There was a bit of frustration among Kingdom Hearts fans in recent weeks when it was revealed that Kingdom Hearts III wouldn't be released until at least mid-2017 — Square Enix had opted to continue its trend of releasing HD compilations as fans wait for the story's final chapter.
The next (and presumably last) in this line is Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, which was already confirmed to include a remaster of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance as well as a new cinematic section called Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover and a previously unseen chapter from Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. While fans had an idea of what to expect, there was no mention of a date.
That changed today when Square Enix, along with a trailer that can be seen below, revealed Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue will be arriving for the PlayStation 4 worldwide in December. Furthermore, the collection will be made playable at E3 in Los Angeles from June 14 to 16.
Interestingly, the highlight of the announcement might not have been the release date or that it will be playable at E3. Rather, it's the elaboration of what will be included in the game: a brand new episode called Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage. The episode is fully playable and will feature Aqua, one of the original Keyblade wielders, and her battle against the Heartless.
From a story perspective, this is huge. Aqua was the only surviving member of the protagonist trio from BBS, which consisted of her, Terra and Ventus. Since then, fans have always wondered what became of her, with many assuming that she would make an appearance in KH III (which will have some of its upcoming events previewed in this brand new storyline). The verdict is still out on that one, but at least she appears to be well as she's fighting the Heartless, as opposed to the Unversed, who were the enemies from her time.
A Fragmentary Passage is huge from a graphical/gameplay perspective as well. Aqua appears to retain her fighting style and abilities from BBS, but the game itself features next-generation graphics. Not only will fans get to see her flashy playstyle powered by next-gen graphics, but they'll also get a serious idea of what to expect from them in Kingdom Hearts III.
Last but not least, the trailer revealed what news fans can expect to hear regarding Kingdom Hearts III "this winter."
As mentioned before, Square Enix will be showing off more of the game during E3 2016 in Los Angeles next week. A complete list of streams for each publisher can be found here.