When Square-Enix released its first bit of substantial footage of the long awaited Kingdom Hearts 3, with their diluted promise of 2018 as its arrival date, my initial reaction was was an unconvinced “I’m so sure.” After a slow exhale and sluggish eyeroll, I clicked through to see what had been cooked up for Sora, Donald, and Goofy’s next, seemingly pipe dream-ish adventure.
I’m not exactly coming at this as a casual fan of the series would. Since the age of 12, Kingdom Hearts has held the top spot on my list, representing some of the most treasured experiences I’ve had in gaming. After waiting over a decade for the next mainline entry, I just started to lose hope that it would ever arrive. Then I saw the news feeds start to roll with the trailer announcement.
The Unreal Engine powered visuals were impressive enough, as was the newly introduced Toy Story world. Without skipping a beat, Square managed to catch me again. It was as if the game had not come off a painfully long hiatus, and I was just seeing the info fresh off the coattails of Kingdom Hearts 2. After the awe inspiring graphics and game design had some time to sink in, I started to remember another significant detail…Kingdom Hearts doesn’t like to disappoint with their finished products.
The fans of this series come in all different shades of interest. There are the die-hards, like myself, that follow with vigor and never doubt the intricacies in the steps that the franchise takes. There are also those that, despite once being fully on board, have fallen off due to the multi-faceted plot and sheer volume of prequels and point-5’s. I’ll agree that this isn’t the most ideal of patterns for a beloved franchise to take. Still, from keeping up with the entries over the years, it’s clear that the developer’s devotion rarely wavers. Each of the titles, big and small, often bring fresh concepts, intriguing background information, and fun gameplay among all else.
After seeing signs of that same devotion in the recent KH3 trailers, I feel like there’s less to worry about. We see clearly that the combat has been developed. Sometimes it seems a little overdeveloped, but for now I’m chalking that up to: typical behavior in a teaser trailer. Limitations look to have been expanded upon; not just with the core mechanics of the game, but also the environment and level design. If what we’re seeing here are more open and expansive worlds to explore, then the game is already moving in the right direction.
That’s not to say that I’m completely oblivious to the trends that take place in early previews of AAA video games. Overpromising is always going to be a possibility. Finished products often take on a different appearance once they reach the market. Kingdom Hearts 3 has gone through far too much development time to not hold some level of apprehension, but there’s an obvious confidence that can’t be ignored. I’ve been waiting years to finally see it, and my gut tells me that we’re the closest we’ve ever been to KH3. Maybe its not as close as 2018, but It can definitely been seen on the horizon.
How are you feeling about Sqaure’s White Buffalo? Will it arrive around the same time as the fabled FFVII remake, Or are we finally getting closer?