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  1. Article: Analysis of the Kingdom Hearts III Orchestra 2017 trailer

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Analysis of the Kingdom Hearts III Orchestra 2017 trailer

June 10th, 2017 was a monumental day for the Kingdom Hearts community, due to the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World Tour - holding its first show in the United States on this date. According to many who attended this performance, this experience was "once in a lifetime", and as a fellow attendee, this particular sentiment is definitely shared by the writer of this article.

A surprise appearance by series director Tetsuya Nomura and the unveiling of a brand new Kingdom Hearts III trailer, the two largest contributors to fans' enthusiasm, served as the perfect conclusion to this event. This trailer captured fans' hearts and pushed the excitement for the game to never-before-seen heights, to the point where "Kingdom Hearts III" and "Sora" became trending topics on Twitter. Today, however, we would like to peel away the initial burst of emotion and analyze every aspect of this trailer, in order to find out as much as we can about both the gameplay and story developments of Kingdom Hearts III.

Throughout this trailer, the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World Tour - version of "Wave of Darkness" is played. Furthermore, if you happened to attend this orchestra event in-person on any of the dates that this trailer was shown, the song was played live by the orchestra!

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The trailer begins with a quote; "Don't assume your dreams are just fantasy. If you can imagine a world, believe in it...and dive in." The first gameplay segment thereafter is reminiscent of the Dive sections of Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance. Sora, appearing in his new outfit, is falling toward Olympus Coliseum. As he is about to land, he uses an area of effect attack against the surrounding Heartless. This Dive-esque sequence seems to be seamlessly integrated into the overall world layout, considering that we saw Sora jumping from an alarmingly tall mountain in the E3 2015 trailer. However, considering the quote at the beginning of this trailer, this gameplay element may also be a way of entering each world.

Throughout the Olympus Coliseum portions of this trailer, the bottom right corner of the screen that a four-person party is available. In this instance, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are joined by Hercules. In previous Kingdom Hearts games, a three-person party was the standard, and the capability for guest characters was restricted to certain encounters and boss battles, but it seems to now be a regular feature.

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As we see Sora battling the aforementioned group of Heartless, a new command, "Counter Shield" appears above the command menu, in a style identical to that of Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-. Activating this Style Change puts Sora into the Counter Shield Command Style, where his outfit becomes the new Guard Form (visually reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts II's Master Form) and his Keyblade takes the form of a shield. Counter Shield uses a large area-of-effect attack as it activates, uses shield bashes as its basic attacks, and can perform a flurry of punches with giant magical fists as a special attack. This is likely a combo finisher, as the "Finish" command is not used.

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During this segment, we also get a glimpse at the fact that two Shotlock options will be available for each Command Style, referred to as Unleash and Flowchain. Unleash seems to be the traditional Shotlock variety, consisting of a powerful attack, while Flowchain appears to be the Flowmotion-esque Shotlock seen in the E3 2016 trailer. Counter Shield's particular Unleash Shotlock consists of Sora calling down a ball of energy from the sky, and once it impacts the shield, it unleashes a devastating shower of sparks as an area-of-effect attack.

In the following gameplay segment, we see Sora in another Command Style called "Second Form", which seems to be tied to the Kingdom Key, and is heavily based on Sora's older abilities seen in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. Perhaps this is the successor to the much-beloved Limit Form from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix? In this form, combo finishers such as Magnet Burst make a return, and some combo finishers seem to have a slightly more cinematic tone, as the camera zooms in a small amount when Sora uses Magnet Burst.

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Returning to the default Kingdom Hearts III outfit, Sora and Goofy activate a Limit, during which Sora jumps onto Goofy's raised shield, the two launch like a rocket, and Sora throws Goofy into a swarm of Heartless below, dealing massive damage to each enemy in the impact radius.

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In the trailer's first story segment, Maleficent and Pete exit a corridor of darkness into Olympus Coliseum, with Pete greeting Hades menacingly. When Hades tries to make the duo leave, Maleficent says that she is merely looking for information, specifically the location of a distinctive black box. The scene ends before Hades can answer the question in detail. When taking into account the events of the secret ending to Kingdom Hearts χ[chi], Maleficent seems to have found Daybreak Town and has learned about the Master of Masters and the mysterious box he possessed in Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover.

The next gameplay segment has often been described as immersive, tense, and gripping. Sora is seen running along a mountain path in the middle of a storm, preparing to confront the Rock Titan. The Titan hurls a boulder in Sora's direction, narrowly missing himdamaging the path in the process. This segment then concludes with Sora using magic against two groups of Heartless. This demonstration of magic continues into the next segment, with Firaga, Blizzaga, Thundaga, and Aeroga all being showcased.

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At this point, several different Situation Commands are available to Sora. These commands consist of level 4 magic, with the specific spells being Firaza, Blizzaza, Thundaza, and Aeroza. They appear to have decided to change the "-ja" suffix at the end of the level 4 spells from Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- into a "-za" suffix for Kingdom Hearts III's tier 4 spells. Both the tier 4 spells of the Japanese versions of Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- and Kingdom Hearts III translate to the same thing, so it's unknown why they decided to make the names different in the English versions of the two games. Counter Shield is also shown to have an ability reminiscent of Ventus' Faith command in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.

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Next, the Kingdom Key's Style Change, "Second Form", is shown yet again. As mentioned previously, the abilities of this Command Style seem to draw from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix's Limit Form, with abilities such as Stun Impact and an aerial version of Sonic Blade being used. However, it is worth noting that one of the melee combos seems to have entirely new animations, suggesting that this form may be a hybrid between old and new techniques. This segment concludes by showing a brief clip of Flowmotion, as Sora makes his way up a slope using a rail.

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The following segment showcases the Rock Titan boss fight. Sora is shown running up a cliff, similar to a brief clip seen in the E3 2015 trailer. Sora is mostly kept from attacking the Rock Titan due to its stomps making the top of the cliff hazardous. However, with quick use of Flowmotion, a few melee attacks are possible.

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The trailer's final sequence shows Sora, Donald, and Goofy confronting Xemnas and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness near Twilight Town's mansion. Xemnas asks Sora how he expects to bring Roxas back when he should never have existed. The only way to accomplish this seemingly impossible task, according to Xemnas, is for Sora to call upon the darkness and presumably make himself vulnerable to Xehanort's schemes. While Donald and Goofy remain ready to fight, Sora's response is to drop his guard and assume a neutral yet confused stance. Could he be considering the option presented to him?

The trailer concludes with a note detailing that Kingdom Hearts III will appear at D23 Expo 2017 on July 15th, 2017, complete with a new world announcement and a new trailer. Additionally, given Tetsuya Nomura's comments at the orchestra concert on June 11th, 2017, there is a possibility that he will reveal the game's "final information" at this expo, in his own words.

Speaking entirely subjectively, I think that this trailer was absolutely incredible! The music complimented each scene flawlessly, and many scenes were very gripping in their own right! The inclusion of Second Form appeals to my borderline obsessive love for Limit Form, and that Dive sequence looks quite fun! Finally and perhaps most importantly to me, both of the story elements serve to only make me more excited to see the story unfold! I can't wait to see what Nomura will be revealing next month!

What was your favorite part of the trailer? Did you notice anything we missed in our analysis? Let us know in the comments below!

In the following gameplay segment, we see Sora in his Kingdom Hearts II attire. Gameplay within this segment seems to be fairly standard in that Sora uses the Kingdom Key and does not use (or perhaps does not have access to) Style Changes. However, it is worth noting that some combo finishers now seem to have a slightly more cinematic tone, as the camera zooms in a small amount when Sora uses Magnet Burst.


http://kh13.com/forum/uploads/gallery/al...

 

 

You made an error, in Mount Olympus, he is not in his Kingdom Hearts II attire. He's activated his Limit Form there. You can tell by the situations commands that are used. They are reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts II combat moves. And judging by the game-play, it's evident that second world visits are returning as there's a difference in the length of Sora's health and MP bar from the Mount Olympus scenes to the battle against the Rock Titan.

You made an error, in Mount Olympus, he is not in his Kingdom Hearts II attire. He's activated his Limit Form there. You can tell by the situations commands that are used. They are reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts II combat moves. And judging by the game-play, it's evident that second world visits are returning as there's a difference in the length of Sora's health and MP bar from the Mount Olympus scenes to the battle against the Rock Titan.

 

Thank you for clarifying that! I've already fixed it. I didn't catch it upon my first few looks of the trailer. Jake let me know that it was actually Second Form, though! I appreciate the feedback!


[...]it's evident that second world visits are returning as there's a difference in the length of Sora's health and MP bar from the Mount Olympus scenes to the battle against the Rock Titan.

 

I'm not seeing this. Am I blind? I might be.

Another thing you should note is that the gameplay of the English and Japanese trailers, despite being nearly identical, are actually different recordings, which suggests that the game is farther along in development!

Actually, having been at the June 11th concert myself, I can confirm that the orchestra actually didn't play Wave of Darkness over the trailer live. I mean, they DID play it that day, just not during the trailer, the trailer had a recorded part of it as part of the video like it does online. They just played Wave of Darkness a few movements later as part of their program. It would have been awesome if they did play it over the trailer, I was actually half-expecting that, but no dice, we weren't the "special" audience that day. But we still got to see Nomura at least, so that was pretty cool.

 

Anyway, this was a pretty spot-on analysis, but I have to say that there are a feeeewwwww little nitpicks that I need point out. For one thing I'm pretty sure that Magnet style finisher is actually called "Magnet Splash" as it is in KH2 Final Mix. As for one of the Second Form combo finishers, it looks like it might actually be the finishing combo of Ars Arcanum. I'm not entirely sure, so I guess this is more speculative than anything, but I just felt like it was something worth bringing to your attention.

 

But yeah that's about it, you've been doing a pretty great job catching everything else so far. And yeah, I also love Limit Form to no end, it's my absolute favorite go-to Form in KH2FM and I love that it's come back in some form (heh) in KH3, only now KH2's outfit is getting the treatment, lol. I mean I'd still would have loved to have seen that classic coloration as well, but this still feels pretty fitting. I can't wait to see more awesomeness in the months to come!

Actually, having been at the June 11th concert myself, I can confirm that the orchestra actually didn't play Wave of Darkness over the trailer live. I mean, they DID play it that day, just not during the trailer, the trailer had a recorded part of it as part of the video like it does online. They just played Wave of Darkness a few movements later as part of their program.


tbf the article doesn't say the orchestra played WoD live *during* the trailer, just that the orchestra version of it is the track used in the trailer, and that the orchestra played it during the concert. otherwise that would have been something else

Another thing you should note is that the gameplay of the English and Japanese trailers, despite being nearly identical, are actually different recordings, which suggests that the game is farther along in development!


We like to try avoiding assumptions as much as we can :)

At this point, several different Situation Commands are available to Sora. These commands consist of level 5 magic (the "-za" suffix), with the specific spells being Firaza, Blizzaza, Thundaza, and Aeroza. Counter Shield is also shown to have an ability reminiscent of Ventus' Faith command in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.

Question: How do we know these commands are level 5 magic? Aren't they the same as the tier 4 magic in 0.2 but with the ja suffix replaced?

Question: How do we know these commands are level 5 magic? Aren't they the same as the tier 4 magic in 0.2 but with the ja suffix replaced?


You're right. The tier 4 spells from 0.2BBS and the spells in the KH3 trailer translate to the same thing in the Japanese versions, which means the "-za" spells aren't tier 5, they're tier 4. The English localization team just decided to change the names from "-ja" to "-za" for some reason. I'll correct the article with this info.

Actually, having been at the June 11th concert myself, I can confirm that the orchestra actually didn't play Wave of Darkness over the trailer live. I mean, they DID play it that day, just not during the trailer, the trailer had a recorded part of it as part of the video like it does online.


Only a live performance during the trailer on the 10th then. Got it. Sorry about the mix-up!

For one thing I'm pretty sure that Magnet style finisher is actually called "Magnet Splash" as it is in KH2 Final Mix.

I checked the wiki before adding the name, as I was unsure of the name myself. I assure you that it is correct.

As for one of the Second Form combo finishers, it looks like it might actually be the finishing combo of Ars Arcanum. I'm not entirely sure, so I guess this is more speculative than anything, but I just felt like it was something worth bringing to your attention.

I appreciate that a lot. However, it really is difficult to tell if it IS Ars with such a short clip to analyze, so I didn't want to necessarily attach an iconic technique to that.

Question: How do we know these commands are level 5 magic? Aren't they the same as the tier 4 magic in 0.2 but with the ja suffix replaced?


Yeah, bit of a mistake on my part, sorry. My only problem with this is that they used the ja suffix just last year, and it is a mainstay of FF as the fourth tier of magic. It is definitely the same command as in 0.2, which I'm fine with, but they seem to be going back and forth with the exact suffix they want to use, evident from the DDD cutscene where Mickey uses "Stopza" instead of "Stopja". Just feels very inconsistent on SE's part.

Only a live performance during the trailer on the 10th then. Got it. Sorry about the mix-up!

I checked the wiki before adding the name, as I was unsure of the name myself. I assure you that it is correct.

I appreciate that a lot. However, it really is difficult to tell if it IS Ars with such a short clip to analyze, so I didn't want to necessarily attach an iconic technique to that.


Yeah, bit of a mistake on my part, sorry. My only problem with this is that they used the ja suffix just last year, and it is a mainstay of FF as the fourth tier of magic. It is definitely the same command as in 0.2, which I'm fine with, but they seem to be going back and forth with the exact suffix they want to use, evident from the DDD cutscene where Mickey uses "Stopza" instead of "Stopja". Just feels very inconsistent on SE's part.

Which wiki are YOU looking at? The Keyhole clearly calls it "Magnet SPLASH", not to mention it's one of my favorite moves, I have it committed to memory. Trust me, it's Splash.

 

Another small detail I just noticed, it almost seems as though Second Form has two different phases. In each of the screen shots, there's moments where the form's Command Menu design is blue, but then there's other moments where it is yellow. The blue moments seem to keep the Keyblade half submerged in the design, but the yellow moments appear to have the Keyblade fully extended in the design. It might not be much to go on, for all I know it might just be an animation for the menu design, similar to the Style Changes in BBS, but it seems pretty drastic for that sort of thing, since it seems to also extend the size of the design and slightly moves up the title itself. Not to mention some of those shots seemed to show Sora still in his standard KH3 outfit while one of the Second Form menu designs was up, but that could have been a mid-transformation sequence, I'm not sure. It's really hard to dissect the context out of most of these.

What happened to the Prizes dropped by Enemies you know(HP, MP and Munny) in the Previous Trailers?

Yeah, bit of a mistake on my part, sorry. My only problem with this is that they used the ja suffix just last year, and it is a mainstay of FF as the fourth tier of magic. It is definitely the same command as in 0.2, which I'm fine with, but they seem to be going back and forth with the exact suffix they want to use, evident from the DDD cutscene where Mickey uses "Stopza" instead of "Stopja". Just feels very inconsistent on SE's part.

Yeah, it seems like they can't make up their minds on the level 4 magic. I remember in the E3 2016 trailer of KH0.2, the level 4 version of Blizzard was named "Blizzagun", then they changed it to "Blizzaja" and now we have "Blizzaza"...who knows what we'll end up with in the final game lol

Which wiki are YOU looking at? The Keyhole clearly calls it "Magnet SPLASH", not to mention it's one of my favorite moves, I have it committed to memory. Trust me, it's Splash.


https://www.khwiki.com/Magnet_Burst

KH Wiki has it as Magnet Burst in English, Magnet Splash in Japanese. Same move. Since many here play the English versions of KH2, I use the English name. Simple as that.

https://www.khwiki.com/Magnet_Burst

KH Wiki has it as Magnet Burst in English, Magnet Splash in Japanese. Same move. Since many here play the English versions of KH2, I use the English name. Simple as that.

Well, I guess it's been a while since I've played 2.5. Maybe that is the case. I'm just so used to calling it that after playing the original KH2FM+ for so long, it's really hard to call it anything else.