At 20 Years Old, Kingdom Hearts is a Crossover of A Bygone Age

Cover art for Square Enix and Disney's Kingdom Hearts, showing the main characters.

Picture: Square Enix/Disney

These days, crossovers among IP are all the rage, and it is admittedly a combined bag. As thrilling as it can often be to see three different eras of Spider-Adult men cling out with each and every other or watch Learn Chief experience the Iron Giant into a battlefield, that variety of shine does have the likely of losing its luster the far more of it you get. But these points hit especially difficult when we’re young, and for young children who grew up all through the 90s and 2000s, passion for big IP crossovers probably started with just one Kingdom Hearts.

Produced by Sq. Enix and initially a PlayStation 2 unique, the unique Kingdom Hearts released on September 17, 2002. Then-Square employees Shinji Hashimoto and Hironobu Sakaguchi ended up talking about a 3D movement recreation to rival Super Mario 64, and they quickly recognized that the only issue that could match Nintendo’s plumber would be Disney people. As Sq. and Disney were being sharing offices in Japan at the time, Hashimoto later on pitched the undertaking instantly to a Disney govt on the elevator. The activity would be the directorial debut of Tetsuya Nomura, then a character designer for Remaining Fantasy VII who was presented the green light to direct from Hashimoto and Sakaguchi after he overheard their discussion.

Regardless of all of Disney’s suggestions, Nomura shot those people down in favor of focusing on his personal notion for the game to feature an original character. With no limitations on worlds to include from then-Disney president Bob Iger, and becoming educated by Hashimoto that the game experienced to reach the similar level of good results as Ultimate Fantasy, Nomura and his crafting team—Jun Akiyama (Ultimate Fantasy VII and Ways), Daisuke Watanabe (Closing Fantasy X), and Kazushige Nojima (Last Fantasy VII and VIII)—obtained to do the job. Kingdom Hearts I focuses on Sora, a teenager who goals of leaving his property of Future Islands to check out new worlds with his childhood mates Riku and Kairi. When each of them are taken by monsters named the Heartless, Sora endeavors to rescue his pals with the support of Disney people Donald Duck and Goofy. Armed with a Keyblade, Sora, Donald, and Goofy vacation by way of several worlds centered on Disney movies (Olympus from Hercules, the Deep Jungle from Tarzan, etcetera.) to meet up with with those people films figures and stop the films from becoming eaten by the Heartless.

Image for article titled Kingdom Hearts is the Alpha of IP Crossovers

Graphic: Square Enix/Disney

Kingdom Hearts sold very effectively, and is usually cited as 1 of the very best PS2 game titles ever. Over and above getting a match with an interesting, if strange hook, it arrived out not long before the 2022 vacation year, and became just one of the top-promoting titles for that time of the year. Critically, the match gained very great praise, even as there was criticism about the Gummi Ship and the game’s real-time battle system. In Japan, the game acquired a “Final Mix,” or what we’d currently basically phone a comprehensive and patched edition that would later on develop into the game’s default version when it was later on ported to other consoles like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

As a result of numerous spinoffs, manga, and sequels with some lengthy progress times (to be variety about it), Kingdom Hearts lives on to this working day. The longer the collection has long gone on and the bigger its mythology will get, it stays a franchise that players like, even as they’ve designed their gripes with the tale and Nomura’s character selections really apparent. This is a sequence that is unforgettable in that even if you haven’t performed the game titles, you know of it someway. Whether it’s by means of cultural osmosis, memes, or its great opening tracks by Utada Hikaru, you’ve obtained a component of Kingdom Hearts in you.

Kingdom Hearts Professional

Kingdom Hearts is a series that’s certainly of its second. In its first condition, that first video game is deeply dedicated to itself in a way that youngsters with lively imaginations just frequently are. Nomura and his writers are being deeply sincere in the tale they’re telling, and that variety of sincerity is not something that Disney’s always capable of permitting stand on its own these days. The situations were being genuinely in this game’s favor back then, when a launch from Disney didn’t feel like it was overbearing, and when Square Enix was not undermining its very own game titles or going by way of a weird transitional period of time.

No doubt the authentic activity would’ve sold nicely nowadays, but would it be as beloved and memorable in an age in which crossovers are conventional running method in its place of anything you have been pleasantly astonished by? Probably not. But that’s anything that we’ll be looking at quickly: the sequence has ended its “Dark Seeker Saga” and is moving on to a new chapter of its daily life with Kingdom Hearts IV. With that recreation and the decline of Sora’s huge-ass sneakers, we’ll be viewing much more than ever what it usually means for the collection to exist not as an upstart striving to prove alone, but an arm of two of the most significant businesses on the planet.


Want a lot more io9 information? Check out when to hope the most up-to-date Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s up coming for the DC Universe on movie and Tv, and almost everything you will need to know about Home of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Electricity.

Next Post

9 Best iPhone Lock Screen Widgets

Your usual, bland iPhone lock screen is getting a big improvement starting with iOS 16. Using lock screen widgets, you can add information from a wide variety of apps to see at a glance. And with the iPhone 14 lineup, the widgets are part of the always-on screen. We’re highlighting […]
9 Best iPhone Lock Screen Widgets