Meet the Kingdom Hearts 3 modders who are bringing Traverse Town to the third game in the series

A team of Kingdom Hearts 3 modders is combining their talents to rebuild the entirety of Traverse Town from the first Kingdom Hearts game and implement it into the 2019 threequel. 

The Kingdom Hearts 3 Traverse Town mod team, made up of @calebsmores (opens in new tab) and @critic_perfect (opens in new tab) on Twitter, aims to make their recreation entirely from scratch and to make the Kingdom Hearts hub world look as though it fits right in with Kingdom Hearts 3’s other worlds. Both Caleb and Critic chatted with GamesRadar+ to discuss what goes into such an adventurous project. 

a new world has appeared in the map 👁️ 8, 2022

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If you weren’t familiar, Traverse Town is one of the first worlds Sora ventures to after leaving Destiny Islands in the first Kingdom Hearts game. It’s here where he first meets Donald and Goofy and the player’s adventure really begins. Fans got the chance to revisit the world in some of the spin-off games that came out in the years following, but the town is noticeably missing from both Kingdom Hearts 2 and Kingdom Hearts 3. 

“Traverse Town was chosen mostly because it holds the most special place in my (and many other fans’) hearts,” Caleb tells us, “for a lot of us, it was one of the first worlds to make a connection with us in the series […] you spend a large amount of your time going back there, and it just feels like home because of that.”

The pair tell us that they have worked together on smaller projects for years, however, it wasn’t until the release of the Kingdom Hearts series on the Epic Game Store that they decided to officially collaborate. “I’m decently experienced when it comes to making the environments, but not as experienced with coding and logic. When we work together, we’re able to do much more,” Caleb explains. 

As for Critic, who is a bit of a household name in the Kingdom Hearts modding community, they tell us: “I’ve always wanted to do a mod exactly like this but never had the experience with modeling to do it myself which is exactly why this team-up is perfect. […] working together just made sense.”

Kingdom Hearts 3 Traverse Town mod

(Image credit: Caleb Moore & critic_perfect / Square Enix)

How much of Traverse Town Caleb and Critic are planning to bring back “depends on time.” As you’d expect, recreating three major districts, all of the furniture inside of them, and making them all look as pretty as the rest of the worlds in Kingdom Hearts 3 is no easy feat. “We don’t reuse any assets from Kingdom Hearts 1 or any other older games – everything is made from scratch,” Caleb explains, meaning “just a single district can take weeks or even months to recreate.”

That isn’t to say that the team doesn’t have a plan for releasing their version of Traverse Town sometime in the near future. “The current plan,” Caleb reveals, “is to first release an entirely finished and accessible First District with all the interior shops (the accessory shop, Moogle shop, items shop) present in Kingdom Hearts 1.” The environment artist continues, “from there, we’ll recreate other Districts and areas as we can, mainly hoping to get all the main districts (1, 2, and 3) in the final mod.”

It doesn’t end there though as the pair would also like to get some elements from the Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance version of Traverse Town – which expanded the world from its first appearance – in their build, as well as to “take a crack” at implementing custom bosses into Kingdom Hearts 3 modding by bringing back the Guard Armor boss from the third district. “The other main goal,” Caleb tells us, “is integrating it as naturally as possible into the game, so we’re adding Traverse Town to the World Map as a world you can fly up to and land on.”

Kingdom Hearts 3 Traverse Town mod

(Image credit: Caleb Moore & critic_perfect / Square Enix)

Despite putting so much heart into the project, there are always going to be some difficulties. As Critic explains: “Understanding the internals of the game and how it works all under the hood is something that I’ve focused on for a while,” they continue, “yet it’s still one of the hardest aspects to figure out since there no real guidebook to follow when it comes to this stuff […] The goal is to make the Traverse Town project feel less like a mod and more like DLC.”

To keep up to date with the latest on the Kingdom Hearts 3 Traverse Town mod project, head to both Caleb and Critic’s Twitter accounts.

Still patiently waiting for Kingdom Hearts 4? Find out about the next Kingdom Hearts lore snippet hiding in this hotel room you’ll probably never visit.

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