E3 2017 finally gave Kingdom Hearts fans exactly what we wanted: a release date. Unfortunately, that date signified the next trailer for the elusive Kingdom Hearts 3 rather than the full release, but that didn’t stop excitement from brewing in a community stimulated by a fantastic E3 trailer. With gorgeous visuals, frantic action and story teases, Sora’s next adventure seems to be shaping up beautifully.
Luckily, we don’t have to wait long to learn more, as Disney’s D23 Expo the weekend of July 14th promises the anticipated new trailer. But what can we expect from the latest round of information? Seeing as publishers rarely release meaty trailers in such short succession, it is reasonable to expect something big out of the Disney event. Here are a few things that I think can be expected from Kingdom Hearts 3’s trailer on July 15.
A Monumental New World
As I mentioned before, publishers rarely promote trailers in the way that Square Enix has with Kingdom Hearts. Publishing a release date for the next trailer with another is a move that clearly foreshadows a massive announcement. Kingdom Hearts 3’s E3 trailer was actually light on knockout reveals, leaving the door open for a new world at D23. But what will that world be? I think it comes down to Disney’s biggest properties: Frozen or Toy Story.
Each of these worlds offer radically different appeals for fans. Frozen would confirm the inclusion of Disney’s most popular animated movie, broadening the appeal of Kingdom Hearts 3 exponentially and to a wider audience. Toy Story’s reach is not as gargantuan, but the inclusion of a Pixar film would open the floodgates of fan speculation regarding the possibilities of a world roster brimming with Pixar charm. Because D23 is a Disney-centric event, I believe that Frozen is the more likely reveal, though as a hardcore Kingdom Hearts fan Toy Story would get me more excited. Either property would be a slam dunk for the Kingdom Hearts series.
Anything But Olympus Coliseum
The trailers for Kingdom Hearts 3 have thus far predominately focused on Olympus Coliseum, a world that has appeared in almost every game in the series. Because the E3 trailer only showed gameplay from this world, I think it is safe to say that we won’t be seeing it again. Between Olympus and Twilight Town, Kingdom Hearts 3 has chosen to show us new combat features in relatively familiar settings. Not this time.
The other two worlds currently announced feature Tangled and Big Hero Six, and it is time we finally got a taste of them. We have only seen Rapunzel’s tower from Tangled, and nothing but concept art from Big Hero Six. Seeing the colorful city of Corona or the sprawling metropolis of San Fransokyo would be welcome sights in the new trailer, and give fans a taste of what the power of our current consoles will mean for the series’ level design.
A Story We Can Understand
No, I don’t mean that Kingdom Hearts 3 will fix the series plot (is it even possible?), but I do think it is safe to expect the return of the franchise’s beloved English voice cast. The E3 trailer was in Japanese but had an English UI, giving me hope that the next trailer (shown to an American audience) will feature the familiar voices of our heroes.
Similarly, expect to see a few more teases at the larger story. Kingdom Hearts trailers are famous for giving fans something interesting to chew on, and we can reasonably expect a story thread to bookend the D23 trailer. Maybe we’ll see Riku and Mickey on their quest to save Aqua. Or a hint as to Ven or Terra’s status. The possibilities are endless.
The Moment Of Truth
Judging by the E3 trailer, Kingdom Hearts 3 is much farther along than I had previously anticipated. It looks drastically improved from the action seen in trailers from 2015. This, coupled with the scarcity of new world gameplay, leads me to think that Square Enix has been holding information about the game back in order to tempur fan expectations. And after receiving a trailer just over a month prior, it seems like the publisher is beginning to ramp up the game’s promotion.
Kingdom Hearts 3 needs a release window coming out of D23, as the game is becoming a meme for a company developing a reputation for taking an eternity to release its games. The end of the trailer will give fans what they’ve long anticipated – a 2018 release window. As Final Fantasy 15 support draws to a close, Kingdom Hearts 3 is in prime position to lead Square Enix’s 2018 lineup. Another trailer without at least a window will further the game into meme territory, which is not what Square Enix needs for a marquee title. We need a date.
What do you think? Would these reveals excite you for Kingdom Hearts 3, or are you convinced the game is vaporware until you get your hands on it? Either way, the promised D23 trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3 should be brimming with new info. Hopefully I’ll be able to experience it before I’m dead.
Brett Williams is an Associate Editor for MONG who doesn’t understand the hair physics of Square Enix’s design philosophy. He has so many questions. You can follow his nonexistent ramblings on Twitter.