After what feels like decades — because it’s close to legitimately being decades — we’re finally getting a new main entry in the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Square-Enix confirmed at E3 2018 that Kingdom Hearts III is coming in early 2019, and even though we got plenty of new footage at the conference, the Final Fantasy-Disney mashup franchise remains as inscrutable as ever.
If you’ve only ever played the first two main entries in the franchise, then you’re going to be totally lost when Kingdom Hearts III comes out, at least in terms of the main story. If you’re just showing up because you want to fight your way through beloved Disney worlds, then all that really matters is knowing exactly what movies and stories you’ll be able to enter in the game.
So what worlds will Sora, Donald, and Goofy travel to on this next adventure? Some are familiar, but others are totally new:
The Kingdom of Arendelle from Frozen
Kingdom Hearts III got an entire trailer at E3 2018 devoted to Disney’s Frozen, and the new world set in the kingdom of Arendelle popped up in the other trailers as well.
Sora encounters Elsa from Frozen in a sequence that loosely adapts the plot from the movie. Elsa is seen fleeing because both she and her people are afraid of her ice powers. Sora’s kind nature and unstoppable enthusiasm will inevitably supplant Frozen’s original plot as they fight the Heartless together and gain some self-confidence.
Sora also encounters Olaf, Ana, and Kristoff in a separate scene, so expect to meet just about every character from the movie. They’ll seemingly all have the same voice actors, too.
Port Royal from Pirates of the Caribbean
Sora, Donald, and Goofy first ventured to a World called “Port Royal” in Kingdom Hearts II which loosely adapted the plot of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. For Kingdom Hearts III, Sora encounters Captain Jack Sparrow once again, this time while the pirate sails the sandy seas originally featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End movie.
Based on the E3 Pirates-focused trailer from Sony, Kingdom Hearts III totally steals the ship-to-ship combat system pioneered by Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and reused for Ubisoft’s upcoming Skull & Bones.
The Kingdom of Corona from Tangled
Several of the E3 trailers also showed footage of Sora interacting with Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled. Though based on a German fairy tale, the Disney movie takes place in the fictional kingdom of Corona. It looks like Kingdom Hearts III might tell its own version of the events from the movie, complete with cool hair tricks like the one featured above.
Some scenes even feature Rapunzel with her hair cut to ankle-length, so this one might be a fairly lengthy adventure.
Um … Ratatouille?
During the Square-Enix showcase at E3, the company revealed a short piece of footage in which the rat Remy from Ratatouille cooked by controlling Sora via the hair, much like the critter does in the movie.
It’s tough to say if Remy is simply a summon Sora can use during battle, if this is a mini-game sort of experience akin to Hundred Acre Wood, or if this is part of a fully-fledged trip to modern day Paris in which rats can talk. We’re hoping for that third option, but the most likely explanation is that Remy exists in some in-between place like Twilight Town.
An Entire World Based on Toy Story
Previous footage from D23 Japan Expo seemingly followed the very first Toy Story, and new scenes take the action over to the Pizza Planet Arcade. Sora, Donald, and Goofy get transformed into toys, which is always a welcome and fun costume alteration.
So what will they actually call this world in the Kingdom Hearts universe, because you can’t just call it “Andy’s Room,” right? Maybe they’ll go with “The Toy Box”?
Monstropolis from Monsters, Inc.
Also previously revealed at D23 Japan Expo is a world based on Monstropolis from the Monters, Inc. universe. Sora, Donald, and Goofy take the forms of different monsters. Because they encounter Boo, you can safely assume this will overlap with the original movie.
San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6’
Though we didn’t get any confirmation in any E3 footage, way back in 2015 during D23 Expo, Disney released concept art for Kingdom Hearts III that featured Sora riding Baymax and fighting an evil-looking Baymax that’s probably some kind of Heartless. At the time, Big Hero 6 producer Roy Conli said that this story in Kingdom Hearts III takes place after the events of the movie, so it might actually share a legitimate continuity, which would be a first for the crossover video game series.
Olympus Coliseum From Hercules Is Back, Because It’s the Best
We haven’t seen much about potential returning worlds from past games, but seeing Hercules in action throughout E3 trailers was a welcome sight. It looks like Olympus might be crumbling in a new scene as Herc holds up a wall. It’s unclear exactly what’s going on, but this is seemingly the only confirmed world that’s returning.
Kingdom Hearts 3 will be released on January 29, 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.