|Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue|
|Developer(s)||Square Enix Business Division 3|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4 (KH0.2 / KHχBC)|
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (キングダム ハーツ HD 2.8 ファイナル チャプター プロローグ, Kingudamu Hātsu HD 2.8 Fainaru Chaputā Purorōgu, stylized Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue) is a collection of the Kingdom Hearts series, developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4. A successor to Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, it was announced in September 2015 and released in January 2017.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue includes a high-definition remaster of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, as well as two new pieces of content to the Kingdom Hearts series. The first, Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover,[a] is a cinematic based on Kingdom Hearts χ that details events not shown in the original game. The other, Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage,[b] is an original game that takes place after the events of Dream Drop Distance, with a majority of the story taking place after the events of Birth by Sleep and during the events of Kingdom Hearts, from the perspective of Aqua. Back Cover and A Fragmentary Passage were the tenth and eleventh installments in the Kingdom Hearts series.
In January 2011, with the release of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix a secret ending was discovered, titled "Birth by Sleep: Volume 2". The content, which looked like it bridged the gap between Birth by Sleep and the original Kingdom Hearts, was believed to be a potential future game in the series. In October 2014, on the content seen in the secret ending, series director Tetsuya Nomura stated, "It shows the existence of Aqua's story in the Realm of Darkness. It means that she didn't just wander about in the Darkness for ten years, but that she passed through many experiences. However, it is a "Fragmentary Passage", as the name suggests–that story was severed and wasn't told. I hope I can tell it when given the opportunity."
In the credits of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, clips of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance were shown as well as the inclusion of a secret ending related to the game, hinting at a possible additional collection. In September 2015, Square Enix announced Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, for release in 2016. Also in the month, Nomura stated the collection, which was developed alongside Kingdom Hearts III, was created to allow players to experience new elements being developed for Kingdom Hearts III "sooner than later", and it was decided to release the collection on the PlayStation 4. On how the name of the collection was determined, Nomura stated that Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance is considered "number 2.6" in the series since it follows the events in HD 2.5 Remix, and the χ games, with the absence of Sora, are considered 0, while Birth by Sleep is 0.1, thus resulting in 0.2 for A Fragmentary Passage. When added together, the numbers total 2.8. In December 2015, a trailer for the game was debuted at Jump Festa, with the game being praised for its aesthetic quality. A trailer released in September 2016 at the Tokyo Game Show featured a new remix of "Simple and Clean", produced specifically for 2.8 and its opening cinematics. In July 2017, Nomura spoke on bringing the collection to the Xbox One, saying he did not believe there was much demand for it outside of North America, but felt it could be a possibility after Square Enix completed development on Kingdom Hearts III. At the X019 event in November 2019, Shinji Hashimoto and Ichiro Hazama announced that this collection along with 1.5 and 2.5 will be released on the Xbox One in 2020.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD
The title takes place after the events of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, the game focuses on Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery exam in which they have to protect parallel worlds in preparation for the return of Master Xehanort.
The collection features an HD remaster of Dream Drop Distance, which Nomura stated was essentially a full remake of the game, since the original utilized the two screens of the Nintendo 3DS. Minigames from the original 3DS version that utilized that console's dual touch screens, were reworked into a card-based system, while enemies were made "less offensive than they originally were", a complaint from players in the original. Additionally, touchscreen-based commands were switched to a more traditional control scheme.
Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage
Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage is a new, short episode taking place after the events of the original Birth by Sleep, told from the perspective of Aqua. A Fragmentary Passage, which ties into Kingdom Hearts III and uses technology from III, using Unreal Engine 4, is set immediately after Dream Drop Distance, when King Mickey reveals that he has a few secrets to confess, relating to Aqua and her time in the Realm of Darkness. The story then picks up immediately after the secret ending of Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and lasts around the length of one world from the series. The content features a world assembled from fragments of worlds previously found in Birth by Sleep. The "Doubleflight" ability returns, which allows Aqua to leap higher and do a mid-air double jump, while also gaining a burst of speed mid-jump.
Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover
Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, a cinematic film, is set during the events of Kingdom Hearts χ and tells the story from the Foretellers' perspectives, explaining their actions during the game's events. Back Cover utilizes technology that was being developed for Kingdom Hearts III, using Unreal Engine 4, and is approximately one hour in length.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue was released in Japan on January 12, 2017, and worldwide on January 24, 2017. It was originally scheduled to be released in December 2016. Preorders for the game included an official Disney Collector's Pin for the game. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue was later bundled with the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix collection as part of a new compilation, Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far, released in North America on October 30, 2018 for the PlayStation 4.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue received "generally favorable" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. Chris Carter from Destructoid awarded the game a 7.5/10 saying that "A solid game that definitely has an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun." GamesRadar's Anthony John Agnello gave the game a score of 4 out of 5 stars with the consensus "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue is essential for the faithful, flummoxing for newcomers, and a promising start to the series' life on PS4." Jonathan Dornbush's score of 7.5/10 on IGN said that "A great glimpse at what’s to come, but the return to the past is an at-times unsatisfying appetizer."
It sold 137,797 copies within its first week of release in Japan.
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- @_KINGDOMHEARTS (September 13, 2016). "そういうわけで、ついに何らかが！『KINGDOM HEARTS2.8』の発売日が発表されました。本日���情報解禁に合わせて自分からコメントを添えさせて頂きます。是非こちらもご覧下さい。それではまた何らかで！@野村 #_KH" (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved September 13, 2016 – via Twitter. Translation via KH13.com
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