Directly after the release of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix in Japan, Disney approached Tetsuya Nomura and pushed for a direct sequel. Despite enjoying the popularity, Nomura is a creative soul. He and his team were already hard at work at what we now know as Final Fantasy XV, Final Fantasy Versus XIII.
The minds which head Square-Enix often have colossal plans, which don't always translate properly into projects. Being focused on the next generation of consoles, Square opted to push all their resources into the development of a new game engine titled as Luminous Tools.
Square's idea was that once completed, this game engine would accelerate development on Final Fantasy XIII and Kingdom Hearts III. Long story short, the Luminous Tools (now called Luminous Engine) crippled development on both titles, resulting in a massive amount of wasted resources and large gaps of time between releases.
Now Kingdom Hearts III was finally the main focus of Square-Enix, and yet the evil demon of the Luminous Engine has shown itself once more. Attempting to adapt Kingdom Hearts III to the new engine was not a trivial task. By now, Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 had already the transformed game development in the West, setting new standards for game development. Unreal Engine 4 is responsible for being the base engine for great titles including Batman: Arkham City, Bioshock and Borderlands 2.
Swallowing the bullet, Square-Enix decided to scrap Luminous as a base and instead integrate some of its features into Unreal Engine 4, which will lead us to today. This means despite the enormous gap between releases, Kingdom Hearts III has been in development for only 4 years on the Unreal Engine.
During these final years, Square-Enix has been fantastic about releasing new information and trailers about Kingdom Hearts III. While we did not go into the exact detail regarding the long wait and the Final Fantasy series, more information can be found here.
Are you excited to finally get your hands on Kingdom Hearts III when it releases for Playstation 4 and Xbox One on January 25th, 2019? Let us know how you feel about Square-Enix decisions down in the comments below!