Speaking to IGN during E3 2018, franchise and game director Tetsuya Nomura said the delay from the originally intended 2018 release window came about less so for development reasons and more to be mindful of the game’s worldwide launch window.
“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,” Nomura said via translation, explaining that the differences in holiday lengths and how stores behave in different regions were a note of concern.
“…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,” Nomura said.
With that in mind, Nomura said the team set its sights on January, though they considered some alternatives.
“We of course considered maybe speeding up development to release earlier than when we were told wasn’t good, but the development team said that ‘No, we just couldn’t do that. We could delay it, but we couldn’t make it any sooner.'”
Fortuitously, the team now has some extra time to continue refining the game as the release approaches, though, Nomura explained.
And as that date does grow nearer, Square Enix has treated Kingdom Hearts fans to a plethora of new footage, including three trailers during E3. But even with all of those reveals, including the introduction of two new worlds, Frozen’s Arendelle, and The Caribbean of Pirates of the Caribbean, fans are still waiting for a look at Big Hero 6’s world.
First announced in 2015, all that has been shown of Big Hero 6 so far is a single piece of concept art depicting Baymax taking on a dark version of himself. Nomura explained why we haven’t seen San Fransokyo just yet for those fans wondering if there was any issue with the world’s development.
“…We pretty much have finished creating all the gameplay within that world, but we’re just not finished with the cutscenes yet,” Nomura said.
So, Big Hero 6 is still to come, but in the meantime, you can check out five minutes of exclusive Kingdom Hearts 3 direct feed gameplay from the already announced Hercules and Toy Story worlds below.
Be sure to stay tuned to IGN for more Kingdom Hearts 3 details from our Nomura interview.
Jonathon Dornbush is a News Editor for IGN who can’t wait to have ship battles and ice skating in Kingdom Hearts 3. Talk to him about the franchise on Twitter @jmdornbush.