Kingdom Hearts III was announced in 2013, and it’s still very much in development. In a recent interview with Dengeki PlayStation, as translated on KHInsider, game director Tetsuya Nomura confirmed its arrival is still on track despite the upcoming release of Kingdom Hearts 2.8.

In the years following Kingdom Hearts III’s reveal, fans of the franchise have been privy to several remasters of previous titles culminating in 2.8. Even though these projects were handled in house at Square Enix, Nomura doesn’t see them as a distraction to development. “In light of the remastered versions, it does not affect the progress of Kingdom Hearts III, and the amount of staff falls into a good number,” he said. He later reiterated that fans should “be relieved to know it is progressing forward as well as the timing for the announcement of new information.”

As for when that new information will arrive, an interview with the same publication from June suggested something around January or the spring. “I think I will report new information on Kingdom Hearts III along with the release of Kingdom Hearts 2.8,” Nomura mused this summer. Since everything is supposedly still on track, we anticipate an update on or around Jan. 12, 2017, the release date of 2.8.

Beyond a small hint of progress, the chat didn’t focus too much more on Kingdom Hearts III. That being said, it was teased that players will be able to use a new and integral combat system called Situation Commands that are essentially an evolution of the quick-time Action Commands in Kingdom Hearts II. Also drawn from its predecessors, Nomura mentioned that Sora will have to level up his magic abilities instead of having access to strong spells from the start. This is not true, however, in the new portion of Kingdom Hearts 2.8.

Speaking of which, in terms of plot, we now know the events of the third installment’s prologue will take place after the story of Kingdom Hearts III has begun. This makes sense given that the new interlude section was originally a scrapped vertical slice from the complete game.

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 contains a remastered version of 2012’s Kingdom Hearts 3D, as well as cinematics called Back Cover and a totally new segment known as A Fragmentary Passage. The latter is about the length of one world in Kingdom Hearts III. That set will be followed by a Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 HD remaster collection for PS4 in March. It features the series’ first six games on a single disc.

Kingdom Hearts III is in development for PS4 and Xbox One.
When do you think the release date of Kingdom Hearts III will be? Are you excited for Kingdom Hearts 2.8? Tell us in the comments section!