TOKYO, Japan — The Tokyo Game Show, an annual convention celebrating the near future of gaming, is about as big for Japan as E3 is for America. This year, many franchises were given the spotlight for a triumphant return, from Star Ocean 5 to Persona 5 to Dark Souls 3. But perhaps one of the most anticipated franchises present at this year’s showcase was the ever-popular Kingdom Hearts. With Kingdom Hearts 3 announced at last year’s E3 and another trailer teased at E3 of this year, it was a fair bet that we would see more news at TGS. What we did not expect was another sequel/prequel squeezing it’s way into the middle of the timeline.
Sporting the most convoluted story since the Metal Gear franchise, Kingdom Hearts is a hefty storytelling feat packed with enough plot to put the likes of Xenosaga to shame. It’s little wonder how the team at Square Enix was able to fit in a side story about Sora’s parents taking place roughly around the time of Kingdom Hearts 2.
In Kingdom Hearts 2.999/472 Nights -4x^3, you alternate control between Sora’s mother and father as they struggle to go about life after the disappearance of her son. Some of the screenshots shown include pulse-pounding action scenes involving battling hordes of Heartless, befriending beloved Disney characters, filing missing persons reports, and weeping openly in Sora’s unchanged room.
Kingdom Hearts 2.999/472 Nights -4x^3 is said to be the darkest in the franchise, with one scene requiring a successful quick time event execution to avoid becoming a raging alcoholic and descending into madness and resentment toward your spouse. Head of gameplay and story Tetsuya Nomura says that “[the game] deals with heavy themes such as loss, incredible amounts of stress, and resentment, and even goes as far as to offer the player an alternate ending to the franchise.” When informed that this would cause some players to feel as though the story is concluded and therefore abstain from purchasing Kingdom Hearts 3, Nomura coyly replied, “Oh… Hmm. Uhh… If players 100% the game they will unlock a secret scene, so please try to do your best. I can make no further announcements at this time, but please do try to complete the game.” He then turned slightly red and bowed graciously before answering questions from other reporters.
Kingdom Hearts 2.999/472 Nights -4x^3 is slated to release tentatively in Q3 2017.