Sora and friends return to Nintendo handhelds with promises of new worlds`and 3D immersion.
Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts series is no stranger to Nintendo’s handhelds (Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the Game Boy Advance, 358/2 Days and Re: Coded for the DS) so it comes as no surprise that the next game will be on the 3DS. But rather than being a re-telling of a previous story, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance promises to have different gameplay mechanics, brand new worlds to explore and a hint of what’s to come in the future of the series.
The full details of the storyline in Dream Drop Distance have yet to be divulged. However, it is known that the game will take place after the end of Re: Coded. King Mickey has summoned Sora and Riku once more to participate in another adventure as they uncover the mysteries left behind by Ventus, Terra and Aqua in Birth by Sleep for the PSP. Kingdom Hearts’ creator Tetsuya Nomura has promised that while the game will explore familiar ground, it will be an original story tied to the entire series. The secret ending in Re: Coded hints as the possible story for Dream Drop Distance. In the available screenshots, the younger versions of the game’s protagonists, Sora and Riku, are seen instead of their older selves, this is tied to the narrative. The theme of the story has been confirmed to be "achieving the impossible", hence the subtitle “Dream Drop Distance”.
This also relates to the gameplay additions. The real time action-RPG mechanics look to remain the same. However, special attacks involving transportation, flying, and falling will be heavily incorporated into the battle engine. In the latest trailer, both Sora and Riku were able to perform acrobatic attacks and combo finishers onto a horde of Heartless. A group of flying Soras was also spotted and linked to the supernatural elements of this title. One element that has been confirmed is the ability to play as both Sora and Riku. Rather than playing separate scenarios, like in Chain of Memories, you will switch between characters when you least expect it. That means that while you may be playing as Sora in one world, an event may happen that will force you to switch back to Riku in another part of the world. Each character will tell their own side of the story, so Square Enix hopes that the connectivity will be dynamic and engaging.
Another feature announced for Dream Drop Distance was new worlds. The handheld games, save for Birth by Sleep, usually feature the same worlds seen in previous iterations of the series. Nomura has confirmed that this game will feature some brand new worlds, as well as returning ones. In the recent trailer, Sora was seen running through bells and jumping off a tower in a scene that resembles “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. The possibilities of worlds based on Pixar films have been mentioned. A piece of summon data found in Kingdom Hearts II showed models of Buzz and Woody from “Toy Story” as summon characters, so Dream Drop Distance may see a Toy Story world or elements.
On the data for Birth by Sleep, a completed but deleted world based on “The Jungle Book” was found, so there may be a possibility that the world will finally see its debut on Dream Drop Distance. Returning worlds confirmed so far are Traverse Town, Destiny Islands and Mysterious Tower.
In terms of 3DS technology use, nothing has been confirmed for Dream Drop Distance, except that the cutscenes will make use of 3D. The scene in which Sora jumps from the tower happens in the first person perspective, showing off the possibilities of the 3D visuals. Square Enix has mentioned that they have plans the 3DS’s other capabilities, so stay tuned for upcoming details.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance has yet to be given a release date for any region.