On paper the Kingdom Hearts series may sound like a bit of an oddball - mixing the epic fantasy role-playing game world of Final Fantasy with the cute and cuddly, family-friendly Disney stories and characters sounds like it shouldn't work. But, umpteen games and spin-offs later, the series, with it's twisting and turning tale of friendship, loss and weapons shaped like giant keys won it a place in the hearts of many, from the first game's Playstation 2 roots back in 2002 to the upcoming end to the trilogy-in-ten-parts, Kingdom Hearts III.
One of the biggest parts of the Kingdom Hearts series is it's strong Disney influence - together with your party members, Donald and Goofy, you travel to all kinds of worlds inspired by hit Disney films, from Cinderella to Aladdin to Pirates of the Caribbean, and many, many more in between. It's been a good few years since we had a 'proper' main entry Kingdom Hearts game though - and in that time there's been a heck of a lot of new Disney films, so it comes as little surprise that one of their newer tales has made it's way into the upcoming Disney-themed role-playing game.
Revealed at last night's Square Enix press conference, the frying pan-whacking, smoulder-breaking, horse sword-fighting world of Tangled is coming to Kingdom Hearts III! Showing off lush green fields, vast cliff faces and tumbling waterfalls - and, of course, Rapunzel's tower - the world of Tangled looks exactly as you'd expect (although sadly, with no sign of Flynn Ryder or Maximus the horse), but, as always, it's been overrun by the usual Heartless enemies, who find their way into each Disney world and cause chaos, altering the story from the one which we know.
Of course, there's always more to these trailers than meets the eye, and delving below the surface showed us a few things - first, Sora's traditional Keyblade weapon now appears to be able to transform, as he switched from sword to dual pistols to a heavier, rocket-launcher-esque cannon thing on the fly during one battle. We also got a glimpse of some fancy special attacks, which include summoning a giant light up pirate ship to plough through enemies, a fun-looking set of spinning teacups, fresh out of a theme park ride and an amazing flying chariot complete with winged horse. And, a boss fight against a rather large stone golem thing showed Sora riding in what looked like an electrical parade version of the Big Thunder Mountain train in another potential reference to the Disney theme parks - something the game's producer assured us there'd be plenty more of.
There's also some hints at story too, with the opening showing two guys playing chess, talking about 'the Lost Masters' and the 'Keyblade War' - two things which should be instantly familiar to anyone who's played through the previous instalments. While we know the 'Keyblade War' as the world-dividing battle that took place many years before the events of the games, we're not too sure who 'the Lost Masters' are, save that they were apparently the ones that started the legendary war - and, given Kingdom Hearts' infamously complex and convoluted story, we're not sure we'd like to speculate either. Later, they talk about how the future has already been decided, how darkness will prevail and that light shall expire, as if referring to some kind of prophecy. But, the dark-haired figure cautions the other on discounting light so easily, as there's 'more to light than meets the eye' - perhaps eluding to the likely outcome, once Sora and co get involved. Whether it's the potentially prophesised Second Keyblade War, which series bad guy Master Xehanort has been trying to start for a while in order to get control of the world of Kingdom Hearts, or simply more details about the first one, we don't know.
Unfortunately, there's no word on a release date as of yet - all we got was a vague "Now in Development" at the end of the trailer. All we really know is that Kingdom Hearts III will be available on both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One at some point in the future, supposedly wrapping up the story of all the previous games and spin offs to bring the current story arc, but not the series as a whole, to a close. In the meantime, why not check out last night's glimpse at the game below: