: Scottish Fold
    Age: 4 years and 2 months old
    Sex: Male

    *Hisho and Deshi respectively mean “secretary” and “apprentice”.

    [Why did you decided to get them?]

    “Originally, our family love cats and dogs, and we kept them without moderation in the house. So when I was depressed someone recommend me to get cats.”

    [Who is Deshi and Hisho for you?]

    "Here are Deshi and Hisho. Deshi is taking after me more and more. Hisho will immediately detect anything strange in the room."

    [Get to know Deshi and Hisho]
    • During the days when Deshi came to the house he had a habit of biting, scratching everything, and was rambunctious. I raised him strictly. Now he has become kind and friendly. It’s probably because I’ve been overprotective, but Hisho is quite selfish and wary. Deshi does things at his own pace and will approach the bed to sleep, but Hisho on the other hand is inseparably from the house and will stay within close proximity.
    [An Episode of Deshi and Hisho]
    • It is said that Chirithy, who made their debut appearance in the Kingdom Hearts X[chi] series, is modeled after my cats. But at the time I didn’t have pets when I drew Chirithy, so that is untrue. In Kingdom Hearts III for the first time there is an element based off of Deshi. Also, I think I want to make an Instagram debut but I have to refrain from being exposed for now (that’s a lie).


    In Kingdom Hearts III, Sora’s Monster version in Monsters, Inc., looks very much like a cat.

  23. Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito revealed to be working alongside Yoko Shimomura on music for Kingdom Hearts III

    Giving an interview with Famitsu, series director Tetsuya Nomura revealed that Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito will be working on music for Kingdom Hearts III. While discussing the release of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Original Soundtrack, Nomura talked about their increasing output of music for the Kingdom Hearts series including important battles and showed his appreciation of their continued work on the series.

    Ishimoto and Sekito will be working alongside Yoko Shimomura in a similar capacity to their previous contributions to the series in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The full quote can be seen below and thanks to NihonScribe for the translation.

    Interviewer: And now I think Nomura has a few words to say to Ishimoto.

    Nomura: You have been working on some music and various soundtracks for the "Kingdom Hearts" series, but now you've decided to work together with Mr. Sekito (Tsuyoshi) on "Kingdom Hearts III" music. Up until now the number of songs have been increasing, and because we need songs that form and go along with important battles, I hope you keep continuing with us. I'm grateful for your continued support from now on (laughs)

    In relevant Kingdom Hearts music news, the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- Encore tour was announced to start in June 2018 with Yoko Shimomura appearing at select venues.

    What do you think about this news? Do you like Ishimoto's and Sekito's music? Let us know in the comments below

    • Mar 02 2018 05:57 AM
    • by Axeken
  24. Kingdom Hearts III Sora (Second Form) Bring Arts figure now available for pre-order on Square Enix Japan store and AmiAmi; releasing on March 24th, 2018 for 6,264 yen

    Square Enix Japan is now accepting pre-orders for Kingdom Hearts III Sora (Second Form) Bring Arts figure. The figure will cost 6,264 yen (about $59.00) and will be available on March 24th, 2018.

    You can view the gallery of the figure below.

    KH3 Second Form Sora Bring Arts - 1 KH3 Second Form Sora Bring Arts - 2 KH3 Second Form Sora Bring Arts - 3 KH3 Second Form Sora Bring Arts - 4 KH3 Second Form Sora Bring Arts - 5 KH3 Second Form Sora Bring Arts - 6 DKXuhJNUMAA4Ej7 DKXuiX6VYAAR1k DKXuj0iU8AAKaz1 DKXulIuUMAA RN4 STL071769 STL071769 (1) memorial auction 96 FIGURE 037601 01 FIGURE 037601 02 FIGURE 037601 03 FIGURE 037601 05 FIGURE 037601 06 FIGURE 037601 07 FIGURE 037601 08


    {Thanks to @aibo_ac7 for the tip!)

    Pre-orders are also being accepted at Gamestop and your local comic store with a May 30th release.

    UPDATE (March 2, 2018): Kingdom Hearts III Sora (Second Form) Bring Arts figure is now available for pre-order on AmiAmi. The figure will cost 6,264 yen (about $59.00) and will be available later in March.

    • Mar 02 2018 09:48 AM
    • by Leamax
  25. "Making of Kingdom Hearts" videos recap: KH3's animation, Keyblade design, Gummi Ship customization, development progress, Tangled world and more; KHUχ's new world, PVP update, connection to KH3, and Strelitzia, Ventus and Lauriam

    Two weeks ago, Square Enix held a Kingdom Hearts Fan Event at the D23 Expo 2018 Japan. The event was not streamed live, and due to this, the public was not able to view the "Making of Kingdom Hearts" videos that were shown exclusively to the attendees. Nevertheless, many press outlets and attendees were able to recount the events of the experience; KH13 was able to collect these recalls and put together a chronological description of what happened and what was shown in the secret videos.

    The information can be sourced to Famitsu, DLove.jp, and attendees sora_donald and yuuna_kisaragi.

    Many thanks to our KH13 Staff NihonScribe, Katie Armstrong, soraspromise and Mio-chan, as well as Keytotruth, for the translations!

    We have divided the recap into five sections for your reading pleasure.

    Introduction

    <3 <3 <3

    As the attendees entered the theatre and took their seats, the logo for "Kingdom Hearts Premium Theater 2018" was displayed on the screen, and Dearly Beloved played in the background.

    The event began with a screening of some clips from the Kingdom Hearts series with Hikari (PLANITb Remix) playing in the background. The Kingdom Hearts and event logo appeared after the clips ended. Next, Hiroko Kobayashi, the moderator, introduced the event. Series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto was invited on the stage.

    Hashimoto said, "Thank you everyone for waiting these past 15 or 16 years. Please enjoy the latest video that surprised even me.”

    Series director Tetsuya Nomura was then invited on the stage. Although his clothes were classy, they were all black; he was also wearing earrings. "This time, I'll take advantage of the characteristics of the theater to show a lot of clips," Nomura announced, "First, please listen to the message from Sora and Kairi who couldn't come today."


    Kingdom Hearts III: Interview with Voice Actors

    <3 <3 <3

    A video message was shown featuring Sora's Japanese voice actor Miyu Irino as well as Kairi's and Xion's voice actress, Risa Uchida.

    In the video message, Irino said that he's grown alongside Sora, so his inflections and way of talking have naturally changed over time. He commented, "Sora and myself have physically grown, I was not conscious of Sora’s cuteness and also the critical moment in my masculinity. It’s a journey that I’ve done until now."

    "I had the chance to go to Square Enix Osaka (who are in the middle of developing Kingdom Hearts III) where I was shown an extremely large amount of information, designs, effort and trial and error they have to make. It inspires me want to make Kingdom Hearts even better."

    Currently, his favourite world is Toy Story. "I'm a huge fan like the rest, so when I was told that Sora would go to the Toy Story world, I got excited and felt really happy. I’m also glad this feeling is to be spread to the whole world."

    "Sora possesses a curiosity and sense of adventure that I've grown with as well, so I'm really happy to have walked this path for the last 15 years."

    Some words he wished to tell Sora were: "I can only say thank you so much."

    “I have no clue about Kingdom Hearts III myself, but I think it will be a masterpiece and it will write its name in history,” he concluded.

    About her character, Uchida said, "When I was down, I used Kairi's positivity often to help me."

    About voicing Kairi in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, she commented, "My voice has changed after 10 years; I wondered how I should act, and so I acted as hard as a could.”

    On answering the question: "What other character from the Kingdom Hearts series would you like to interpret?" Uchida said,"Of course, [I already act as] Kairi and Xion... Dare I say it? Aqua, if I wanted to do a strong and cool one. I met the voice actress [for Aqua] Megumi Toyoguchi at the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra and she was a really lovely person that I admire and want to be like."

    About Kingdom Hearts III, she said enthusiastically, "It’s really fun for me to hear the rumors since none of my work has been shown yet. I thought I would be doing something like a live-action, a wonderful clip. I want my favourite work to be released. I’m really excited to see Kairi again and I will do my best in the future.”

    Some words Uchida said that she'd like to say to Kairi were: “If there is a time when my heart seemed to be tainted by darkness, I’m sure she’ll do something to save me.”

    Irino and Uchida also shared memorable stories when they went to Tokyo Disney Sea with Riku voice actor’s, Mamoru Miyano, after the launch of Kingdom Hearts II. Uchida recalled, "When the light was flickering on one of the attractions, Miyano yelled, "Are you staining me with the power of Darkness?!" It was impressive." Irino added, "He was completely in the role!"

    Irino recalled, "Back when the first Kingdom Hearts game had come out, I went to a dumpling shop together with Ueno [Riku's voice actor] and Uchida to prepare our roles together and it feels very nostalgic. When I watched them together on stage, it goes to show that such relationships like the one Sora, Riku, and Kairi have are continuing to grow."

    Even now, they still see each other, so they have a relationship similar to Sora, Riku and Kairi.

    An exchange between Irino, Uchida, and a staff member was also shown, as reported by attendee yuuna_kisaragi:

    Irino: “You often go to see plays at the theater, am I right?”
    Staff: “Miss Uchida said you wanted to stay out until Kingdom Hearts III.”
    Irino: “I properly remember when I said that. I asked “Can I stay out until 3?” I’ve got the feeling she would answer “around 4 or 5" endlessly.”
    Staff: “Finally, Kingdom Hearts III will be released but...”
    Uchida: “Let’s do some more!”
    Irino: “Everyone’s passed the age of their roles. But, I think Sora and Kairi have a higher mental age [laughs].”
    Uchida: “I want to become someone like Kairi.”
    Irino: “You’re doing things pretty much like Kairi. Risa... are you an angel?”
    Uchida: “Of course not! Soon I’m going to forget how I did things.”

    Irino: “Soon you’ll forget Sora too. [laughs]”
    Uchida: “I want to hear your story about the time you went abroad.”
    Irino: “I went abroad to study Linguistics and Theatre. Using one rucksack, I journeyed for a month and a half. Just like Sora.”

    "It's not like I became Sora but, I wanted to see and travel to different worlds, meet and talk to different people and have a sense of adventure like Sora". He said that he met people like Donald and Goofy, like Sora did.

    After seeing that video message, Nomura commented,"Up until now, I think I streamed images like this many times. But, I think it was important to be able to see those two captured together in this everyday moment."

    When the moderator asked if there was a part of the interview that impressed him, Nomura answered, "These two are the same as when I met them; they're sincere, and they don't cause any trouble, so I'm glad they made it to adulthood."

    “You sound like a parent," the moderator observed.


    Making of Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]

    <3 <3 <3

    This "Making of" video showed the development environment of Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross], and a meeting with four core members of the game's development team, including Tatsuya Shindo and Nomura. In it, it was said the work is being done overseas, but since the browser game, some things were being developed in Tokyo.

    Background map designs for the game were shown. Daybreak Town had a color scheme not normally implemented in any other world, and the Clock Tower seemed to have a dungeon, according to event attendee sora_donald. One of the development team members said, “Since Daybreak town is the city of the dawn, we had to give it a bright image. We wanted an object that moved so we made the fountain, but it seems like we ended up creating something that can be found in Disneyland. Because there was no indication for the Clock Tower, we didn’t make it in the beginning. But as the story was developing, it became important and so it was created. On the field map, it's necessary to have a certain distance within battles, and so we made it possible to move in three-dimensions.”

    Since walking around is a concept, the team tried to make fine details visible everywhere. Like climbing up on roofs and moving three-dimensionally.

    Strelitzia's parts got augmented with more detailed motion than the other characters. A development staff said, For characters motion we changed the frames one by one to make it move. It is divided into 15 parts. For Strelitzia, as she has fluffy hair, we added special parts to move her hair separately. So, since we cannot move it during a dialogue line, we have to do it between two lines.

    "Does Strelitzia stay as-is?" Shindo asked Nomura in a scene, "Will she be resurrected?" Many KHUχ players and staff share the same interest in knowing what will be of Strelitzia's future in the series, as she is very popular.

    "Should I answer that?" Nomura replied ambiguously.

    In terms of her character design, it was said: "First, we got an image from Nomura, then had about 10 ideas. This from A, that from B, take those and combine them together... Finally we decided on 4 designs."

    "Strelitzia is based on flowers. We took player avatar pieces for each part [of her design] and made about 4 outfits for Nomura to choose from to base the image around. Player avatars have also increased since the release of pets, haven't they?"

    "On the PC screen, in order to decide which costume to choose, we’ve lined up side by side 3 Strelitzia outfits!"

    Among them there was a very black one. There were also pets lined up vertically and horizontally among unpublished ones. They came up in various colors and types including one looking like a giraffe.

    "Ahead of release, we have lots of design plans! About 30, give or take? From designs based on real animals to sharply non-realistic designs, too."

    On the computer screen, there was an illustration of a Loudness March, along with a lot of Heartless rough drafts drawn with black lines.

    “We planned to make this kind of Heartless when we received the project. This time it’s a lively Heartless for the second anniversary. I consulted with Nomura at the rough draft stage; if the design of this Heartless is decided upon to some extent, we will check it again.”

    Continuing into the next scene, Nomura and some development staff assembled in his office. Nomura's office was very small. There was a monitor, in front of a small rectangular table and chairs, and one was able to see the outside from the window on the right side.

    “This is the situation room but, it doesn’t look like a room, there are no seats," Nomura said.

    An exchange with the team followed.

    “Maybe because it feel like a meeting as soon as we gather here."

    “As it is, I'm having a sense of 'mine-ness', though."

    “Bad taste."

    "Like Mr. Hashimoto.”

    Nomura replied, “No, it’s because I want its name to remain anonymous!”

    “Do you have something to say about not being able to livestream other titles?”

    “We plan to implement a PvP mode in spring’s update.”

    “If you don’t know what the abbreviation PvP means, it stands for Player versus Player,” Nomura explained. "It is an asynchronous match!"

    To KHUχ players, Nomura said, "We are considering ways to make the interlocking feelings of KHUχ with Kingdom Hearts III a good experience. These interrelated projects are collectively called 'Xtress' [Translators' note: 'Xtress' is as translated from the katakana; this could also be translated to 'Xtrace']. Understand that Kingdom Hearts III and KHUχ are not irrelevant to each other; there's a feeling that they are entwined together."

    Next, they showed scenes where the players of KHUχ can fight against Kefka and Gilgamesh. Next, the image switched to a scene showing players fighting while wearing a pixel styled avatar.

    On February 23, a collaborative event with Final Fantasy Record Keeper was implemented. It's been arranged for Kefka and Gilgamesh to appear in KHUχ as Heartless. There is be a pixel art avatar as was shown.

    Also on the "FF Record Keeper" side, there was pixel art of Sora and Riku, so there's a lot of effort being put into this. A Gummi Ship was also made in pixel art; Nomura joked, 'I wonder if I can get this [in KHUχ]."

    In response to the question "Is Ventus really that Ventus, is Lauriam that person?", Nomura replied, "I was asked about it at the Osaka event. Ventus is Ventus. Lauriam is Lauriam. Don’t you think I have already answered that?" He continued, "If you play Kingdom Hearts III, can you enjoy that connection?"

    A brand new world will appear in KHUχ. “KHUχ is connected to KH3. Then, there will be a world that didn’t appear in the Kingdom Hearts series, and it will appear now. But it won’t be in Kingdom Hearts III. And from here the story will drastically change. I want to proceed quickly, but I’m kind of dealing with the Abu part! [laughs]”

    “No, Abu is already saved.”

    “He's happy now!”

    After this, the moderator said, “You told us about the story of KHUχ, but we’re also curious about Kingdom Hearts III”.

    Nomura replied, “In general this kind of info is released after the event. Please enjoy the latest video of Kingdom Hearts III which will be showed to the public for the first time.”

    The Monsters, Inc. trailer was then shown.


    Kingdom Hearts III: Interview with Developers

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    At the end of the trailer, the moderator said, "Monsters, Inc. was cute!"

    To that, Nomura replied with a bitter laugh, "Monsters, Inc. cute?" He continued, "Since this video is still in a development stage, I think that it will look even better in the end. The production of Kingdom Hearts III is going considerably well."

    Next, a "Making of Kingdom Hearts III" video was presented, in which a lot of information and scenes with the developing team were shown, mostly videos taken at the Square Enix offices in Tokyo and Osaka. A lot of PC screens were shown. At a D23 Kingdom Hearts Event Development Team round-table discussion, Nomura said, "Since we can't freely give a progress report, is there something you want to tell this machine [the camera]?" This is because as Disney is involved, live-streaming was not a possibility.

    The video contained a lot of discussion about the production process.

    For cutscenes, a scenario and storyboard are firstly created from concept art. Based on that, voices and audio are recorded, and from that animation is created; then one can progress by the flow of the layout performance. While adjusting the simple model, the conversions for things like camera angles and scenes are decided.

    From this procedure, the storyboard of a scene in Tangled’s world was shown. "This is the scene at the beginning of Tangled," a staff member explains, "It is not displayed properly [the background is monochrome], but it will be improved later.”

    The new lighting team established for Kingdom Hearts III focus on complementing the gameplay and cutscenes with real lighting effects. “Depending on the light, what you can see gradually changes,” stated the game's co-director, Tai Yasue. He showed how the light’s presence and place changed in the “Toy Story” world. “Right now my top priority is making sure the characters appear cute, and that their beauty can be appreciated. For example, if the light come from the left, their face will become darker, so we’ll put the light on the front.”

    On the screen was shown a scene where the audience saw Sora, Donald and Goofy casted by a CG light. A development team member commented, “For cutscenes, we put facial expressions on the characters beforehand, and then we animate them.”

    The animation production team, specializing in facial expressions, were implementing a system that allows Sora's eyebrows and eyes, mouth corners and other parts to operate together and move, resulting in a rich facial expression. Sora's facial animation was shown without his bangs. They moved his eyelids, mouth, etc. to show the animation and lip-syncing.

    In past games, each motion was attached manually one by one. But this time, physical control is incorporated, and Rapunzel's hair (alongside other things) is "calculated and done on the hard side, and the program runs on". Rapunzel's hair meets various objects on the map, so it is difficult to move while not interfering with them. It seems the physics calculations for Rapunzel's hair (eg. dragging, following the terrain, blowing in the wind) took a lot of time to develop, so they didn't have a new video for this. If her hair is in a place where the wind is blowing it, will move naturally. Also, Rapunzel can wrap her hair around a tree and rotate. According to Mr. Yasue, "There are a variety of methods for attack and she reacts based on the different terrains."

    "So far we only showed the world [of Tangled], but we could hardly publish Rapunzel’s model. Her hair was difficult to handle, it took time. We had to make sure that when the wind blows it creates waves on her hair and clothes.

    Nomura added, “Sora was always stepping on it [Rapunzel's hair].”

    On the screen, they showed how the wind made her hair and clothes move lively as Rapunzel’s model was moving or standing put. In addition, Rapunzel held her hair while walking, but there was still a part that hung on the ground. That was how Sora was able to step on it.

    Sora was shown to fight a pudding Heartless, with fresh cream and fruits for its eyes and mouth; according to sora_donald, it looked like the Mushroom XIII. This type of Heartless is different depending on the fruit on its head, like an accessory, that the characters can ride on, changing the way one plays. This element of "speed-running" involved allows for "each [Heartless to have] its own mission," as stated by Yasue. He said, "This is a rare heartless, the strategy to defeat it is different depending on the fruit on its head. It looks delicious, right? [laughs] It exists as an additional element in the game.”

    Speaking of movement between the worlds, the Gummi Ship was discussed. This time, Gummi Ship missions are divided into a combat phase and a search phase. After defeating the enemies, one can go into the latter mode and search for routes and treasure while moving freely at 360° on the map. On the screen, scenes where the Gummi ship lock on enemy ships and shoot at obstacles were shown. When they were destroyed, prizes dropped. The HP balls, medals, etc. design shown were the same as those in Kingdom Hearts II. "The Gummi Ship has the feel of an open world," said Yasue. "We cannot talk about it yet, but at first glance this is something that is beyond KH’s worldview and out of bounds. [laughs]"

    There was then a mysterious man drawn with black lines. They turned the layers on and off, changed the display of the arms and legs. (This was possibly the Giant from Giantland, according to our research and resources.)

    A simple LSI game, like Game and Watch, based on the Disney short Giantland, was projected on screen. A small Sora was shown avoiding the attack of a huge enemy, while there was also a display of a screen frame and button, like a game within a game.

    "I finally implemented a long-cherished dream," stated Nomura who seemed to be planning something with vigor.

    Part of the map of Tangled was also released. There are many people in the castle town, leading to a lively atmosphere. It is pretty new for a town in the series to have many NPCs. sora_donald observed that, similar to Final Fantasy XV, there seemed to be an active effort to avoid collisions and bumping.

    "This is the castle town of Rapunzel ... But wow! There are people in a town for the first time! There is also water that comes from the outside and goes into the town.” Sora walked in. It appeared that Sora could dive and swim in the water.

    A development team member explained, "The dive animation is not done yet."

    In the castle town, Rapunzel sees her childhood in paintings. Sora, Donald, and Goofy appear in the scene. Since Rapunzel's face was still in production, her eyebrows disappeared along the way and her expression looked strange up on the big screen. The hall filled with laughter.

    "This cutscene is still in progress. Since it’s not complete sometimes eyebrows disappear... [laughs]”

    Sora’s actions, such as him jumping into water and swimming, and a scene of Rapunzel spinning happily, admiring her hair knitted with flowers, appeared in some of Tangled’s cutscenes that were shown.

    A hand-drawn picture of Rapunzel by the window was also shown.

    On the screen, there was a scene where Rapunzel gazed outside from the tower; the background and model are uncolored. Rapunzel was looking at many square blocks where “?” were written on them.

    Nomura asked, "Can you actually ascend the tower? From the inside?"

    A development staff replies, "No, from the outside.”

    One could also see the work of the Keyblade production staff. A staff member introduced himself with: "I create weapons.”

    Nomura jokingly called him a "Weapon Merchant."

    "The ideas come in 2D, that’s a flow of suggestions for the project.”

    There were many Keyblades drawn in black lines on the screen. The Keyblade of Monsters, Inc. is a structure with various parts gathered together. When doing the design, they analyzed the scenes of the movie in detail, and extracted parts from there and summarized it. Because the expressiveness of game hardware is rising, they seemed to make suggestions that create a luxurious effect.

    They show what seemed to be Marluxia’s subordinates Nobodies in a rough picture, and an enemy ship that looks like the Gummi Ship. It seemed there were more than 30 enemies for the Gummi Ship stages. Also, Gummi Ships could have optional decorations attached. For that motif, Nomura's love for cats was displayed too as an example of customization.

    Everything in Kingdom Hearts III is in a "whole new league of its own."

    Next, Nomura and Yasue gathered three of the other core development staff together in a progress meeting to discuss news regarding the game’s development status. The main part character production work is nearly complete. "The character team still has time on their hands," Nomura said. He made comments such as:“It’s because these guys don’t move. [...] Isn’t it bad that they don’t move, like stick people? Do you understand?” He said this while pressing in closer towards the staff for a response.

    The background, among the ten* worlds and other things that were being worked on, are divided into three major areas: the beginning locations, mid-level locations, and the final locations. In the beginning locations, Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story are included, and are about 90% completed. Mid-level locations, including Tangled, are about 60 to 70% finished. The background team is probably the largest in Square Enix, and, in addition to the Osaka and Tokyo teams, there are orders being carried out by outsourced foreign company employees.

    One of the development team members tried to talk about a certain development aspect, but the audio was censored.

    To that, Nomura said, “You can’t say that right now.”

    “The motion is still in progress, we’re working on the one that make a -censored-. I can’t say the name! [laughs]"

    “There is one world that is distinct from the others.”

    "There are still more unrevealed worlds.”

    Despite getting closer to the finishing like, the producers will place additional orders like: "Oh, I want to do this, I want to do something like that, too," so Kingdom Hearts III is still in full development. They are particularly adding things to its second half.

    A scene was shown where the team, including Yasue, was heard engaging in a back-and-forth of comments such as :"We said that before!" "Don't listen!"

    Yasue said, "This Kingdom Hearts is a bit different. One world is equivalent to one [previous] game, and the things to do for each world are vastly different. My favorite world has not yet been announced so please look forward to it too."

    Regarding the final stage worlds of Kingdom Hearts III, Nomura said, "For a long time [from back when I worked on Final Fantasy] I thought, ‘I want to try this.’ Now, because I get to do it, I'm enjoying figuring out where how far it will go and how it will move," in relation to a project that has been in the works for many years. "I experiment a lot."

    In the video, because there is mutual trust between the team members, a true exchange could be seen. After the video ended, Nomura stated, “There was no feeling of tension at this place. Even while the staff enjoyed themselves, they engaged in their work with effort. In addition, in Kingdom Hearts III, there are sections not on the list from what I showed in the making-of video, but they are heading towards completion."


    Conclusion

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    At the end of the event, King Mickey appeared as a surprise guest! He went around visiting the audience in their seats, giving them high fives while allowing them to touch and engage with him, greatly boosting the spirits of the people in the venue.

    As a guest at the event was also Justin Scarpone, General Manager of North Asian Games and Senior Vice President and representative of Walt Disney Japan. Scarpone shared his gratitude and said, "I also saw everything with the audience [...], and, in a word, it was ‘amazing.’ I thought, ‘as expected, this is Nomura, this is Square Enix. I really appreciated it.”

    Finally, Nomura said, “Today was a long run but I'm glad I was able to deliver the latest information. Thank you very much. I would like to finish with one last video.”

    The Kingdom Hearts III Theme Song Trailer was shown.

    The video ended, the logo “Kingdom Hearts Premium Theater 2018” appeared on the screen, and the music “Always on My Mind” played. The attendees received a gift when they stepped outside - an exclusive Kingdom Hearts tote bag to commemorate the occasion of D23 Expo 2018 Japan.


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    *Famitsu talked about the video showing ten worlds being worked on; it did not explicitly state the exact number of worlds, whether Disney-original or others, to appear in Kingdom Hearts III.

    Thank you for reading out Kingdom Hearts Fan Event recap! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

    Don't forget to check out our full coverage of Kingdom Hearts at the D23 Expo 2018 Japan!