Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer

It’s finally happening. Kingdom Hearts 3 may finally be in our grasp. And it only took creator Tetsuya Nomura 12 years, five filler games, and four “remixes” for us to finally get a Kingdom Hearts 3 release date. And it’s not even a real date, just an entire year — 2018.

Oh, well. At least we got a reveal that Toy Story will be one of the new worlds that Sora, Donald, and Goofy get to explore in the Disney-Square Enix collaborative franchise. That, new gameplay demos, and brand spanking new graphics that look even better than Pixar’s then-cutting edge film, are breathing hope back into my cold, hollow soul that believed we’d never get a Kingdom Hearts 3 until I was dead. I can wait around for one more year.

This Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer is chock full of more gameplay and story than any other trailer released before. And while that is cause enough for excitement, it goes above and beyond even the cryptic, mythology-building teasers before it because of two things: a release date (2018 baby!!) and a new world set in Toy Story.

After 40 seconds of some impressive gameplay featuring a new special attack in front of the Twilight Town Mansion that will probably require all the button-mashing skills you have, the trailer cuts to the juicy parts. Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive in Andy’s bedroom where they meet Woody and Buzz, who help them in a mission to defeat the Heartless. The dialogue is in Japanese, so it’s hard to decipher to specifics, but it leads the team to a fight on Andy’s driveway as well as what looks like Pizza Planet.

When I first saw the thumbnail for the Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer released by Disney at this year’s D23 Expo, I was horror-struck by how bad the graphics looked. Twelve years for this? Then I realized that Sora, Donald, and Goofy were stylized to imitate how the toys look in Andy’s bedroom in Toy Story, and yes, I am dumb.

This stylistic choice makes sense. It’s in line with how Sora and co. would take on the form of whatever the inhabitants of the world they’re exploring look like — mermaid tails for The Little Mermaid, tiny lion cub Sora for The Lion King. It also gave us the weird monstrosity of Donald Duck with octopus legs (he’s … a duck??) but we’ll just block that out of our minds again. It also allows for the game developers to showcase some cutting edge graphics that put the original Toy Story‘s graphics to shame. It’s honestly incredible how the graphics in a 2018 video game can beat what was once revolutionary computer animation in 1995.

Okay, excitement over new worlds and graphics aside, here is where I’ll try to catch you up on the somewhat convoluted story of Kingdom Hearts. Why this video game — whose premise is just Final Fantasy characters fight Disney villains — has such a complicated mythology, who knows?

The end of Kingdom Hearts 2 left us with a cryptic message in a bottle that calls Sora and Riku on a new mission. This mission is most likely to find Aqua, one of the Keyblade Masters introduced in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, who is stuck in the Realm of Darkness. Terra is still lost to his alter ego, Xehanort, while Ventus is in deep slumber in the Chamber of Waking. Meanwhile, it seems like the devious Organization XIII is back with their army of Nobodies in the new Kingdom Hearts trailers, despite their supposed defeat in KH2. Through all this confusion, Sora, Donald, and Goofy will seek out the seven guardians of light and the “Key to Return Hearts.”

Kingdom Hearts 3 will launch in 2018. In the meantime, I’m off to buy a PS4 and watch the YouTube walk-throughs for Dream Drop Distance.

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