In 2002, Kingdom Hearts was released for the PS2 as a “Crossover Action RPG”. 8 titles later (excluding the endless remakes, remixes, and special cinematics, of course), the series is still going strong with a fanbase devoted to a complex storyline which will see the end of its first trilogy this year with Kingdom Hearts III.
Final Fantasy was an integral part of the original story, and drew a significant amount of attention to the title, bringing fans that likely would not have had a common ground before. As the games have progressed, it seems as though Final Fantasy’s presence has dwindled significantly. Absent from 2009’s 358/2 Days (save for Moogles), the 2012 title, 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and the most recent Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- (although understandably), it would be in the Square Enix Osaka Development Team’s interest to recapture the presence of our beloved Final Fantasy cast, with the long awaited title, Kingdom Hearts III. We’ve listed five reasons why.
1. Establishing Kingdom Hearts as a flagship title
Final Fantasy has been tantamount to Square Enix itself for as long as the series has existed. Kingdom Hearts has long been seen as a crossover, or even a side project of sorts. Square stands to continue to gain fans and players alike by bringing an increased focus to the characters and worlds of Final Fantasy, as well as firmly identifying Kingdom Hearts as a major title, capable of delivering characters from all worlds. By increasing overall character depth, it allows for a deeper experience gaming and shows fans that Kingdom Hearts is an integral game series of its own right and is analogous to Square Enix itself.
2. Bringing in FF fans to Kingdom Hearts
Despite Kingdom Hearts’ growing popularity, there remains a stark schism in the fanbase of Square Enix. There still remains a number of fans who believe Kingdom Hearts as too childish or naïve of a game to play due to the presence of Disney. By bringing characters of the KH Universe as well as even some of Disney (namely King Mickey) to the vast worlds of Final Fantasy, they can give some of the oldest fans of Final Fantasy an avenue and a reason, to see just how immersive, deep, and serious the characters of Kingdom Hearts can be.
3. More HD characters
As the gaming industry continues to move forward technologically, so do the fans wishing to see their beloved characters rendered in HD. Unfortunately, full HD remakes are time consuming and can be an expensive endeavour. Square stands to capture all the nostalgia of an HD Remake with a fraction of the time and money by simply increasing Final Fantasy’s presence with the upcoming title. As many characters have already appeared, there are still countless beloved characters whom we have not gotten to see in HD. (Rinoa, anyone?) This would stand to further bring Final Fantasy fans into the franchise.
4. Expand the KH Universe without exhausting Disney
Though Disney has countless stories and attractions to their repertoire, no company is safe from gaming overkill. Disney, being no exception, could very well stand to gain a little bit of a breather from the inclusion of Final Fantasy’s expansive worlds. It would allow Disney to shine their creative lighting worlds that their characters are unfamiliar with. How would Maleficient feel about being outshined by Ultimecia? Or how would King Mickey react to Jecht’s demeanor in Spira? Better yet, is Sora a good Blitzball player? All these things allow Disney to shine another side of their characters, and effectively shelter them from the dangerous effects of overkill.
5. Shared Universe gaming
Marvel. The Scyfy Channel. DC Comics.
These 3 creative powerhouses all are moving in the direction of a new cinematic experience: a shared Universe. This is something that Kingdom Hearts is grounded on. Squall Leonhart fighting back to back with Cloud Strife is a moment that not a single Final Fantasy fan was not excited to see. Kingdom Hearts III will be a chance for Square to continue to capitalize this idea and grow it further. We have seen Sora and company be the center of many different Disney stories, from helping Pooh, to fighting alongside Simba, to even helping Mulan save China. More excitingly, the upcoming Toy Story episode in Kingdom Hearts III, following the end of the first movie, has even been suggested by director Tetsuya Nomura to be canon, and therefore centered in the same universe as the original.
Kingdom Hearts III represents a chance for Sora to now bind together a whole new set of stories, from Balamb Garden to Zanarkand. Moreover, it would allow Square to firmly meld two distinct worlds, Final Fantasy and Disney, into one beautiful, imaginative, immersive universe: The Kingdom Hearts Universe.
Would you like to see more Final Fantasy in Kingdom Hearts III? Let us know below!
This article was written by 50 Shades of Riku, one of our old founding members. Five years ago, he made a meme about “Wielding a Keyblade for dummies” that ultimately led to gaining an Ohana that means more to him than the world. Half a decade later – he’s writing articles like he even knows what he’s talking about, still with his Ohana and still with his sick sense of humor.