This afternoon as I sat down at my desk to write up some news I was elated to find that one of the gaming PR wires that aggregates new press releases and media featured brand new media for Kingdom Hearts III. Considering the anemic level of marketing the game has received surely Square Enix knew that releasing event a single screenshot would create immense amounts of coverage except a single Kingdom Hearts III screenshot wasn’t what I found when I loaded their press site.
Above are the two screenshots featured on Square’s press site, these might look slightly familiar to long-time fans of the series because they’re actually from the upcoming PlayStation 4 re-master of Dream Drop Distance titled Kingdom Hearts 2.8. Now, whether or not the PR wire’s description of a brand new KH3 screenshot can be chalked up to simple human error is irrelevant. The whole thing finally made me realize that Square Enix’s marketing department treats the speciality gaming press and it’s fans like it’s the fucking 1990s.
Let’s take a trip back to E3 2013 – over two years ago when all eyes (not just enthusiast press and players but also mainstream press) were on the gaming industry. Square Enix surprised everyone with a lengthy look at the then rebranded Final Fantasy XIV and shocked even the most jaded with an early look at Kingdom Hearts III. Even in this early state it was enough to set the fan-base ablaze hoping for future reveals.
Here is all of the footage of Kingdom Hearts III that has been released to the public thus far.
In the two and a half years since the reveal of the game how much footage have we seen up to today? The answer is quite simple if you add all of the running time together it sums up to just a little over five minutes of footage. Then again this is the company that held an entire live-stream during the Tokyo Games Show this past fall to let us know you could ride Chocobos and go fishing. Square Enix has decided to provide the most inane details about a game that will have its final release announced in just four months’ time. At least FFXV fans have been able to go hands-on with the game thanks to the Episode Duscae demo that release this past March with Type-0 HD. We’ve never seen Kingdom Hearts demonstrated on-stage during a press event and the public has never had the chance to get their hands on even a small sliver of the final-product.
All of the brings a few questions to mind: Has something gone wrong with the development of Kingdom Hearts III? Does Square Enix not have confidence in KH3 to show off more of the game? Is Square Enix just trolling us at this point? I don’t have answers to these questions but I do know that the current gaming culture is one where a live-stream of a game the day of release – or for the lucky few who get a title early a few days before release – can generate more positive buzz than entire co-ordinated PR campaigns. The current climate is one where vocal fans are able to call out publishers for shitty PC ports and have them removed from sale just days after launch. Perhaps Square Enix is just trying to avert a possible disaster.