At E3 2013, Square Enix tore the house down with the confirmation that Kingdom Hearts 3 was finally in active development. Yes, the developer didn’t have much to say about the highly anticipated sequel, but even a short teaser trailer was enough to get fans excited.
However, with that initial announcement came a lot of questions. How far into development was the game? How would it differ from past games? Which characters would return?
Even if there was a lot of mystery, most felt safe knowing, at least based on the first gameplay trailer, that Kingdom Hearts 3 would retain its familiar art style. Well, that may no longer be the case, as the sequel has now reportedly jumped to Unreal Engine 4.
According to Kingdom Hearts 3 director Tetsuya Nomura, who just recently jumped from the Final Fantasy 15 team to Kingdom Hearts, the Luminous Engine was posing too many problems for the development team. As a result, Nomura’s team decided it best to take the project over to UE 4. They even sought help from Epic Games so as to bypass any problems they might encounter with the engine.
However, now that Kingdom Hearts is in development on a new engine, we can’t help but wonder if the game’s signature look might undergo any changes. Unreal Engine tends to have a pretty distinct look of its own, but we’ve seen it adapted to suit more than just gritty shooters. Obviously, it’s going to help the game in some pretty important ways, but we doubt fans would be happy if the cartoon-y look of the characters is in any way changed. All they seem to want is a current-gen version of the game they know and love.
It’s also worth pointing out that if Kingdom Hearts 3 is only just now switching to a new engine, then the game is likely not as far along as fans hoped. Nomura tried to reassure fans that everything is still on schedule, but says he is currently working on choices for the worlds and outfits. To us, that sounds like Kingdom Hearts 3 is still at least two years away.
Are you surprised that Kingdom Hearts is switching to Unreal Engine? Do you think it will significantly change the game’s look?
Kingdom Hearts 3 currently has no release date.