Kingdom Hearts fans everywhere are once again rejoicing after two new trailers for Kingdom Hearts III  were revealed at D23 Japan. These trailers gave us a lot of news to ponder over, and there were a few other things mentioned at D23 which many people are not aware of. So, where to begin?

I guess the best place to begin is the big reveal. The Monsters Inc. leaks are real. Mike Wazowski, James ‘Sully’ P. Sullivan and Boo are all joining Sora and the gang in their next adventure. As you can see in the trailer, just like in many worlds before it, the Monsters Inc world will give Sora, Donald and Goofy new looks. Sora’s almost cat-like monster appearance is really cool, if not a little edgy. Donald looks hilarious, and as Boo points out, has a key feature in common with Mike. Goofy, bless him, looks like a deformed Mudokon from the Oddworld games.

Speaking of new looks, we also get to see the Monsters Inc. Keyblade. As well as having numerous features on it from the Monsters Inc. film, including a door and a blue hard hat, it also has a cool looking transformation, much like the Keyblades we have already seen in previous trailers. In this case, the Keyblade first turns into claws for Sora, before becoming a pair of yo-yos, and then finally, it turns into a giant mechanical mouth, chomping down on Heartless foes. This isn’t the only new Keyblade we see, as the Keyblade for the Tangled world has now been shown as well, along with its transformation, a magical staff which allows you to finish your attack by sinking it into the ground, summoning a giant tower, and showing magic from above.

One Eyed Donald
Image: Kingdom Hearts (Disney/Square Enix) / YouTube

Speaking of Tangled, we do see more of the Tangled world for the first time in a while within these trailers, and with that comes confirmation that Rapunzel and Flynn/Eugene fight alongside you. Apparently, the reason we haven’t seen them until now was because the development team were struggling with making sure Rapunzel’s hair flowed behind her correctly, without clipping through the floor. We also get to see more of the Toy Story world, seeing more floors from the toy store, and what seems to be a Heartless boss.

The next thing that everyone is getting excited about is the fact that we have several returning characters. The very beginning of the trailer shows a past Organization XIII member who Sora and the gang cannot recall, Marluxia, who makes his return after being killed off as the final boss in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Of course, Sora, Donald and Goofy still have no recollection of the events from this game, so perhaps they will finally get some enlightenment on that missing chunk of their lives. Interestingly, Marluxia may not be with the new Organisation XIII, and there is a little evidence of this, the key bit of proof being his eyes. Xehanort’s vessels all have yellow eyes. Marly’s are still blue. Could he be following his own path and agenda…?

Image: Kingdom Hearts (Disney/Square Enix) / YouTube

The next returning character is Ariel, from The Little Mermaid, who appears to be returning this time in the form of a summon partner. This may mean good news for a lot of fans, such as myself, who hate Atlantica, particularly its appearance in Kingdom Hearts II (in all honesty, I don’t mind its original appearance in the first game – at least you could fight instead of sing). Often, summons come from worlds which do not feature in the game. Mushu, Dumbo, Simba, and Bambi all come from worlds not present in the original Kingdom Hearts, and the worlds belonging to Peter Pan, Stitch, and Chicken Little do not appear in Kingdom Hearts II. There are those worried that Ariel may prove to be the minority though, alongside Genie in the first two games, and Tinker Bell in the first.

The final returning character to make an appearance in this trailer is the villain Vanitas. The embodied darkness from Ventus’ heart, with Ven set to return in Kingdom Hearts III, it only makes sense for Vanitas to return from his destruction in Birth By Sleep as well, having only briefly cameoed in Dream Drop Distance since. With his close connection to Xehanort, and his part in creating the χ-blade that Xehanort wants, he is definitely going to be one of Xehanort’s thirteen darknesses. But how will Sora react when he sees that Vanitas is essentially a mirror image of himself?

Image: Kingdom Hearts (Disney/Square Enix) / YouTube

The final thing this trailer confirms is the return of the Dream Eaters from Dream Drop Distance. These enemies and allies from the 3DS/PS4 game are adorable creatures who both Sora and Riku have previously called upon for assistance in battle. But what role do they play in Sora’s latest outing? We don’t know just yet. We’ll just have to wait for the game and see for ourselves.

But that’s not all, as there were two trailers! The second trailer doesn’t reveal much, apart from the new Utada Hikaru theme song, and Riku’s and Mickey’s new duds. However, something in particular about Riku has shocked many fans. His Keyblade, Way to the Dawn, has broken. Leaving it in the Realm of Darkness, he states he can no longer use that Keyblade, but he shall leave it there for the ‘other him’ to use it if needs be. Could Riku be referring to the Riku Replica, a copy of Riku that Vexen made during the events of Chain of Memories? Only time shall tell.

But wait, there’s more! As I said earlier, we have several bits of info that are not in either trailer. To summarise the key details in a few bullet points:

  • The full release date will be announced at E3.
  • Gummi Ship environments are now open world with 360-degree views, with two phases – Battle Phase and Searching Phase.
  • The worlds are more developed than before, with more NPCs now existing than in the previous Kingdom Hearts games. The presentation showed this by having many townsfolk in the town in the Tangled world.
  • The shear size and the number of unique aspects in each world make each world feel like their own game.
  • Some images were shown from the current development stages, including the word ‘Giantland’, which was the Japanese name for the 1993 animated film Mickey’s Giant Quest, so we may see that incorporated into Kingdom Hearts III.
  • Rare Heartless, like the ones from Kingdom Hearts and more specifically, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix will be in the latest game.
  • The final world will include something Nomura says he has wanted to do since starting working with the Final Fantasy games, and some vague input was contributed by developers, including statements that, “You will be able to do anything,” and, “It will be a compilation of everything up to now.” We are yet to learn what this means.
Image: Kingdom Hearts (Disney/Square Enix) / YouTube

So, what do you guys think about the latest Kingdom Hearts news? I for one cannot wait! I have been buzzing since the Toy Story trailer, so seeing these new trailers has tripled my hype for Kingdom Hearts III!

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