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Speaking at a small and exclusive convention in Paris, Tetsuya Nomura has revealed plans to introduce another never before seen Disney world to Kingdom Hearts III. Nomura took to the stage with Square Enix game producer Shinji Hashimoto, who seemed equally excited to be breaking the news, even jokingly asking the fans to “quiet down” as they cheered in anticipation. Nomura stated that “We cannot show any footage yet as we have just begun with the in-game design of this world but we would like to announce that the new location is called ‘The Briar Patch’ from the classic Disney film ‘Song of the South.’ The full announcement can be seen in the video below, captured by an attendee’s mobile phone.
Tetsuya Nomura gave a statement later on at the event where he offered up some more details on The Briar Patch:
“It’s a location we’d been planning since Kingdom Hearts 1 but we always seemed to run in to problems. Disney was apprehensive at first, but now we’re working closely with them to make sure we get it right….The main character that Sora will meet in this world is of course, Br’er Rabbit. Sora, Donald & Goofy will have to work with him to outsmart Br’er Fox, who is using the power of the heartless to enslave rabbits….We don’t want to give away more of the story but we can say that Uncle Remus will definitely make an appearance at some point too”
When asked whether the team were planning on bringing any new Final Fantasy characters in to the mix, Nomura had this to say:
“It’s actually one of the reasons we liked the idea of a Song of the South world so much. When we were planning which Final Fantasy characters we could implement in to The Briar Patch, two characters immediately stood out as obvious choices. Barret Wallace & Sazh Katzroy. I’m sure you’ll agree that this setting opens the team up to exploring whole new avenues of those characters that perhaps couldn’t be explored in Final Fantasy. Again, we don’t want to give too much away so we’ll leave it for fans to discover which of these characters we included in the game.”
…and will the music from Song of the South play a part in Kingdom Hearts III?
“I’m glad you mentioned it. The team were actually looking back at the Atlantis section of Kingdom Hearts II last month, and we realised that we’d probably made a mistake by doing it the way we did. So, while we were originally going to include full songs like ‘How Do You Do?’ and ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ that Sora & friends would sing, we decided against it based on our previous experience with the Little Mermaid songs. This way we can focus purely on the story and characters. I am happy to say that Yoko Shimomura has been working on her own version of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah for the Kingdom Hearts III soundtrack. I think fans are going to like it.” – Tetsuya Nomura
While that was all the time Tetsuya Nomura had for us, more information has surfaced in the form of a leaked image, presumably a piece of concept art. The screen shot appears to show the iconic ‘Tar Baby’ from the Song of the South being possessed by a heartless. (Notice the heartless emblem on its chest and the shadow antennae.) Does this mean that the Tar Baby might be the end boss of The Briar Patch?
It will be exciting to see one of the greatest Disney films of all time re-imagined for Kingdom Hearts III. With yesterday’s news of Final Fantasy XV‘s release date in September, I’m sure even more information on Kingdom Hearts III will soon emerge. Perhaps if The Briar Patch is met with enough fan acclaim, Disney will finally give the film a full home-video release. Song of the South would be great on Blu-Ray!