Kingdom Hearts III

Key events

Kingdom Hearts 3 has been in development for what feels like an eternity, and though there have been various teases, trailers and hints dropped over the years, we've somehow yet to see anything substantial about the game. Until now, as yesterday in Santa Monica Square Enix invited us to go hands on with the latest mainline instalment of its bafflingly complex Final Fantasy/Disney mash-up series. There were two playable sections on offer; one short section in the Olympus Coliseum world battling a huge Titan boss, and a much longer, expanded section in Toy Box, the Toy Story themed world. The demo in Olympus Coliseum heavily featured the new wall-scaling autorun mechanic, with Sora, Goofy and Donald scaling sheer cliff faces as the Titan pelted rocks at them from above, and culminated in a boss battle with the Titan on the summit, with Sora summoning the Big Magic Mountain attraction to finish it off, which looked pretty incredible. There were some camera issues as the framing struggled to keep up with Sora in confined stretches of the cliff face and when it was vying for space with the Titan at the top of the mountain, but it was a fun showcase of the new features in KH3's combat, including key blade transformations and the bombastic attractions.

Face-Off: Kingdom Hearts 3 vs Toy Story

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Kingdom Hearts 3 vs Toy Story

Have real-time console graphics finally surpassed Pixar's CG classic?

Toy Story: the first full-length computer-generated feature, and a revolution in animated film. In 1995 it was a landmark moment for cinema, but it also caused big waves in the videogame industry. Around the time of PlayStation 2's launch in 2000, the visual quality of the original Toy Story became a kind of benchmark, a lofty goal developers strived to hit in their games, even if it quickly transpired to be a vain pursuit. Sadly, there was nowhere near the graphical horsepower in PS2 to achieve such pristine image quality in real time. But two console generations on, do we now finally have the power to match - or exceed - the visual quality of Pixar's iconic movie?

Premiering at Disney's D23 expo, a new six-minute trailer for Square-Enix's Kingdom Hearts 3 may finally provide the answer. The setup is simple enough: Sora and friends are thrown into a new Toy Story-themed level, where really, it's hard not to draw contrasts with the original film - and indeed its more visually advanced sequels. It starts with the characters: Woody is a great example, and it's clear Square-Enix has gone to great pains to mimic the textures and geometric detail of the original model. It's uncannily close.

It's fair to say Toy Story is a more viable target to hit than more modern CG films. For example, it helps massively that the focus of the movie was on toys after all, meaning a PS4 in this case mainly has to render simple, undemanding plastic materials. The colour tone is basic, and even that reflective glossy layer on Woody shows up under light. It's a simplicity that made toys a perfect subject for a full-length feature project, back when CG animation was in its infancy. By extension though, it makes it all the easier for Square Enix to replicate these models on today's hardware - but crucially, now in real time.

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It's been oppressively hot in the UK this week, with temperatures reaching the highest point in June for 40 years. Anyone who knows me will recall that I don't much enjoy being in direct sunlight, much less an oven, so much of the week was spent scrambling to cool off in any way I can. With that in mind, this seemed like the perfect time to make Sea Salt Ice Cream from Kingdom Hearts, as requested by so many viewers of our weekly cooking show, Chiodini's Kitchen.

New Kingdom Hearts 3 gameplay trailer shows off Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy

Square Enix's long in development crossover action RPG Kingdom Hearts 3 is finally back in the spotlight, this time with a new trailer.

The new trailer, below, was revealed during Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour in Los Angeles. It shows Sora in a new form, Donald Duck and Goofy, who all help Hercules battle various forms of Heartless on Mount Olympus.

Disney villains Hades, Maleficent and Pete also pop up to discuss the location of a mysterious black box.

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Here's some hardcore Kingdom Hearts 3 gameplay

Kingdom Hearts 3 stole the show during Square Enix's E3 2015 press conference, with a trailer that mixed cut-scenes with fast-paced combat.

The video, below, gives us a good look at how the Square Enix-developed Disney crossover action role-playing game is coming along. It's due out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but doesn't yet have a release date.

Kingdom Hearts 3 is set after the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and sees the return of protagonist Sora, who is joined by Donald Duck, Goofy, King Mickey and Riku. A new world based on Tangled is set to feature.

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Kingdom Hearts 3 PS4, Xbox One gameplay video

Kingdom Hearts 3 PS4, Xbox One gameplay video

I Sora flashy ability or two.

Here's a first real look at PS4 and Xbox One game Kingdom Hearts 3 in action.

The gameplay video shows returning spiky-haired hero Sora swiping at foes with his familiar Keyblade (oversized key) weapon. Apparently he can change the shape of his sword.

Sora also summons some impressive help in the shape of a Peter Pan-style pirate ship, lit with lots of coloured bulbs, and a rollercoaster straight out of a Disney theme park. He uses the latter to fight a giant rock monster.

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Kingdom Hearts 3 announced for PlayStation 4

Kingdom Hearts 3 announced for PlayStation 4

"Now in development", Square Enix says.

Square Enix has just announced Kingdom Hearts 3 for PlayStation 4 during Sony's E3 press conference.

The game is "now in development", Square Enix stated, although how far along is unclear.

There was also no word of the game being a Sony exclusive, so an Xbox One version is possible.

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