game news Kingdom Hearts 4: From Star Wars to Final Fantasy Versus XIII, what can we expect?
This weekend, Square Enix held an event to celebrate 20 years of the Kingdom Hearts saga. On this occasion, the Japanese publisher took the opportunity to announce several games, including Kingdom Hearts IV as the main course of the show. Although the third play has been long delayed, what clues can we see in this first trailer?
- Is Testuya Nomura still so attached to Versus XIII?
- Finally Star Wars and the MCU in Kingdom Hearts?
Announced long ago, the event dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the series kingdom hearts ultimately, it did not disappoint fans. If some only expected presentations of spin-off products and mobile games (which happened with the presentation of Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link), Square Enix has a big trick up its sleeve. At the end of the event, Kingdom Hearts IV was revealedwhile most fans had bet on a new spin-off since the license has known a lot.
Is Testuya Nomura still so attached to Versus XIII?
In this three minute preview, we can see that after the events of Kingdom Hearts III, Sora wakes up from a seven-day sleep in a world called Quadratum, which closely resembles contemporary Tokyo. Presented by Strelitzia, a crossover character in the mobile game Kingdom Hearts: Union Xthe latter explains that it is a reality equivalent to a “beyondto them, which roughly translates to an “afterlife.” After a few shots showing the surroundings of the city, a giant Heartless appears, prompting Sora to intervene. In a rather impressive and acrobatic sequence, we see that the keyblade can now be grabbed thanks to its chain and that our hero is more agile than ever while running on the walls. At the end of the fight, it is discovered that members of Organization XIII had been watching the scene from the beginning. Finally, the trailer ends with Donald and Goofy exploring a dark place and having a terrifying encounter, probably Hades from the movie. Hercules given the color change of the flames from blue to red.
After seeing it, several fans on social media noted that this announcement video shared many similarities with elements from Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Between the city reminiscent of Insomnia, Sora’s design that looks more like Noctis, or even certain sequences visually very similar to the old Versus XIII trailers (when Sora runs on the facade of a building, for example), it seems that Tetsuya Nomura, the creator of the series and character designer Square Enix star, is not yet in mourning for this abandoned project. As a reminder, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was an ambitious title announced in 2006 for PS3 that was going to be part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis compilation with final fantasy xiii and Final Fantasy Agito XIII, which eventually became Final Fantasy Type-0. While it was an important game for Tetsuya Nomura, the development had many complications to the point that the name of the project was changed. final fantasy XV and be taken from the hands of its creator. If in appearance Versus XIII and FFXV seem identical given their gameplay and their characters, in fact, the final product is still very different from the original version imagined by the creator of Kingdom Hearts (KH).
Since the Final Fantasy Versus XIII project was withdrawn, Tetsuya Nomura has multiplied the winks to his baby in the KH saga. Beyond Riku’s design resembling Noctis, hero of Versus XIII/FFXV, it’s especially in the KH III DLC, Kingdom Hearts III: Remember, that the foot call was the most explicit. In the secret episode of this bonus content, Sora wakes up in the Final World where he can face Yozora, the hero of a fictional video game called true king. In fact, the latter again shares many similarities with Noctis, whether in the meaning of his name or his design, through his way of fighting as well as his different poses. But where doubt is no longer allowed is when we look at the cinematic that unfolds after the confrontation is over. If Sora wins the fight, then we are entitled to a sequence during which Yozora is woken up in the back of her car by her driver who is a shot-for-shot recreation of a Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer issued in 2011. Given all these clues and after viewing the announcement of Kingdom Hearts IV, it would not be surprising if Tetsuya Nomura took up other ideas planned for Versus XIII in order to include them in Sora’s new adventures.
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Finally Star Wars and the MCU in Kingdom Hearts?
Beyond these similarities with this old Square Enix project, this first trailer for Kingdom Hearts IV also seems to give some hints about the worlds that will be possible to visit. While the vast majority of the video takes place in Quadratum, some shots at the beginning show us a lush forest. If this is a fairly common environment in the world of video games, one detail in particular caught the attention of fans as at 0’34 we can see a round gray shape. Later, some identified that it could be the foot of an AT-ST Walker, a vehicle first seen in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi on the forest moon of Endor. However, since since 2012 the franchise belongs to Disney, it is very possible that Star Wars finally being one of the visitable worlds in Kingdom Hearts. A hypothesis that therefore seems likely, especially since some Disney live-action movies have been present in KH for a long time, such as Pirates of the Caribbean for example. And who knows, maybe the MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, could also appear in this fourth episode.
But once the announcement effect has worn off, one wonders when we might get our hands on this famous Kingdom Hearts IV. On the Square Enix side, we’re delayed stating that the project is in “early development” while the trailer ends with a “magic in the making“, which gives no indication of time. However, we know that this new episode is developed thanks to Unreal Engine 5, a more advanced version of Unreal Engine 4, the engine used by Kingdom Hearts III but also Final Fantasy VII Remake, another project in which Tetsuya Nomura is co-director. Since this tool is becoming more democratized within Square Enix, one can imagine that the development time is shorter if the teams are used to using it regularly. However, we also remember that some projects led by Tetsuya Nomura suffered severe delays, such as Final Fantasy Versus XIII announced in 2006 finally released in 2016 under the name of Final Fantasy XV, or even Kingdom Hearts III revealed in 2013 for a release in 2019. However, it is important to point out that the context is very different today at Square Enix and it is unlikely that this type of scenario will be repeated once again.
To try and estimate the release date for Kingdom Hearts IV, we should also take a look at Square Enix’s AAA game schedule. Yes abandoned is now scheduled for October 11, 2022, the Japanese publisher’s next headline is expected to be Final Fantasy XVIthen the second part of Final Fantasy VII Remakewhich suggests a very busy year 2023 with great releases. Based on these assumptions that are not based on official information, one would be tempted to believe that KH4 would not be planned before 2024 at the earliest., especially given what Square Enix says. In any case, you will have to be patient, because Tetsuya Nomura has announced that there will be no new information during the E3 period and that the game will be discussed much later.
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For elxsableJournalist jeuxvideo.com