Kingdom Hearts III, the eighth game in the popular Kingdom Hearts series, is rumored to be releasing later this year after a voice actor working on the game let the info slip on Twitter.
"We have been recording on it for the last few years," voice actor Bill Farmer said via Twitter. "It is supposed to come out later this year."
Farmer does several voices for the series, including the main character Goofy, so his word would seem to hold a lot of weight, but developer Square Enix came forward not long after the tweet to say that there is no confirmed launch date as of yet.
Previous to Farmer's tweet, fans haven't heard concrete information on the highly anticipated game since October of 2013. The game had already been speculated for several years following the success of its predecessors, but it wasn't officially confirmed to be in development until E3 in June of 2013.
The Kingdom Hearts series features several iconic characters from publisher Disney, including Donald Duck, Riku, Goofy, and King Mickey. Kingdom Hearts III will feature Sora as the main protagonist once again as he sets out to stop Master Xehanort's goal of balancing the light and darkness.
Producer Tetsuya Nomura said during the E3 2013 reveal, "The action's pretty frantic. The really bold action we've always had is getting even crazier. Kingdom Hearts III has three-person parties, but NPCs and other characters join the fight in each individual world, and the resulting action is really flashy and exciting. The enemy AI is a lot more intricate, too, and I think the gameplay will reflect that new dynamic balance. For example, there's a foe that's shaped like a vehicle, and Sora may jump on it and fly around; that's already implemented."
It's important to note that right now, online retailer Amazon lists the game to launch on December 31, 2015. But as exciting as that may sound, Amazon normally uses that last day of the year as a general placemark for a game that's expected to release during that calendar year. Although you can currently pre-order the game through Amazon, Square Enix and Disney have yet to acknowledge when that pre-order will ship.
Earlier this week, Square Enix announced that it has enjoyed increased gains to both revenue and profit in the nine-month period ending on December 31, 2014. Revenue was up 16 percent from last year at the same time, bringing total revenue up to $1 billion. Profit more than doubled in that same time to $92.9 million.
Most of this success is due to the company's extension into the mobile games market with Sengoku IXA and Dragon Quest Monsters Super Light. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX was also a large reason for the increased profit, according to the Japanese developer.
As for what fans can expect to see different in the upcoming sequel, it's important to note that Disney has been very busy buying up other companies since Kingdom Hearts II was released. The studio has since acquired Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment, and Lucasfilm during that time.
"Whenever I hear of [an acquisition], I always say, 'woah...they've done it again.' The first thing I do when I find out this news is contact Disney and see if it's something I can use [in Kingdom Hearts]," Nomura said. "Disney's pretty honest [on the possibility of an inclusion]. If the situation is really difficult, they'll say it's really difficult. If it's impossible, they'll say it's impossible."
In December of last year, Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX co-director Tai Yasue said that the studio was looking into the possibility of adding Marvel and Star Wars characters to the series.
"We have to come up with a world that has a lot of originality," he said. "We want variety in our new Kingdom Hearts, so we don't want too many of one sort of world, that would look the same. For each world there has to be some meaning for it, in the plot... Also, gameplay-wise, is that world something that would make gameplay fun?"
Kingdom Hearts III will release on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles.