Quadratum, the Tokyo-looking world shown in the trailer, isn’t actually the real world though. It’s “similar to an afterworld”, Nomura said, but features real world locations like Shibuya, and to Sora it’s an underworld.
It’s very much real to the residents of Quadratum, though, and according to Kingdom Hearts 3 (where it was introduced) it’s not a world of light or dark but instead a world of fiction that exists “on the other side”.
These different perspectives are all intentional according to Nomura, who said: “I think the theme of this project will be the contrast between those who are in such different positions.”
Sora’s realistic look is also a result of this real-looking but not real world, Nomura said, and he’ll return to his more cartoony origins later in the game.
“Donald and Goofy are looking for clues about Sora in the original world,” he explained. “All the real worlds before the title display [in the trailer] are all Quadratum segments and Sora will look realistic, but if he can return to the original world, he will look like Donald and Goofy with shaders like Donald and Goofy.”
Kingdom Hearts 4 was unveiled recently at the Kingdom Hearts 20th anniversary event. Square Enix also confirmed the game was still in “early development” and Kingdom Hearts 3’s production infamously lasted 13 years.
While the gameplay shown appeared fairly complete, it was from a demo developed on Unreal Engine 4. The final game itself is being made on Unreal Engine 5, meaning those sections may not be playable in the same way for some time.
Fans are already speculating as to what Disney worlds could be included in Kingdom Hearts 4, and some think the trailer could be teasing the inclusion of a Star Wars section.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.