Sora teams up with Woody and Buzz to battle the heartless in a crossover first for the hit series.

It’s taking a long, long time for the Kingdom Hearts video game series to take the step from Kingdom Hearts II to Kingdom Hearts III. That’s not to say the franchise has gone dormant, since there have been roughly a dozen remasters, semi-sequels, and side-story installments since Kingdom Hearts II’s 2002 release. Still, when developer Square Enix finally finishes up Kingdom Heart III, it’s going to be a big day for fans.

The day won’t just be special because of the decade-plus buildup of anticipation, either. Once seen as a head-scratching experiment to combine the best of Disney and Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts has earned widespread critical and popular acclaim. Along the way, the Final Fantasy elements have been phased out, leaving more opportunities for Kingdom Hearts’ original cast of characters to venture through an increasing number of Disney worlds. We already knew that in Kingdom Hearts III protagonist Sora would be crossing paths with Baymax of Big Hero 6, and Square Enix has now made it known that, for the first time, Pixar will be part of the crossover, as Kingdom Hearts III will include a Toy Story area.

The announcement came at Disney’s annual D23 media event, in which an extended trailer for Kingdom Hearts III was played. In it, we see Sora, accompanied by regular adventuring companions Donald Duck and Goofy, arrive in Andy’s room (at the video’s 54-second mark), where they do battle with an infestation of recurring adversaries the Heartless before meeting Woody, Buzz, and a few other familiar faces from Toy Story.

▼ Upon entering the Toy Story world, Sora takes on a blocky, action figure-like appearance.

▼ The preview’s dialogue is in Japanese with English subtitles, which means you can hear the voice of Cowboy Bebop’s Spike Spiegal (voice actor Koichi Yamadera) coming out of Donald’s mouth.

There’s plenty of gameplay shown in the video as well, with Sora zipping about and attacking foes in a combat system that looks somewhat similar to Final Fantasy XV’s. After making their way out of Andy’s room, Sora’s party can be seen fighting Heartless in a suburb steeped in the Pixar aesthetic, accompanied by their new friends.

But while fans are no doubt excited by what they see in the video, it lacks what they probably want to see most of all: an exact release date for the game. Still, the preview does promise that Kingdom Hearst III will go on sale in 2018, which means a maximum of 17 months left to wait, but hopefully far fewer.

Source: YouTube/Kingdom Hearts via IT Media
Images: YouTube/Kingdom Hearts

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s hoping Utada Hikaru sings the Kingdom Hearts III theme song.