With Kingdom Hearts 3 release information close to being nonexistent, it is looking less likely that fans will be seeing the game this year. In the sections below, we will explore theories behind the rumored delay:
Death of Voice Actors Leonard Nimoy and Chikao Otsuka
According to KpopStarz, the sudden passing of Leonard Nimoy and Chikao Otsuka may have set development back. Prior to their deaths, the actors had been providing the voice for series' antagonist Master Xehanort.
Both died at the start of this year, bringing a wave of mourning amongst devoted fans. It is not clear whether the voice recording for the actors was finished before their deaths.
Leonard Nimoy is best remembered by sci-fi fans for his role as Mr. Spock in the Star Trek television and film franchise. Lesser known is Nimoy's presence in a number of major stage productions.
Chikao Otsuka provided the voice for Dr. Eggman in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Otsuka's talent was also present in a number of iconic anime including Area 88, Dragon Ball Z, Hellsing, and Mobile Suit Gundam.
There are rumors that Square Enix may bring Nimoy's and Otsuka's voice to Kingdom Hearts 3 as a final tribute. Whether the developers are able to do this is a matter of debate. It really depends on just how much material is available.
Square Enix may also decide to use replacement actors instead, which will bring delays. Then again, the company might end up nixing Xehanort from Kingdom Hearts 3. Fans will need to wait patiently for more news concerning Xehanort's fate.
The Switch to Unreal Engine 4
Back in 2014, Square Enix announced plans to switch to Epic's Unreal Engine 4. Kingdom Hearts 3 was originally slated to run on Square Enix's Luminous engine. The trouble with the decision was that it was made halfway during Kingdom Hearts 3's development.
It is more than likely that chaos reigned as the development team shifted toward an entirely different platform. Nonetheless, developers insisted that the switch was made without significant issues.
"It was easy to shift to, but at the same time though, there was a lot of stuff specific to Kingdom Hearts that we couldn't really do on Unreal 4 at first," Kingdom Hearts 3 co-director and game designer Tai Yasue said in an interview with EuroGamer. "So, we had a lot of co-operation from Epic - they did a lot - at the same time we were doing a lot of customization of the engine as well, to suit our needs."
A year later, the world has yet to see Kingdom Hearts 3. Whether or not the transition went smoothly, the release date remains ever so elusive in the year 2015.
Kingdom Hearts 3 May (Or May Not) Be Revealed Until Late 2015
Usually, a gameplay demo precedes release date announcements and trailers for major videogame titles.
So far, Square Enix has yet to reveal such a thing for Kingdom Hearts 3. The earliest date for a glimpse of Kingdom Hearts 3 may be in August at the 2015 D23 Expo in Anaheim - if rumors are to be believed.
Even if predictions turn out to be true, the game may not see a launch date until early next year due to distribution factors. Then again, there is the greater possibility that Kingdom Hearts 3 may fail to appear at any videogame convention this year.
Will we see Kingdom Hearts 3 in 2015? At least we have eight more months to find out.