I was eleven years old and in the fifth grade when Kingdom Hearts II released. The week it came out was my final week of classes before spring break. After getting out of school on Friday, my mom took me to Target to pick up Kingdom Hearts II. I even think she bought it for me rather than having me use my own allowance money to purchase it: she knew how excited I was to finally play the follow-up to one of my favorite games ever.
With my copy of Kingdom Hearts II finally in-hand, my spring break plans were set. I had been reading previews of Kingdom Hearts II in gaming magazines for months at this point — to say I was ecstatic is totally underselling it. Some of my childhood friends got to go to the beach or take extravagant vacations to different parts of the country during their break, but I was completely satisfied to spend my time off from school with Sora and his pals.
By Tuesday of the following week, I had seen Kingdom Hearts II through to its conclusion. The game I had waited so long to play had been beaten and I felt melancholy as a result. So, what’s a young kid to do at this point? Start anticipating the sequel, of course. Little did I know at the time though was just how long this wait would end up being.
Since that Tuesday of spring break 2006, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Kingdom Hearts III. What’s changed is that I’m no longer that eleven-year-old kid in fifth grade. Instead, I’m a soon-to-be twenty-four-year-old with a full-time job, facial hair, and a 401(k). It’s not hyperbole, but is instead an outright fact that I have waited over half of my life for Kingdom Hearts III to arrive. While I sit here in 2018 writing this now, knowing that the game does exist, we still don’t have a firm release date for when I’ll be able to play it.
So as we head into gaming’s most exciting week, E3, the prospect of finally having a release date for Kingdom Hearts III is what I find myself the most excited about. Is it the loftiest of E3 dreams to have? Not really. In fact, it seems like a virtual guarantee that this is finally going to happen. But as you might be able to tell, this year’s E3 dream is more of a personal one to me.
To peel back the curtain just a bit on our plans for E3, we at DualShockers will have an appointment to sit down and play Kingdom Hearts III for a few moments next week at the show. The thought of heading into E3 knowing that we’ll likely get a launch date, in addition to me going hands-on with a game that I sometimes started to think would never exist, is downright surreal.
I tend to think I’m somewhat of a curmudgeon far too often, but I can genuinely say that this is one of the most emotional and joyful feelings I’ve had related to video games in quite some time.
I think at the end of the day, the reason why this game and this release date mean so much to me is because whenever I think about Kingdom Hearts, I feel like a kid again. In a period of my life where I’m starting to finally feel like the usual mundanities of adult life have caught up with me, to find something from my past that still makes me have a sense of childlike wonder is more valuable than words can express.
If Kingdom Hearts III finally receives a release date next week — something that has been over a decade in the making — then you can bet that I’ll be every bit as giddy as when I ran out of school and hopped into my mom’s car on that Friday afternoon in 2006.
As we near E3, what do you want to see the most at this year’s show? What’s your dream scenario? Be sure to let us know in the comments. Lastly, be sure to check out some of the other hopes and dreams for E3 2018 from the rest of the DualShockers writers.