Along with new information in film, television, and even the parks, Disney’s D23 Expo has just wrapped its video game panel with some brand new information. Hosted by Let’s Players Jacksepticeye and Strawburry17, we got another look at Star Wars Battlefront II, Spider-Man PS4, Kingdom Hearts III, and some brand new VR games. While this might not have has been as big of an event as E3 was for gamers, there was still quite a bit to take in.
First up was Battlefront II, bringing out Janina Gavankar and another member of the Lucasfilm Story Group to talk more about Gavankar’s character in the game, Iden Versio. Iden will have her own orchestrated theme similar to other prominent characters in the Star Wars canon. There was also played a behind the scenes video again highlighting the focus on Battlefront II’s campaign. In it, we see a new planet that serves as Iden’s home planet and some other members of Inferno Squadron. It was revealed as well that Iden reports directly to her own father, because what’s Star Wars without a story about paternity? Finally, John Boyega also appeared on stage to rile up the crowd and talk about the infamous tweet that has become the poster child for EA’s single player marketing.
Star Wars wasn’t done though, we next got a look at a couple of in-development augmented reality projects. Partnering with hardware company Lenovo, Lucasfilm has developed its own augmented reality headset that is powered by a cell phone (think the Samsung Gear VR) to project content over the user’s eyes like holochess as seen in the Star Wars films. In addition, a title is now in development called Jedi Challenges AR, complete with a lightsaber hilt controller.
Moving on to Marvel Games, we next got a reminder that Spider-Man is coming. We did also get a behind the scenes look that include a look at a couple of new concept art pieces-one is a fight against the Kingpin, the other Peter Parker’s apartment. Otherwise, the video was more of an assurance that Insomniac was handling the character with respect. If you, like me, were expecting any more explanation of the tease at the end of the E3 trailer, you’ll be disappointed. Spidey was used as a segway to quickly remind folks that Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 is coming later this year, and it will include the homemade Spider-Man suit seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Marvel also has a reality game in the mix, called Marvel Powers United VR. Set for release on Oculus, the game appears very similar to the canceled THQ Avengers game from 2012, with a first person view and a focus on unleashing various characters powers. Noted YouTuber Markiplier also showed to say that he’s played the title and appears to give his stamp of approval.
From there, we got to the real star of the show: another look at Kingdom Hearts III. During the last trailer released last month, we were promised another trailer and a new world reveal. The panel quickly reminded the audience by replaying that trailer and then bringing out a shorts-rocking Tetsuya Nomura. Nomura talked briefly about all the games now being available on modern consoles before revealing the new trailer. The new trailer quickly reminds us of already announced content, though in new scenarios (for example, we have proper conformation Hercules will finally be a party member in Olympus.) After a cut to black, the new world was revealed to be none other than Toy Story. For longtime Kingdom Hearts fans, this feels like a prayer being answered. Often fans have postulated how Pixar created worlds would fit in, but the studio not being under the Disney banner made the dream only a dream. Now, we get to see Sora pal around with Woody and Buzz as an action figure himself, and it looks great. The trailer then ended with an even greater answer prayer, though: a release window. Square Enix now plans to release Kingdom Hearts III in 2018.
All in all, this was a simple but fun panel to watch. I am pretty disappointed that Spider-Man now looks less ready than the mythical Kingdom Hearts III, but that’s the breaks. I also wish companies would get rid of the idea that while YouTubers are popular, that doesn’t automatically mean their talents translate to being able to present live on stage. Constantly, both hosts had to awkwardly rely on cue cards to even be prepared for what was next up, much less their interview questions. Combined with half-hearted attempts to interact with the crowd, I would have preferred a better public speaker, even if they weren’t a “serious gamer.”
What do you think about all of the D23 news? Let’s us know what you’re most excited for in the comments below!