Fourteen years and two whole console generations have passed since Kingdom Hearts II first released on the PlayStation 2 in 2005, and the wait is almost over for its much-hyped sequel.
What is Kingdom Hearts III?
Kingdom Hearts III is an action role-playing game developed by Square Enix and featuring characters and settings based on some of Disney’s most iconic properties, alongside appearances from various well-known characters from the popular Final Fantasy series. Despite the title, Kingdom Hearts III is actually the twelfth instalment in the series, and series director Tetsuya Nomura says it will be in the final chapter in the ‘Seeker of Darkness’ saga, picking up directly after the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
The game will see protagonist Sora once again teaming up with faithful companions Donald Duck and Goofy. Their quest is to search for the seven Guardians of Light in an attempt to stop the plans of Master Xehanort, who wishes to start another Keyblade War—the first of which was said to have almost destroyed the fabric of the universe.
The earliest work on Kingdom Hearts III is said to have begun in 2006, but was not confirmed until 2013. That delay has only increased the level of speculation and anticipation among fans of the series, including much debate over what new worlds would be included. The acquisition of Marvel and Star Wars by Disney only served to fuel the fire even further.
Why are we excited?
Several gameplay features from previous entries in the series are returning in Kingdom Hearts III, such as the Shotlock attacks from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, while the Flowmotion system from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance has been tweaked into the Athletic Flow system.
Some new mechanics are also being introduced, including the ‘Attraction Flow’ commands, which are inspired by some of the most famous rides at Disney Theme Parks, such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Similar to Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, Kingdom Hearts III has been built using Unreal Engine 4, resulting in a significant graphical upgrade compared to previous entries in the series. The development team has also promised a more intricate AI system for both allies and enemies and a fast-paced, flashy gameplay style.
Worlds based on Frozen, Tangled, Big Hero 6, and Monsters Inc. are making their debut, while several worlds that have appeared previously in the series, such as Hercules, Pirates of the Caribbean, and 100 Acre Wood from Winnie the Pooh, are making a return.
Many fans (including the staff at OnlySP) are anticipating a fusion of the best elements of previous Kingdom Hearts games, wrapped in the best presentation current generation video game technology can offer.
When can we play it?
Kingdom Hearts III is due for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 29, 2019.
Let us know if you’re looking forward to getting your hands on Kingdom Hearts III later this month, and make sure to come back tomorrow for a look at an intriguing new IP set for release this year.
Honourable Mentions – OnlySP’s Most Anticipated Games of 2019
This coming year is set to be chock full with amazing games. Over the past 12 days, the OnlySP team has shone a light on those titles that we are most excited about, but some of our individual favourites were not represented in the consensus vote.
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning
Coming from some of the key team members behind the Danganronpa series, Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is an unusual survival game.
In the wake of an apocalypse, eight clones on a tropical island comprise all that remains of humanity. The clones have accelerated lifespans, meaning they survive for only 13 days; however, a machine called the Extend Device ensures their continual resurrection, with each death granting different buffs and gameplay bonuses.
Curiously, the game is divided into chapters, and players control particular characters in each chapter, rather than having the chance to choose between them at will.
As a survival game, threats to life come from many different angles, including starvation, dehydration, and, of course, combat. However, felling enemies—mostly evolved animals—will drop resources that players can use to build amenities and prolong the characters’ health.
Survival games have exploded in recent years, but the narrative focus and unique clone-based premise separates Zanki Zero: Last Beginning from its genre contemporaries.
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning released in Japan last year, and will make its debut in the West for PC and PlayStation 4 on March 19.
Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord
Announced more than six years ago, Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord has not been officially confirmed for a 2019 release, but fans are hopeful.
Despite the title, Mount & Blade II is a prequel to its predecessor, set two centuries before the wars depicted in the earlier game. The title takes place during the glory days of the fictional Calradian Empire and recounts its fall, as it shatters into an array of disparate kingdoms. On the surface an action-RPG, Mount & Blade II promises a deep, diverse experience with layers of strategic elements.
Third-person melee combat will make a return and will be accompanied by in-depth siege- and diplomacy-based gameplay. Meanwhile, an organic economy system will aid in bringing the Calradian Empire to life.
OnlySP’s Dylan Warman went hands-on with the game back at E3 2017, finding it to be a satisfying experience with a few minor flaws remaining to be ironed out. However, a year and half has already passed and still no end is in sight for the lengthy development.
The widespread expectation is that Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord will release on at least PC at an as-yet unspecified date in 2019.
Sir Daniel Fortesque will soon join the likes of Wander, Spyro the Dragon, and Crash the Bandicoot, as Sony is, once again, dusting off the Medievil name for a remake.
Originally announced with a brief teaser at the PlayStation Experience event in 2017, the project was surrounded by silence throughout almost the entirety of 2018. A common query among perplexed fans was the extent to which the game would represent a new experience, given the initial billing as a full remaster.
However, in October last year, Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman Shawn Layden dropped the bombshell everyone was waiting for: Medievil will be a full-blown remake. The core design and art will be retained, but the game will not simply be a reskin of what has already been.
The developer responsible for the project, Other Ocean Interactive, has previously made a name for itself with ports. With this legacy, the team seems to be following in the footsteps of Bluepoint Interactive, which crafted 2018’s excellent remake of Shadow of the Colossus.
Medievil is expected to be available exclusively on PlayStation 4 some time in 2019.
The father of XCOM, Julian Gollop, will return to the genre that made him a living legend when Phoenix Point launches later this year.
In 2047, the apocalypse is already well underway. Melting permafrost during the 2020s unleashed an alien infection—the Pandoravirus—upon the unsuspecting Earth, mutating humans and animals into all manner of monsters. Facing off against this existential threat, players assume command of the Phoenix Project, a global organisation dedicated to protecting humanity.
Fans of XCOM will almost surely be right at home with Phoenix Point, as the game follows the same model of pairing turn-based direct-control combat with a global strategy layer. The player begins as a small, isolated unit and must grow their reach and strength by acquiring resources through both diplomacy and conquest.
Despite the fundamental similarities, the development team at Snapshot Games is including a few unique wrinkles to the formula, including a range of adversarial human factions and enemies that mutate in response to player actions.
Originally set to launch last year, Phoenix Point is now expected to release in June 2019 on Mac, Windows, and Xbox One.
Total War: Three Kingdoms
For the latest mainline entry in the Total War saga, Creative Assembly is delving into a part of world history long desired by fans but never before visited: China’s Three Kingdoms era.
Total War: Three Kingdoms centres on the fall of the Han Dynasty, casting players as the leader of one of eleven factions vying for control over the vast nation.
While this latest game remains, at its core, Total War, the development team is engaging in some intriguing experiments. Foremost is the implementation of guanxi, an aspect of Chinese culture that describes the interconnectedness of human life. Throughout the campaign, the characters form relationships with others, and players will have to take those connections into consideration when planning their moves.
The other major new addition is a mode based on the classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which will put more of a focus on individual characters. In this mode, generals have supreme strength and can be controlled directly during battles and sieges.
Following its delay out of last year, Total War: Three Kingdoms is scheduled to launch on March 7, 2019 exclusively on PC.
Thank you for joining us on this jaunt through the games that have the OnlySP team most excited for the coming year. With hundreds of titles to choose from, innumerable others missed out, but rest assured that we are keeping our eyes out for everything in the realm of single-player gaming.
If your favourite/s failed to make our shortlist, please take the time to give them the attention they deserve in the comments below, and be sure to follow OnlySP on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for all the latest from the world of single-player gaming.
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