Kingdom Hearts III was first officially revealed to be in development at E3 2013, with just a small teaser that features Sora picking up a keyblade on the beaches of Destiny Islands, then fighting a swarm of Shadow Heartless in Twilight Town. It was exciting, but didn’t actually show much off. Later that year during Disney’s D23 Expo, Square Enix let loose a longer trailer with actual gameplay, including a segment where Sora fights the Rock Titan in Hercules’ world.
Now four years later we’ve got a slick new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III to ogle, and it too features the Rock Titan fight. If you take a look at the two battles, the difference four years has made is staggering:
D23 Expo 2013 (Rock Titan fight at 00:47)
E3 2017 (Rock Titan fight at 01:40)
The D23 footage with Rock Titan is nearly 40 seconds long, while the E3 2017 trailer shows him for only about 10 seconds, but even with a quarter of the content shown, the improvement between the two in immense. While the Rock Titan’s movement is rigid and clunky in the 2013 clip, it now looks to move much smoother. Of course the amount of polish on the game four years on is immediately noticeable too. The flourishes are sharper, the jumps smoother, the colors poppier, and the environment more integrated into the gameplay.
Even outside of the Rock Titan fight, just comparing the the rest of the two trailers is wildly unfair to the 2013 version. It looks like a totally different game. The colors are dull, Donald and Goofy barely do anything, and the enemies slog around slowly. While it may have looked shiny and amazing when it was first revealed, by comparison it is painfully obvious how early in development Kingdom Hearts III really was in 2013.
Kingdom Hearts III is set to launch for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There is no release date at this time. The next trailer is set to drop on July 15, 2017, during the 2017 D23 Expo, and will reveal a new world.