It’s January 2019, which means it’s the release month for Kingdom Hearts III. And although there are a fair number of people online trying to spoil the game before it’s released thanks to last month’s leaks (hey, Red Dead Redemption 2 players, what say you to some outlaw justice?), there are still plenty of places to go to get spoiler-free information on the upcoming title.

One such place, oddly enough, is the website for the news magazine Newsweek. In an article posted Jan. 2, writer Steven Asarch interviewed Kingdom Hearts III Co-Director Tai Yasue. While there are a few takeaways to be had from the article, possibly the biggest one has to deal with the Disney worlds featured in the games.

Talking to Asarch, Yasue said the team has no more surprise Disney worlds to announce. Which means the eight revealed Disney worlds that have been shown to us thus far; Olympus (Hercules), The Caribbean (Pirates of the Caribbean), 100 Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), Toy Box (Toy Story), Monstropolis (Monsters, Inc.), Kingdom of Corona (Tangled), Arendelle (Frozen) and San Fransokyo (Big Hero 6), is all we’re going to get.

Looking at the mainline titles, Kingdom Hearts III is not even going to feature as many Disney worlds as the original game (nine) or its sequel (12). And while this is no secret, as Creator Tetsuya Nomura said he was not going to feature as many worlds as he did in Kingdom Hearts II, those who had their hearts set on revisiting places like Agrabah or visiting new worlds based on Wreck-it Ralph or Treasure Planet probably feel some degree of disappointment.

However, even with the lower world count, I can’t say as though I feel like we’re getting stiffed. With Kingdom Hearts III, the focus has seemed to be on quality rather than quantity. Nomura, and Yasue as well, have promised that the scale of these worlds will be greatly expanded. You can see this with the exploration of Olympus including the titular mountain and the city of Thebes, or with the ship battles of The Caribbean, to name a couple.

Staying on the topic of the playable Disney worlds, Yasue said they picked worlds that not only excited them, but offered a variety in gameplay. Whether it’s sledding on Goofy’s shield in Arendelle or hopping into a toy mech in Toy Box, the development team has seemed to stay true to its promise of opening up different avenues of gameplay in Kingdom Hearts III.

When asked about his favorite feature in Kingdom Hearts III, Yasue mentioned the Gummi Ship segments. Having already seen significant change from Kingdom Hearts to Kingdom Hearts II, it looks like the Gummi Ship is getting yet another overhaul. Yasue said players will have complete freedom in exploring the vast universe; not just in finding the new worlds, but in discovering hidden treasure and secret enemies as well.

Yasue added the ability to build and customize Gummi Ships has been greatly expanded, offering more materials and parts than before. For you Lego and Minecraft fans out there, this seems right up your alley.

Another little nugget of information that has me nodding in approval is the inclusion of a “Memory Archive.” As it has been nearly 17 years since the release of the first game, Yasue said Kingdom Hearts III will include several short movies that will explain the story of Kingdom Hearts from the beginning. While this is certainly a feature for newer players, it may also serve as a suitable refresher for longtime fans as well.

When the game finally drops on Jan. 29, gamers will have the opportunity to confirm Yasue’s statements for themselves. It’s been a long wait, but it’s nearly over.

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GP Sean

GP Sean is an avid JRPG gamer, having immersed himself in the genre for nearly 30 years. When he isn't smacking down Heartless or thwarting the machinations of Kefka, Sephiroth and the like, you can usually find him kicking back and watching some anime. Some of his favorites include Gurren Lagann and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. He also holds in high regard the Fruits Basket manga (don't judge.)

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