Kingdom Hearts III switches to Unreal Engine 4

Kingdom Hearts III

You don't hear a lot about Square Enix's action-RPG Kingdom Hearts III around these parts, because it's being developed for consoles—the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, specifically—and not the PC. But a recent bit of news suggests that situation might possibly be changing at some point in the future.

A Siliconera report from September revealed that Kingdom Hearts III Director Tetsuya Nomura said in a Famitsu interview that development of the game was going smoothly, but that Square Enix seemed to be having "some sort of design problems due to engine-related issues." Those issues, it turns out, are related to the decision to switch from the internally-developed Luminous game engine to Unreal Engine 4.

"Due to having switched to Unreal Engine 4 for various reasons, we’re having trouble on some parts as far as rendering goes, but with help from the folks at Epic Games, progress is going safely," Nomura said in the full interview, also via Siliconera.

"Various reasons" isn't the most detailed explanation for switching game engines mid-development. Maybe this switch hints at trouble with the Luminous engine, which Square Enix is currently using to develop FF XV.

Kingdom Hearts III's switch to Unreal 4 could also signal that a PC release is more likely, too: Disney recently dropped an unexpected pile of games on Steam, including Split/Second and Epic Mickey 2, and Square Enix has also taken a much more active interest in Steam and confirmed in September that a PC version of Final Fantasy XIII will be released this month. Expecting the same for Kingdom Hearts III is a bit of a leap, yes, but this sure looks like a good time to make it.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.