Opinions vary on whether or not the Kingdom Hearts series is still any good in 2013, but the Disney/Square Enix crossover franchise still has plenty of worldwide fans.
As such, Square Enix is releasing an HD Remix package of Kingdom Hearts II for PlayStation 3 next year. Much like the recent Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix package, you're not just getting an upscaled copy of Kingdom Hearts II here -- you're getting an upscaled copy of the formerly Japan-exclusive Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix expanded version along with a PS3 version of former Japan-exclusive PSP title Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix. Finally, much like the 1.5 Remix package included all the movie sequences from 358/2 Days, 2.5 Remix will include all the movie sequences from the episodic mobile game that later became a DS title, Re:coded. While Dustin noted in our review of 1.5 Remix that the movie scenes weren't particularly well-edited and didn't make for a particularly coherent "movie" without the game content as context, the inclusion of this extra content does at least allow those to get an overview of what happens in the non-mainline Kingdom Hearts games if they don't want to actually play them.
This announcement went from "rumor" to "confirmed" to "confirmed for Western release" in record time earlier this morning. Initial rumblings came out of the Japanese Disney "D23" expo, followed by confirmation from Disney, followed closely by an official announcement of the Western release by Square Enix's Mat Kishimoto over on the PlayStation blog. That's possibly the fastest we've seen Square Enix do anything.
Kingdom Hearts has apparently sold over 20 million units worldwide according to Kishimoto -- though this is presumably a series figure rather than for a single game -- so there's still seemingly a lot of people interested in the adventures of Sora, Donald and Goofy. Kingdom Hearts II is one of the better entries in the series, though don't make the mistake I did when I first played it on its PS2 release: be sure to play or at least catch up on the events of Chain of Memories (included in the 1.5 Remix package) after finishing the first Kingdom Hearts, otherwise you may well find yourself rather confused at the outset.
There's no specific date set for 2.5 Remix yet, but we can expect it sometime next year. Interestingly, a lot of people on the PlayStation Blog post are already asking if there will be a PS4 or Gaikai streaming version available; it looks like next-gen is well and truly upon us. How about you? Will you keep your PS3 around for something like this, or will you be full-on next-gen by the time 2014 rolls around?