Haley Joel Osment Is More Excited for 'Kingdom Hearts III' Than You Are

"We went a lot of places emotionally with the character that I think are going to be new for the series."

For many Kingdom Hearts fans, the release of Kingdom Hearts III represents the culminating moment for a journey that’s lasted almost two decades, smashing various Disney worlds and Final Fantasy elements together along the way. Plenty of gamers have grown up dreaming about the first main entry since KHII came out in 2005 — perhaps most of all, Haley Joel Osment, who’s voiced series protagonist Sora since the very beginning.

Not just because he’s a fan of the series, but because now fans will finally stop asking him when Kingdom Hearts III is coming out.

“It’s really crazy to look back over almost 20 years and all the installments we did in that game,” Osment tells Inverse. “It’s wild because it’s maybe one of the most far-reaching things I’ve ever done.”

Osment first gained fame as the little boy who sees dead people opposite Bruce Willis’ haunting performance in Sixth Sense, but Osment says he gets more fan questions about Kingdom Hearts than anything else.

Kingdom Hearts III Goofy and Sora
In the Kingdom Hearts series, Sora's best friends and traveling companions are Disney icons Goofy and Donald Duck.

Inverse caught up with Osment earlier this month to talk about the second season of Future Man, Hulu’s lowbrow-brilliant time-traveling sci-fi series on which he plays an immortal A.I. that wants to send humanity to Mars. But Osment also regaled us with stories about voicing Sora over the years.

“I remember I was in a play in Philadelphia like seven or eight years ago and they would have a matinee with students from area schools to watch it,” Osment says, speaking of his time playing Ken in John Logan’s Tony Award-winning Red. “The play was about Mark Rothko so it was sort of educational. In the Q&A session, there’d always be someone asking, ‘When is Kingdom Hearts III coming out!?’ That’s what kids wanted to know.”

Now, almost eight full years later, Kingdom Hearts III is finally coming out.

“I’m excited for it. People have really grown up with the game series — I definitely have grown up with it,” Osment says.

When he started as Sora, Osment was 12 and Sora, 14. Now, Osment is 30 and Sora’s roughly 17. That growing age gap might seem like a challenge, but it’s actually made things easier.

“Getting my voice back down to teenage pitch has always been a challenge,” Osment says. “Weirdly, it’s easier now that my voice has reached its final stage. When I was doing this game as a teenager, my voice was still changing. That was a lot more difficult because I think back then we were still making Sora like 12 years old and I was like 17 doing it.”

Osment spent most of 2018 recording his lines as Sora, so he’s perhaps more familiar with the story than anyone, for now.

“The graphics and the worlds, the new ones that they have in this installment are just incredible!” he says.

We know for sure that Kingdom Hearts III will visit worlds from Frozen, Tangled, and Big Hero 6, but when pressed to reveal more, Osment wouldn’t spoil the surprise.

Kingdom Hearts III Frozen
The world of Pixar's 'Frozen' is among the new worlds featured in 'Kingdom Hearts III', but there might be more surprises for players.

“It’s intense! It’s that culminating third act. The stakes are extremely high,” he says “We went a lot of places emotionally with the character that I think are going to be new for the series.”

The end of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance saw Sora stripped of all his power. So at the start of Kingdom Hearts III, he’s on a quest to get it back. He’ll need to, because there’s a war coming with Master Xehanort and the new Organization XIII that might lead to a certain kind of apocalypse involving Keyblades, various Disney worlds being destroyed, and a lot of jargon about how hearts can be fractured to create different kinds of monsters.

At its core, Kingdom Hearts has always focused on the value of love and friendship above all else, which is why various Disney worlds make for such a good fit. But this time around, things might get a little more dark if the fate of all worlds is at stake.

Kingdom Hearts III will be released January 29, 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Sora explores the world of 'Frozen' in this trailer.
Media via Square Enix, Hulu