Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts III spent almost an entire decade in development, but between January 2020's "Re Mind" DLC, the mobile prequel Dark Road, and Melody of Memory's November 2020 release, it's clear that the franchise isn't going anywhere. So what's next for everyone's favorite Disney-Final Fantasy crossover?
Will there be a decade-long wait for the next mainline sequel? If Kingdom Hearts IV even happens, what will it be about?
Kingdom Hearts IV won't be the next Kingdom Hearts game that Square Enix releases, but here's everything we do know about the potential main title, along with some speculation about when it might be released and what it could entail — especially after some exciting new hints about a next-gen KH4 emerged in September 2020.
When is the Kingdom Hearts 4 release date?
As of this writing, Kingdom Hearts IV remains unconfirmed in any official capacity, but given the popularity of the franchise both within Square Enix and among the fan base, it feels inevitable. Given that it remains unannounced, it won't be released for at least several years unless some kind of incredible surprise happens. That surprise could be imminent, however.
In a September 2020 interview with Famitsu — and translated by Twitter user @aitakimochi — Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura offered a reminder that the series would celebrate its 20-year anniversary in 2022 and teased some kind of new project:
"So we'll just have to do our best for the 20th anniversary," Nomura said. "I've already shifted my thinking to the next installment, and the Kingdom Hearts team is already starting on something new. Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a game that comes before the next installment, so the main staff was able to assist with that."
It therefore seems like Nomura has started very early development on the next mainline title and the core development team is working on something else that's unannounced. That likely means that the next main KH game, whether that's Kingdom Hearts IV or not, probably won't be released until 2023 at the earliest.
"We still need some time with regards to mainline Kingdom Hearts," Nomura also said in a January 2020 Twitter response, so we'll have to wait several years at least.
Will there even be a Kingdom Hearts IV?
In an interview with Ultimania from early 2019, KH3 game director Tetsuya Nomura said he was "looking into the possibility of sandwiching [Kingdom Hearts IV] between [upcoming] works," but that "there's something that must be written before it."
He was probably referring to the Re Mind DLC or another project he's been working on like Final Fantasy VII Remake, but we can't be sure. It's entirely possible that writing of the next major KH title is already underway, but it's equally as possible that it will be stuck in some kind of development hell just like Kingdom Hearts III was for years.
The good news is that there will be other Kingdom Hearts games to fill that void between now and then.
Melody of Memory will be released in November 2020 and will serve as a narrative interquel between Kingdom Hearts III and whatever comes next.
What is the plot of Kingdom Hearts IV?
[Spoilers ahead for Kingdom Hearts III's Re Mind DLC]
From Re Mind’s secret ending, we can assume a few things about what could happen in the next game.
Firstly, the Master of Masters will play a much larger role, as will the remaining members of Organization XIII. The secret ending of Re Mind revealed that Luxord is somehow involved with the Master of Masters, an enigmatic and seemingly ancient character who may have been pulling the strings all along, making him an even bigger bad than Xehanort.
Future titles will likely have some focus on Yozora (voiced by Dylan Sprouse), a character introduced in Kingdom Hearts III as a fictional character within the Toy Story universe (yes that's three layers of fictional worlds). Yozora also appears as the final boss at the very end of the Re Mind DLC, delivering some cryptic threats and promises to Sora in an intense battle before he "wakes up" in his home reality in a scene that's reminiscent of the Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer. Many of the game's concepts and characters were repurposed in Final Fantasy XV, so all of these connections are bewildering, to say the least.
This could involve some kind of ongoing crossover with The World Ends With You universe as well. Sora has entered Shibuya multiple times thus far, each time he does, the viewer is shown Shibuya’s 104 building, a structure located only in The World Ends With You-verse.
We'll update this article with more information and theories about the future of Kingdom Hearts IV as the news comes.
Kingdom Hearts III: Re Mind is now available on PS4 and will launch on Xbox One February 25.