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Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue

    Original release date: 01/12/2017

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is an HD remaster compilation consisting of Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD, a new movie titled Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover and a new short title, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-, releasing on the PlayStation 4 in Japan (January 12, 2017) and North America, Europe and Australia on January 24, 2017. 

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    • By Jake
      Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover is a telling of the Kingdom Hearts χ[chi] story, included in the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue compilation exclusively released on the PlayStation 4 in Japan (January 12, 2017) and the rest of the world (January 24, 2017). 
    • By Jake
      Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- is an epilogue to Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep exclusively released on the PlayStation 4 on the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue compilation in Japan (January 12, 2017) and the rest of the world (January 24, 2017). 
    • By Allwil13
      Hey guys. So I'm at work right now (don't judge me; it's insanely dead and I'm suuuuuuper bored) and I was just browsing on the Kingdom Hearts wiki to pass the time when I learned something interesting. Apparently both Ava and Luxu from KHUX both have names derived from the latin words for two of the seven deadly sins (greed and lust, respectively). This intrigued me, and after I did some digging I learned that all of the Master of Master's apprentices have names like this: Invi is envy, Aced is sloth, Ira is wrath, and Gula is gluttony. Even more interesting is that apparently each foreteller's union has an animal that is associated with each sin (with the exception of Gula for some reason). This blew my mind, and I immediately suspected that the Master of Masters' true name must be derived from the latin word for pride, because that is the only sin missing here. 
      This got me thinking: do Sora and his friends mirror this trope? Maybe each guardian of light will represent a different deadly sin like the foretellers. What do you guys think? Have you noticed any other symbolism in the series? Do you think this will be expanded upon in Kingdom Hearts III, or do you think it's just kind of a cool connection?
    • By Aquaberry
      A new Japanese trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue was released on December 8 at 10am EST, accompanied by an announcement noting that it is the final trailer before the release of the game in January 2017! This was followed by the reveal of the English trailer a few hours later.
      Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (hereby KH2.8) is a PlayStation 4 collection of three stories from the series which make up the prologue to Kingdom Hearts III; the HD remaster Kingdom Hearts HD Dream Drop Distance running at 60fps, the HD cinematic Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, and Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-, a brand new playable chapter.
      The final trailer showcased an array of cinematics and interesting scenes from all three games, along with new gameplay footage from Kingdom Hearts 0.2. The English and Japanese trailers feature the -Ray of Hope MIX- versions of Simple and Clean and Hikari respectively; in the trailers, it is revealed that the remixes have been produced by PUNPEE. The trailer begins with an insignia for the Kingdom Hearts series' upcoming 15th anniversary on March 2017.
      Kingdom Hearts HD Dream Drop Distance 
      The beginning of the trailer skips through various short scenes from Dream Drop Distance remastered in HD. Some scenes from KH3D are shown in remastered form for the first time, such as Young Xehanort talking to Sora during his déjà vu scene in Traverse Town, and Sora's meeting with Roxas in The World that Never Was. No gameplay footage was shown.
      Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover
      A myriad of short fascinating montage from KHχ BC was shown in the trailer, creating more intrigue to the story playing behind the scenes of Kingdom Hearts χ and Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ. Many scenes show a hooded figure in an Organization XIII coat; it is sometimes possible to predict whether this is the Master of Masters or Luxu thanks to voice-overs, body movements, and previous knowledge of the story.
      The short scenes at the beginning of the trailer, which are without dialogue, include: an aerial view of the Daybreak Town Clock Tower; the Master of Masters talking to the five Foretellers in the study; Ava looking at a young sleeping Chirithy inside a flask, with Ira and Aced in the background and Gula approaching her; a close-up of Ira talking; a Chirithy looking up at Ava in the streets of Daybreak Town; a view of Daybreak Town at dusk from an alley; and Ava talking while looking up at the sky, sitting on the fountain. A short scene depicts a hooded figure holding a Keyblade that resembles Master Xehanort's Keyblade (shown below). This could be Luxu, as he was seen holding the same Keyblade in the TGS 2016 trailer; the Keyblade was also shown hanging on the wall in the E3 2015 Kingdom Hearts III trailer (as you can see below). What are the origin and the significance of this mysterious Keyblade, and how did Master Xehanort come to possess it so many years later?


      There are some new scenes with voice-over that leave one wondering about the Kingdom Hearts origin story leading up to the Keyblade War. The Master of Masters is seen walking away from the hilltop near Daybreak Town, saying that whatever is written on the last page of the Book is going to happen. Ira is seen reading his copy of the Book of Prophecies and stating that they (the Foretellers) are there to make sure that light lives on. Aced is shown to get ready to fight Invi, Ava, and Gula, who have their Keyblades out. He insists that if the Foretellers take no action, light will expire; this suggests his extreme disapproval of blindly following the events as written in the Book. In response to the doom foretold by the Master of Masters, Ava is seen crouching in Fountain Square staring at some dandelions on the ground, with mournfully asking the Master if there is anything they can do.
      Some more scenes play rapidly towards the end of the trailer, but give rise to many questions regarding the plot of KHχ BC. The camera closes up on a surprised-looking Gula standing in the dark streets of Daybreak Town, remarking that everyone wants to know about the Lost Page. Invi states that if everyone is collecting light, they are only doing it for themselves. This plays over a new battle scene between Invi and Aced under the rain, which gives an outlook on Invi's elegant and strategic battle style compared to Aced's use of rough force and movements.
      The next scene shows the Master of Masters saying, "'May your hearts be your guiding key'... I say it all the time!" before patting Invi's head. "Ultimately you need to do what your heart feels is right!" Many scenes are then shown in rapid sequence, including: a young Chirithy leaping inside its flask while a hooded figure watches and pokes the glass; a hooded figure ripping off a page from the Book of Prophecies; a crouched Gula grabbing Ava's hand in an alley; and Ira bending over and talking to a crouched Aced under the rain. A close-up of the hooded figure, possibly Luxu, with Xehanort's Keyblade is shown, walking through a wasteland and dragging a big, heavy case. The case has many locks, a peculiar silver and red emblem with 13 spikes, and writing in the middle of the emblem (a picture is available below for reference). The last KHχ BC scene in the trailer shows a hooded figure looking down from the Daybreak Town Clock Tower.

      Interestingly, a scene from KH0.2 immediately follows the Master of Master’s nuance about the heart being a “guiding key”, with Mickey repeating the same aphorism with a different wording.
      It could be speculated that it was the Master of Masters who tore out the page from the Book of Prophecies, as he was seen flipping through it in the TGS 2016 trailer. In that same trailer, the mysterious sealed box can also be seen in the background behind him (refer to the picture below) as he tells Luxu that he "better get started", and that unfortunately he will have to "go alone from here on out". Luxu then looks at his Keyblade - Master Xehanort's Keyblade - and asks, "What about the others?"
      Is there a connection between Luxu's 'mission' and the reason why he was seen dragging the sealed box across some badlands, with that Keyblade in hand?
      Another fascinating observation is the writing on the sealed case. On close inspection, it says 'XSuper' (or "YSuper", the first letter is unclear). Interestingly, the six Foretellers are all named after six of the seven deadly sins, which in Latin are written as ira (wrath), acedia (sloth), invidia (envy), avaritia (greed), gula (gluttony), and luxuria (lust). The only missing sin is superbia (pride), which is similar to the writing on the case. What does this imply? What might be inside the case? Does it link with a possible seventh Foreteller? Or is super(bia) connected to the name of the Master of Masters, who is a foreteller himself?
      The HD cinematics shown in this final trailer bring out the beauty, attention to detail, and an ethereal luminescence, especially in world scenery, in KHχ BC. This only increases excitement to see more Kingdom Hearts cinematic work achieved with the help of the Unreal Engine 4.

      Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- [GAMEPLAY]
      The KH 2.8 final trailer put focus on impressing fans with 30 seconds of brand new gameplay footage. All the worlds shown in the trailer seem to be part of the Dark World; for convenience, they will be referred to as individual worlds, while in actuality they are fragments of worlds that have been "fused together."
      At the beginning of the trailer, Aqua is shown to get ready to battle her reflection - also previously shown in the TGS 2016 trailer - possibly inside the Magic Mirror from the Dwarf Woodlands. She's also shown battling a number of Darksides in an area of the Enchanted Dominion surrounded by thorns; the Darksides are able to deliver a particularly powerful attack using red balls of energy that are seen floating in the sky. In the gameplay footage, she is clearing her path through a thick growth of tree limbs covered with black and glowing red thorns; when she strikes them down with her Master's Defender Keyblade; the thorns slide away.
      There are slight changes in the HUD, as Aqua's static status icon looks darker and more refined than in previous trailers (see the comparison below). Mini maps are shown for the first time as the player plays in through the thorny territory, a cave full of icicles, and against the Darksides. The mini maps retain much of the design used for Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, but with a more compact and blended layout to accompany the multilayered environment, and the guiding Kingdom Key icon leaving a dotted trail in the path the player takes.

      TGS 2016 vs Final trailer
      A new HUD element debuts in this trailer in the form of yellow arrows above the Command Menu (see below), much like the Command Gauge in KH BBS. In the trailer, while Aqua battles the Darksides, a third yellow arrow is added as she uses Firaga, much like how the Command Gauge is filled to trigger certain Style Changes by executing specific attacks. This was not present in the previous trailers or demos for the game. Could Square Enix have changed the way command styles work?

      Like the E3 demo, two pages of Shortcut commands were available.
      The player is able to play with Mickey as a companion, and is able to access Destiny Islands, which greatly resemble the remains of the world from the End of the World in the first Kingdom Hearts game. The trailer shows Mickey delivering a blow to a Devil's Wave (a swarm of Shadow Heartless) towards Aqua, who then performs a special attack which shoots golden chains to trap the Heartless. A new Command Style is introduced - 'Wayfinder'; the finisher for this style is shown with Aqua and Mickey shooting orbs of golden light against the chained Heartless, and Aqua shooting a final ray of energy against the enemies, which burst out of the chains as they break. Could this Command Style be influenced by the wielded Keyblade - in this case, Eraqus's Master's Defender? In fact, the chain attack greatly resembles attacks used by the Armor of Eraqus in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix.
      A gameplay element that took fans by surprise is the ability to customize Aqua's appearance. This is the first time this level of customization is available in the series with the exception of KHχ/KHUχ for PC and smartphone. The player can customize accessories on Aqua's head, arms, and back by accessing "Wardrobe" from the Main Menu. One can also change the pattern and color of Aqua's clothing, specifically of her drapings and sleeves. The color customization includes a Color Bar that can change the color balance of Red, Blue, and Green. The base color can be chosen on a color Palette. The Color History helps the player save the desired colors for future use. Further effects can be added with a Gradation option, where the player can choose a Top Color and Bottom Color to create a gradient on Aqua's clothing; there is also a Color History to save desired Gradations. It is unclear whether these customizations are carried forward to cutscenes, like Sora's Drive Forms are in Kingdom Hearts II.
      A list of Aqua's customizations shown in the English trailer can be found below. One of the head customizations include "Marie", which could possibly be white cat ears inspired by the white kitten from Aristocats.
      The main menu of the game shows options for Objectives, Wardrobe, Customize, Story, Config, and Help. The different customization scenes in the trailer are shown while the player is in different areas of the Dark World (with its world icon shown in one corner of the menu) namely "The World Within" and "Depth of Darkness". The background of the menu in each location is different, with "The World Within" showing a circular platform with towers and arches surrounding it.

      Battle and exploration in KH 0.2 are coupled by a Flowmotion-like element that has been present in previous trailers and demos. Aqua is seen sliding on branches in the Enchanted Dominion through thorns and Darksides trying to hit her. When hit, Aqua gracefully pirouettes in the air. She is able to slide to a branch near a looming Darkside and prepares to attack it. Much like the E3 2016 demo, and Sora and Riku in Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance and HD DDD, Aqua glows when using this version of "Flowmotion".
      In the trailer, the player explores the Magic Mirror Chamber in the Dwarf Woodlands. Compare tod KH BBS, the Chamber looks much bigger and much more detailed, with the Unreal Engine 4 and Kingdom Shader giving the world a sophisticated touch that creates a fantastical, "Disney" feel to it. The size of this area can also be inferred from the mini map, which shows a circular platform with two more chambers. This area also has a partly distorted and shattered design, just like Castle of Dreams in the previous trailers and demo. Another scene shows the player exploring with Mickey, running towards the exit of a cave full of icicles. Again, the level of detail and the manipulation of lighting, seen by the reflections on the rocky ground and the ice crystals and shadows, greatly enhances the visual experience of playing KH 0.2. This goes hand-in-hand with the various movements of the characters during gameplay as well as objects, such as fog. The staggering effect of the lighting can also be seen in the uncommon glow in the eyes of the enemy Heartless, which plays a part in bringing them to life like never before.
      Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- [CINEMATICS]
      The stunning graphical enhancement can also be noticed during cinematics. A particular view of Destiny Island shows a stark contrast to the flatter imagery shown in the Kingdom Hearts III announcement trailer.

      Some quick scenes are shown at the beginning of the trailer, such as: Aqua's Wayfinder falling into Mickey's hand; a dark place resembling the Keyblade Graveyard, with many keychain-less Keyblades (such as Fenrir) stuck or fallen on the ground; a closeup of Kairi speaking to Riku in the Mysterious Tower; Aqua staring at her reflection in the Magic Mirror Chamber; and Ven and Terra walking towards the forest, perhaps in the Dwarf Woodlands. In this last scene, Ven's clothes show a color mismatch previously observed on a Shonen Jump screenshot; however, this does not appear to be consistent with the appearance of Ven in the rest of the trailer. It is unclear whether this was intentional, or something that could be fixed before the release of the game next month.
      One of the new scenes shown for KH 0.2 was that of Aqua running towards Terra and Ven in the Enchanted Dominion. When she calls to them, Terra turns around and calls her back, asking if she can see him. Terra's appearance looks more refined than as reported from fans who have played the E3 2016 demo. She is surprised to see him - perhaps because he is actually talking back, unlike in Castle of Dreams in the E3 2016 demo - and replies that she can see Ven as well. Ven, however, keeps his head down and eyes closed, as if sleeping, and does not respond. This raises questions as to whether these versions of Terra and Ven are only illusions (like the Terra from the E3 2016 demo) or actual connections to their real selves. Or are they distortions created by the darkness, eager to consume the light in Aqua's heart? Something else that is unclear is whether Terra's original voice actor, Jason Dohring, is reprising his role.
      The scene changes to Aqua and Mickey on a fragmented and distorted version of Destiny Islands. As mentioned before, this version of the Islands looks very similar to the version found at The End of the World in the first KH game. Mickey asks if Aqua knows this place, and she replies that she has visited it once before. A flashback of Aqua patting young Sora's and Riku's heads follows, with Aqua commenting that she had met two boys here that she considered bequeathing the Keyblade to.
      Following the scene from KHχ BC where the Master of Masters comments on following one's heart, somewhere in the Dark World, Mickey repeats, "May our hearts be our guiding key," to which Aqua replies that it is a phrase no one has used in ages. Mickey comments that it is something that he likes to try to remember. Where has Aqua heard this phrase before? Is this a saying she heard from Master Eraqus? If so, who did he hear it from? The association of the two games by this phrase provokes inquiry about the connection between the origin story of KHχ BC and the present.
      Terranort (Terra's body possessed by Master Xehanort) and Terra are shown as two individual figures, with Terranort grabbing Terra's skull as Terra struggles to break free. Here, Terra is enveloped in a thin layer of golden light. Another scene shows a great hand grabbing a semi-conscious Ven while Aqua turns towards them, bewildered; the enemy is cloaked with a thick layer of glittering light. It extends its other hand towards Aqua, ready to snatch her. Mickey is then shown approaching a floating, glowing Kingdom Key D in the darkness. A new scene starts, with what resembles the formation of Kingdom Hearts in the Keyblade Graveyard in KH BBS, as seen from the distance by a cloaked figure. The scene is not very clear; however, it seems as if the figure has a Keyblade on the ground in front of him. The Keyblade's design and silhouette matches that of Master Xehanort's, and the protruding blue orb looks like the keychain on Master Xehanort's Keyblade. Does this mean there is a third person - apart from DiZ - who is present in the Dark World with Aqua and Mickey, and that they are wielding Master Xehanort's Keyblade? Is this Luxu, and if so, how is this chronologically possible? Perhaps this scene is a scene from the ending of KHUχ/KHχ BC, retold from this character's perspective. It could also be the ending to KH BBS; but if so, it raises the question as to how there can be a second Master Xehanort's Keyblade when during this scene, Terranort was holding onto it. (It should be kept in mind that, however unlikely, it is possible for a Keyblade to be wielded in two different places at the same time.)
      A young Riku, with his original KH and Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories attire, makes an appearance, running in the darkness. Soon after, Mickey is shown lying on the floor in the dark, trying to look up; he is surrounded by a faint glimmer of golden lights, and is wearing the same outfit (consisting only of shorts) he wore in the first KH game. Will KH 0.2 also show Mickey's journey in the Realm of Darkness after the events of the first game, and his first meeting with Riku after closing the door to Kingdom Hearts? Will this be a flashback or a playable episode? The scene follows to the present, where Riku swings a suitcase over his shoulder while Mickey holds one of his own. They seem to be in the Mysterious Tower. Are they off to search for the "previous Keyblade wielders"? Riku's and Mickey's suitcases show a beautiful pattern of Mickey-head silhouettes and hearts, and perhaps even Keyblades and crowns; Riku's pattern is blue on black, while Mickey's is red on black.

      The development in graphical details seems to unravel around the cinematics of KH 0.2, and the revamped effect of lighting is especially noticeable when it contrasts with the murkiness of the Dark World. The glow on reflective surfaces, such as watery and metallic surfaces, the delineation of different textures, and the careful placement of shadows give a very realistic feel and show the great care the production team has put in enriching every characteristic and particular of the worlds' elements as possible.
      The trailer ends on a wonderful note, showing none other than the protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series himself running up the steps to the Yen Sid's Tower in his Kingdom Hearts II clothes. Sora meets Donald and Goofy at the door, the latter who comments that he has been gone a long time and asks him what he has been up to. Sora scratches his cheek in his habitual manner and laughs, replying that it's a secret. Haley Joel Osment's and Bill Farmer's returning voices are distinguishable, and from playing KH3D, it can be assumed that Sora had just returned from his trip to Traverse Town to meet the Dream Eater Spirits. Sora's face is finally shown at the end, when he opens the door and leans forward, exclaiming "I'm back!" - reminiscent of the indelible ending to Kingdom Hearts II.
      Kingdom Hearts is indeed back with a new playable title, a remaster of the last one, and two new narratives to enjoy in the stunning enhancement of the Unreal Engine 4 and all that the latest upgrades brought to game development in recent years. Get ready to receive a taste of Kingdom Hearts III while waiting impatiently for its release!

      Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue releases on the PlayStation 4 in Japan on January 12, 2017, and worldwide on January 24, 2017.
      Screenshots from the final KH 2.8 trailer are now available in our gallery, and can be accessed below.
      What are your thoughts and observations on this trailer? Do you have analyses of your own? Feel free to join the discussion in the comments below!


      View full article
    • By Aquaberry
      A new Japanese trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue was released on December 8 at 10am EST, accompanied by an announcement noting that it is the final trailer before the release of the game in January 2017! This was followed by the reveal of the English trailer a few hours later.
      Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (hereby KH2.8) is a PlayStation 4 collection of three stories from the series which make up the prologue to Kingdom Hearts III; the HD remaster Kingdom Hearts HD Dream Drop Distance running at 60fps, the HD cinematic Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, and Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-, a brand new playable chapter.
      The final trailer showcased an array of cinematics and interesting scenes from all three games, along with new gameplay footage from Kingdom Hearts 0.2. The English and Japanese trailers feature the -Ray of Hope MIX- versions of Simple and Clean and Hikari respectively; in the trailers, it is revealed that the remixes have been produced by PUNPEE. The trailer begins with an insignia for the Kingdom Hearts series' upcoming 15th anniversary on March 2017.
      Kingdom Hearts HD Dream Drop Distance 
      The beginning of the trailer skips through various short scenes from Dream Drop Distance remastered in HD. Some scenes from KH3D are shown in remastered form for the first time, such as Young Xehanort talking to Sora during his déjà vu scene in Traverse Town, and Sora's meeting with Roxas in The World that Never Was. No gameplay footage was shown.
      Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover
      A myriad of short fascinating montage from KHχ BC was shown in the trailer, creating more intrigue to the story playing behind the scenes of Kingdom Hearts χ and Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ. Many scenes show a hooded figure in an Organization XIII coat; it is sometimes possible to predict whether this is the Master of Masters or Luxu thanks to voice-overs, body movements, and previous knowledge of the story.
      The short scenes at the beginning of the trailer, which are without dialogue, include: an aerial view of the Daybreak Town Clock Tower; the Master of Masters talking to the five Foretellers in the study; Ava looking at a young sleeping Chirithy inside a flask, with Ira and Aced in the background and Gula approaching her; a close-up of Ira talking; a Chirithy looking up at Ava in the streets of Daybreak Town; a view of Daybreak Town at dusk from an alley; and Ava talking while looking up at the sky, sitting on the fountain. A short scene depicts a hooded figure holding a Keyblade that resembles Master Xehanort's Keyblade (shown below). This could be Luxu, as he was seen holding the same Keyblade in the TGS 2016 trailer; the Keyblade was also shown hanging on the wall in the E3 2015 Kingdom Hearts III trailer (as you can see below). What are the origin and the significance of this mysterious Keyblade, and how did Master Xehanort come to possess it so many years later?


      There are some new scenes with voice-over that leave one wondering about the Kingdom Hearts origin story leading up to the Keyblade War. The Master of Masters is seen walking away from the hilltop near Daybreak Town, saying that whatever is written on the last page of the Book is going to happen. Ira is seen reading his copy of the Book of Prophecies and stating that they (the Foretellers) are there to make sure that light lives on. Aced is shown to get ready to fight Invi, Ava, and Gula, who have their Keyblades out. He insists that if the Foretellers take no action, light will expire; this suggests his extreme disapproval of blindly following the events as written in the Book. In response to the doom foretold by the Master of Masters, Ava is seen crouching in Fountain Square staring at some dandelions on the ground, with mournfully asking the Master if there is anything they can do.
      Some more scenes play rapidly towards the end of the trailer, but give rise to many questions regarding the plot of KHχ BC. The camera closes up on a surprised-looking Gula standing in the dark streets of Daybreak Town, remarking that everyone wants to know about the Lost Page. Invi states that if everyone is collecting light, they are only doing it for themselves. This plays over a new battle scene between Invi and Aced under the rain, which gives an outlook on Invi's elegant and strategic battle style compared to Aced's use of rough force and movements.
      The next scene shows the Master of Masters saying, "'May your hearts be your guiding key'... I say it all the time!" before patting Invi's head. "Ultimately you need to do what your heart feels is right!" Many scenes are then shown in rapid sequence, including: a young Chirithy leaping inside its flask while a hooded figure watches and pokes the glass; a hooded figure ripping off a page from the Book of Prophecies; a crouched Gula grabbing Ava's hand in an alley; and Ira bending over and talking to a crouched Aced under the rain. A close-up of the hooded figure, possibly Luxu, with Xehanort's Keyblade is shown, walking through a wasteland and dragging a big, heavy case. The case has many locks, a peculiar silver and red emblem with 13 spikes, and writing in the middle of the emblem (a picture is available below for reference). The last KHχ BC scene in the trailer shows a hooded figure looking down from the Daybreak Town Clock Tower.

      Interestingly, a scene from KH0.2 immediately follows the Master of Master’s nuance about the heart being a “guiding key”, with Mickey repeating the same aphorism with a different wording.
      It could be speculated that it was the Master of Masters who tore out the page from the Book of Prophecies, as he was seen flipping through it in the TGS 2016 trailer. In that same trailer, the mysterious sealed box can also be seen in the background behind him (refer to the picture below) as he tells Luxu that he "better get started", and that unfortunately he will have to "go alone from here on out". Luxu then looks at his Keyblade - Master Xehanort's Keyblade - and asks, "What about the others?"
      Is there a connection between Luxu's 'mission' and the reason why he was seen dragging the sealed box across some badlands, with that Keyblade in hand?
      Another fascinating observation is the writing on the sealed case. On close inspection, it says 'XSuper' (or "YSuper", the first letter is unclear). Interestingly, the six Foretellers are all named after six of the seven deadly sins, which in Latin are written as ira (wrath), acedia (sloth), invidia (envy), avaritia (greed), gula (gluttony), and luxuria (lust). The only missing sin is superbia (pride), which is similar to the writing on the case. What does this imply? What might be inside the case? Does it link with a possible seventh Foreteller? Or is super(bia) connected to the name of the Master of Masters, who is a foreteller himself?
      The HD cinematics shown in this final trailer bring out the beauty, attention to detail, and an ethereal luminescence, especially in world scenery, in KHχ BC. This only increases excitement to see more Kingdom Hearts cinematic work achieved with the help of the Unreal Engine 4.

      Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- [GAMEPLAY]
      The KH 2.8 final trailer put focus on impressing fans with 30 seconds of brand new gameplay footage. All the worlds shown in the trailer seem to be part of the Dark World; for convenience, they will be referred to as individual worlds, while in actuality they are fragments of worlds that have been "fused together."
      At the beginning of the trailer, Aqua is shown to get ready to battle her reflection - also previously shown in the TGS 2016 trailer - possibly inside the Magic Mirror from the Dwarf Woodlands. She's also shown battling a number of Darksides in an area of the Enchanted Dominion surrounded by thorns; the Darksides are able to deliver a particularly powerful attack using red balls of energy that are seen floating in the sky. In the gameplay footage, she is clearing her path through a thick growth of tree limbs covered with black and glowing red thorns; when she strikes them down with her Master's Defender Keyblade; the thorns slide away.
      There are slight changes in the HUD, as Aqua's static status icon looks darker and more refined than in previous trailers (see the comparison below). Mini maps are shown for the first time as the player plays in through the thorny territory, a cave full of icicles, and against the Darksides. The mini maps retain much of the design used for Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, but with a more compact and blended layout to accompany the multilayered environment, and the guiding Kingdom Key icon leaving a dotted trail in the path the player takes.

      TGS 2016 vs Final trailer
      A new HUD element debuts in this trailer in the form of yellow arrows above the Command Menu (see below), much like the Command Gauge in KH BBS. In the trailer, while Aqua battles the Darksides, a third yellow arrow is added as she uses Firaga, much like how the Command Gauge is filled to trigger certain Style Changes by executing specific attacks. This was not present in the previous trailers or demos for the game. Could Square Enix have changed the way command styles work?

      Like the E3 demo, two pages of Shortcut commands were available.
      The player is able to play with Mickey as a companion, and is able to access Destiny Islands, which greatly resemble the remains of the world from the End of the World in the first Kingdom Hearts game. The trailer shows Mickey delivering a blow to a Devil's Wave (a swarm of Shadow Heartless) towards Aqua, who then performs a special attack which shoots golden chains to trap the Heartless. A new Command Style is introduced - 'Wayfinder'; the finisher for this style is shown with Aqua and Mickey shooting orbs of golden light against the chained Heartless, and Aqua shooting a final ray of energy against the enemies, which burst out of the chains as they break. Could this Command Style be influenced by the wielded Keyblade - in this case, Eraqus's Master's Defender? In fact, the chain attack greatly resembles attacks used by the Armor of Eraqus in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix.
      A gameplay element that took fans by surprise is the ability to customize Aqua's appearance. This is the first time this level of customization is available in the series with the exception of KHχ/KHUχ for PC and smartphone. The player can customize accessories on Aqua's head, arms, and back by accessing "Wardrobe" from the Main Menu. One can also change the pattern and color of Aqua's clothing, specifically of her drapings and sleeves. The color customization includes a Color Bar that can change the color balance of Red, Blue, and Green. The base color can be chosen on a color Palette. The Color History helps the player save the desired colors for future use. Further effects can be added with a Gradation option, where the player can choose a Top Color and Bottom Color to create a gradient on Aqua's clothing; there is also a Color History to save desired Gradations. It is unclear whether these customizations are carried forward to cutscenes, like Sora's Drive Forms are in Kingdom Hearts II.
      A list of Aqua's customizations shown in the English trailer can be found below. One of the head customizations include "Marie", which could possibly be white cat ears inspired by the white kitten from Aristocats.
      The main menu of the game shows options for Objectives, Wardrobe, Customize, Story, Config, and Help. The different customization scenes in the trailer are shown while the player is in different areas of the Dark World (with its world icon shown in one corner of the menu) namely "The World Within" and "Depth of Darkness". The background of the menu in each location is different, with "The World Within" showing a circular platform with towers and arches surrounding it.

      Battle and exploration in KH 0.2 are coupled by a Flowmotion-like element that has been present in previous trailers and demos. Aqua is seen sliding on branches in the Enchanted Dominion through thorns and Darksides trying to hit her. When hit, Aqua gracefully pirouettes in the air. She is able to slide to a branch near a looming Darkside and prepares to attack it. Much like the E3 2016 demo, and Sora and Riku in Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance and HD DDD, Aqua glows when using this version of "Flowmotion".
      In the trailer, the player explores the Magic Mirror Chamber in the Dwarf Woodlands. Compare tod KH BBS, the Chamber looks much bigger and much more detailed, with the Unreal Engine 4 and Kingdom Shader giving the world a sophisticated touch that creates a fantastical, "Disney" feel to it. The size of this area can also be inferred from the mini map, which shows a circular platform with two more chambers. This area also has a partly distorted and shattered design, just like Castle of Dreams in the previous trailers and demo. Another scene shows the player exploring with Mickey, running towards the exit of a cave full of icicles. Again, the level of detail and the manipulation of lighting, seen by the reflections on the rocky ground and the ice crystals and shadows, greatly enhances the visual experience of playing KH 0.2. This goes hand-in-hand with the various movements of the characters during gameplay as well as objects, such as fog. The staggering effect of the lighting can also be seen in the uncommon glow in the eyes of the enemy Heartless, which plays a part in bringing them to life like never before.
      Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- [CINEMATICS]
      The stunning graphical enhancement can also be noticed during cinematics. A particular view of Destiny Island shows a stark contrast to the flatter imagery shown in the Kingdom Hearts III announcement trailer.

      Some quick scenes are shown at the beginning of the trailer, such as: Aqua's Wayfinder falling into Mickey's hand; a dark place resembling the Keyblade Graveyard, with many keychain-less Keyblades (such as Fenrir) stuck or fallen on the ground; a closeup of Kairi speaking to Riku in the Mysterious Tower; Aqua staring at her reflection in the Magic Mirror Chamber; and Ven and Terra walking towards the forest, perhaps in the Dwarf Woodlands. In this last scene, Ven's clothes show a color mismatch previously observed on a Shonen Jump screenshot; however, this does not appear to be consistent with the appearance of Ven in the rest of the trailer. It is unclear whether this was intentional, or something that could be fixed before the release of the game next month.
      One of the new scenes shown for KH 0.2 was that of Aqua running towards Terra and Ven in the Enchanted Dominion. When she calls to them, Terra turns around and calls her back, asking if she can see him. Terra's appearance looks more refined than as reported from fans who have played the E3 2016 demo. She is surprised to see him - perhaps because he is actually talking back, unlike in Castle of Dreams in the E3 2016 demo - and replies that she can see Ven as well. Ven, however, keeps his head down and eyes closed, as if sleeping, and does not respond. This raises questions as to whether these versions of Terra and Ven are only illusions (like the Terra from the E3 2016 demo) or actual connections to their real selves. Or are they distortions created by the darkness, eager to consume the light in Aqua's heart? Something else that is unclear is whether Terra's original voice actor, Jason Dohring, is reprising his role.
      The scene changes to Aqua and Mickey on a fragmented and distorted version of Destiny Islands. As mentioned before, this version of the Islands looks very similar to the version found at The End of the World in the first KH game. Mickey asks if Aqua knows this place, and she replies that she has visited it once before. A flashback of Aqua patting young Sora's and Riku's heads follows, with Aqua commenting that she had met two boys here that she considered bequeathing the Keyblade to.
      Following the scene from KHχ BC where the Master of Masters comments on following one's heart, somewhere in the Dark World, Mickey repeats, "May our hearts be our guiding key," to which Aqua replies that it is a phrase no one has used in ages. Mickey comments that it is something that he likes to try to remember. Where has Aqua heard this phrase before? Is this a saying she heard from Master Eraqus? If so, who did he hear it from? The association of the two games by this phrase provokes inquiry about the connection between the origin story of KHχ BC and the present.
      Terranort (Terra's body possessed by Master Xehanort) and Terra are shown as two individual figures, with Terranort grabbing Terra's skull as Terra struggles to break free. Here, Terra is enveloped in a thin layer of golden light. Another scene shows a great hand grabbing a semi-conscious Ven while Aqua turns towards them, bewildered; the enemy is cloaked with a thick layer of glittering light. It extends its other hand towards Aqua, ready to snatch her. Mickey is then shown approaching a floating, glowing Kingdom Key D in the darkness. A new scene starts, with what resembles the formation of Kingdom Hearts in the Keyblade Graveyard in KH BBS, as seen from the distance by a cloaked figure. The scene is not very clear; however, it seems as if the figure has a Keyblade on the ground in front of him. The Keyblade's design and silhouette matches that of Master Xehanort's, and the protruding blue orb looks like the keychain on Master Xehanort's Keyblade. Does this mean there is a third person - apart from DiZ - who is present in the Dark World with Aqua and Mickey, and that they are wielding Master Xehanort's Keyblade? Is this Luxu, and if so, how is this chronologically possible? Perhaps this scene is a scene from the ending of KHUχ/KHχ BC, retold from this character's perspective. It could also be the ending to KH BBS; but if so, it raises the question as to how there can be a second Master Xehanort's Keyblade when during this scene, Terranort was holding onto it. (It should be kept in mind that, however unlikely, it is possible for a Keyblade to be wielded in two different places at the same time.)
      A young Riku, with his original KH and Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories attire, makes an appearance, running in the darkness. Soon after, Mickey is shown lying on the floor in the dark, trying to look up; he is surrounded by a faint glimmer of golden lights, and is wearing the same outfit (consisting only of shorts) he wore in the first KH game. Will KH 0.2 also show Mickey's journey in the Realm of Darkness after the events of the first game, and his first meeting with Riku after closing the door to Kingdom Hearts? Will this be a flashback or a playable episode? The scene follows to the present, where Riku swings a suitcase over his shoulder while Mickey holds one of his own. They seem to be in the Mysterious Tower. Are they off to search for the "previous Keyblade wielders"? Riku's and Mickey's suitcases show a beautiful pattern of Mickey-head silhouettes and hearts, and perhaps even Keyblades and crowns; Riku's pattern is blue on black, while Mickey's is red on black.

      The development in graphical details seems to unravel around the cinematics of KH 0.2, and the revamped effect of lighting is especially noticeable when it contrasts with the murkiness of the Dark World. The glow on reflective surfaces, such as watery and metallic surfaces, the delineation of different textures, and the careful placement of shadows give a very realistic feel and show the great care the production team has put in enriching every characteristic and particular of the worlds' elements as possible.
      The trailer ends on a wonderful note, showing none other than the protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series himself running up the steps to the Yen Sid's Tower in his Kingdom Hearts II clothes. Sora meets Donald and Goofy at the door, the latter who comments that he has been gone a long time and asks him what he has been up to. Sora scratches his cheek in his habitual manner and laughs, replying that it's a secret. Haley Joel Osment's and Bill Farmer's returning voices are distinguishable, and from playing KH3D, it can be assumed that Sora had just returned from his trip to Traverse Town to meet the Dream Eater Spirits. Sora's face is finally shown at the end, when he opens the door and leans forward, exclaiming "I'm back!" - reminiscent of the indelible ending to Kingdom Hearts II.
      Kingdom Hearts is indeed back with a new playable title, a remaster of the last one, and two new narratives to enjoy in the stunning enhancement of the Unreal Engine 4 and all that the latest upgrades brought to game development in recent years. Get ready to receive a taste of Kingdom Hearts III while waiting impatiently for its release!

      Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue releases on the PlayStation 4 in Japan on January 12, 2017, and worldwide on January 24, 2017.
      Screenshots from the final KH 2.8 trailer are now available in our gallery, and can be accessed below.
      What are your thoughts and observations on this trailer? Do you have analyses of your own? Feel free to join the discussion in the comments below!

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