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

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

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

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

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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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    • Yesterday, 11:15 PM
    • by Leamax
  7. 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)

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.


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    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.


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    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).


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    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.


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    “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.


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    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.

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    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]!

  11. 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.

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    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!

  12. "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.

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    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
  13. 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.



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    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

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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.



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    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.

  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. "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

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    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

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    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]

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    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!

  20. Kingdom Hearts III will be featured in Weekly Famitsu; featuring Monsters, Inc. world and the Link system

    Kingdom Hearts III will be featured in the next issue of Weekly Famitsu. This issue, releasing on February 22nd, will contain information about the Monsters, Inc. world, which was announced during the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event at D23 Japan 2018 in form of a new trailer, along with the 'Link' system. You can view the teaser scan below.

    Posted Image


    Here is the summary of the article. (Translations by KH13 Staff member Mio-chan)

    “Kingdom Hearts III introduce a new world Monsters, Inc. , and a Link system (First weekly publication)

    Various events were performed at the Disney Fan Festival D23 Expo Japan 2018 .

    During the Kingdom Hearts Premium Theater 2018 held on February 10, 2018, new informations have been revealed to the public. Famitsu March’s issue will summarizes the informations.

    Informations about the new world Monsters, Inc. , Riku & King Mickey’s costume and hairstyle, and battle scenes showing the Link system (among others) have been posted.”


    UPDATE [Feb 21, 2018]: The March 8th edition of Weekly Famitsu has been released. Kingdom Hearts III appears in a 6-page spread with a recap of the D23 Japan 2018 Monsters, Inc. trailer and D23 Japan 2018 "Don't Think Twice/Chikai" trailer. You can view the scans in the gallery below.

    FFS1 FFS2 FFS3 FFS4 FFS5 FFS6


    One interesting piece of information that was mentioned was the Link system. We have a translation of this part, which you can read below. (Translations by KH13 staff member Mio-chan)

    "In KH Birth By Sleep, the Dimentional Link system allowed you to temporary borrow the power of a distant ally. Fulfilling certain conditions, Ariel and Meow Wow (among others) who have connected to Sora’s heart will appear and do various effects."

    • Feb 24 2018 08:35 PM
    • by Leamax
  21. Kingdom Hearts III Bring Arts Riku revealed; releasing in July 2018 for 6,800 yen

    Square Enix have revealed a Kingdom Hearts III Bring Arts Riku figure. The figure stands at 6 inches tall, and includes Riku's brand new Keyblade. This figure will retail for 6,800 yen (approximately $64.00), and will release in July 2018. However, no further specifics have been given regarding a release date. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, pre-orders for this figure are not currently available.

    You can see pictures of this figure below.

    DV3YvMDUMAA608t sq180703 sq180704 sq180705 sq180706 sq180707 sq180715 sq180716 sq180701


    UPDATE (March 4, 2018): Kingdom Hearts III Bring Arts Riku will retail for 6,800 yen (approximately $64.00), and will release in July 2018. You can view more info on the figure below. (Thanks to Mio-chan for the translations)

    Set includes: 1 Bring Arts Figure, 1 keyblade, 2 faces and 4 additional hands. There is 6 movable wrist parts.

    Body size: About width 58mm × diameter 39mm × height 164mm

    Weight: 97.5g


    Keep up to date with KH13.com for future updates on this figure!

    Will you be picking up this figure? Let us know in the comments below!

  22. High quality images from the latest Kingdom Hearts III trailers and character renders are released; Riku's new Keyblade revealed

    Square Enix have released high quality images from the latest Kingdom Hearts III trailers via a press release, Gamespot, 4Gamer, and an additional screenshot outside of the trailer. They have also released character renders for Riku, King Mickey, Sulley, Mike, and the monster versions of Sora, Donald and Goofy.

    Riku's render shows his new Keyblade, and Sora's render shows off his Monsters, Inc. inspired Keyblade.

    You can view the images below.

    001 002 004 003 005 006 007 008 009 010 011 012 013 014 015 016 017 018 019 MI Group 021 022 023 TS Rocket 025 026 027 028 029 030 031 032 033 034 035 036 037 038 039 040 Riku Mickey


    3350786 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 1 1518440936 3350787 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 2 1518440939 3350788 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 3 1518440941 3350789 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 4 1518441029 3350790 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 6 1518440946 3350791 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 7 1518440949 3350792 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 8 1518440952 3350794 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 10 1518440957 3350795 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 11 1518440959 3350796 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 12 1518440961 3350797 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 13 1518440964 3350798 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 14 1518440967 3350799 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 15 1518440970 3350800 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 16 1518440973 3350801 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 17 1518441031 3350802 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 18 1518440978 3350803 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 19 1518441034 3350804 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 20 1518440983 3350805 Kh3 D23 japan battle screenshot 21 1518440986


    Watch the new Kingdom Hearts III trailers from D23 Expo Japan 2018 here, and don't forget to catch up with our coverage of the event here!

  23. KH13's D23 Japan 2018 Kingdom Hearts III trailer analysis

    Welcome to KH13's trailer analysis for the D23 Japan 2018 trailers (yes, trailers, because we received two new trailers)! Let's get right into it.
    The trailer starts with Sora, Donald and Goofy in the Tangled world calling out an unknown character. Then, we get our first glimpse of Marluxia in Kingdom Hearts 3. We've been given hints to Marluxia's appearance, especially in the Tangled world, thanks to the flower-attack using, scythe-wielding Nobodies seen in the Jump Festa 2016 trailer.

    marluxia nobody


    One thing to note about his incredible character model is that his eyes are blue, thus we are led to assume he has not been "norted".

    marluxia


    He further confirms this by claiming he is part of the ONLY Organization, the original Organization XIII, not the new 13 seekers of darkness who will take on the 7 guardians of light as is written in the Book of Prophecies.
    Speaking of eyes, there has been a lot of concern over Sora's eyes in this opening scene. It seems as though his eyes have a green-ish tint, but it looks like this is a result of the lighting, since Sora has blue eyes in the rest of the trailer. Here, we can clearly see his eyes are mostly blue with a strange green tint on the bottom.

    sora eyes


    All in all, not a cause for concern!

    The trailer then cuts to new Toy Story footage. We can hear the use of Sora's Theme in the background, but it sounds different than other versions used in previous games. Many are saying it is the Orchestra version of the song. Also, it looks like this is the scene directly before or directly after the footage we saw at D23 2017. We see Sora, Donald and Goofy running off toward the same group of heartless we saw them running toward in the previous trailer.

    Shortly after, a Monsters Inc. world was confirmed to be true after previously being leaked back in December. Compared to the images in the leak, it seems as though each character model got a re-hash, especially Sora. However, the orange fur seen in the leaks will play a major part further on in the analysis! Sora now has grey fur as the default, and the stripe pattern largely resembles a Chirithy, which may or may not be a coincidence. The characters all make their acquaintances and the trailer cuts to our first bit of gameplay.

    The first thing to note is that the command menu looks ... different. Yes, the world-specific designs for the command menu return in Kingdom Hearts III.

    command menu


    The design changes from world to world, and will still change colors depending on whether or not Sora and company are in battle mode. We also see 5 party members used again, with Mike and Sully joining the fray. During this scene we also see the Monsters, Inc. Keyblade.

    Mon Inc keyblade


    It looks a lot like a wrench-type weapon wearing a hard hat, a staple in the Monsters, Inc. movie. The keychain is Boo in her handmade monster costume, and a blinking light can be found on the other side of the "teeth" of the blade.

    In the next cut, we see Sora and company in battle. They are fighting Unversed, both old (Flood) and new. This will make sense at the end of the trailer! One thing I noted in this section of the trailer is that, for the first time in a recent Kingdom Hearts III trailer, enemies drop Blue orbs upon defeating them. Even in the recent D23 2017 trailer, only a select few enemies dropped orbs, and they were only HP and Focus orbs. The strange thing is that the orbs that drop in this trailer are very obviously blue. This shot shows three different orbs being dropped - Green (HP?), Yellow with a dark spiral (Focus?), and these Blue orbs.

    orbs


    One can assume they are for MP, but this is a change from the MP "bubbles" used in previous games. However, the MP "bubbles" from previous games are not seen in the trailer, so this very well could be their replacement.

    Next, we get footage of the Monsters, Inc. Keyblade's transformation. The first stage is called Quick Claws, and uses, as expected, quick slashing attacks. You may have noticed, also, that Sora now has the orange fur seen in the leaked images. It seems as though this is a result of using the Keyblade transformation. I would like to take a minute then to confirm a bit of a theory going around surrounding Sora's clothes during Keyblade transformations. We've seen the yellow Brave Form during the Olympus Keyblade transformation, the red Power Form seen during the Toy Story Keyblade transformation, and a currently unnamed Blue Form during the Starlight Keyblade's transformation. It seems as though these drive forms and the Keyblade transformations are connected. Perhaps each Keyblade (and its corresponding transformation) corresponds to a certain type - Defense (yellow), Magic (blue), or Attack (red). From what we've seen so far, it looks like Defensive forms focus on single-enemy, conservative battles while Magic forms focus on keeping a distance and using projectiles to attack, leaving Attack forms to focus on crowd control and large amounts of enemies. This could potentially add another level of strategy in choosing the appropriate weapon for each individual situation. I am unsure, though, which category the Quick Claws belong too. The yellow fur tells us Defense, but the red stripes and the obviously-offense focus of the Quick Claws say otherwise.

    Continuing on with the trailer, we see the return of Reaction Commands, when Sora uses one to climb back onto the railing after avoiding an electric pulse. He then uses the same projectile Flowmotion attack used at the very beginning of the D23 2017 trailer.

    The trailer then cuts to the Tangled world again where we see Rapunzel and Flynn Rider for the first time. Rapunzel uses her hair and the environment around her (latching onto trees and swinging around) to attack, while Flynn uses a frying pan and a barrel to fight the heartless. We also get a glimpse of the new Tangled Keyblade.

    tangled keyblade


    Unfortunately, it's tough to get a good shot of the Keyblade because this section has a lot of fast-paced combat and combos against the dandelion heartless... yet again... The Keyblade resembles Rapunzel's tower with a design that resembles her hair wrapping around it.
    The next cut shows Sora using the Tangled Keyblade's transformation - Mirage Staff. This clip further confirms the theory about Sora's clothes - they are Blue here and his movement, and even the way he "holds" his weapon, strongly resemble Wisdom Form from Kingdom Hearts II. We don't see him attack anything here, but he is seen skating around while an elemental heartless attempts to hurt him.

    The next cut shows Sora swimming in order to traverse the terrain, much like he did in Kingdom Hearts. Swimming hasn't been used since then for some reason, but it returns here. Then, we see Sora summoning Ariel from The Little Mermaid to aid in battle. I have seen this taken in two ways: 1. Ariel being a summon means there is no Atlantica world (much like how all summons in Kingdom Hearts II came from Disney worlds not included in the game). 2. Atlantica is in the game, and she is a summon much like how Genie and Tinker Bell were acquired from their respective worlds. In my personal opinion, Atlantica will NOT be in Kingdom Hearts III simply based on the fact that Nomura claims that almost all worlds in the game will be new.

    The next shot is of Sora using the Shotlock while using the Mirage Staff transformation. We knew from the Orchestra trailer that each Keyblade transformation has its own use of the Shotlock command, and we see that move for Mirage Staff here, called Spectral Rays. He is using it on the only Nobodies in the trailer - a Dusk and a "Marluxia-themed" enemy.

    dusk



    marluxia nobody again


    We then see the Finish command for Mirage Staff, which summons a large tower (similar to Rapunzel's tower) that Sora stands on top of while enemies below are destroyed with magic. The interesting thing here is that Mirage Staff is the only portion of the Keyblade transformation we see in the entire trailer. Is there only one phase? It may be, or there may be an option to finish before changing into the second part of the transformation. In any case, we only see Mirage Staff and no indicators are shown to change to anything else.

    We are then brought back to the Toy Story world, where Sora and company are taking on heartless in a ball pit of sorts. Sora activates Hyper Hammer and then quickly uses the Mad Tea Cups attraction flow. It is still unclear how Attraction Flow is activated, seeing as no on-screen indicator appears before Sora summons the Tea Cups. Nomura stated that Attraction Flow is very location-specific, and so far this ball pit and Twilight Town are the only locations we've seen this Attraction Flow used. We do know that the Mad Tea Cups have an attack called "Cup Slide" if that's any compensation.

    We then see the gang fighting what looks to be a boss in the Toy Story world. Looking at the background of this fight, I have no idea where it takes place. There are giant toys and dolls floating in the background, and instead of ground or even sky, it's nothing but clouds.


    clouds


    Are we suspended in the air? Are we in some sort of fantasy? No clue but it is a bit outlandish. Aside from that, we see Sora, Buzz and Woody use an attack called Rocket Ruckus, which looks to be either a world-specific or boss-specific attack, meaning it can either only be used in this world or only during this boss. My immediate thought is that it is acting like a Limit Command from Kingdom Hearts II. This could be a Limit with Buzz and Woody, and like the Scream Strike with Mike Wizowski coming up shortly in the trailer. One thing I noticed from the trailer is that, as they are getting ready to launch off, Buzz's lips move as if he's saying something, but there is no dialogue. Perhaps this means there is more voice recording to do, or there is no actual dialogue here. In the next shot of the boss fight, the world has gone dark, much like the second phase of the final boss battle in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 -A Fragmentary Passage-. While Sora is platforming, we also see a square indicator, much like the ones seen in the D23 2017 trailer that let the players know it is a surface that you can use the Shotlock Flowmotion on for travel.

    The last bit of gameplay takes us back to Monsters, Inc. where Sora uses a Flowmotion attack on a heartless. We are then shown the second phase of the Quick Claws Keyblade transformation - Twin Yo-Yos. These combos allow for Sora to keep a distance as the Yo-Yos travel to smack into enemies. The finish command turns both Yo-Yos into a cage that then crush any unlucky enemy that ends up between them. All the while, a command for "Scream Strike" hangs out until the Yo-Yo finisher is used, which further confirms my Limit Command theory. It seems as though transformations take precedence over the other moves, seeing as the same button would need to be used in order to activate them, and the finisher is used first. The "Scream Strike" turns out to be a silly move where Sora bowls Mike Wizowski into a group of heartless, who all seem to be standing in perfect formation. How nice of them! Immediately following that attack, a Meow Wow dream eater from Dream Drop Distance appears to aid Sora in battle. The cut of the trailer does not allow us to see just how the Meow Wow is summoned, so for now that remains a mystery. During the Wonder Balloon attack mode, Sora has the option to perform the Balloon Rush or Tornado Jump attacks, or to cancel the mode altogether. It seems as though we don't actually see either of these attacks, as the trailer just shows a rush of different types of Dream Eaters pouring out of the bursting Meow Wow, attacking nearby enemies.

    The final seconds of the trailer show Vanitas - a surprise to most. However, the Unversed seen in the Monsters, Inc. world now make sense. Vanitas claims that he needs the other half of himself residing inside Sora. He is of course referring to Ventus. Sora calls out Vanitas by name and shocks himself, as he has never met him before. This is clearly Ventus speaking through him, much like Roxas cried through Sora in Kingdom Hearts II when he left his friends Hayner, Pence, and Olette behind. Vanitas is donning an Organization coat, confirming his place in the 13 Darknesses. The trailer ends with reconfirmation of a 2018 release.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The second trailer has just a few new, notable bits. The first new bit is the shot of Sora dropping into Olympus Coliseum. It is safe to assume that this is the actual shot of Sora entering the world directly after the 2.9 scene in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep 0.2 because he is seen in his Kingdom Hearts II outfit. The lighting in this shot has also been altered slightly since we last saw it in the Orchestra trailer. A treasure chest seen on a floating island in the distance also changed locations for some reason!

    We are also shown footage of Sora going through the cinematic transformation into Mirage Staff - still no attacks. Sora also fights the Rock Troll in his Kingdom Hearts II clothes, implying that we get to fight the Rock Troll fairly early in the game. The Rock Troll also starts losing health this time around when Sora attacks him!

    Young Master Xehanort also seems to have gotten a graphics enhancement, and his ears are now a bit pointy. A montage of both new and old cinematics are shown, but there's not much to say of them because there is no dialogue heard over the new song by Utada Hikaru - Don't Think Twice. More characters, such as Xemnas, Ansem, and Sora received graphics updates as well.

    The final scene of the trailer shows Riku and Mickey for the first time in Kingdom Hearts III. It can be assumed that the contents of the suitcases the duo carries off in 2.9 are their new clothes, shown off here. Riku's keyblade, Way to Dawn, has been broken at the end. How this happened, no one knows, but we can assume the two have an epic battle right before this scene. This also leads me to believe that the second playable character in the game is none other than Riku. I expect to play as Riku alongside Mickey in the Realm of Darkness as they search for Aqua. This could also be where 0.2 was to be included in Kingdom Hearts III. Nomura once mentioned that the entirety of 0.2 was to be in Kingdom Hearts III but was removed due to there being too much content. As for the "other me" Riku makes reference to, much of the fandom expects Riku-Replica from Chain of Memories. My problem with this theory is that Riku should supposedly have no recollection of the events of Chain of Memories. We will just have to wait and see! Mickey seems just as confused as we are.

    If I missed anything notable, or if I made a mistake please let me know in the comments below (civilly) and I will make adjustments! I hope you enjoyed this analysis! May your heart be your guiding key.

    Watch the new Kingdom Hearts III trailers from D23 Expo Japan 2018 here, and don't forget to catch up with our coverage of the event here!

  24. Kingdom Hearts III last stage worlds to include incredible content; Giantland short-inspired minigame; rare Heartless capture system implemented

    At the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event at the D23 Expo Japan 2018, series director Tetsuya Nomura and series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto came on stage - along with a very eager King Mickey - to present exclusive Kingdom Hearts III content to the attendees. During their presentation, they disclosed some interesting information regarding the development of Kingdom Hearts III.

    • Everyone in the Osaka studio is working on Kingdom Hearts III, with 100 additional employees from Tokyo.
    • Kingdom Hearts III has a dedicated Lighting Team and Facial Animation Team
    • The Background (BG) team alone has 80 members and even outsources to a foreign studio, making it the biggest BG team in Square Enix.
    • Nomura explained the development process of Kingdom Hearts III by categorizing it into three parts: early, middle, and late development.
    • There are around 3 worlds per section - but this does not mean there will be nine worlds in Kingdom Hearts III in total.
    • The early stage worlds are 90% complete, and the middle stage worlds are 60-70% complete. The audience was not given a percentage completion for the last stage, but he said it was something incredible, "something he's always wanted to do and put into Kingdom Hearts, ever since the days of working on Final Fantasy. It is bound to surprise everyone." While he didn't disclose the contents of this last stage of development, he appeared to be very satisfied with it via using phrases such as "everything can be done" or "culmination of the past".
    • According to the developers, "It seems like this Kingdom Hearts is in a whole new league."
    • Great effort was put into each world and they incorporate their own mechanics and gameplay elements to the point that one whole new world is the size of one of the previous games.
    • A wide variety of gameplay is to be expected.
    • Minigames were showing during the "Making of Kingdom Hearts III" video inspired by Giantland, a Mickey Mouse short from 1933 inspired by "Jack and the Beanstalk". They showed Rumplewatt the Giant at the table trying to catch a little 2D Sora, who is then seen hiding from him behind a fruit bow. A little 2D Mickey can be seen as well, jumping from the lamps. Hollie Bennett from PlayStation commented that this minigame looked like the Game & Watch games from the 1980's.

    [Unfortunately, due to copyright concerns we had to remove the photos. We apologize for the inconvenience.]

    • When developing the game, the team write the story board, then develop the script and finally do the animation, unlike most game developers.
    • There will be a special capture method for subduing rare Heartless. (For the regular Heartless, defeating them will be distinguished by striking them depending on what's on their head.) It was said that exclusive missions are being prepared.
    • The "Making of Kingdom Hearts III" video also included a behind-the-scenes on how the Keyblade for the Monsters Inc. world was developed. The developers discussed the difficulty in designing a Keyblade that was true to the world, and showed a storyboard of images that helped influence it. They said they made several designs, shortlisted one or two, and selected the final design based on Nomura's preference.
    *In the recent PlayStation Access video, Hollie Bennett reports that Kingdom Hearts III has the biggest Background Music Team in Square Enix; IGN Japan reports that it is the biggest Background Team (in charge of city and field design). It is unclear which statement is true, or if both are true.

    Translations are courtesy of KH13 News Team Member @n_scribe13.

    Watch the new Kingdom Hearts III trailers from D23 Expo Japan 2018 here, and don't forget to catch up with our coverage of the event here!

  25. D23 recap article details video appearance by Japanese voice actors and new Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] update information

    As more Japanese websites post new articles recapping D23 Japan 2018, more information about Kingdom Hearts III and Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] is revealed. According to ure.pia.co.jp, a video was shown which featured the Japanese voice actors for Sora and Kairi sharing their experience working on the series. Additionally, the site shares new information regarding a major update to Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] coming this spring.

    Miyu Irino (Sora) and Risa Uchida (Kairi) greeted the fans in their video. Irino shares that his favorite world so far to voice Sora in was Toy Story, and he's excited for the final product. Uchida commends her character for being so brave and confronting the darkness, something she admits she might not be able to do herself if put in a similar situation.
    The video ended by assuring the audience that they have greatly enjoyed their experience working on the Kingdom Hearts series, and that relationships between the voice actors and the development team are strong and healthy!

    Concerning Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross], the article mentions that a major update will be coming to the game this Spring, including a Player vs. Player feature. Also, a brand new world to the Kingdom Hearts series will appear in the game. This world has not appeared in a Kingdom Hearts game to date and will not be one of the worlds in Kingdom Hearts III - so this world is completely new to the series. A specific release date was not given for the Spring update, and the new world was not specified. This information will be revealed in the future.

    Watch the new Kingdom Hearts III trailers from D23 Expo Japan 2018 here, and don't forget to catch up with our coverage of the event here!