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Kingdom Hearts 3DS Named, Trailered and Discussed

Tetsuya Nomura hints that new title will lead in to Kingdom Hearts 3.

Kingdom Hearts 3D enters the spotlight.

Yesterday's Square Enix 1st Production Department Premier event was almost wholly focused on the Final Fantasy franchise. But Kingdom Hearts did get some mention through PSP's Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix and the 3DS game formerly known as Kingdom Hearts 3D.

Taking the stage at the event, Birth by Sleep co-director Yasushi Yasue introduced a new trailer for Final Mix, which hits retail on the 20th. Development on the Final Mix version started around Spring of last year, said Yasue. He highlighted such features as varied missions, speedy and refreshing action, the addition of new powerful enemies and some content that will allow players to guess at future developments for the series (this is presumably in reference to the new post-game secret movie, which Tetsuya Nomura has mentioned in past interviews).

The look at Birth By Sleep was followed by an update on Kingdom Hearts 3D. The 3DS title now has a final name: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

Yasue shared a new trailer for the game, which you can view here:

As with most of the conference trailers, an official version of this will be available at the newly opened official site on the 27th.

Regarding the Dream Drop Distance name, Yasue said that there are many ways to interpret it. One interpretation involves some of the game's action elements -- "Dropping" from heights, for instance, and "Distance" coming from the gameplay that makes use of the 3D and the ability to move long distances by, for example, kicking off walls continuously. You can see these elements in the trailer.

"We want to place particular focus on the form of the new Kingdom Hearts action," said Yasue. "We want to give the game the feel of breaking speed. We're doing a lot of trials on the development hardware, and when you actually play it, the control feel will be even better than it looks."

The play style will see some differences from past Kingdom Heats games, continued Yasue. You'll be switching off between Sora and Riku as you advance. Birth by Sleep also had a multi hero system, but here it looks like you'll be switching between the characters frequently after brief periods of play. "The strategy and tempo all have a fresh feel," said Yasue.

Tetsuya Nomura, the game's director, previously mentioned the importance of switching off between the two characters.

Nomura was not at the conference, but he did deliver a message via a press release following the event. "As always, we'll have plenty of surprises," Nomura said of the game's story. "To show these surprises, we selected the 3DS, which is hardware that lets us challenge new things."

Of particular note in Nomura's statement is that he referred to the game's storyline as "the prologue for the final battle as the story approaches the final stages for the current series just ahead of the Kingdom Hearts series' 10th anniversary."

Nomura's comments are in line with statements he's made in past interviews. Back in November, he hinted that Kingdom Hearts 3D's storyline would lead into the story of the eventual Kingdom Hearts III. Earlier in the year, he made vague references to Kingdom Hearts being comprised of multiple series.

Although it has a final name, Kingdom Hearts 3D does not have a release time frame. However, with Birth By Sleep exiting the picture this Thursday, Square Enix's focus will presumably be shifting to the new game. Magazines are scheduled to have previews of the game in their next issues, presumably coinciding with next week's official site trailer showing, so expect to hear more about Kingdom Hearts 3D shortly.

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