Kingdom Hearts 3‘s release date wasn’t delayed in order to extend development time. Instead, it was pushed forward because of the different ways that regions handled holiday sales. Additionally, the new date for Kingdom Hearts 3 was chosen to better match up with the game’s Japanese release date.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is currently scheduled to release worldwide on January 29th, 2019, as announced by Square Enix at E3 2018. The new release date conflicts with previous fan expectations that the game would be launching by the end of this year.
This insight into the updated release date comes from an interview given by Kingdom Hearts 3 director Tetsuya Nomura to IGN, in which he gave the website a look into the influence that western Square Enix offices had on the worldwide release date.
“…For Kingdom Hearts 3, the [Square Enix] western offices had requested to release the game as simultaneously as much as possible between Japan and America, so we were no longer able to just think about Japanese issues and retail situations.”
“The timing of release that we were actually looking at, we were told by many people, including hardware manufacturers, marketing teams, sales teams that it just wasn’t a good timing in the year.”
Development will certainly continue as the game takes these next few months to get polished before going gold. This extra development time was a symptom of the delay, however – not a cause for it. According to the interview with IGN, the team has “finished creating all the gameplay” for Kingdom Hearts 3. All that’s left for them to do now is finish up the cutscenes.
The fan reception to the delay has, so far, seemed fairly tame. Many fans are taking the news of Kingdom Hearts 3‘s pushed up release date in stride, generally taking the position of, “We’ve waited this long, so what’s another few months?”
Still, many fans have a right to be upset about the frequently shifting release date of the game. Kingdom Hearts 3 was announced several years ago now, and it has seen no shortage of obstacles as it crawled toward its release date. For a franchise that’s so loved by a generation of fans all across the world, it can be easy to feel alienated by the general lack of clarity coming from Square Enix regarding the title.
Kingdom Hearts 3 launches on January 25, 2019 for PS4 and Xbox One.