Brand new screens from Kingdom Hearts III confirm that the game will feature content from Pixar, specifically a summon inspired by the Toy Story series.
One of the reasons that fans love the Kingdom Hearts series is the way that it deftly uses the many characters and settings afforded by the partnership between Square-Enix and Disney. Even more than a decade into the franchise, there are still countless pieces of the Disney canon that are still left untouched.
New screenshots released today demonstrate that Kingdom Hearts III will explore a little more of the wider Disney landscape. One screen features the game’s protagonist Sora using a summon that bears a resemblance to the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride at Disneyland, according to a report from Gamespot.
Given its classic status, Toy Story has long been an IP that Kingdom Hearts fans have wanted to see in the game. Up until now, the franchise has largely focussed on Disney’s homegrown content, rather than that of companies the animation behemoth owns outright like Pixar.
It remains to be seen whether this summon ability will be the only Toy Story themed content that’s featured in the finished product. Indeed, if this is an indication that Square-Enix is being let loose on everything in the Disney wheelhouse, Kingdom Hearts III could well be the most varied instalment in the series to date.
Since the last mainline Kingdom Hearts game was released, Disney has made several major IP acquisitions. The company bought Pixar in 2006, followed by the addition of comic book stalwart Marvel in 2009 and the surprising purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012.
We already have confirmation of plans to use at least one other property obtained from this spending spree. Disney’s adaptation of Big Hero 6 — originally a comic book published by Marvel — is the basis of one of the worlds in Kingdom Hearts III.
That should confirm that Disney and Square-Enix are both open to expanding the scope of Kingdom Hearts, but doesn’t indicate that characters like Iron Man and Darth Vader are a given. Different franchises owned by Disney have very different deals in place, so it’s possible that certain IPs might be unavailable for use.
However, the inclusion of Toy Story content will no doubt please plenty of fans. With a Pixar reference like this included, it seems very likely that we’ll see more of the California-based studio’s output featured in the game — but we’ll perhaps have to wait a little longer for more details.
Kingdom Hearts III is set to release for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.