The big announcement to come for Kingdom Hearts fans at D23 was during the 'LevelUp!' games panel, which had game director Tetsuya Nomura show off a brand new world for KH fans to explore in Kingdom Hearts 3 when it releases sometime in the next three years. It is worth noting that they hinted at the 15th anniversary being a big deal, so maybe we'll be getting the game sooner than my grim soul has predicted? The 15th anniversary was technically back on March 28th, but we'll forgive them a few months won't we? We've waited this long.
Toy Story will be the latest Disney property to be brought into the KH universe. And it includes chocobos. Be still my beating heart.
Sora and pals get toy-ified in the new game world, and it looks like our fearless hero might be a little bit of a LEGO? Sora seems oddly squared out to me, but hey, he looks less dorky than usual which is always good. The toy versions of Sora, Donald, and Goofy are pretty awesome looking overall. But it has always been a bit interesting that you can track the age of a Kingdom Hearts character by the size of their shoes and that tradition is absolutely continuing in the third game. Oh, and the new gun ability for the keyblade looks fun as hell.
Xemnas is back, and we get to enter Andy's bedroom, and even get around some other familiar Toy Story locations, including a certain toy store.
The new trailer is below, but the best news from it is the following screen:
If you're busy fangirling alone at home, take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. The audience at the panel absolutely loved the announcement.
And once the trailer was over, the Toy Story film team stormed the stage, complete with a small army man skit which was adorable. The Pixar team seemed very happy to work with Square Enix, with more of them being "Kingdom Hearts fans than we expected." And the Toy Story storyline in KH3 will be an all-new story pitched by Nomura and approved by John Lasseter who was apparently "all over it."
The whole room got special KH3 dual-sided posters.
To celebrate the reveal, all players of Kingdom Hearts Unchained x[Cross] will get a powerful "KINGDOM HEARTS III Sora [EX]" Medal. This is the first time a character medal from Kindgom Hearts III has been added to the game. For one month (July 16 through August 16), all players can receive the never-before-seen medal by simply logging-into the game.
After the announcement was made, the official press release for Kingdom Hearts III's Toy Story trailer went out, which included the following statements from Nomura and Jason Katz of Pixar.
"At long last, we are excited to open up the Kingdom Hearts universe to include the world of Disney•Pixar's 'Toy Story,'" said Tetsuya Nomura, Director of the Kingdom Hearts series. "I'm sure fans have been anticipating the inclusion of this world for many years. The narrative will be an original story exclusive to Kingdom Hearts III, and the gameplay will feel characteristic of the 'Toy Story' style and aesthetic. Please stay tuned for more details to be revealed soon."
"Featuring a brand new storyline that brings together beloved 'Toy Story' friends with the heroes of Kingdom Hearts, the 'Toy Story' world in Kingdom Hearts III successfully mirrors the level of quality that we strive to achieve with every Pixar film," said Jason Katz, Story Supervisor, Pixar Animation Studios. "Kingdom Hearts III will undoubtedly be an experience that fans will not want to miss."