- “Darkness becomes light, and light falls into darkness.”
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (also known as Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance or Kingdom Hearts 3D), is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS, revealed at E3 2010. The game is the seventh installment in the bestselling Kingdom Hearts series and was released in Japan on March 29, 2012. It was released outside of Japan on July 20 in Europe, July 26 in Australia, and July 31 in North America.
Set after the events of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, the game focuses on Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery exam in which they have to protect parallel worlds in preparation of the return of Master Xehanort. Besides controlling the two playable characters across a single scenario, the player is able to recruit creatures known as Dream Eaters able to assist them in fights.
The Square Enix staff decided to develop Dream Drop Distance after being impressed by the quality from Nintendo 3DS. Taking advantage of the console's functions, they increased the action elements from the series based on the system previously seen in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Additionally, both the gameplay and the plot are meant to give a glimpse about how the following title in the series, Kingdom Hearts III, will be like. The game has been well received in Japan, selling over 300,000 units as of May 2012.
This game was later remade and released in HD on the Playstation 4 known as Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD that was released as part of Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
The game, which largely follows the action RPG gameplay of previous games in the series, sees players alternate between the roles of Sora and Riku. Alternating between characters revolves around the 'Drop' system. During gameplay, a Drop Gauge gradually depletes over time, which can be replenished with items, but dwindles quicker under certain conditions, such as being attacked by sleep spells. When the gauge completely empties, control will switch to the other character, though players may also opt to drop manually at any time. Drop Points, which are earned by defeating enemies and completing optional objectives, can be spent on bonuses that can be used by the next until their next drop, such as a slower Drop Gauge or increased attack or defense, with leftover Drop Points converted to Munny. The game reuses the Command Deck system from Birth by Sleep, in which players can customize a deck filled with various actions, spells and items that can be quickly selected. There are also various new elements added to the gameplay. Flowmotion allows players to move quickly about by performing actions such as bouncing off walls, grinding on rails and spinning around poles. Whilst performing these actions, indicated by a pink aura surrounding the character, the player can perform various types of attack moves. Reality Shift is a system the player can use on certain objects or weakened opponents by dragging down on the touchscreen when prompted. Each Reality Shift is a touch-screen activated minigame unique to each world, each with its own control method and effect. These include dragging the screen to fling a target like a catapult, touching hidden words to take control of enemies and playing a small rhythm-based game to cause fireworks to appear. The game is also compatible with the Circle Pad Pro, which allows for additional camera control.
One of the key elements of Dream Drop Distance are the Dream Eaters. Whilst they generally serve as the main enemies of the game, good Dream Eaters, known as Spirits, can be recruited to assist the characters in battle. Spirits can be created by combining various Dream Fragments together with an item or spell, either via experimenting with combinations or using recipes found throughout the game. More effective Spirits can be created by using more Dream Fragments in their recipe. Each character can have a party of three Spirits, two of which are active in battle and can be switched out with the inactive member via the touchscreen. As they fight against enemies alongside the player, a link gauge builds which, when full, allows the player to link with a Spirit, or with two if both of their link gauges are full. For Sora, this provides a unique attack such as bouncing on top of enemies or spinning a large mace, whilst Riku merges with them to augment his fighting ability, gaining enhancements such as flight or strength. Along the way, the player can care for these Spirits by petting them, feeding them various items or playing various minigames with them. Along with increasing their experience and stats by fighting and playing minigames, Spirits also earn Link Points which are used for the Ability Link system. In this system, players spend Link Points to open up paths and unlock various enhancements and new spells. Some paths require that the player link with a Spirit a certain number of times, or raise it to a certain level. Players can also use an AR card included with the game to play with their Spirits.
The game takes place across various worlds based on Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tron Legacy, Fantasia, and The Three Musketeers, each having two different plots from the perspectives of Sora and Riku. These worlds need to be completed by both Sora and Riku in order to unlock new worlds and progress through the game. Upon visiting each world for the first time, each character must go through a Dive section, in which characters freefall down a tube and must clear a certain objective, such as obtaining a certain amount of points, defeating a certain amount of enemies in a time limit or defeating a boss character. In this mode, Sora and Riku can attack locked on opponents, slow down their descent or dodge attacks. They can also pick up magic spells which give them a limited supply of magical attacks to use against enemies. If the player runs out of health or fails the objective, they will have to play the level again before they can advance to the world. Players earn a rank based on their performance, with bonus items earned for earning a Gold rank.
Outside of the main game, players can play an additional mode called Flick Rush, which can be played alone or with another player via wireless multiplayer. In this mode, players battle with a team of three Spirits and pit them against each other. Players fight against their opponent by flicking up cards from the touchscreen. Each card has a number value determining its attack strength, with multiple cards combining to increase the overall value. The player whose attack value is greater than their opponent's gets to attack with their Spirit. If the values are equal, a quick slot machine minigame is played to determine whose attack goes through. A slowly replenishing meter determines how many cards the player can send out at a time, and each Spirit has a limited amount of cards that can be replenished by swapping them out with another Spirit. The first player to eliminate all of their opponent's Spirits wins the game.
Dream Drop Distance is a continuation of the events shown in the epilogue of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. The game features a total of seven playable worlds, most of them set in a "world submerged in sleep", with all the Disney-based worlds introduced being entirely new, including: La Cité des Cloches from The Hunchback of Notre Dame; The Grid from Tron: Legacy; Prankster's Paradise from Pinocchio; Country of the Musketeers from Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers; and Symphony of Sorcery from Fantasia. The other two playable worlds are Traverse Town and The World That Never Was, while the worlds Twilight Town, Radiant Garden, Disney Castle, Mysterious Tower, and Destiny Islands appear in cutscenes.
The game features Sora and Riku as the two main characters of the game, taking part in a test to improve their skills with their weapon, the Keyblade. The two are depicted during gameplay as their younger selves shown in the original game while also being given new clothes; their older selves from Kingdom Hearts II also appear during cutscenes, and Sora in this incarnation is briefly playable during the end credits. A younger incarnation of Xehanort, first introduced as the optional "Unknown" boss from the North American and European releases of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, returns and serves as the game's primary antagonist together with his two revived former selves, Ansem and Xemnas. Several former members of Xemnas' Organization XIII, including Lea and some of Ansem the Wise's apprentices, return after being restored to their human forms.
Like previous games, Dream Drop Distance features various Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, who is seen in the game in three different incarnations—his original characterization in the Kingdom Hearts series as the king of Disney Castle; a musketeer as featured in Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers; and the young apprentice of Yen Sid shown in Fantasia. Donald Duck and Goofy make similar appearances as well. Characters hailing from their respective worlds remain in their worlds and play a small role in the main story, while Maleficent and Pete reprise their roles as antagonists, and Yen Sid as a supporting character. Unlike the other major installments, which feature an extensive cast of Final Fantasy characters, only a single Moogle appears from the franchise. Dream Drop Distance instead features cameo appearances of Neku Sakuraba, Joshua, Shiki, Beat, and Rhyme from The World Ends with You, another game owned by Square Enix with characters designed by Tetsuya Nomura, marking the first time that non-Disney, non-Final Fantasy characters have appeared in the series.
The game introduces a new type of creature called Dream Eaters, which come in two varieties—"Nightmares", which eat good dreams and create nightmares, and serve as enemies similar to the Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed from previous games; and "Spirits", which eat nightmares and create good dreams, and also act as Sora and Riku's party members.
Sora, having learned of Terra, Ventus, and Aqua from King Mickey's letter, undertakes another quest to save them with Riku joining him. However, learning of Master Xehanort and his eventual return, Yen Sid puts Sora and Riku through a Mark of Mastery exam in order for them to become full-fledged Keyblade Masters and counter the returning threat. As part of this trial, the two are sent to worlds previously destroyed by the Heartless that have since been restored, though now in a state of "deep sleep" that disconnects them from the other worlds. These worlds are plagued by Dream Eaters—creatures born from darkness that seek out the sleeping worlds' Keyholes. Sora and Riku's given task is to reawaken the sleeping worlds by unlocking the seven Keyholes they find there and then return to the realm of light, creating benevolent "Spirit" Dream Eaters to guide them and battle the malevolent "Nightmare" Dream Eaters, after which they will attain new powers and be deemed Keyblade Masters.
Once they awaken in the first sleeping world, Sora and Riku find themselves each in a version of Traverse Town separate yet influencing the other's journey in the other sleeping worlds. During the exam, Sora and Riku cross paths with their old enemies Xemnas and Ansem, respectively, who are accompanied by a mysterious youth who tries unnerving Sora and Riku by playing on their weaknesses (Sora's gullibility and Riku's regret), but the two ignore them and continue their test. The youth implies he and a group have plans for them.
Once all the sleeping worlds are restored, Sora finds himself in the World That Never Was instead of the Realm of Light, where he encounters Xigbar and learns of Organization XIII's true purpose—to serve as vessels for Master Xehanort to place pieces of his heart inside, thereby transforming them into clones of Xehanort. After an intense battle with Xemnas, Sora is forced into a comatose state by the mysterious youth, revealed to be Master Xehanort in his youth. Though his heart is swallowed by darkness, Sora is protected by Ventus' suit of armor residing within him. Riku goes to rescue Sora, only to be confronted by Ansem, who reveals that until now, Riku has been traveling within Sora's dreams like a Spirit Dream Eater. The two battle and Riku prevails, entering the true World That Never Was. Making his way to the castle, joined by Mickey once he and Yen Sid realized Xehanort's meddling, Riku confronts and defeats the young Xehanort. After the battle, the revived Master Xehanort unveils a new Organization composed of himself, his vessels, and incarnations of himself throughout time. From there, Xehanort reveals his plans to pit his Thirteen Seekers of Darkness against the Seven Guardians of Light, in scheme to recreate the χ-blade. Master Xehanort tries to turn Sora into his last needed vessel, but Sora is rescued by Lea—the revived human form of the original Organization's Axel—after which, when Donald and Goofy got involved, Xehanort and his other vessels return to their individual points in time yet will meet again when the time comes.
Sora's body is brought back to Yen Sid's tower, where Riku enters his body and releases Sora's heart from Ventus' armor, now possessed by a Nightmare. Riku then arrives at a digital version of the Destiny Islands, where Roxas, Ventus, and Xion ask deep, personal questions; a copy of Ansem the Wise reveals that they were guardians and answering their questions awoke Sora. Riku receives data Ansem left in Sora's heart that may help Sora find those who are lost or no longer exist. Upon returning to the real world, Riku is declared a Keyblade Master by Yen Sid for braving the Realm of Sleep a second time to awaken Sora. Afterward, Lea then reveals that he has become a Keyblade Wielder. Undaunted by his failure, Sora congratulates Riku and embarks on a new journey by himself.
Another Guardian of Light
The game's secret ending shows Sora reuniting with his Spirit Dream Eaters and countless others, while Yen Sid plans to gather seven Keyblade wielders to combat the new Organization XIII rather than jeopardize the Seven Guardians of Light, revealed to be the Princesses of Heart, and thus prevent Xehanort from bringing about another Keyblade War, setting the stage for Kingdom Hearts III. To this end, Yen Sid has Riku bring Kairi to be trained in using her Keyblade.
They still need to awaken Ventus and rescue Aqua from the Realm of Darkness to complete the team; the fate of Terra is currently unknown.
The darkness awakens
The light in the darkness
Aqua stands on the Dark Margin, staring into the distance, and smiling.
leads to the last key
Donald and Goofy sit outside the entrance to Yen Sid's Tower, wondering about the whereabouts of Sora. Goofy mentions that Lea has returned to the Radiant Garden and Riku was sent away on an errand by Yen Sid. Just then, someone arrives. Donald and Goofy greet Riku, but stop short when they see that he is not alone.
Yen Sid and Mickey are then shown in conversation, inside the Sorcerer's Chamber. Yen Sid goes over the history of the Keyblade War and the χ-blade, and how Kingdom Hearts was swallowed by darkness and the χ-blade was shattered. Seven of the pieces that were broken off from the χ-blade were pure light. Mickey catches on, figuring out that those seven lights were the Princesses of Heart. Yen Sid adds that they are now the source of all light, and if they were lost, the worlds would once again fall to darkness. He then concludes that even if they deliberately avoided gathering seven guardians of light, Xehanort would go after the Princesses of Heart in order to recreate the χ-blade, making the clash between seven lights and thirteen darknesses unavoidable. Yen Sid decides that they must gather seven guardians of light to protect the seven pure hearts, although they will be up against the thirteen seekers of darkness. Mickey surmises that they only need one more protector, and at that moment, Riku returns with a visitor, whom Yen Sid claims can also wield a Keyblade. To Mickey's amazement, it is Kairi.
Reconnect. Kingdom Hearts
The game was created by the same development team that worked on Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, currently part of Square Enix's 1st Production Department. Since it contained members who worked for The World Ends with You, the group decided to use characters from said game in replacement of Final Fantasy characters. The decision to make a Kingdom Hearts game for the Nintendo 3DS was due to the positive impression the Square Enix staff had when viewing the console's quality. The console inspired Nomura to make the Dive Mode function where the character moves to different worlds without the use of a vehicle, while the Flowmotion was thought prior to deciding which console use. The game's title was used to reference its various themes, with "Dream" referencing the storyline and "Drop" the gameplay style. Although Tetsuya Nomura admitted the English used was not grammatically correct, the team still decided to use it based on the way sounded. Development was notably shorter than the ones from previous Kingdom Hearts games. However, co-director Tai Yasue emphasized how the finished product resembled Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep but improved.
One of the team's desires with the game was for it to have more action than the previous games. Nomura noted the ties the gameplay changes had with the gameplay from Final Fantasy Versus XIII as a result of their similar styles. The new maneuvers employed in Dream Drop Distance are also meant to give a glimpse about how the next game in the series, Kingdom Hearts III, will look like. New worlds were included in the game as a result of multiple requests by fans. The switches between player character Sora and Riku across the game are meant to contrast the style from Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, which allowed the player to use three characters in their own campaigns as well as explain the title's part "Distance" since the two characters never interact across their stories. The Free Flow system was made using data from Birth by Sleep with making taking nearly two weeks to obtain a form similar to the one from the game. The game originally intended to use returning Heartless and Nobodies as generic enemies. However, the setting gave the staff the idea of introducing new creatures, Dream Eaters, who would also join the player in fights. They were also inspired in part by Nintendogs + Cats—Nomura wished that his virtual dog could battle with other pets met through Streetpass and created the Dream Eaters based on this concept. They are used in mini-game Flick Rush which originally intended to allow players to use a picture. Nomura disapproved this idea which resulted in the final product.
With Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, the staff revealed that Dream Drop Distance would revolve around Sora's and Riku's "Mark of Mastery" exam, but were worried about how to set it. The idea of Sora going through a dream was inspired by the subtitle of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and served as a basis for the game. Sora and Riku were chosen as the playable characters in anticipation for the franchise's ending of the "Xehanort arc" as well as to represent the theme of "the light and the dark sides of hearts" which the two characters represent. The former's inclusion was also done due to the character's popularity in Japan. Nomura has stated that the themes of the game are trust and friendship, and that like Birth by Sleep, the story is on par with that of a numbered title. As a result of the game's plot, both Sora and Riku appear in their younger forms from the first Kingdom Hearts game. However, to avoid misconceptions that Dream Drop Distance was a remake of the original game, Nomura decided to change Sora's and Riku's outfits for most of the game. Despite using two protagonists, the game primarily focuses on Riku's growth across the series. When starting production, the staff had decided to make the story as complex as possible, leading to the inclusion of several cutscenes which can be viewed by the player anytime they want. In order to make it more accessible, scenario writer Masaru Oka was in charge of the Chronicles feature which explains events from previous games. Nomura also anticipated the longest cutscene from the entire series as he wanted to reveal the intentions from the antagonists Xemnas and Ansem, also emphasizing the importance of Axel and the young Xehanort, unidentified by that of the announcement, in the story. The game's story is also meant to connect directly with Kingdom Hearts III, although its original ending was not approved by the staff and was scrapped. Like previous titles, Dream Drop Distance has a secret ending that connects to Kingdom Hearts III although the staff found it unconventional in comparison to previous ones.
The game was announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010 as "Kingdom Hearts 3D Demo" for the Nintendo 3DS. It was formally unveiled though at the Square Enix 1st Production Department Premier event at the Toho Cinemas in Tokyo, Japan on January 18, 2011 with its first trailer along with its official name. During the game's development, Nomura emphasized the mystery element of the story and confirmed that the theme of the game is trust. In July 2011, a Famitsu article included an interview with Nomura in which he revealed that the game would have an unlockable secret movie. A playable demo released the same month also first featured the Dream Eaters as the player characters' partners and the game's generic enemy. A Dengeki issue featured another interview with Nomura, where he confirmed that he would be considering what he called an "HD Technical Test" in order to commemorate the series' tenth anniversary and to entice players new to the series. This occurred on March 3, 2012 in the form of a premiere event where footage from the game, including its full CGI introduction sequence, was showcased to celebrate the game's release.
Unlike the previous games, the music for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance features a collaboration between composers Yoko Shimomura, Takeharu Ishimoto, and Tsuyoshi Sekito, containing musical compositions from all three. Among the songs included are tracks from The World Ends with You originally composed by Ishimoto, who remixed them for Dream Drop Distance. Orchestral arrangements were provided by Kaoru Wada. The Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack was released on April 18, 2012.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance received positive reviews from critics. It received an aggregated score of 78.70% on GameRankings and 75/100 on Metacritic. The Tokyo Game Show featured a playable demo which earned the game top honors as "Best 3DS RPG" in RPG Land's Tokyo Game Show Awards, following a hands-on report that praised the boss fights. RPG Site also praised the game upon its first impression, calling the demo "refreshing." Reception to the game's released trailers, demos and general information was generally positive, and the game ranked among Famitsu's 25 "most wanted" list in October 2011. The Official Nintendo Magazine listed it eighth in their "Games of 2012" feature. In an IGN poll, it ranked as the most expected Nintendo 3DS game for 2012's summer. It also won the "Most Valuable Game Award" from the Nintendo Power magazine.
In its first review, Famitsu gave Dream Drop Distance a rating of 10/9/10/9, or a total of 38/40, in their March 22, 2012 issue. This review makes Dream Drop Distance the second highest rated game in the series, after Kingdom Hearts II. The game debuted at the top of Media Create's sales charts, selling 213,579 copies during its first week, which is the equivalent to the 64% of Stock. The release was also noted to have helped boost the sales from the Nintendo 3DS console. Although the amounts of pre-orders surpassed the ones from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the Nintendo DS, the first week's sales were lower. Nevertheless, Media Create noted that this was due to the comparison between the amount of units sold between the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo 3DS during the time the games were released, with the former having sold more copies than the latter. The game continued appearing in Media Create's polls for the next weeks selling a total of 311,688 units as of May 2012. In North America the game sold 200,000 units during August 2012 with 180,000 units being from the regular edition and 20,000 from the Mark of Mastery edition.
English publications have given Kingdom Hearts 3D positive reviews with Game Informer writer Bryan Vore praising the new gameplay elements and how well the story, while set after Kingdom Hearts II unlike previous spin-offs and prequels, handles the franchise's plot. Audrey Drake from IGN echoed similar comments despite mentioning the story sometimes is not too interesting.
Worlds and Characters
Versions and merchandise
In January 2012, Square Enix updated the Japanese website of the game with a release date of March 29, 2012 for Japan. Square Enix also officially announced the game for both North America and Europe with their respective websites up stating localized trailers would soon be available. The game is also included within the "Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary Box" package made in commemoration of the franchise's 10th anniversary. The box also includes the Nintendo DS games Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. The price for the box with these games included is 15,000 yen. Unlike Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, and Birth by Sleep, there will not be an updated version of the game according to Tetsuya Nomura. Shortly after its release, Square Enix acknowledged a software bug within the game that would potentially prevent the players' progress. In an effort to solve the issue, they advised gamers to contact them on the nature of the bug and how to avoid it. Nintendo later announced they would release a patch to Dream Drop Distance for unrevealed means. A demo was also released in Japan during May 2012 through the Nintendo eShop.
A North American and European release date was set for July 31, 2012 and July 20, 2012, respectively. In Australia, it was released on July 26, 2012. A limited edition titled "Mark of Mastery" was also released in North America featuring twelve art cards, AR cards able to unlock new Dream Eaters, and a protector case for the 3DS console. While this has been noted to be the shortest gaps between the Japanese and English releases in the Kingdom Hearts, the latter version does not include new features not seen in the former. However, the Mark of Mastery limited edition was made so that English gamers would be able to obtain bonus material that can only be obtained in Japan. The demo was released in the United States on June 21, 2012 on the Nintendo eShop. In June 20, 2012, Square Enix announced through its blog that the PAL version will not be translated into Spanish or Italian.
A guidebook was published in Japan on May 1, 2012. Square Enix also published a light novel by Tomoko Kanemaki based on the game on June 28, 2012 under the title of "Side Sora." The second volume, titled "Side Riku", was released in Japan on September 27, 2012.
Square-Enix 1st Department Premiere Trailer
The trailer begins with the final scene of Blank Points, where Riku asks Sora if he has made his mind up and Sora answers "Yes". Yen Sid is then shown ordering Mickey to summon Sora and Riku to him to undertake a Mark of Mastery Exam, as in Reconnect. Kingdom Hearts. The scene then switches to Sora and Riku, in their Kingdom Hearts attire, on the beach of Destiny Islands, wondering if Riku's raft will get them far. Riku is shown in Traverse Town, surrounded by Shadows. He looks up to see multiple Soras raining down from the sky. One lands and prepares to fight the Shadows. Several gameplay videos are then shown.
Sora is seen running through the Bell Tower inside Notre Dame and jumps off the edge, landing in the middle of the Festival of Fools. Riku is shown in the second district of Traverse Town, where he sees Ansem looming above with what appears to be a transparent Xemnas beside him. The same is shown with Sora, only he encounters Xemnas with a transparent Ansem. Sora and Riku prepare to engage Xemnas and Ansem as the game logo ends the trailer.
2011 Tokyo Game Show
The trailer begins with Sora, Riku, Yen Sid, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy inside Yen Sid's tower, where Yen Sid prepares to put Sora and Riku through the Mark of Mastery exam. Sora claims that he is unbeatable without taking it, while Riku wonders if he can wield the Keyblade, due to his past conflict with Darkness. Yen Sid then proceeds with the exam, where he opens the "keyhole of sleep" and if they return he will consider them masters. The scene then changes to Destiny Island where Sora and Riku are in their Kingdom Hearts attire and shift to Sora falling through clouds.
Sora then finds himself in Traverse Town in his new attire. Wondering where Riku is, he calls out for him, but finds Neku instead, who appears to know who Sora is. Gameplay footage is shown, showing Sora and Riku performing acrobatic skills and facing new enemies known as the Dream Eaters, while Yen Sid's voice explain that while Heartless exist in the world of Darkness, but in a world submerged in sleep, Dream Eaters exist, creatures who consume dreams, and that searching for them will guide them to the key of sleep.
Neku explains to Sora that he has been trapped in the "Reaper's Game" and that he can't afford to lose it. Sora, not knowing what the "Reaper's Game" is, decides to help him out. Riku is shown running through of La Cité des Cloches, where he finds Quasimodo holding an unconscious Esmeralda, asking him where the Dream Eater has gone. Quasimodo replied back telling him that the creature has gone to the rooftop. Riku pursues after the Dream Eater, Quasimodo then offers to fight the beast too. In Traverse Town, Sora asks about Neku's name, but they are then attacked by a group of Wonder Meows. More gameplay videos are shown, with Yen Sid explaining that opening the keyhole of sleep, along with finding new power, the power in sleep will be revealed.
The scene then changes to the computer room of Radiant Garden being seen from Xehanort's point of view. Even and Ienzo are seen on the floor fading away with darkness coming out of their bodies. Braig asked Xehanort what was he thinking and if his memories have returned. Xehanort then by summons Master Xehanort's Keyblade and stabs Braig in the chest with it. The trailer ends with the game logo and a release date for Spring 2012. Neku's and Sora's voice can be heard, with Neku telling Sora that his name is Neku Sakuraba, to which Sora replies, "That's an interesting name," and Neku responds that it's nothing special.
Jump Festa 2012
The trailer begins with Yen Sid describing what a powerful man Master Xehanort was, along with saying that his reign of terror is not over yet. Sora and Riku are then seen in different areas of Traverse Town. Maleficent is shown in Disney Castle, speaking with King Mickey, Donald, and Goofy about the Seven Princesses of Heart. The trailer then shows different clips and gameplay footage of Sora's and Riku's adventures as they travel across different worlds and encounter new people, as well as the Dream Eaters.
Yen Sid reveals the nature of the worlds and the Dream Eaters: when the worlds were first attacked by the darkness in the original Kingdom Hearts, they were saved by Sora, Donald, and Goofy. However, some were not completely saved, and instead fell into sleep. These sleeping worlds became completely disconnected with the others, so even Heartless cannot enter them. However, darkness in the sleeping worlds instead manifests as the Dream Eaters. Like the Heartless, Dream Eaters also search for the Keyholes of the worlds. The trailer then recaps the events of the previous games in a manner similar to Kingdom Hearts II's opening scene. Sora is shown on a dark beach, saying that this world must be one of the dream worlds.
More footage is shown, notably a short scene in Ansem the Wise's study, showing Lea, Ienzo, and Aeleus. Riku is seen in Monstro, demanding the identity of a figure in a black coat. The man removes his hood, revealing a face exactly like Riku's. The scene shifts to Xemnas speaking with Sora, then to Lea attacking Maleficent and Pete in Disney Castle. Riku is then shown meeting another man in a black coat, who is revealed to be a young Master Xehanort. This Xehanort is then seen confronting Sora in what looks like the interior of a cathedral, suggesting the Cathedral in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Vanitas is then seen next to Xehanort as both point out that there is more than one heart in Sora.
The trailer begins with The Unknown telling Sora that there are other hearts besides his own within him (with Vanitas talking side-by-side with The Unknown at this point). The Unknown then disappears through a Corridor of Darkness, leaving Sora to ponder over his words. The trailer then recaps the events of the previous games in a manner similar to Kingdom Hearts II's opening scene. Footage is then shown of different scenes of Sora and Riku's encounters through various worlds. The Grid is further dwelled into. Gameplay footage is then shown, with Ursula making an appearance. After the gameplay footage, more scenes are shown, with the first being Riku engaging in a conversation with an unknown person in an Organization coat, after having him kick a doll into Riku's chest.
The scene then shifts to Roxas talking to Axel about how he promised to always bring back Roxas, no matter how many times he left. Lea is then shown waking up in the computer room in Radiant Garden, confused. He looks in a window to see his reflection, then realizes what has happened. Yen Sid is then seen talking to Sora and Riku in the Mysterious Tower about how the only way to defeat Xehanort is to rescue those sleeping in sadness. They also need to gain the power to open the Seven Keyholes of Sleep. More scenes are shown, including The Unknown taking off his hood in front of Riku, while Sora and Joshua talk about this, Riku confronting Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, while The Unknown stands beside him, Sora confronting The Unknown, Mickey talking to Yen Sid, Sora confronting Braig, and calling him his enemy, The Unknown talking about the darkness in Riku's heart, an unknown person talking to Sora about how he feels the memories inside of him, and questioning whether he can call himself the original, and Lea talking to Yen Sid.
Mickey is then shown trying to reach a comatose Sora in Where Nothing Gathers, only to be subdued by Xemnas. Riku tries to rescue him, but gets subdued himself by Ansem. Mickey then sees Master Xehanort on one of the thrones, exclaiming that he knew it was him. Sora is then surrounded by Xigbar's laser-bullets, which transform into eleven hooded figures. The Unknown appears before Sora, and offers a hand in friendship, while changing into Riku. A Dark Remnant of Ventus is then seen with the Dream Eater mark on his armor, while the real Ventus is sleeping. Namine is then shown, changing into Xion, who appears before Sora. Kairi and Riku are seen before the Castle That Never Was, but they suddenly change into Master Aqua and Terra. Then a red-eyed figure in a cloak is seen, after that, Xehanort's Guardian is seen reaching out to something. The last scene shows Sora, sitting alongside the robed men from earlier.
- Main article: Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance was re-released in high definition as part of Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue under the name, Kingdom Hearts HD: Dream Drop Distance. This is the only HD Remaster of the Kingdom Hearts series to have been released exclusively for the PlayStation 4 as past games were remastered exclusively for the PlayStation 3, though both remaster collections released for PlayStation 3 were released as a single PlayStation 4 edition in 2017.
- Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is the first game in the Kingdom Hearts series to not feature the Olympus Coliseum, in a flashback or otherwise.
- However, the theme is used in the Country of the Musketeers as the musketeer theme.
- Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is the first game in the Kingdom Hearts series to be released in Australia and Europe before North America.
- This is the first Kingdom Hearts game where Sora has to fight Ursula outside of the world of Atlantica.
- Incomplete models for a world based on the film Treasure Planet have been discovered in the game's data.
- If one pays close attention to the computer screens in Radiant Garden, they say "Ignorant Users. Obey the MCP." This makes no sense as the MCP was deleted in Kingdom Hearts II and his function as the controller of Hollow Bastion OS was taken over by Tron, a friend to Users.
- Space Paranoids from Kingdom Hearts II was set to return as a Sleeping World for Sora's scenario of The Grid, as well as having Fantasia 2000 elements/worlds appearing in Riku's scenario of Symphony of Sorcery. Tetsuya Nomura found that they "had a lot to work with in the original Fantasia", so the latter was dropped.The former was likely dropped due to timing constraints.
- Had the original plans gone through, according to Masaru Oka, scenario and cutscene director for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Rinzler was originally intended to be a boss for Riku's side of the story.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, it was mentioned that the Cornerstone of Light repelled beings of darkness from Disney Castle. This is why Maleficent (whose heart if full of darkness) had to use an astral projection and Pete (who has less darkness in his heart) in Kingdom Hearts: Coded. However, in this game, Maleficent has no problem entering the castle despite the Cornerstone still working.
- Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind, revealed that the reason the Organization retreated was because the replicas being used by Ansem, Xemnas, Dark RIku, Vanitas and Young Xehanort were not perfected yet and could not hold their hearts in the future for too long. Thus they needed Vexen back in order to refine the replicas; Demyx and Xion had yet to be brought into the group, while Terra-Xehanort had no task to perform.
- According to Nomura, the new Organization was going to have ranks like the previous one. But while in-production for the next game, Kingdom Hearts III, he decided to drop the idea to avoid confusing fans; some a majority of the members are from the previous Organization and giving a second rank would cause confusion.
- Many questioned why Aeleus, Even and Ienzo were revived at the same time as Dilan and Lea, despite an entire year having passed since the demise of Lexeuas, Vexen and Zexion. Nomura explains that their Heartless were slain by Sora, being simple Shadows; until Kingdom Hearts II their Heartless still had their hearts, preventing their restoration to their human forms.