In 2012, a secret message was revealed to persistent Dream Drop Distance players on the Nintendo 3DS revealing to the world that not only will the past be reawakened as a new number in never-before-seen detail (HD Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Heart II), but we were promised that this was all to prepare us for the awakening of the next number. It is now 2016, four years have passed since the message was first read and we’re now two HD remakes deep in the lore of Kingdom Hearts, with one last installment to go. Could The Final Chapter Prologue be worthy of tiding hungry fans over until Kingdom Hearts III’s release?
For anyone who has not yet seen the E3 2016 demo for Kingdom Hearts 2.8, specifically A Fragmentary Passage demo, then you should know that this small chapter (the equivalent length of a single world in Kingdom Hearts III) will act as a preview for what’s to come in Kingdom Hearts III. Already the game looks and plays like a flawless fiddle, with both Kingdom Hearts: Back Cover and A Fragmentary Passage, running on Unreal Engine 4, giving the game and the cinematics a brand new stylized look (if you couldn’t already tell.) This not only propels Kingdom Hearts into the current age of gaming (graphically) but it also give fans a tease on the direction of where Kingdom Hearts III’s style, look and gameplay will be heading.
If graphics and new gameplay mechanics are not enough to get you hopping on-board the Kingdom Hearts 2.8 bandwagon, then maybe co-director Tai Yasue’s story connection between A Fragmentary Passage and the beginning of Kingdom Hearts III will. According to Yasue, during an interview with PlayStation Access, Aqua’s story of sorrow and torment during her time in the Dark World will act as a bridge to Kingdom Hearts III. Her destiny will directly intertwine with that of Sora’s and Yasue suggested that learning about her adventure into the Dark World will give meaning to the start of Kingdom Hearts III’s story.
If Tasue’s story connection reveal is still not enough to get you reaching into your back pocket for another Kingdom Hearts game that doesn’t have the roman numeral III behind it, than I only have one last temptation for you. Since the very first Kingdom Hearts game, the series has always been tricky about hiding its secrets just below the surface. Only the very skilled and determined Kingdom Hearts fans have ever discovered (the rest of the community being informed via YouTube videos) that each game has held a secret ending that lead/teased the next games installment. Kingdom Hearts had a cut-scene that lead into 358/2 Day, Kingdom Hearts II had a secret cutscene that lead into Birth by Sleep, Birth by Sleep had a secret cutscene that lead into Dream Drop Distance and now it’s only logical that either, A.) Dream Drop Distance will have a new secret ending leading into KHIII or B.) A Fragment Passage will harbor the secret ending upon completing a certain requirement level in-order to unlock it.
If you are a huge die-hard Kingdom Hearts fan like myself and many, many others, then picking up a copy of Kingdom Hearts 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue is essential and completing it to its fullest extant is a requirement for the slightest possibility that the game will reveal the newest secret movie or at least unveil a new secret message that will lead into Kingdom Hearts III. Nevertheless, whether you are for 2.8 or against, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 holds more than just another addition to the Kingdom Hearts line-up. 2.8 was being made alongside III, which as of the writing of this article is moving along right on track in regards to the games development. Square is also planning on making a big announcement during winter, which I desperately hope is an official trailer tied with an concrete release date because at this point what else could it possibly be?