Wasn’t expecting that.
Apparently its the year of surprises for Square Enix. At this year’ s Tokyo Game Show, Square unveiled Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. To be release sometime in 2016, its yet another release to get fans both new and old all on the same hype train until Kingdom Hearts 3 (at least on PlayStation, but I’ll get to that in a bit). We’ve had all the games in some fashion up until this point minus the latest entry in the series Dream Drop Distance.
Released for the 3DS in 2012, Dream Drop Distance takes place after Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded and follows both Sora and Riku on their Mark of Mastery exams in preparation to become true Keyblade Masters for their final confrontation with Xehanort. Consistent with the other two compilations released for the PS3, 2.8 has an additional game and a collection of HD cinematics.
I wasn’t too excited about the HD cinematics of 358/2 Days (a pretty good game for the DS) and Re:Coded, but these cinematics for 2.8 bring new story elements and lore to the table. It’s coming from the Kingdom Hearts x mobile game released in Japan, but should contain new pieces of information for fans of the series. If I’m to speculate, these cinematics are probably laying the foundation for new a saga with a new antagonist and story. KH3 is the last of the Dark Seeker Saga and Square has said the series won’t be ending any time soon.
The most surprising part of the release is yet another mouthful (but who’s actually reading this out loud?): Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep-A Fragmentary Passage. This is a whole new game (yes really, please celebrate accordingly) featuring Aqua, one of the protagonists of Birth by Sleep, trapped in the Realm of Darkness. If that’s not enough to get you excited 0.2 BBS will be running on the same engine (Unreal Engine 4) Square is using for KH3. This should give us a good example of how KH3 will look and play when it’s finally released.
I’m going to make the bold statement right here: we’re getting a 2.9 collection with all the Kingdom Hearts games. Following Square’s love of names and numbering things, these releases have been consistent: KH1 with the remaster as KH 1.5HD, KH2 with it’s remaster being 2.5HD. They’ve been slowly working up to KH3, i.e. 3.0. Even with a ridiculous name as Final Chapter Prologue (which is bit of a contradiction), I find it hard to believe that they just didn’t call it 2.9. If it did, that would imply that KH3 is without a doubt the next game Kingdom Hearts game. Saying it’s 2.8 is deliberate.
Square has something up their sleeves. Especially with Xbox owners getting screwed over on the PlayStation HD remaster compilations, AND taking into account Kingdom Hearts 3 will be a multi-platform game. Square Enix has no reason not to release a 2.9 will all the content closer to the release of KH3 on both PS4 and Xbox One…
Now I could be completely wrong, Square has said its not happening. Plus, BBS A fragmentary passage comes with the 0.2, coinciding with the collection’s 2.8 to make 3.0 (cause math and all) but I’m an optimist. I’m also somewhat in denial.