Where do Kingdom Hearts Fans Want to Explore Next?
Back in 2002, Square-Enix brought an original game with a Disney/Final Fantasy crossover that the gaming community didn’t even know that they wanted: Kingdom Hearts. Since then, the series has seen seven entries and let players explore a variety of classic Disney worlds and fight alongside Disney’s most popular characters. With the eighth entry, Kingdom Hearts 3 (KH3), releasing not too far from now, Square-Enix and creator of the series, Tetsuya Nomura, have promised fans that this game will take them on a truly unique gaming experience.
The only problem is that this promise was made back in 2013 when the game was originally announced. Not to mention, fans have been eagerly awaiting a third main entry to the franchise since Kingdom Hearts 2 was released back in 2005. That 13 year gap has left fans a little weary of how good Kingdom Hearts 3 and many have even lost a little bit of interest in the game’s upcoming release. Not even the return to the world of Pirates of the Caribbean or giving some of Pixar’s most beloved films seem to weather the storm.
Longtime fan Michael Mobley carries this sentiment after waiting for the game so long and feels like the hype is gone. When asked about his excitement, Mobley said: “I’m pretty excited but I’d say less then I use to be. I think people have been waiting so long for this game that many have out grown it. I feel like one of those people.”
So maybe Square-Enix and Nomura need to give fans something they’ve been desiring for a while to make Kingdom Hearts 3 something that fans can’t miss. Clearly just bringing Toy Story and Frozen to the series just isn’t enough to get the hype train rolling again; so what is there to do?
Well, with the possibility of there still being some worlds left to announce and the availability for DLC to be a part of the series for the first time, perhaps fans can still get the Disney franchises they have always wanted. So maybe it worth taking a look at some of the worlds and franchises fans want to see represented in this new entry.
Are There Magical New Kingdoms to Explore?
Kingdom Hearts is a series that has had players explore just about every generation of Disney films. From some of Disney’s animated classics like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan to some of the more recent outings by Disney like Tron and Mulan, there has been a lot of properties tackled in the series already. Thankfully, though, Disney is constantly creating new properties for Kingdom Hearts players to explore and there’s still plenty of ground that can be covered.
When asked what Disney property he wanted to explore, avid Kingdom Hearts fan Evan Cordero cited a Pixar classic that hasn’t been talked about in a while: A Bug’s Life. “I think Bug’s Life and running through tall blades of grass or the Bug City and fighting alongside Flik would be neat,” said Cordero, “also Zootopia would be cool with its diverse landscapes would be really fun especially if Sora turned into cat or something to fit into the world, because who doesn’t like when our heroes have a costume change?”
Worlds based on films like Zootopia and A Bug’s Life could be interesting as it could fit with Kingdom Hearts 3’s wall running and could end up having some pretty solid stories in them. But some fans want head out of the city environments and see Sora and company travel to more island based worlds.
Long-time fan Paolo Trinidad thinks that it’s time for The Incredibles to make their debut in the series. “I think The Incredibles would be a really cool world for the game. It seems unlikely that The Avengers would show up but I think this would be a great alternative,” said Trinidad.
The Incredibles wouldn’t be such a far-fetched inclusion considering its incredible box-office achievement and critical acclaim of Incredibles 2. Trinidad, who is considering replaying the past games in the franchise to get ready for Kingdom Hearts 3, also said he would love to see representation from films like Moana and Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
Is it Time for Something Marvel-ous or a Trip to a Galaxy Far, Far Away?
It’s no secret that Disney’s biggest successes have been more in their live-action department than in the animation department. With the acquisition of Marvel and Star Wars properties, the two franchises have garnered more mainstream recognition since going under the Disney umbrella. So it only makes sense for a game series that celebrates Disney’s best to include these iconic franchises, right?
Well, Marvel already does have some representation in KH3 with Big Hero 6 being officially announced just last month. But let’s be real, most people don’t even know that that’s a Marvel property and everyone would much rather see Sora running around with Iron Man or Spider-Man.
Adam Witkowski, another fan who plans to play through the previous games, sees the inclusion of MCU films and Star Wars as an interesting ideas. “A Marvel world or Star Wars world could be cool if done right,” said Witkowski, “maybe some Easter eggs too like Goofy having Captain America’s shield.”
It wouldn’t be uncharted territory for the series to take on live-action as films like Pirates of the Caribbean and Tron: Legacy have seen representation in past games.
Is it worth treading on old ground?
As it stands right now, of the already confirmed worlds, players will only be returning to two worlds: The Olympus clouds of Hercules and the high seas of Pirates of the Caribbean. While there are plenty of Kingdom Hearts alumni that could easily make a return, this lack of revisiting has allowed more opportunity for new properties to get involved. So is it that bad that players won’t be stuck treading on old ground?
Trinidad doesn’t think so and is “happy that Square is mostly introducing new worlds to the game because it gives Disney’s newer franchises the spotlight.” Other fans shared this feeling and actually praised Square-Enix for giving players newer experiences.
But some players have desired to see an original world from first game called Traverse Town. Instead of focusing on just one Disney property, this world actually had hints and characters from multiple films, like 101 Dalmatians, Lady and the Tramp, and The Sword in the Stone. The return of Traverse Town could be beneficial as it could present an opportunity to have the 101 Dalmatians return as a fun collectible.
So it’s easy to see that fans still see a lot to come for the series and still think that there is more to be had. Frankly, as a fan, I think it would be great to see a Hawaiian adventure with Lilo and Stitch as we only got to go to Deep Space with them and Stitch was featured as a summon character in Kingdom Hearts 2.
But the real question is: Can Square-Enix get players amped to see the return of the series? In some ways they already have and each of the players I’ve asked still say that they plan on getting the game. So maybe all they really need to do is just to keep the buzz going and maybe there is still something on the horizon that will shock fans enough to make the game’s January 29th release date truly unbearable.