It’s been a long time coming, but Kingdom Hearts III is almost here. Set for a worldwide release on January 29, 2019 for PS4 and Xbox One, the next game in the incredibly complicated yet whimsical action-RPG series will conclude the main story with Sora, Donald Duck, Goofy and other friends as they face off against the evil Organization XIII and the swarming blight known as the Heartless. Since its debut, the Kingdom Hearts series blended together the exuberance and wonder of a Disney spectacle with the mechanics of an JRPG, offering something that really shouldn’t have worked as well as it did.

There’s a lot anticipation for Kingdom Hearts III, but at the same time there’s a number things that will be important to clear up. Just ahead of the game’s release, we’ve compiled a number of important details regarding Kingdom Hearts III, when it first debuted, the platforms it will launch on, and whether it’ll be safe to dive into this game if you’re a first timer. Here’s everything we know about Disney and Square Enix’s upcoming action-RPG spectacle.

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What Is Kingdom Hearts III?

Kingdom Hearts III is the next game in the long-running series that debuted in 2002 on the PlayStation 2. Created by Tetsuya Nomura, Kingdom Hearts is an action-RPG amalgamation of the memorable movies and games from both Disney and Square Enix (particularly the Final Fantasy series). Over the course of the series, Sora and his allies have travelled across the expansive multiverse, forming bonds with many familiar characters such as Aladdin, Mulan, and Hercules, while also facing off against foes such as Scar from The Lion King and Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII.

Kingdom Hearts III will continue the tradition of offering richly realized worlds to explore, with each locale having a set of iconic characters to team up with. Though technically not the third game in the series–it’s really the eighth–KHIII will be the conclusion of the main storyline focusing on Sora and his friends and their travels across the Disney/Square universe. During their adventure, they’ll encounter many returning characters and explore new worlds, which have a greater level of freedom and advanced combat mechanics.

Can I Start With KH III?

While the Kingdom Hearts series is known for its incredibly involved and complex plot, possessing an interconnected web of character relationships and timelines, it’s still possible to jump into Kingdom Hearts III fresh. Much like other games, KHIII will offer a way for newcomers and fans who need to brush up on the story an opportunity to get up to speed with the new game. There will be numerous text files and docs that detail the major events throughout the series, key characters, and how it all led up to this point.

Debut And The First Trailer

Kingdom Hearts III made its debut during Sony’s E3 2013 press conference, revealing new visuals and designs for Sora, Donald, Goofy, and the locations they would visit–all powered by Unreal Engine 4. In this trailer, we saw some familiar scenes with the key characters before witnessing Sora fight off swarms of Heartless in a reimagined Twilight Town from KHII.

Where Does It Fit In The KH Timeline?

KHIII is the latest game chronologically on the series timeline. Though the numbered entries are seen as the core entries in the series, several important events have happened in the spin-off games that are vital for anyone looking to get the full story. While Kingdom Hearts Union X [Cross] (yes, that’s the actual title) is a mobile/browser title, it also expands the overall plot. It shows off the events prior to the Keyblade War–one of the more notable events referenced throughout the series.Aside from the main games, the side-stories in Birth By Sleep and Dream Drop Distance not only reveal the backstories for many key side-characters, they reveal events that have come to shape the present story in Kingdom Hearts III. Here’s a list of every KH game in chronological order.

The Second Trailer

Debuting at E3 2015, the next trailer revealed footage of the Kingdom of Corona world from Tangled, along with Olympus Coliseum from Hercules. In the trailer, we also got to see footage of the new combat mechanic known as Attraction Flow, and saw two new characters exchange in cryptic dialog discussing the fate of other characters.

What’s New In Kingdom Hearts III?

The gameplay in Kingdom Hearts III is very similar to how it was in Kingdom Hearts II, albeit with a much larger scope. In addition to larger environments to explore, players will now be able to have five characters in a party at once, with two guest characters joining the trio. Continuing from Kingdom Hearts II, Sora will be able to call upon his allies and trigger special combination attacks and special moves. Summoning also makes a return as well, allowing you to call forth famous Disney characters like Wreck-It-Ralph and Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

However, Kingdom Hearts III tosses in several new abilities, which helps to bring combat to the next level. One of the new combat abilities is known as Attraction Flow, allowing Sora to conjure up a vehicle that’s based on a famous Disneyland ride–such as Splash Mountain or the teacups from the Mad Tea Party attraction. By taking control of these rides, Sora can quickly deal heavy damage to multiple enemies. Another new twist is the addition of the various Keyblade transformations. While the previous games had you collect a whole assortment of special keyblades, many of which referenced classic Disney films and Final Fantasy games, KHIII takes things further by having each weapon possess its own signature move–giving you another new skill to use in battle.

All The Confirmed Worlds (So Far)

With every Kingdom Hearts game comes an assortment of levels that strongly contrast with each other. Kingdom Hearts III is no different, and we’ve already gotten a taste of where we’ll be able to travel to in the upcoming game. Though the final game still has a number of worlds that have yet to be revealed, here’s a quick rundown of the worlds we know of so far.

  • Kingdom of Corona (Tangled)
  • Olympus Coliseum (Hercules)
  • San Fransokyo (Big Hero 6)
  • Monstropolis (Monsters Inc.)
  • Toy Box (Toy Story)
  • Arendalle (Frozen)
  • The Caribbean (Pirates of the Caribbean 3)
  • Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh)
  • Twilight Town (Kingdom Hearts)

The Third Trailer

During D23 2017, Square-Enix and Disney released a new trailer showing off a first look at the Toy Box world from Toy Story. During the footage, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are transformed into action figures and have to battle Heartless in Andy’s room. They eventually meet up with Woody and Buzz Lightyear, and soon find themselves exploring the outside of Andy’s room and towards a massive toy-store where they control large mecha toys and confront another member of Organization XIII.

What Systems Is It On And What’s Its Release Date?

Kingdom Hearts III will be available for PS4 and Xbox One on January 29, 2019. Though the series has mostly been a fixture of the PlayStation consoles, with a few appearances on Nintendo’s handhelds, this game will mark the first time that the series will be available on a Microsoft console. Kingdom Hearts III will be available worldwide for PS4 and Xbox One on January 29, 2019. However, the game will be out in Japan nearly a week before on January 25.

Will It Come To PC?

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As of now, there is no word on a PC release for the game. Though it’s not outside the realm of possibility for it to make its way to PC, since Kingdom Hearts III will be the first multi-platform release, Square Enix have been quiet about a PC launch for the series.

How Can I Catch Up?

If you find yourself with the urge to revisit the previous games, or you simply want to see what all the hype is about, then you’ll be pleased to know that Square Enix has re-released both the previous core Kingdom Hearts games in the 1.5 + 2.5 Remix edition for PS4. Originally released on PS3, these collections remaster the two games with new visuals and add in some new content.

Featuring the Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts I and II, along with remasters of Birth By Sleep, Chain of Memories, Dream Drop Distances, and Recoded–ReMIX on PS4 also include a brand-new epilogue episode for Birth By Sleep [Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep – A fragmentary passage], running on the same engine as Kingdom Hearts III, giving many a brief taste for what’s to come in the next game. Unfortunately, this edition is only available on PS4, so Xbox One owners will have to wait for the digest in Kingdom Hearts III or play the ReMIX on PS4.

Will there be a Theme Song?

Much like other mainline entries in the series, there’s always an opening number to kick off the new adventure–and KHIII is no different. In the new song, Face Your Fears, series vocalist Utada Hikaru returns for the main theme. In an interesting twist, the theme song is also produced by Skrillex, who made a name for himself over the last decade with his work in the dub-step sub-genre. The song will be released shortly before the launch of the game on January 18.

The Fourth Trailer

During E3 2018, we saw the next trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3–revealing the first look at the worlds for Frozen and the return of Pirates of the Caribbean. First shown during Microsoft’s E3 press conference, Sora and friends encounter Elsa in the frozen wilderness, who’s under attack from Heartless. We also saw a return visit to the Pirates of the Caribbean world, adapting the events from the third film At World’s End.

Is There A Special Edition?

Square Enix plans to release a deluxe version of the game on both PS4 and Xbox One for $230. The bundle comes packed with Sora, Donald, and Goofy action-figures based on their appearances in the Toy Box, along with a steelbook and an artbook. There are also plans to release a special PS4 Pro bundle for Kingdom Hearts III, which is available for pre-order on the official Square Enix online store.

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