Kingdom Hearts 4 Release, Theories and Everything We Know

By Klein Felt Posted:
Kingdom Hearts 4

After half a decade since the last game in the series, fans eagerly await to hear more about Kingdom Hearts 4's (KH4) release. 

The fourth mainline entry in the hit RPG franchise from Square Enix that mixes Final Fantasy with the worlds and characters of The Walt Disney Company was announced in April 2022 with a cryptic reveal trailer.

However, two years later, information on the game remains scarce. 

When Will Kingdom Hearts 4 Be Released?

Sora in Kingdom Hearts 4
Square Enix

No public release timing has been announced for Kingdom Hearts 4

The title was first announced during Square Enix's 20th anniversary celebration of the series in April 2022 alongside a slew of new Kingdom Hearts announcements. 

However, the announcement came and went without any indication of when fans can expect to get their hands on the game. 

According to a press release from April 2022, the game was in "early development" at the time of its reveal (via Square Enix):

"Today, as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the 'Kingdom Hearts' franchise, Square Enix and Disney announced that 'Kingdom Hearts IV,' the newest installment in the beloved RPG series, is in early development, and also revealed a brand-new mobile game, 'Kingdom hearts Missing-Link.'"

English Goofy voice actor Bill Farmer did not even know the game was happening at the time of its announcement, telling fans at Momocon 2022, "You know, they never tell me these things, I only find out from fans at conventions. At least I know I've got work coming" (via Games Radar).

That could mean it still may be some time before the game hits store shelves. 

Kingdom Hearts 3 notoriously spent just over six years in development (with it first being confirmed in 2013). But worry not, Kingdom Hearts 4 will likely not take nearly as long. 

Square Enix - a company that had become synonymous with long development times - has spent the last few years clamping down on these extended dev cycles. 

This has resulted in games coming out at a quicker and more efficient pace. While titles like Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Final Fantasy 15 took nearly a decade to eventually see the light of day, their sequels (Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and Final Fantasy 16) have been put out on a much more expedited production schedule (taking six and four years respectively). 

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth just wrapped up its development cycle, with the game hitting PlayStation 5 consoles worldwide. It would make sense for Kingdom Hearts 4 to be the next tentpole title for Square Enix to start the promotional cycle. 

If the game got another look sometime in 2024, kick-starting the Kingdom Hearts 4 marketing machine, a release in either 2025 or 2026 sounds about right.

This would put somewhere between six and seven years between Kingdom Hearts 3 and 4.

What Will Happen in the Kingdom Hearts 4 Story?

Goofy and Donald Duck in Kingdom Hearts 4
Square Enix

As a part of the official Kingdom Hearts 4 announcement, fans got a brief tease at what will happen in the game's sweeping RPG story. 

While the series is known for its incredible cross-section of distinctly Final Fantasy-esque storytelling and the worlds/characters of Disney, the initial Kingdom Hearts 4 trailer only focused on one of those. 

Instead of the animated colorful kingdoms of the Disney universe, the game's first tease took place in a hyper-realistic Unreal Engine 5-powered cityscape. 

While Square offered a tiny glimpse at characters like Donald Duck and Goofy, the bulk first trailer avoided any of these iconic Disney personalities. 

According to a press release that came along with the reveal trailer, this new world is known as Quadratum. 

How this new world will factor into the game's story remains to be seen, but series protagonist Sora is joined by a new companion known as Strelitzia (a warrior who wields one of the series' iconic Keyblades). 

Other than that, it has been confirmed Kingdom Hearts 4 will mark the end of director Tetsuya Nomura's 'The Lost Master Arc,' a chapter of the Kingdom Hearts story following 'The Dark Seeker Saga' (which made up all the games coming before KH4).

Will Marvel & Star Wars Be Included in Kingdom Hearts 4?

Iron Man and Han Solo in Disney: Infinity

One of the biggest rumors swirling around Kingdom Hearts 4 has been the possible inclusion of potential Marvel and Star Wars worlds and characters alongside the plethora of Disney locales the franchise is known for. 

Thus far, Kingdom Hearts has mainly capitalized on the animated legacy of Disney's 100 years of creation - making a few minor exceptions for live-action franchises Tron and Pirates of the Caribbean

However, with Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios falling under the Disney umbrella, fans are clamoring to see representation from these franchises in the upcoming sequel. 

While nothing has been confirmed on either the Marvel or Star Wars front, Kingdom Hearts 4's reveal trailer may hold the key (blade) of what is yet to come. 

Early in the trailer, an incredibly high-fidelity forest can be seen that looks unlike anything included in the franchise before.

Some have speculated this could be the forest moon of Endor as seen in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. In one particular frame of this sequence, one can even see what looks to be an AT-ST Walker - a vehicle that was featured prominently in the Star Wars films. 

Fans have also wondered with the game's protagonist Sora getting a bit of a visual upgrade for the sequel, if this could be an indication of the traditionally fairly animated Sora interacting with more characters fans are accustomed to seeing in live-action (i.e. MCU superheroes and the icons of Star Wars).

What Other Disney Worlds Could Appear in Kingdom Hearts 4?

Mirabel from Encanto and Jake Sully in Avatar: The Way of Water

Aside from the potential of characters and locations from Marvel and Star Wars making their way into Kingdom Heart 4, there are several other new Disney worlds that could appear. 

Another major Disney property, the franchise has yet to touch James Cameron's Avatar films. While this one might be a bit of a stretch, Avatar is a massive name in the entertainment industry, and Square Enix may want to capitalize on that.

Modern Disney hit Encanto could be a fun spot for the KH crew to travel to in the upcoming sequel. Encanto has been a massive success at Disney with kids worldwide singing songs like "We Don't Talk About Bruno."

Encanto has only been around for a couple of years, but it has made an incredible impact in the time since then, cementing itself among the Disney great Kingdom Hearts has previously riffed on. 

One other modern Disney classic Square Enix would be smart to pull from for Kingdom Hearts 4 would be Motunui (aka the world of Moana). 

Moana might be the biggest original IP of Disney's last decade, with the company betting big on the franchise with a forthcoming sequel, a live-action remake, and a Disney Parks experience at Orlando's Walt Disney World. 

If there is one new Disney world that Kingdom Hearts 4 will almost certainly visit, it has to be that of Moana.

Other possible worlds that would make sense include A Bug's Life, The Emperor's New Groove, and Zootopia

Kingdom Hearts 4 currently has no public release date. 

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.