To say that this week’s news of a Kingdom Hearts 3 release window is a long time coming would be a massive understatement. Fans have been waiting to get their hands on a proper follow-up to Kingdom Hearts 2 for quite some time, and now they are (at most) 17 months away from doing so.
But why exactly Kingdom Hearts 3 took so long to develop is still weighing on the minds’ of many fans around the world. After all, the sequel was announced nearly four years ago, and most games take far less than that to come out.
Speaking at D23 Expo, Kingdom Hearts 3 director Tetsuya Nomura shed a little light on the protracted development of Square Enix’s new game. As Nomura explains it, there were many factors that delayed Kingdom Hearts 3 throughout its development, including a switch from a proprietary game engine to Unreal Engine 4.
He also says that personnel planning played a part in the long development, meaning that Square Enix didn’t have enough manpower allocated to the project to get it done in a timely fashion. As a major publisher, Square has a lot of projects in the works at any one time, and apparently Kingdom Hearts 3’s team may not have got the attention it needed while those other projects were finished.
Nomura even suggests that, while Kingdom Hearts 3 may have been announced at E3 2013, it may not have entered full development until later. In most cases, publishers and developers like to announce games relatively close to the end of development, but for Kingdom Hearts 3 Square Enix may have been putting the cart before the horse.
At this point, why Kingdom Hearts 3 is taking so long to develop is a non-issue. The game finally has a release year, and that’s likely all that matters for fans. Many had probably thought that the game would never release, but now Square Enix has set the record straight.
Of course, there are plenty that think 2018 is unrealistic for a developer that tends to delay its biggest projects. Even when Square goes out of its way to confirm a release date, like the studio did with Final Fantasy 15, they often announce a day, even if it is a short one.
Kingdom Hearts 3 releases 2018 for PS4 and Xbox One.