Kingdom Hearts III Just Might be the Game of My Dreams

Kingdom Hearts IIIDisney’s expanded library might be on the table for Kingdom Hearts III. You read that right. Disney, who already had their classic Disney and Pixar films as potential Kingdom Hearts characters and worlds, just might work with Square Enix to include their recently acquired properties of Marvel and LucasFilm.

Mickey x Spidey x Darth Vader (Ani).

In an interview with Kotaku UK, Kingdom Hearts III co-director Tai Yasue said that the new Disney properties were all under consideration.

“Nothing’s off limits. We’re considering all the worlds,” Yasue told Kotaku UK. “There are so many wonderful concepts. We’re happy about that, but at the same time it’s really tough to choose.”

The formula for Kingdom Hearts is not a difficult one to decipher. Take one game designed by Square complete with characters pulled from their Final Fantasy series and speckle it with the magical whimsy of Disney’s entire historical catalog and you clearly have a game that was crafted in some fanboy’s basement. Or in Square Enix’s development studio in Tokyo.

The potential for a new Kingdom Hearts game to include Star Wars and Marvel properties had long been wondered about, especially after recent past entries included live-action characters from Tron and Pirates of the Caribbean. After all, isn’t Princess Leia technically a Disney princess?

What would be curious is to see if Square Enix relinquishes a little control over their properties and decides to mix in some Dragon Quest or Chrono Trigger nods. Or even dip into their western properties and add Lara Croft or Agent 47. Now I sincerely doubt that a Hitman character or a Deus Ex character would meet Disney’s requirements for positive image, but Lara Croft is a universally recognized character, fresh off a positively perceived reboot.

Even without the new properties, Square Enix has a ton of excellent Disney characters and worlds to choose from. Disney is enjoying a bit of a popularity spike, especially since their in-house 3D animation team became so popular (even topping some of the Pixar offerings). With the worldwide success of Frozen and the popularity of Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled, Disney certainly has the recent catalog to give the Kingdom Hearts series some further clout.

Keep in mind that it has been over four years since the last Kingdom Hearts title, Birth By Sleep, was released. Its been even longer since Kingdom Hearts II released in 2005, so by the time Kingdom Hearts III really gets going, Square Enix should have a ton of modern Disney titles to consider.

Kotaku UK – Marvel and Star Wars are “Not Off-Limits” for Kingdom Hearts III

First Look at Kingdom Hearts III Gameplay

Kingdom Hearts III

Certain that one big piece of Kingdom Hearts news wasn’t enough, Square Enix unveiled a brief gameplay teaser trailer for Kingdom Hearts III at Disney’s D23 Expo in Japan.

No release date appears to be on the horizon soon, especially with Square Enix milking the sales of the franchise’s HD ReMIX collections. The trailer simply states that the game is “Now In Development” which could mean any time in the next decade if the production cycle of Fabula Nova Crystallis turned Final Fantasy Versus XIII turned Final Fantasy XV (subtitled: we really need to finish this game and we haven’t released a numbered iteration in way too long) is any indication.

Everything looks nice and fluid with Sora, Donald and Goofy hacking away at basic Heartless. Sora’s new Keyblade moves apparently include dual Keyblade pistols, a roller coaster boss fight and a giant pirate ship(?). Because what says I’m a Disney bad-ass more than wielding a boat. Hey, it worked for Jack Sparrow.

Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX Officially Announced

In news that should surprise nobody, Square Enix has officially announced Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMIX for global launch in 2014. As predicted, the HD remaster collection will include Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep and a cinematic compilation from Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded and be available on the PlayStation 3. Square Enix unveiled the game with a brief trailer showcasing the game’s improved visuals.

Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX

With Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX already surpassing 600,000 units worldwide in, it is safe to say that audiences still crave the dream collaboration between Disney and Square Enix. With 2.5 containing arguably two of the best games in the series in KH2 and Birth By Sleep, I expect this collection to surpass the success of its predecessor.

Kingdom Hearts II ironed out much of the original’s wonky mechanics including collecting experience bubbles, a very friendly camera system and vast improvements to the Gummi Ship. Birth By Sleep is the title I’m curious about the most because it was launched at a time where I had lost interest in the PSP and chose not to invest in the title, despite its near universal acclaim. Lastly, I doubt the cell phone turned handheld gameplay of Re:Coded will be missed much but I still question the usefulness of cinematic compilations.

With Square Enix slowly churning out HD collections of their biggest games from the PS2 era, only time will tell if other games will get the treatment. But so long as Square Enix takes the time to give their legacy franchises the love and appreciation they deserve, these collections will continue to be a goldmine.

Gaming Backlog – Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

It is a rare accomplishment to meet the quality and expectations of a console title within the confines of a handheld system. While developers have improved on their ability to create for the handheld in the last five years with successful titles on the PS Vita (Gravity Rush, Assassin’s Creed Liberation), 3DS (Animal Crossing New Leaf, Fire Emblem Awakening) and even the original PSP (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker), successful portable outings often are the exception that proves the rule: handheld games are often restricted by their medium.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Which is why I find a game like Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days so compelling. The game is nearly four years old and was launched towards the end of the DS’s reign as handheld king. It is a pretty game to look at, especially considering the hardware limitations of the DS and has all the mechanics you would expect from a Kingdom Hearts game.

But it is just so hamstrung in ways that only affect portable games. Continue reading

This Week in Gaming: August 12, 2013 – 100 Posts, Salty Bets & Non-Mandatory Kinect

Programming Note: I will be playing with a new rotation over the next few weeks as I settle in to a new writing schedule. All of my typical features of editorials, reviews, vault reviews, Top Ten Tuesday and Gaming Backlog will continue going forward but at a slightly modified rate.

Monday will be reserved for a (this) new segment: This Week in Gaming. It is a homecoming of sorts for me as news has always been part of my repertoire. This Week in Gaming will predominantly focus on recent gaming related news along with a brief opinion about the topic. I will reserve lengthy analysis and discussion for Wednesday editorials, which will continue to chug on. Tuesdays will remain alternating between Top Ten Tuesday and Gaming Backlog. Reviews will continue to go live on Friday but I will also use this slot to talk about pre-play expectations and basic previews.

100th Post!

Final Fantasy VII

This has been a fantastic year for me. I got married to a girl who embraces my passions for writing and gaming, I refocused my energy into this blog after a long hiatus and I got to fog up the glass at E3 (next step: press pass). The fact that I somehow made it to 100 posts on WordPress is just icing on the cake. Although I am just one writer rambling to a small audience, every word I put to page, every article clicked and read, and every comment left are all building blocks to somehow realize a dream of doing this on a higher level.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my work as I continue to grow and strive for incredible things.

Salty Bet Dream Cast Casino

Remember those odd wagers you would make as a middle schooler regarding who would win in a fight, Batman or Mega-Man? Gaming has come close to making the ludicrous scenarios a reality, in particular thanks to collaborations like the Marvel vs Capcom series, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe and even mash-up RPGs like Project X Zone. But no one has ever thought to make it a bloodsport. Until now.

Salty Bet Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Top JRPG Franchises Not Named Final Fantasy

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy

The Japanese RPG is truly an icon. It is odd that it gets differentiated so greatly from western RPGs because both feature stat crunching, crafting and plucky adventurers striving to save the world. But JRPGs are clearly a particular niche that emphasize mature themes and narrative, as told through coming of age stories. Random encounters, separate battle systems and sweeping cutscenes are all part of the JRPG mystique, and something that I have come to love as a gamer.

The JRPG is clearly more than just Final Fantasy, who itself is a textbook definition of the mechanics that make up a JRPG. While I love the Final Fantasy franchise, Japan has much more to offer for this incredibly varied genre.

10. Xenosaga


To a certain degree, Xenosaga needs to be recognized for its own merits. After all, it succeeded in creating a bonafide icon in KOS-MOS, the calculating female android that is a central figure throughout the entire franchise. While a decade of age has not been terribly kind to the slow battle system of Xenosaga, it will forever be known as the JRPG saga that strove to make cutscenes a theatrical experience (over 8 hours in the first game alone). It was a chore, yes, but the spiritual successor to the revered Xenogears gets the nod for its sweeping nature and never wavering from a ludicrous goal. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday E3 2013 Edition – Biggest News to Come Out of the Pre-Show Presentations

E3 officially begins today, as the show will open to denizens of reporters (not named Theory Flaw) ready for terrible food, hourly deadlines and product demos galore. But while many games will get their moment of glory in the coming days, the major players have already opened their hands for heads-up poker. Franchise reboots, new exclusives, new consoles and product strategy highlight this list of the biggest news to come out of the pre-show presentations.

10. Crimson Dragon

I had to try my hardest not to write Dragoon because this is clearly designed in the vein of the stellar dragon riding series Panzer Dragoon. Even bringing back Panzer Dragoon series director Yukio Futatsugi this Kinect based Xbox One game features massive bosses and gorgeous dragon-borne aerial combat. While I fear it may play a little too closely to Child of Eden, this is clearly a bold move by Microsoft.

Continue reading