With Kingdom Hearts III within our grasp, expectations are running rampant. And with the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event at the D23 Expo Japan 2018 only an hour away, who isn’t hyping up through prediction of what the next world to be announced will be?
Well, here is a Top 10 of my world predictions. We already know that Tangled, Big Hero 6, Toy Story, and Olympus Coliseum/Mount Olympus worlds have been confirmed to appear as Disney’s playable worlds in Kingdom Hearts III, so I will be leaving those out. Tetsuya Nomura, Kingdom Hearts series director, stated that majority of the Disney worlds will be new and based on the newer releases. I’m going to be generous and say that they will be based on Disney media released within the past 20 years. Some movies were remade, which also allows for a world to be repeated and yet be a “new” world (as you will see with number 5). I may also discuss how these worlds might work out in the game and what the Keyblades from these worlds might appear to be and look like.
Now I know many people are sick of Frozen, myself included. But it is a world that is still highly popular and has made one of the biggest impacts in the Disney movie franchise, so not promoting Kingdom Hearts III through it, I believe we can agree, would be a severe loss for the marketing of the game.
Story: Frozen would work in a way that Sora and/or Riku team up with Anna and/or Hans to help Elsa overcome the darkness that is consuming her heart and taking control of her powers. That would be the general gist of it. Sora would probably team up with Hans because he would see Hans as an ally at first, while Riku would choose to go with Anna because he might sense darkness in Hans’ heart – something he is well familiar with. Elsa and Snowball (her giant snowman) would probably be a mini boss fight right before Elsa strikes Anna in the heart by accident with her ice powers. Riku would help Kristoff and Olaf save Anna. In the meantime, Sora would be helping Hans get to Elsa, unknowing of Hans’ true plans. In the end, Sora and Riku would be able to save Elsa from the darkness taking over her heart. The main boss for this world could be fighting Hans in the snowstorm as darkness overtakes his heart.
Gameplay: Frozen would work with the new open world setup that will be in Kingdom Hearts III, especially when it comes to trekking through Arendelle’s wilderness to reach the northern mountain. The Keyblade for this world would look somewhat like Diamond Dust from the first Kingdom Hearts, but with an Arendelle twist. The transformation with this Keyblade could be to turn into a freeze ray-like weapon or possibly an icepick, which would allude to Kristoff’s career as an ice harvester, and use an ability like Diamond Dust (that summon Shiva from Final Fantasy has), freezing all (or at least nearby opponents) and then shattering the ice to cause massive damage.
Yes, I believe Hawaii will probably make an appearance in Kingdom Hearts III, based on Hawaii from Lilo & Stitch. Yes, we received a Lilo & Stitch world in Birth By Sleep, but that was only the spaceship from the opening scene of the movie. Not to mention we saw Stitch wandering around Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden in Kingdom Hearts II… maybe on his was to Hawaii?
Story: We might have to help Stitch and Lilo find Stitch’s cousins and protect them from the darkness that might have formed from being made to be destructive monsters.
Gameplay: The Keyblade for this world could possibly be luau-themed since that is a major part of Lilo & Stitch; it could have a leigh as the teeth, the trunk of a palm tree for the saber part, a hula skirt for the hilt, and a hibiscus flower for the key-chain. The Keyblade transformation could be to transform into a ukulele and be used in a similar fashion to the Stitch D-Link from Birth By Sleep.
3. Fantasia 2000
Nomura said that he wanted both Fantasia movies in Dream Drop Distance, but may have been unable to do so because of time and space constraints. Kingdom Hearts III might be the game that allows him to put Fantasia 2000 in a Kingdom Hearts game.
Story and Gameplay: Fantasia 2000 might be where Kairi and Lea are training at the Mysterious Tower, which was used as a base for Symphony of Sorcery. We know Mickey went through the Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment during his training, so why wouldn’t Yen Sid (and Merlin) use another Fantasia segment for training of other apprentices? This could probably involve going around the Firebird Suite (the finale of the movie) training on trees and plants the Spring Sprite creates. Lea might get frustrated and his fire abilities might awaken the Firebird, the world boss, from its dormant sleep. The ending might have Kairi and Lea exhausted, wondering if Sora and Riku are having any luck on their end.
4. Haunted Mansion
Haunted Mansion would work really well for Kingdom Hearts III. Haunted Mansion might not follow the movie’s footsteps, but rather use it as a basis for the setup of the world.
Story: Darkness could be taking over the Mansion and Sora & Co. would have to help the good spirits rid the Mansion of the evil spirits that plan on filling it with Darkness. The final boss could be the butler (because it’s always the butler) who was wrongly killed and lived on as a spirit of darkness, seeking revenge on the living.
Gameplay: The Keyblade could be based on an old skeleton key and could transform into a lantern. The lantern can shoot enhanced fireballs and/or balls of light at enemies. The finishing move could be reminiscent to Ifrit’s Hellfire move or Alexander’s Divine Judgement move from the Final Fantasy series.
Underland is the Wonderland from Disney’s live action remake of Alice in Wonderland and its sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass. The new “Alice” is drastically different from the original as it follows more of Through the Looking Glass rather than Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, which the original movie and world from Kingdom Hearts was based on.
Story: Underland could be Wonderland transformed from the growing darkness that is slowly taking over. A mini boss fight could be to fight the Knave of Hearts, while the main boss fight would be to aid Alice in her fight against the Jabberwocky. The world would start off right before the Knave captures the Mad Hatter. We would have to aid Alice to the Red Queen’s castle to help her save the Mad Hatter as well as everyone else. After the fight with the Jabberwocky, the character(s) that visit this world might see that Alice doesn’t need them to protect her (since she is a Princess of Heart).
Gameplay: Underland is very expansive as seen in the movie and would work very well with the open world format. The Keyblade for this world could be based on the Vorpal Sword (the weapon that Alice uses to slay the Jabberwocky) with the teeth being either a heart or cards, the hilt being similar to a rapier, and the key-chain being a rabbits foot. The transformation might be something similar to the lances that the card soldiers wield in the movie. If this transformation is used, the finishing move for it could be the Jump ability seen in the Final Fantasy games used by Dragoons and in Kingdom Hearts II. A different transformation could be that it transforms into cards, which can be thrown around and have attributes given to them.
With Toy Story confirmed for Kingdom Hearts III, Pixar movies are now unofficially not out of bounds anymore.
Story: Brave is a movie filled with countless possibilities for Kingdom Hearts III. In Brave, Merida wishes to change her fate, which might happen with the help of Sora and/or Riku. Sora might help Merida when it comes to obtaining and giving her mother the spell that transforms her into a bear. Riku could help with transforming Merida’s mother back into a human. The story behind Mor’du might change slightly to incorporate darkness overtaking him and making him deadly.
Gameplay: Mor’du will definitely be a major boss. A mini boss fight might occur with a Heartless. The Keyblade for this world might appear wooden and very heavy; the blade could be a wood carving of a bear (as the witch is a wood carver), the teeth could be an arrow, the hilt a bow, and the key-chain could be either a bear’s head or a bow & arrow. The blade could alternatively be an arrow to give the appearance that the hilt (a bow) is shooting an arrow. The transformation might be the Keyblade transforming into a giant bow that fires multiple arrows at once to pierce through enemies.
7. Realm of Darkness
Story & Gameplay: The Realm of Darkness will most likely appear in Kingdom Hearts III since Mickey and Riku are searching for Terra, Aqua, and Ventus. They know that Aqua is in the Realm of Darkness somewhere, so they might return there to bring her back to the Realm of Light. We know that Mickey and Aqua did meet in the Realm of Darkness during the events of Kingdom Hearts 0.2, and that Mickey last saw Aqua being taken away by a Devil’s Wave. Because of this, Mickey might know that Aqua is on the Dark Beach, which is as close to the Realm of Light as the Realm of Darkness gets. Ansem the Wise might still be with Aqua at the point and Mickey and Riku bring them both back. They would then enlist the help of Aqua with traversing Castle Oblivion. No Keyblade would be obtained from the Realm of Darkness since Mickey already possesses the Kingdom Key D.
Story: We know that Ven is sleeping in the Room of Awakening within Castle Oblivion. Aqua would lead Riku and Sora through Castle Oblivion to the Room of Awakening. Riku is needed since he was successful in freeing Sora’s heart from darkness while in the Realm of Sleep ,and Sora is needed since he holds Ven’s heart inside him. The two might originally mistake Ven for Roxas due to the many similarities. During their journey, they might come across a couple of Organization members since Xemnas was searching for the Room of Awakening during the time that the original Organization XIII was around.
Gameplay: The opening and closing of the E3 2015 trailer appear to take place in Land of Departure when Xehanort and Eraqus were apprentices. According to those who were able to attend the exclusive screening of a secret trailer during the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX launch events at Walt Disney Studios (Burbank) and London, the world in the E3 2015 trailer where Eraqus and Xehanort play chess is the same one shown in it, where Sora was seen walking in the same room, towards the window. Perhaps, this hints towards Castle Oblivion returning to its former self and being explored by Sora. No Keyblade would be obtained since the Keyblade for this world is the Master’s Defender, which is currently owned by Aqua, but this might be passed onto Sora or Riku.
9. Radiant Garden
Story and Gameplay: Radiant Garden is seen as one of the most light-oriented world in the series, so it could be a target for Master Xehanort, like it has before in the past (although for a different version of him). It is also the original home world of Kairi, so she might return after completing her training. We also know that Leon and the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee were busy rebuilding Radiant Garden to its former glory in Kingdom Hearts II, so they might be near completion or fully complete with the reconstruction; this only raises expectations of the already elaborate world design. Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII could be a new member of the Restoration Committee as a security guard for them, since she has arguably become a popular character, especially in Japan. Terra (Tina in Japan) from Final Fantasy VI could also make an appearance as a civilian that Xehanort has his sights on for a new vessel. In Final Fantasy VI, Terra is mind controlled by the main antagonist and doesn’t have complete control over her magic until near the end of the game when she learns the power of love. Xehanort might feed into Terra’s doubting darkness, causing her to believe that her powers are destructive and will only bring about ruin. Mickey might hear her name and circumstance, and confuse her for the Terra he knew in Birth By Sleep. When he discovers it’s a different Terra, he still helps her and thwarts Xehanort’s plans to make her a vessel by telling her that her powers can be used to protect the people she cares about . Sora could also convince her to become part of the Restoration Committee since it’s primarily made up of Final Fantasy characters.
10. Keyblade Graveyard/Daybreak Town
Story: We all know Keyblade Graveyard will be in Kingdom Hearts III. It is the fated place where light and darkness will collide. This would be the last world where the seven lights and thirteen darknesses battle. Many truths, secrets, questions, and answers lie in this mysterious world.
Gameplay: As the final battle place, I believe the gameplay elements of this world would be unfathomable to my fanboy mind. However, I would like to see the Starlight Keyblade return, and come equipped with the many Keyblade transformations Kingdom Hearts III has in store for us.
Bonus: Cutscene Only
Destiny Islands: Opening and/or closing of Kingdom Hearts III since it is the home world of Sora, Riku, and Kairi. It also is a major world that has appeared in some form in every game.
Disney Castle: This world has become more significant throughout the series and we know Maleficent has her sights set on it. It might come under threat with Xehanort’s looming darkness.
There are still so many possible worlds and there is still a lot of information to be released, with the intention of revealing every world before the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Some honorable mentions include Wreck It Ralph, Star Wars, Marvel, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shibuya, and Pocahontas. They have been wanted by many fans either as returning worlds or new worlds, but I personally couldn’t quite think of how they would work in the overall Kingdom Hearts III story.
What about you? What new and returning worlds are you expecting to be revealed (perhaps in a few hours, at D23, even)? Let us know in the comments!
Tip: Why not come back after the next world announcement and find out which one/s I got right?
This list was written by Anthony, who became a fan of Kingdom Hearts when Kingdom Hearts II released in North America. He has been an active member of the Kingdom Hearts community since. As a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World, he is passionate about the inclusion of KH in Disney Parks. He is currently a senior in college studying Marine Biology. His hobbies include comics, anime, and video games.