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Ever since the first remaster in the Kingdom Hearts series was announced, fans have been concerned about the fate of the other titles. Would they receive the HD treatment as well? And in what form? For what system?
Among these titles is none other than Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], the most recent installment in the series, barring the remixes and browser game. Because the possibility existed that Nintendo had purchased exclusivity rights to KH3D, as they do for many third party titles, the question became whether or not this particular one also fell into the same category. Not only that, but with the game's heavy usage of the 3DS's unique functions, it would be difficult to replicate the experience if a potential remaster were released on the Playstation 3 like its predecessors, or so we had thought.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix was released in Japan in October, and players who were able to obtain a copy quickly discovered that, much like HD 1.5 ReMix, scenes of other titles not included in the remaster were shown during the credits sequence.
1.5 displayed scenes of Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix, Birth by Sleep Final Mix and Re:coded, foreshadowing the inevitable HD 2.5 ReMix.
2.5 displayed scenes of Dream Drop Distance and the Kingdom Hearts 3 announcement trailer.
Of course the big 3 would be shown off; that much is understandable. But why would 3D make an appearance?
Series Director Tetsuya Nomura only had this to say:
---By the way, what about KH3D? It's not in KH1.5 or KH2.5.
Nomura: Aside from KHχ (Key), which is currently still underway, KH3D is the only title in the series not remastered in HD. I personally don't like leaving it as the odd one out, so I think it's an issue that requires consideration.
Now, the community is certainly no stranger to proposals like this, when a project would "require consideration". While it's something to always take with a grain of salt, it often means there's something deeper, and all it takes to get to it is a little digging, or in this case, dropping.
It's an interesting coincidence here that Kingdom Hearts X[chi] is also mentioned in the quote above. X[chi] players are certainly no stranger to hidden messages and secrets, such as that of the Tome of Prophecy which plays a big part in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3. However, that is not what is worth noting at this moment.
Let's go back to January 2014. This was a very exciting time for Chi players, as it was during this month when Birth by Sleep cards made their debut in the game. Kingdom Hearts X[chi] adopts a card-based system where 3 cards in a deck of 9 are randomly used on a turn-to-turn basis in battle. Each card features a unique character render or artwork.] This was the first time any cards not from Kingdom Hearts 1 or 2 appeared, and with Birth by Sleep being such a fan-favorite, the players were beyond esctatic and couldn't wait to see Terra, Aqua and Ven again.
However, you could tell right away that something about their new renders was.. different. They were improved and more detailed; crisp and clean with sharp colors that weren't present in their original appearances.
Left: Aqua's original Birth by Sleep render, 2009
Right: Aqua's remastered model for HD 2.5 ReMix, January 2014
Click to enlarge!
It's interesting to note that this was the very first time we laid our eyes on their improved models for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix outside of the announcement trailer we received at D23 Expo Japan. Who would have ever thought they would show off something like that in this innocent browser social game?
And who would have thought they would do it again?
For those of you keeping up with X[chi], the game has recently been releasing a slew of cards of characters specific to Kingdom Hearts 3D, most recently from The Grid and Country of the Musketeers. Among these is of course, Tron Legacy Riku, but once again, something looks rather peculiar.
Left: Tron Legacy Riku render, 2012
Right: Suspiciously updated model of Tron Legacy Riku, November 2014
Upon looking at the image on the right, you immediately notice that something's been changed. While it may be difficult to see, Riku's mask is a huge giveaway that his model as received some upgrades. For what reason, you must have figured it out by now.
The first cards featuring Kingdom Hearts 3D were added to X[chi] in August 2014. Could it be possible that work on a remaster had begun around this time? Do you think this is all just some weird coincidence and can't possibly mean anything? Is it possible that we might see a remaster at the upcoming Jump Festa? Let us know!