TGS 2003: Square Enix announces new Kingdom Hearts games

Two sequels to Kingdom Hearts for the Game Boy Advance slated for next year.

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At a second press conference today Square Enix announced two new entries in the Kingdom Hearts franchise and the development of a new CG movie based on Final Fantasy VII. The two new entries in the Kingdom Hearts series will continue the story on the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation 2 while the CG movie based on FFVII revisits the landmark entry in the series.

The Game Boy Advance game, called Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, will pick up shortly after the end of the original Kingdom Hearts and attempt to clear up the mysteries left by the end of that game. Judging from the clips of gameplay shown, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories will feature 2D graphics and will use a similar combat system to the PlayStation 2 game. The characters in the game are made up of large sprites, while the world makes use of an isometric perspective. Conversation screens make use of animated headshots of the character's speaking.

The PlayStation 2 game, simply called Kingdom Hearts 2, will serve up a proper sequel to the original Kingdom Hearts. A short clip of work-in-progress footage showed Sora, Donald, and Goofy in various situations in a montage. The trio was shown racing through a grassy field chasing Pluto as well as engaging in combat with a new type of enemy, gray shadowy characters that appear to be cut from the same cloth as the Heartless from the original game. Another sequence showed the new enemies getting the best of the three fighters. However, as the new foes closed in, a shadowy figure appeared, wielding a key blade, and soundly beat up the gray foes. When the camera angle for the sequence shifted, it became clear that the trio's savior was none other than Mickey Mouse himself, wearing a ninja outfit. One thing to note in the footage shown from both games is the appearance of a hooded character, who was actually seen in the secret movie accessible at the end of the original Kingdom Hearts. Given the character's prominent appearance in footage from both games, we expect he'll play a significant role in the new game. Another element of note in the footage was a new set of children that appear in a city setting and the appearance of one of them in a limbolike world where he confronts a large new enemy. The graphics in the game look extremely sharp despite the work-in-progress disclaimer and showcased a great use of color.

Both versions of Kingdom Hearts are slated for release in 2004 in Japan.

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