Kingdom Hearts III: A game long in the making

With the previous installment being over a decade old, Kingdom Hearts III has all the hype in the world leading up to its release.


Square Enix

Promotional poster for Kingdom Hearts III

December 22, 2005: a date simultaneously beloved and abhorred by the Kingdom Hearts fanbase. On this date, the incredible Kingdom Hearts II was released to consoles worldwide, to immense critical acclaim. However, despite the astounding quality of this game, fans of the franchise have been in a never-ending drought, as there hasn’t been a main sequel to the second installment in over a decade. However, this month marks the release of the highly anticipated, long-overdue sequel Kingdom Hearts III, and it’s important to break down why this game is so special for so many people.

The Kingdom Hearts franchise initially revolved around the main character, Sora, and his Disney comrades the likes of Daffy Duck and Goofy, and their adventures through the numerous Disney-themed stages, or “worlds”, in order to fight back the darkness and finding his lost friends. Sora, a 14-year-old boy, wields the iconic keyblade, which serves as his weapon throughout the series.

Image of Sora next to Goofy and Daffy Duck.

While the series does feature Disney characters, they’re not exactly how you see them in the cartoons; they contain the same characteristics that make them recognizable, but you begin to see them in a different light with these games. For example, the iconic Mickey Mouse is actually a master keyblade user, and the lovable duck is actually a magician in this story.

As a Japanese role-playing game, or JRPG, Kingdom Hearts has been compared to the likes of Final Fantasy, and for good reason; in fact, not only are the two franchises made by the same developer (Square Enix), characters from the Final Fantasy series often find themselves in the world of Kingdom Hearts, such as the villainous Sephiroth or FFVII protagonist Cloud Strife.

However, while these prominent Final Fantasy and Disney characters have been featured in these games, it’s becoming clearer that Kingdom Hearts is focused more on it’s own original cast of characters before anything else. An article from Gizmodo illustrates this change, writing “The appeal is still getting to visit all these Disney worlds and characters, but the story is driven by a vast cast of new villains and allies that have been fleshed out and looped into the wider story over the last 17 years.”

Poster showcasing Kingdom Heart’s original cast.

So, what’s all the hype for? Well, with 24 million copies sold among 8 games, it’s not hard to see that this franchise has a loyal fanbase, and seeing their beloved series finally get a sequel in the unreal quality of a current-gen console is sure to attract both old fans and new fans alike.

If you’re new to Kingdom Hearts, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, there are games released that remaster all of the games that bridge the gap between the plot of Kingdom Hearts 2 and 3; the bad news is, these games are exclusive to the PS4. However, if you’re a fan of the series and interested in the newest installment, Kingdom Hearts III will be available on both the PS4 and the Xbox One on January 25th, 2019.