Tetsuya Nomura, creator/director of the surprisingly successful Kingdom Hearts games, recently told Japanese magazine Famitsu, that the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3 is “overwhelmingly big,” and it’s something he’s “worried over how to handle.”
This was the first thing that came to mind:
Anyone who’s played this series knows that the story has gotten out of hand more and more with every single game.
Kingodm Hearts (PS2, 2002)–A simple, yet thrilling story that successfully mixed Disney lore with Final Fantasy characters and gameplay.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories (Gameboy Advance, 2004)–Added several new characters.
Kingodm Hearts 2 (PS2, 2005)–Rewrote the bad guy from KH1 to be an impostor and added a new type of villain, creating a whole new hierarchy of baddies, thus pushing the Disney elements to the corner. Also resurrected Maleficent and Ursula with zero explanation.
Kingdom Hearts Coded (Mobile 2008)–A mostly forgotten story that was released as a mobile game, thereby bringing us up to three different devices you need to own to play this series.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (Nintendo DS, 2009)–Four devices. Rewrote canon some more to add a whole new character with great importance to Sora, the main protagonist. Also, that title…
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (PSP, 2010)–Five! Prologue introducing several new characters and further rewriting not only Sora, but the main baddie of the series. Disney is officially an afterthought now.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance (3DS, 2012)–Finally reunites us with our main duo, but introduces time travel and enemy resurrection, allowing for fundamental canon rewrites and timey-wimey shenanigans.
Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix (PS3, 2013)–Re-release featuring KH1 with new scenes shoehorned into the current canon, a remake of Chain of Memories with PS2 graphics, yet still incorporating the GBA fight system for some reason, and the cutscenes of 358/2 Days but not the actual game, so you still have to buy a DS to play it.
Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix (PS3, 2014)–Re-release featuring KH2 with new scenes shoehorned into the current canon with, Birth By Sleep with the same treatment, and the cutscenes of RE: Coded, a remake of Coded but not the actual gameplay, so you still have to buy a DS to play it.
Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (PS4, Dec. 2016)–Even the title is too much now. Remake of Dream Drop Distance plus a final chapter to Birth by Sleep, and a one-hour movie companion to Kingdom Hearts X, a web browser game set 100 years before the main series because yes, we need more rewrites and backstories.
Kingdom Hearts 3 (Ps4/Xbox One, in development)–The final chapter in Sora’s story that will have to incorporate all the previous elements. But not too much because though it’s the ORIGINAL MAIN CHARACTER’S last game, it’s not the last of the series.
Jiminy Cricket on a jet ski! No wonder Nomura feels overwhelmed!
And who saw this coming? Everybody. Even Kingdom Hearts fanatics find the plot difficult to grasp with constant canonical rewrites and new chapters/characters being revealed with every single installment. What happened to the simple fun of mixing Final Fantasy with Disney? Nowadays, both of those elements seem like backdrops.
Plus, even if you factor in the remake anthologies, you still have to own FOUR different systems in order to play the whole series (PS3, Nintendo 3DS, PS4/Xbox One, and a Mobile Phone).
This seems like a case of too much writing, not enough editing. Even Kingdom Hearts II, way back when, suffered huge problems in the story because the writers had more fun ideas than they could handle, so they just rewrote canon. Repeat for several more games and we now have an incomprehensible mess because nobody could stop and ask, “Does this fit?”
Kingdom Hearts 3 is a game that I have long anticipated and long dreaded. I’m excited to play as Sora again and finish his story, but I’m scared witless because I can’t imagine Nomura can properly weave all these infinite elements into a coherent narrative.
I’m also not sure he can bring back the Disney magic. Disney has been pushed aside or treated with little creativity lately. In the first game, Disney perfectly melded with the Final Fantasy elements and stories were modified to fit the game. Now, Disney is just kind of…there.
It seems like KH1 treated the Disney lore like a standard Disney movie. The sequels write Disney more like those straight-to-DVD Disney sequels.
I could be wrong, of course, and I hope I am. I’d love to see Kingdom Hearts 3 restore the glory (and sense) of the original and pull all these elements together into a badass finale that makes my PS4 bleed with effort.
Even though it’s going to incorporate Disneyland rides as battle mechanics. Ugh, this is going to suck.