Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Square Enix recently announced Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, which isn't too big of a surprise considering it's remastered the majority of the Kingdom Hearts saga. Long-winded name aside, it contains three key pieces. The meat of the collection is Dream Drop Distance HD, an enhanced console version of the 3DS release. Fans itching for fresh content should be satiated with a new episode, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage, starring Birth By Sleep's Aqua. Additionally, this release continues the trend from previous collections of including an HD movie - Kingdom Hearts χ [chi] Back Cover - which sheds light on the Foretellers and the series' early history.
[This preview originally appeared in Game Informer issue #272]
The collection gives fans some time to refamiliarize themselves with the storyline and piece together new revelations, but director Tetsuya Nomura also tells us that Birth by Sleep 0.2 incorporates elements from Kingdom Hearts III, essentially giving fans their first peek at the long-awaited project. "It's not necessarily for getting feedback, but more about letting people get a taste of Kingdom Hearts III through introducing a small part of the game system," Nomura says.
Birth By Sleep 0.2 is set to answer questions left lingering about keyblade-wielder Aqua and should only take a few hours to complete. "We're planning for it to be about the same volume of gameplay as one regular world," Nomura says. He also confirms that it focuses primarily on a solo Aqua, so don't expect many other beloved characters to make an appearance. Nomura is most excited for fans to get "a glimpse into what Kingdom Hearts III will feel like" since this episode was created using "a portion of the developing environment used for Kingdom Hearts III."
As for Dream Drop Distance, it is the only game that hasn't received the HD treatment yet, and Nomura wants to release it on a platform that fans will eventually play Kingdom Hearts III on. Since the game was originally created for a dual screen, it's taken more effort to release on one big screen, not allowing the team to add many extras. "Because it's not a simple port, the processes involved seem almost like those when creating a remake," Nomura explains. "As such, we're not able to add in any brand-new elements, but there will be an element of a collection, just like in the previous HD Remix titles." As for how they're changing the gameplay for the PS4 version, Nomura isn't ready to reveal details yet.
Final Chapter Prologue doesn't have a release date in North America, but is slated for a 2016 release in Japan. After this release, fans should be refreshed on all the franchise's history before they finally dive into Kingdom Hearts III - the game they've been waiting nearly a decade to play.