Square Enix dropped a lot of news, trailers, and screenshots yesterday. We now know that the next official entries in the Kingdom Hearts series will be released as a part of the PlayStation 4 exclusive Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue on January 24 next year. The bundle includes a remastered HD version of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance and two new pieces to the long running franchise (the ninth and tenth entries, despite Kingdom Hearts III looming in the distance). Kingdom Hearts χ [chi] Back Cover will essentially be an animated movie that fills in some gaps in the series lore, unraveling the tale of the Foretellers, who I believe was introduced in a Kingdom Hearts title that never made it to the West, though I could be wrong. The collection will be rounded out by a new game titled Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage – that retells the events of the PSP Kingdom Hearts game Birth By Sleep from the perspective of the character Aqua.
A snazzy, new trailer accompanied the release date and it's really something. Who would have ever thought we'd get to see hardcore anime action mixed with Mickey Mouse using a giant key as a sword with explosions going off in the background. What a time to be alive!
Another collection, this one consisting entirely of previously released games from the Kingdom Hearts franchise, has been announced for PlayStation 4. Square Enix has packed six revamped games from the past fifteen years into one handy bundle titled Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX. They run at 60fps and visually hold up very well considering some were released well over a decade ago. The collection contains the following:
- Kingdom Hearts FINAL MIX
- Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
- Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (HD remastered cinematics)
- Kingdom Hearts II FINAL MIX
- Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep FINAL MIX
- Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
This collection will release across North America on March 28, 2017.
Finally, Square Enix slightly teased Kingdom Hearts III via Twitter yesterday. The company released two new screenshots of the game that show protagonist Sora's new Drive Form abilities in action in the halls of Disney's Olympus. The first screenshot gives fans a glimpse at what the developers of KH III have dubbed Guard Form - apparently allowing Sora to transform his keyblade into the form of Hercules' shield.
The second image hints at a "power form" but the exact details on it are a bit scant as the world from which the form originates has not been revealed yet. The devs doctored the image to give an idea of what the form does without revealing details about the keyblade.
There's still no official release date for Kingdom Hearts III, but at least those who have yet to get into the series will have a brand new way to do so early next year.