The new trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue reveals familiar gameplay from the HD updates, but also teases questions that will be answered. EW is breaking down the trailer here, including its ties to Kingdom Hearts 3 and the secrets that lead you there.
We begin the trailer with footage of the Kingdom Hearts Dream, Drop, Distance HD cut scenes and gameplay. “Complete this task and return here safely and I will name you both true masters,” commands Yen Sid. Players of the game, originally for the Nintendo 3DS, will remember the storyline following Riku and Sora after the events of Kingdom Hearts 2 as they work to become KeyBlade Masters. There is footage to show off the fresh HD update on the game, and only getting a controller in hand will prove how well the handheld game will port to a main console.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage is the brief continuation of the Birth by Sleep storyline. Aqua is still trapped in the realm of darkness and despite finding the sanctuary of a castle, the bridge crumbles before she can enter its gates. In this moment, the footage turns to gameplay, revealing similar move mechanics to what’s been revealed in previous Kingdom Hearts 3 trailers. Aqua gracefully slides down the shattered bridge and jumps from the end of its path, FlowMotion style. A tower of shadow Heartless confronts her, much like Sora encounters in the KH3 trailer Twilight Town footage. This potentially means that this Fragmentary Passage game will act as a warm-up to KH3. The cell-shaded graphics, in combination with the new play styles already revealed in other trailers, points directly to players getting the chance to let the new look and mechanics seep into their psyche.
The most intriguing aspect to this portion of the trailer comes in its final moments. “To spend one more night beneath the stars with my best friends,” says Aqua as she extends her hand into the air, wishing for a sign of hope. Suddenly, a voice startles her from behind. “Aqua,” says Terra, slowly moving toward her. Now, this could mean many things, but it most likely is the actual Terra, well at least the “good” side of him that players got to know in Birth by Sleep before Master Xehanort controlled his body. We never know what happened to that part of Terra, and he could very well be inside of the realm of darkness now too. Clearly Fragmentary Passage will pack more of a punch for fans than just being a side story to pass the time.
Part three of the trailer gives a lengthy insight into Kingdom Hearts X: Back Cover, the video companion piece to the recent Kingdom Hearts Unchained X for iOS. While the game does not include Sora and his friends as playable characters, it gives hardcore fans the opportunity to dive deeply into the universes lore. In this video, we see five council members with the different clan masks (Vulpes, Unicornis, Anguis, Leopardos, and Ursus) debating on how to deal with a “traitor.”
“Darkness will prevail and the light expire,” says the possible “traitor” in an Organization XIII coat. While we still don’t know who this character is, there’s a strong possibility that he ties directly to Xehanort as the Master has moved through time and can project himself into different bodies when needed. This is further proven by footage of the clan fighting one another, alluding to the events of Birth by Sleep when Xehanort fractured Terra, Aqua and Ventus as a unit and forced them to doubt one another.
The trailer’s final moments lead to the inevitable “KeyBlade War” referenced in previous Kingdom Hearts titles. “When the time comes and there is war,” commands the Vulpes leader. “You mustn’t fight but instead fly away from here to the world outside!” This could be a tease to the beginning of the war, or a sign that this was how the ability to move between worlds as KeyBlade wielders was granted.
Of course, with a release date of December 2016, the developers knew not to leave fans hanging. Tacked on in the final seconds is a notice about Kingdom Hearts 3 and an “upcoming announcement this winter.” Once 2.8 is released that means the “one game every year” mantra that Nomura follows leads to 2017 as the year of Kingdom Hearts 3. Boy, are we ready.