"Kingdom Hearts 3" is coming soon...well sort of. The slow trickle of information regarding KH3 has only made matters worse, after learning that the release date is still years away. Square Enix released the first "Kingdom Hearts 3" trailer during the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo, and despite the excitement following the highly anticipate game, production has been slow and nearly nonexistent. The delay has been caused due to the creation of "Final Fantasy XV," Tetsuya Nomura serves as game director for both titles, meaning his focus is spilt. But in recent months it seems that "Final Fantasy 14" has taken precedent over "Kingdom Hearts 3" resulting in a seriously delayed release date.

"Kingdom Hearts 3" producer Shinji Hashimoto confirmed the lack of production on the game in a recent interview with IGN. Hashimonto stated that due to Nomura's focus on "Final Fantasy XV" there was simply no way to navigate around a delayed release date for "Kingdom Hearts 3." With the commercial success of "Final Fantasy," it makes sense that Square Enix has made its next installment a priority. Considering this, it is unlikely that KH3 will be released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One any earlier than 2015. Ouch. And to add insult to injury, a two-year wait is an optimistic prediction. While many fans believe that "Final Fantasy XV" will be released in 2014, this has yet to be confirmed.

But there is some good news, "Kingdom Hearts 3" is set to get some serious game-play upgrades. Recent reports claim that multiplayer capabilities and tournaments will be included in the next installment. The game is also rumored to include some natural progression, recognizing how the fans of the game have grown with the series. New hi-res images from KH3 reveal an older looking Sora. This is a welcomed inclusion, fans who have been playing the game since it's original installment are over a decade older and expecting more mature characters, the series has progressed for so many years that it is only practical that the characters will be older, thus interacting with more mature experiences.

Hashimoto discussed the progression and growth of not only the fans but of the characters, "The fact is that the main focus of the series is Sora and Riku; how their friendship develops, but also how they grow up," he says. "After so many years, the players' personal growth is closely tied to the game's story at this point, so that's the most important thing about the series and what we want to put into the game. For Kingdom Hearts III, players will be able to resurrect the happy memories they have from being teenagers when playing Kingdom Hearts III. So it's very contemplative, and will match the personal experiences of much of the audience very closely." Fans have been wanting to see the development of more mature relationships in the game. Especially with the protagonist, Sora, in past installments and the games subsequent spin-offs it seemed that Square Enix completely disregarded any potential for a possible romance between Sora and Kairi, maybe now that will change.

So with Square Enix's acknowledgment of their older "Kingdom Hearts 3" audience, how will the game transition while sticking to its roots? Hashmito reveals that it is all about balancing the new with the old. The games success will be based on its upgrades while still possessing the nostalgic feeling users have grown to love in "Kingdom Hearts." "While fans of Disney are usually quite young and Final Fantasy players are much older, they come together to create a Kingdom Hearts audience that's very unique. The feelings people have towards the series are so deep these days because they spent many of their teenage years, which is a very sensitive period of your personal life, with Kingdom Hearts."


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