A tad late on the celebration of the game's grand triumphant announcement but...
Great.... Rattling.... Dry-Bones.... on.... a.... Spicy-hot... Lava Pirahna!! Smack me with a hammer and spring-launch me to Toytime Galaxy, mate!! I'm going to be honest; I was NOT expecting Kingdom Hearts IV this soon! Of course, I was expecting Verum Rex to have a strong involvement in phase 2 of the Kingdom Hearts lore, but everything I've seen stuffed in this 2-minute trailer throws almost every prediction I've made for KHIV out the window! I originally made a prediction that Verum Rex would be released first before KHIV to mark a strong introduction to Yozora, but given the fact that many KH fans have been greatly concerned about Sora's fate and where he would end up, I have no arguments against it.
What caught me by surprise was the fact that Sora has gone through a major design overhaul to better fit in the city of Quadratum within the realm of fiction. Sora's design really seems to mark some strong similarities to his outfit he wore in the group art piece that Tetsuya Nomura made a year ago. Boy, am I gonna miss Sora's iconic clown shoes and spiky hair, and it's not the easiest thing to accept for KH's future, but I at least hope his realistic design just for the world of Unreality!
The second thing that astonished me is of course the Osaka team's decision to transfer the game development over to the Unreal Engine 5. I had a strong assumption that the staff would take things slow and just stick to the Unreal Engine 4, and switching game production over to the UE5 now does give me the case of the worrywarts. Just look at it this way: When Kingdom Hearts III was first announced in 2013, the system was run entirely by Square Enix's in-house engine called The Luminous Engine and not later until early 2014, the Osaka team decided to carry development over to the Unreal Engine 4. This in turn forced the staff to start gave development over from scratch, and thus starting a painful, 6 year long wait for the games release for all KH fans, myself included. In a more positive note of switching game engines, The Unreal Engine 4 allowed the staff to take advantage of their shading engine which they dub the "Kingdom Shader" to replicate the visuals of each Disney film into their game, though not fully. On the more positive note of the Osaka team's move, I hope the the transition of switching game of production of KHIV from the Unreal 4 to Unreal 5 goes as smoothly. It really gives the game developers the opportunity to take advantage of UE5's new Nanite/Lumin technology. I mean, Nanite allows you to port CGI film-like quality assets into your game with up to a trillion polygons. I imagine the Osaka team would have no problem porting assets straight Walt Disney Animation Studios' animated films within minutes if not days. The Nanite software would be an absolute cinch to use if the staff are able to gain full grasp of its graphical capabilities. I'm also pray that they pull off a hyper realistic live-action world or two for KHIV!
Speaking of live-action worlds, there's also the sticking point in the trailer, and that is the strongly hinted Star Wars world that we've long anticipated! In the potential KH worlds thread, I predicted that we'd see a Star Wars world in KHIV, and that prediction may have actually come true! And it seems as though the world's story in the KH universe will be likely taking place during "Return of the Jedi" since the scenery we're looking at takes place in Planet Endor, and that actually makes much more sense than centering the story around "A New Hope". I mean, there are SO many obvious signs in this undiscovered world that hints a Star Wars world, especially a small glimpse of a walker's foot. I'm actually shaking like a Bob-omb ready to explode in excitement in seeing the Star Wars world in action, and I hope Tetsuya Nomura does the honorable justice in nailing the source material/gameplay elements. I can hardly stop myself from imagining Sora teaming up alongside with Luke Skywalker in striking down the heartless with a lightsaber-like keyblade in his hand!
I'm also feeling as crazy as a Crazy Dayzee for Strelitzia's proper introduction in the 3-D Kingdom-Hearts titles! I think her role would be without a doubt magnificent in the latest KH installment. There's so much mystery revolving around Strelitzia and how she came to be in Quadratum, after her tragic demise by Ventus' darkness, and I'm really eager in how her story will unfold further.
There's so much content packed in this trailer, that I'm not sure where to start first in dissecting all of it: The story, the graphics, the gameplay elements, the characters, the worlds and Quadratum in general! I could go with the graphics as a starter, but likely nothing else, and the announcement comes at the time where I'm still working on a thread for a potential 101 Dalmatian Street world! I'm so excited for KH's next exciting installment, and I look forward to what Mr. Nomura and his team brings to the table for all KH fans!