A huge new game starring Disney’s biggest characters is nearly out — here’s what you need to know about ‘Kingdom Hearts 3’

  • A huge new Disney game is almost here: “Kingdom Hearts 3” arrives on January 29.
  • The game features a massive cast of Disney characters, many of whom are instrumental to the game’s story.
  • Even if you’ve never played a “Kingdom Hearts” game before, there’s plenty of reasons to be excited for the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game.

It’s rare that a game comes along where Disney’s all-star cast of characters – from Mickey Mouse to Buzz Lightyear to Bambi – all play a part.

“Kingdom Hearts 3” is an exception.

When the game arrives on January 29 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, players will take on the role of Sora as he finishes his multi-game journey. Whether you’re new to the series or a longtime fan, there are plenty of good reasons to be excited for the upcoming game.

Here’s a quick primer to get you started:

Other than the central heroes — protagonist Sora and his friends Riku and Kairi — the majority of other characters in “Kingdom Hearts 3” are major Disney characters.

As you see here, Sora’s with Goofy and Donald Duck — his party members — in a world based on ‘Frozen.’ Disney/Square Enix

And yes: One of those characters is Mickey Mouse himself.


Notably, you don’t play as those major Disney characters. The main playable character in “Kingdom Hearts 3” is Sora, who wields a weapon called a “Keyblade.”

Sora is apparently big into stylish luggage. Disney/Square Enix

The “Kingdom Hearts” franchise is a mash-up of Disney’s biggest characters with the design sensibility of Japanese gaming powerhouse Square Enix – the folks behind “Final Fantasy.”

The reason that Sora looks like a “Final Fantasy” character is because he was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, the man behind the original look of the “Final Fantasy” series. The general vibe of the “Kingdom Hearts” series is a distinct mix of Eastern and Western artistic history.

Sora can and will team up with his faithful sidekicks Donald Duck and Goofy for team attacks during combat, as you can see below:

Thanks Goofy! Disney/Square Enix

Though combat appears complex, the “Kingdom Hearts” series employs relatively simplified role-playing game mechanics mixed with hack-and-slash action game mechanics.

What that means for players is an accessible, streamlined system that makes even the least experienced among us look pretty good.

Sometimes those enemies are massive, like this guy below:


And sometimes they’re smaller, as you can see here:

These guys are known as ‘Heartless,’ and they’re the main fodder enemies in ‘Kingdom Hearts 3.’ Disney/Square Enix

There are plenty of specifics to know, but the basic plot of “Kingdom Hearts 3” is simple to understand: A battle of good versus evil. This gentleman is the antagonist:

His name is ‘Master Xehanort,’ and he looks like a bad dude. Just look at that goatee! Sinister! Disney/Square Enix

How that battle plays out is up to you — and a massive cast of Disney characters:

Stitch, of ‘Lilo & Stitch’ fame, is a ‘Link’ character — essentially a summon, in the style of ‘Final Fantasy.’ Disney/Square Enix

Characters like Stitch are employed by Sora during battle, and offer various benefits. Sometimes they heal your party members, and sometimes they deal a devastating blow, and any number of other things.

In the case of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends below, it looks like Hundred Acre Wood is one of many stops you’ll make in “Kingdom Hearts 3”:


There’s a whole trailer featuring Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends, which you can watch below:

Each of their worlds is realised in its own art style, which lends the game a real visual vibrancy. Captain Jack Sparrow and his friends from “The Pirates of the Caribbean” also play a central role, and their world is rendered more realistically:


There’s also a dedicated “Pirates of the Caribbean” trailer, which you can watch right here:

The franchise is known for accessible combat and a relatively low difficulty level overall, so this one is great for Disney fans of most ages:

For children under eight, it may be too complicated. Disney/Square Enix

Though there are certain story elements that might be a bit too complicated for some younger kids, and some gameplay that may be a bit too difficult, “Kingdom Hearts 3” is directly aimed at a younger audience.

Plenty of adults will buy and enjoy “Kingdom Hearts 3,” no doubt, but this is a game made with accessibility in mind.

The game is scheduled to launch on January 29 on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — it costs $US60.

If previous games in the franchise are any indication, ‘Kingdom Hearts 3’ is likely to occupy at least a few dozen hours of your time. Square Enix/Disney

Disney and Square Enix have only shown off a handful of different worlds thus far, and there are certain to be many more in the final game.

Personally, I’m holding out hope for a “Star Wars” world! Disney is Disney, right? We’ll see soon enough!

For a closer look at the game’s combat, check out this combat-focused trailer:

And for a closer look at the game’s overall story, check out this trailer right here: