Kingdom Hearts III – A decades worth of anticipation

Kingdom Hearts II released in 2005. I was a senior in High School. On a side note, I am old.

While there have been a number of remixes, spin-offs, and re-releases, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s been well over a decade for a true sequel. It was questioned as to whether Kingdom Hearts III would ever be made, but on January 29th, the gaming community will finally get their hands on the third installment of the beloved franchise.

(Credit to Kingdom Hearts)

To say it’s been a long wait is an understatement. The first trailer announcement came in 2015 at E3 and while there was significant hype due to confirming the games development, there was no other information provided. Fans would be practically given a trailer every year to detail new developments, but after the second year of trailers, all anyone wanted to know was when the title was going to be released.

In 2017, fans were given a release date of 2018, which was then narrowed down to November. The trailers showed off gameplay and some of the worlds that would be explored during the game. Sora, Donald, and Goofy all showcased new abilities and the gameplay itself was fluid and fast paced. Everything looked crisp and it started to finally feel like a tangible project. There was skepticism however, as when Final Fantasy XV released after a lengthy development period, sections of the game were incomplete.

(Credit to Kingdom Hearts)

Kingdom Hearts III was delayed once more in 2018 to January 29 2019, to allow developers to further polish the title. Also, it would push it out of an incredibly busy November, allowing it to be the biggest release of the first quarter. Regardless, the game is almost here, which seemed almost impossible a few years ago. There have been so many remixes of the first two titles, that it felt like Square was trying to gather more funding for what could be the biggest game in the series.

There are a number of new and returning worlds to explore alongside a growing cast of characters that will feature a number of modern Disney characters. While the game looks impressive visually, Toy Story world in particular looks incredible, it’s the diversity in gameplay that everyone is looking forward too. The first two titles were fun to play, but they weren’t fluid and could be at times cumbersome due to how stiff the controls were. Kingdom Hearts III looks to play with a speed and pace on par with Final Fantasy XV, whose gameplay was easily the best in the series.

Long development cycles are normally red flags to consumers that the product in question may not live up to expectations. Final Fantasy XV underwent a number of changes and while the finished product still lacked some content, it was still a really strong entry. With Kingdom Hearts III, it’s difficult to pinpoint why this title took so long to arrive, its ambitious, yes, but the momentum was there when the second title released. It’s obvious that the series is wildly popular and if the developers had focused on the third entry earlier, we might have been on the fifth or sixth entry in the series.

(Credit to Kingdom Hearts)

Kingdom Hearts III has a decades worth of anticipation and hype behind it that may make it the biggest boom or bust title in quite some time. All available previews have shown how far this title has come in recent years, which is encouraging, but it’s hard not to remain a bit skeptical with how long it took for this title to be released. Hopefully, this title release complete and there aren’t too many plans for unnecessary DLC. That was a major criticsm of FFXV as significant plot holes had to be filled by content that should have been in the game due to its rushed nature.

A lot of eyes will be on Kingdom Hearts III when it finally releases, it could be the biggest game of the year or the biggest disappointment. It doesn’t feel like there is an in between. Regardless, at least its finally here.

(Credit to Kingdom Hearts)

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