While it wasn’t quite E3 levels of proportions, Disney’s D23 Expo featured a somewhat surprising amount of video game updates and reveals. The quiet fury of titles on display — largely made possible due to Disney’s relatively recent acquisitions — almost made us wonder how long it may be before Disney has its own E3 press conference slot. From exciting Kingdom Hearts III news, to Star Wars Battlefront II, to superhero-ing in VR, let’s rundown everything we learned at D23 Expo from a gaming perspective.
Kingdom Hearts III release window
At long last, we know at least the year to expect the Square Enix/Disney RPG crossover Kingdom Hearts III. The long-awaited sequel to 2005’s Kingdom Hearts II will launch sometime in 2018 for Xbox One and PS4.
On top of the 2018 arrival, we learned that a Pixar franchise will be featured in the series for the first time. Sora, Donald, and Goofy will find themselves in the world of Toy Story, enlisting the help of Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and gang to find Andy, who has mysteriously gone missing. Besides the original storyline, the Toy Story world will include well-known characters and set-pieces from the film franchise.
First look at Star Wars Battlefront II‘s campaign
We had already seen extended looks at Star Wars Battlefront II‘s multiplayer mode, but we haven’t seen very much from the Imperial-oriented campaign. During a “Behind the Story” trailer, shown above, we saw Iden Versio in action for the first time outside of our private gameplay session at E3. But don’t blink, because it goes by quickly. We watch Iden walk down a corridor and tase a Rebel soldier (at the 50 second mark). That was it as far as pure gameplay, but the video did feature some interesting commentary from the development team.
“I’ve always been a fan of the Dark Side,” Battlefront II game director Mark Thompson says at the start of the trailer. “The idea of the Imperial perspective is you never really understand who they are as people, or how the organization works,” he continues.
The central question that the development team wanted to answer in Battlefront II‘s narrative: What happened after Return of the Jedi, when the galaxy no longer had an emperor?
Janina Gavankar, the actress who plays Iden says, “We happened to be on Endor when the second Death Star explodes.” The explosion and the death of the emperor is the catalyst for the events that play out throughout the narrative.
While we didn’t learn concrete story details from the trailer, it nonetheless wet our palettes in anticipation for Star Wars Battlefront II’s November 17 launch on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Marvel Powers United VR revealed
If you’ve always wanted to be a superhero, Marvel Powers United VR might be the game for you. Serving as the big game reveal at D23, Marvel Powers United lets you team up with up to three friends, each of whom gets to embody their own superhero from a first-person, immersive perspective. When it arrives on Oculus Rift (with Touch control support) in 2018, there will be a cast of more than 12 superheroes, including Hulk, Captain Marvel, and Rocket Raccoon.
Developed by Sanzaru, we will get a better look at Marvel Powers United VR at San Diego Comic Con later this week.
An older Spider-Man
Like Star Wars Battlefront II, Insomniac’s upcoming PS4 exclusive Spider-Man received a behind-the-scenes look of its own. Spider-Man will be set in its own unique world, with an original story not represented by either the comic books or the film franchise — although the story was inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man comics.
Throughout the story, we will learn how the worlds of Spider-Man and Peter Parker overlap one another. Interestingly, Spider-Man will start off as 23 years of age, meaning that he is already acclimated to his radiation-induced web-slinging powers.
Insomniac claimed that both the web-slinging and combat has been improved since E3. Players can utilize the interactive environment around them as they please, for both traveling and fighting baddies.
Spider-Man doesn’t have a firm launch date, but we know it will sling onto PS4 sometime in 2018.
Star Wars: Jedi Challenges unveiled
Disney revealed a new partnership with Lenovo to create a Star Wars augmented reality experience delivered by a custom AR headset. Star Wars: Jedi Challenges will let users experience aspects of the franchise such as lightsaber battles, AR toy battles, and Holochess.
We still need to learn its price and release date, but Star Wars: Jedi Challenges sounds pretty neat, right?
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