When a “Star Wars” film comes out, aside from exotic planetary locations, sweet space vehicles and pitched battles and action sequences that are to be expected, another element of the franchise to watch out for is the latest alien creatures. From humanoids to little winged or four-legged critters, seeing non-human entities in “Star Wars” best sells what it’s like in a galaxy far, far away.
Even in the polarizing Sequel Trilogy entry “Episode VIII – The Last Jedi,” unsettled franchise fans may have had a decent enough reception for Porgs, the constantly-screeching flightless birds from Luke Skywalker’s hideaway planet of Acht-to.
These annoying yet adorable things are the focus of a new virtual-reality experience to be made available on the Magic Leap One VR headset. Developed by the ILMxLAB branch of Lucasfilm, this VR experience applies the “virtual pet-raising” genre onto the “Star Wars” universe, with a Porg as the pet.
Titled “Project Porg,” the experience puts the VR player in the role of impromptu caretaker, having been entrusted by Chewbacca with a Porg and a care device, along with a C-3PO message serving as instruction guide. Good care for the Porg will allow it to grow and eventually hatch offspring.
According to ILMxLAB chief executive Vicki Dobbs Beck, the virtual actions required to care for the Porg has similarities to procedures in caring for any household pet. In addition, the “Project Porg” experience is connected online, allowing players to “take” their Porg to public locations with Magic Leap access. One possible venue might be the “Star Wars” area Galaxy’s Edge, close to opening in both Disneyland Park and Disney World.
“Project Porg” on Magic Leap is not the only VR project that the “Star Wars” creative company is working on. They also have the episodic VR series “Vader Immortal” which runs on the Oculus Rift.
Towards the end of January, Disney and Square-Enix finally released a game that has kept fans waiting for a decade and a half: “Kingdom Hearts III”. So long had been the gap between this and “Kingdom Hearts II” (despite the latter getting remixed several times until 2014) that some gamers who got this last month actually mourned online the fans who passed away before its time.
And indeed, what transpired in this epic action RPG title was something of a grand enough conclusion to the saga that began with the first installment from 2002, even if it left room for continuing the story even afterwards.
“Kingdom Hearts III” sees the final struggle between the righteous wielders of the Keyblades against the sinister Organization XIII and its leader Master Xehanort (voiced by Rutger Hauer following the death of Leonard Nimoy), over who shall control the power of the titular Kingdom Hearts.
Over the preceding games, a number of characters possessing Keyblades stood out to confront the plans of Xehanort and Organization XIII to prevent Kingdom Hearts from falling into Darkness in “Kingdom Hearts III.” They are:
Sora – franchise main hero since the first game, his quest becomes the driving narrative of the “Kingdom Hearts” series
Riku – franchise secondary hero; antagonist during much of the first game and supporting character for most of the rest; his nature would prove the interdependence of Light and Darkness on one another; he was the original wielder of the Kingdom Key Keyblade until his emerging darkness made it seek Sora instead
Kairi – franchise main heroine since the first game; a damsel in distress for most of the games she appears in, until receiving a Keyblade from Riku due to having “inherited” worthiness to wield from Aqua
King Mickey Mouse – King of Disney Castle; originally fighting as a Keyblade Master to eliminate Darkness and preserve Light, he learned from Riku that neither cannot exist without the other and thus decides to fight for their balance
Terra – Keyblade Master and former apprentice to Eraqus; became host to his mentor’s heart and was also briefly possessed by Xehanort; Riku passed on the ability to wield Keyblades to Riku before the events of the first game
Aqua – Keyblade Master and former apprentice to Eraqus
Ventus – Keyblade apprentice under both Eraqus and Xehanort prior to the latter’s evil turn; left comatose after his darkness was separated from him to create Vanitas
Roxas – the Nobody of Sora that came to be when Sora opened his heart with a Keyblade to free Kairi’s heart; having come from a Keyblade wielder, he retains the same ability; originally part of Organization XIII, he became fed up with the constant manipulation and reunited himself with Sora, only to gain his own complete being via the Organization’s Replica ability
Xion – the 14th member of Organization XIII and a Replica of Roxas; this enabled her to wield Keyblades as well; her close bonds with Roxas and Axel eventually proves her salvation
Axel/Lea – a member of Organization XIII and their designated hit-man; became close with Roxas and Xion, eventually becoming a whole being and gaining the ability to wield Keyblades himself
“Kingdom Hearts III” is available on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.
If anybody told somebody from videogame developer Square Enix that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was the greatest crossover franchise ever, they might politely ask the speaker to hold whatever beverage they had on hand. That’s because Disney and Square Enix have been working on the Kingdom Hearts game series, crossing characters from the House of Mouse and S-E’s Final Fantasy games, for many years now.
And the long-arching saga of King Mickey Mouse and the Keyblade wielders is set to continue in Kingdom Hearts III arriving January 2019. To whet gamers’ appetites however, Disney and Square Enix will be opening a limited-time attraction and exhibit at Disney Springs, Walt Disney World: the Kingdom Hearts Experience.
Said Kingdom Hearts Experience will be centered around one thing fans of the RPG franchise have been clamoring for: a playable demo of the game featuring Sora, Donald and Goofy on their cross-dimensional adventures in the worlds of Frozen, Big Hero 6, Toy Story and more, as promised in the official Kingdom Hearts Twitter page.
But that’s not all. We’re making a list of what the whole Experience can offer.
Kingdom Hearts IIIdemo
Keyblade replica exhibit
Game artwork gallery
Preorder digital kiosks
Kingdom Heartsmerchandise booth
The Kingdom Hearts Experience will run from December 14 to January 31, making the holidays the perfect time to visit Disney World if you’re a console RP-gamer. The Kingdom Hearts III game from Square Enix will be released on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on January 25.
As you know, Sunday, November 18, was the premiere date of Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey Mouse animation short, back in 1928. It means that this year the world’s most famous mouse and face of the Disney Company is nine decades old. There have been many ways Mickey’s 90 years are being celebrated on the road to this day, from themed merchandise to awesome food.
One more way Disney is celebrating Mickey Mouse’s birthday is by adding content featuring his image to their formidable library of mobile games and apps. From having Mickey sticker to adding the Mouse himself into one’s player party, there’s a lot to do with him this November onwards on mobile Disney gaming. Here’s the list:
Kingdom Hearts union X (iOS, Android) – Mickey Mouse quiz event where players can win up to 1,000 Jewels in celebration of King Mickey’s 90th anniversary; Nov. 18 to 30; ALSO, Free Daily Draw has an increased chance to win even more Jewels for in-game spending; Nov. 18 to Dec. 7; FINALLY, Mickey and Minnie themed avatar boards are discounted for players; Nov. 18 to Dec. 2
Amidst a recent buzz that Disney may have decided to retire actor Johnny Depp from the role of Captain Jack Sparrow on the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, there’s also talk that at the same time the movie series may be getting a reboot from the House of Mouse.
One reason being brought as to the sudden resurgence of discussion in Disney regarding the pirate series that began in 2003, based off a Disney theme park attraction, was that it would be considered as a possible fallback should the audience tire of Star Wars (somewhat likely) and Marvel (quite possibly) films coming every year.
In the years between The Curse of the Black Pearl and 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales, the Pirates franchise overall has expanded into alternate forms of media, such as books and videogames. The latter portion comes in the form of actual game titles based on Pirates of the Caribbean, and appearances of characters from the franchise in another game series. Here’s a handy-dandy list.
Pirates of the Caribbean Videogames
Pirates of the Caribbean (Akella; Windows and Xbox; 2003)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow (7 Studios; PlayStation 2 and Windows; 2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War (JOYCITY Corp.; Android and iOS mobile devices)
Pirates of the Caribbean Online (Silver Tree Media; Windows and Mac OS X; 2007-2013)
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Traveller’s Tales; Windows, Mac OS X, Nintendo DS/3DS, PlayStation 3/Portable, Wii, Xbox 360; 2011)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned (Propaganda Games; Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, CANCELLED 2010)
Games with Pirates of the Caribbean Appearances
Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (Capcom, NES, 1990)
Kingdom Hearts II (Square Enix, PlayStation 2, 2006)
Disney Infinity (Avalanche Software, multiplatform, 2013-2016)
Kingdom Hearts III (Square Enix, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, RELEASING in 2019)
Released exclusively for the Sony PlayStation 4 this past September, the Spider-Man videogame developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment was considered something of a triumphant return for the game format pioneered on the original PlayStation from Activision, with an added open-world sandbox element from later iterations.
Featuring an adult veteran iteration of Peter Parker as the web-swinging hero/menace of New York, the game features a gripping storyline that involves Spider-Man’s cast of supporting characters and villains all over a massive cityscape with plenty of ground and rooftops to cover, people to see and things to do.
And to do all that crime-fighting necessary, Spidey’s going to need some heavy equipment, in the form of his massive costume wardrobe. Some are just for cool points, others have neat gimmicks, but all will find some use with Spider-Man on his greatest challenge yet. Here’s his bug costume list:
Advanced – default costume as seen in game trailers
Velocity – increases speed
Vintage – a tribute to his classic coloring scheme, with cel-shading to contrast with the realistic environment
Underoos – Spider-Man in hood and Spidey-trunks only
Anti-Ock – used against the climactic game boss, no points for guessing who
Battle-Damaged – a torn-up version of the Classic suit
Empire State University Shirt – Peter’s civilian clothes with only his mask as an actual costume
Classic (Amazing Fantasy #15, 1962) – first appearance costume
Dark (Spider-Man/Deadpool #8, 2016) – acquired by Peter in Purgatory after being killed and meeting Mephisto (long story)
Electro-Proof (Amazing Spider-Man #425, 1997) – used when fighting against Electro with Nate Grey/X-Man
Uru (Fear Itself #7, 2010) – forged by Tony Stark and the Nidavellir dwarves out of Uru metal; destroyed by Odin before he could enjoy its use
Homemade (Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2017) – his initial costume as seen in the MCU film, before Tony Stark started “sponsoring” him
Iron Spider (Amazing Spider-Man #529, 2006 and Spider-Man: Homecoming) – originally created in the “Civil War” comic storyline, then adapted for the MCU; has robot spider-arms (3 in comics, 4 in MCU)
Last Stand (Amazing Spider-Man #500, 2003) – worn by the alternate Spider-Man of Earth-312500
Mk. II Armor (Amazing Spider-Man #656, 2011) – bulletproofed due to needing it at a time when his Spider-Sense was inactive
Mk. III Armor (Amazing Spider-Man #682, 2012) – from the “Ends of the Earth” storyline, aka the anti-Sinister Six costume, specifically designed to counter their powers and gimmicks; built at Horizon Labs
Mk. IV Armor (Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 4 #1, 2015) – his costume at the start of the All-New All-Different Marvel label; destroyed by Superior Octopus (Doc Ock in re-cloned Parker body)
Negative (Spider-Man #90, 1998) – used during his adventure in the Negative Zone
Noir (Spider-Man: Noir #1, 2008) – the costume of the alternate Spider-Man from a 1933 Depression-Era New York
Secret War Black (Secret War #8, 2004) – used by Spidey as part of Nick Fury’s unsanctioned invasion of Latveria
Scarlet Spider (Original) (Web of Spider-Man #118, 1994) – costume of Peter’s clone Ben Reilly
Spider-Punk (Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #10, 2014) – Introduced in the “Spider-Verse” event, a rocker Spidey fighting President Osborn in Earth-138; real identity Hobie Brown (Prowler of main universe)
Spirit Spider (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38, 2011) – alternate-dimension Spidey who died and was revived by being fused with the Spirit of Vengeance (which creates Ghost Riders)
Stark Suit (Captain America: Civil War, 2016) – debut costume of MCU Spider-Man played by Tom Holland
Stealth (Amazing Spider-Man #650, 2010) – debuted in the “Big Time” storyline, built at Horizon Labs; can turn invisible and protects against sonic attacks
Wrestler (Ultimate Spider-Man #3, 2000) – based on the homemade costume used by Peter in the Ultimate Marvel comic universe
Spider-Man 2099 (Amazing Spider-Man #365, 1992) – costume of possible future web-crawler Miguel O’Hara, who later launched his own comic book series
Spider-Man 2099 (White) (Spider-Man 2099 Vol. 3 #1, 2015) – costume of another version of Miguel O’Hara who got stuck in the present-day main universe and worked for Parker Industries
Disney theme parks try their best to live up to their reputation as the Happiest Places on Earth, but reality does tend to sour some of the experience. One of these examples is in the long lines for some of the most popular attractions in the parks, which can result in up to five hours’ waiting without benefits like FastPass.
Fortunately Disney is aware of this; and while there’s no magical solution to long lines, they can try to make the wait bearable. With input from two of their branches, Imagineering and Interactive, Disney introduced the Play Disney Parks app.
This app works inside all Disney parks and enables users to play various fun minigames, these depending on which attraction or themed area in general they’re currently located. Play Disney Parks has trivia quizzes and achievements for players to unlock, making lines for rides and events not so boring.
Here’s a sampling list of all minigames available to the Play Disney Parks app, and in what attraction/themed area of which Disney theme park they might be available to play in.
Playset Party – at Toy Story Mania in Disney California Adventure, Disneyland or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
Off to Neverland – at Peter Pan’s Flight in Disneyland Park or The Magic Kingdom of Disney World
Rocket Race – at Space Mountain in Disneyland Park or The Magic Kingdom of Disney World
Andy’s Board Game Blast – at Slinky Dog Dash coaster in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
Toy Story Midway – within Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
While they did not actually appear in the game that first launched the franchise, there’s no doubt that one of the most interesting features in the ongoing storyline of the Disney-Square Enix videogame franchise Kingdom Hearts is its group of original bad guys working with – or parallel to – the occasional Disney/Squaresoft villains of each succeeding installment. They are Organization XIII.
Born out of hubris by the apprentices of a wise sage-king researching the magical powers of the human heart, the agents of Organization XIII are “Nobodies”: fragmented beings without hearts and emotions, plotting to seize the power of Kingdom Hearts to “complete” themselves, with potentially catastrophic consequences to many worlds.
Here we’ll list the members of Organization XIII. Other pertinent information, including which Kingdom Hearts game they first appeared in, will follow each name.
I: Xenmas (KHII) – the Nobody of Xenahort, primary apprentice to Ansem the Wise whose identity he usurped
II: Xigbar (KHII) – the Nobody of Braig, another apprentice of Ansem the Wise
III: Xaldin (KHII) – the Nobody of Dilan, another apprentice of Ansem the Wise
IV: Vexen (CoM) – the Nobody of Even, another apprentice of Ansem the Wise
V: Lexaeus (CoM) – the Nobody of Aeleus, another apprentice of Ansem the Wise
VI: Zexion (CoM) – the Nobody of Ienzo, another apprentice of Ansem the Wise
VII: Saix (KHII) – the Nobody of Isa, another apprentice of Ansem the Wise; friend to Lea, source of Axel
VIII: Axel (CoM) – the Nobody of Lea, friend of Isa; executioner of traitors to Organization XIII
IX: Demyx (KHII) – source person unknown; pursues Sora to awaken Roxas within his “Whole” being
X: Luxord (KHII) – source person unknown; active Organization agent at the world of Port Royal
XI: Marluxia (CoM) – junior organization member, planned to usurp leadership with Larxene’s help
This was a numbered game sequel that was very long in coming. Well over a decade since Disney and Square-Enix brought Kingdom Hearts II to the gaming world, we’re finally edging closer to finding out what happens next on the continuing adventures of the Keyblade Masters against vile Organization XIII.
To hammer home the fact that Kingdom Hearts III is a new installment of the series, many of the various worlds that the party of Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy explore are entirely new and never before visited. We’re now going to list down the new “worlds” they’ll venture into.
Kingdom of Corona (based on the 2010 animated film Tangled)
San Fransokyo (based on the 2014 animated film Big Hero 6)
Andy’s House (based on the Toy Story franchise)
Monstropolis (based on the Monsters Inc. animated film franchise)
Arendelle (based on the 2013 animated film Frozen)
There are also areas that have returned from previous installments of Kingdom Hearts, now even bigger and more expanded than ever before.
Twilight Town – the tutorial hub; has two expansion areas large enough on their own
Yen Sid’s Tower
Olympus (based on the 1997 animated film Hercules)
The Caribbean (based on the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise)
Finally, there’s a rumor that one possible area to debut will not be based on a Disney property, but a game by Square-Enix: The World Ends with You, a game created by the developers of the portable spinoff Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.
Shinji Hashimoto, executive producer of Kingdom Hearts for Square-Enix, has also expressed his interest in someday seeing the game-original characters being adapted to Disney Parks, as attractions or character players. Kingdom Hearts III will be released on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January of the following year.
The Disney and Square-Enix collaboration game franchise Kingdom Hearts has both enchanted and confused its fans and players with its sprawling world-building – or worlds-building, considering its universe composed of various settings from the many Disney works, plus original realms with elements from Square’s own stable of videogames. It’s really complicated.
Kingdom Hearts II is the third game in this series released in 2005, three years after the original and one after its direct sequel, the Game Boy Advance title Chain of Memories. This game has several new Worlds for Sora and his friends to explore, aside from a returning few.
Now we’ll list down the new gameplay areas of Kingdom Hearts II that Sora, Donald and Goofy explore as they try to confront the machinations of Organization XIII and find their lost friends. We’ll also include the returning World areas.
The Land of Dragons – based on Mulan (1998)
Beast’s Castle – based on Beauty and the Best (1991)
Timeless River – based on classic Disney-Iwerks animation such as Steamboat Willie (1928)
Port Royal – based on live-action film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Pride Lands – based on The Lion King (1994)
Space Paranoids – based on live-action sci-fi movie Tron (1982), accessible through the computers of Hollow Bastion
The World that Never Was – original World, headquarters of Organization XIII
Keyblade Graveyard – original World, added in the Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix version
Twilight Town – returning from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, an original area resembling a town with a permanently stuck setting sun
Castle Oblivion – also from Chain of Memories
Hollow Bastion – now expanded to its former form, Radiant Garden
Disney Castle – now fully accessible rather than its dummied-out storyline-only appearance in the first game
Olympus Coliseum – from Hercules (1997), now expanded with Hades’ Underworld
100 Acre Wood
Halloween Town – from The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), now expanded with Christmas Town area
Dark Meridian – the World of Darkness from the first Kingdom Hearts game