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Did you like the direction that the developers took Kingdom Hearts?



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Guernsey

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I remember playing Kingdom Hearts II and really liking the concept of the Nobodies. The thing that I liked about them was their designs, the idea of "being without" and the role that they played in the game. I like everyone else especially liked the Organization XIII as they reminded me of the Akatsuki from the Naruto series and the Espada from the Bleach series. They were truly a dysfunctional family of villains who had a single goal which was to obtain hearts of their own.

I was young when I got exposed to this series but it wasn't until I became an adult that I realized many things. I remember posting something along the lines where we were supposed to doubt if what various teachers throughout the game said was true. If the Nobodies really were as "heartless" as Master Yen Sid said? If Xemnas was really going to restore their hearts? Or even if the Organization could grow their hearts? It wasn;t until DDD that our inquiries were answered and not always in a good way.

The writing was not always perfect but I think that it was always the plan of the writers to revive the Organization Nobodies as Somebodies. I also think the series was always going to make Xemnas and Ansem related to Terra somehow. Xehanort was always going to be revived in his completed form even if the way he went about it was complicated. I will admit that did not always like the direction that they took the story but I know that some elements were planned at least.

What do you think about this? Did you like the direction that they are taking the series? Do you feel that some elements were explored very well?
 

sakonan7

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What I’d say is that Kingdom Hearts is a series that changes over time, but is a series that changes from the whims of the creator. He went from Star Wars to Norse mythology. But I think that’s alright, because I feel change has to happen and nothing should stay the same. But it is unfortunate for people who really liked what was. I personally believe Master Xehanort wasn’t planned from the start. Because of the story tone change. But I like the character and what we got in 3, after Remind. 3 and remind kept my interest in the series going.
 

AR829038

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There are two things that have been consistent about the trajectory of the KH series over the years: 1) Nomura always makes it up as he goes, no matter how well he covers his tracks after the fact; and 2) Nomura derives his influences and ideas from an incredibly eclectic array of inspirations.

When the KH series started, it was clearly derived mostly on Star Wars. Chain of Memories was clearly inspired by at-the-time popular trading card games/series like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh. Over the years, he's also steadily incorporated currently popular IP's into his storylines, like Inception for DDD, Harry Potter for Master Xehanort (Voldemort's horcruxes = Xehanort's 13 selves), Nordic mythology for the X-saga games which has been a weirdly popular trend in gaming with God of War and Assassin's Creed, and now multiverse stuff from Marvel for KH4 (which may actually literally include Marvel in it).

So, we can guess that whatever future directions Nomura takes the story will be heavily determined by whatever IP's become popular around that time. A long time ago, Nomura said he had a clear vision of the final scene that would end the KH series, but that was when he was working on KH2, and I doubt his plans for the story have remained since then.
 

Agroogrooiya

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From a writing and presentation perspective, I checked out at DDD. The series has never been good, but it definitely got worse after BBS presentation wise (chibi gacha games? srsly?) and the writing was especially bad for DDD. Some games after BBS do have good scenarios and story (especially the X games) but they are marred by bad pres, gameplay, or both.

From a gameplay perspective, I've checked out of all non home console titles for now. They haven't done any of the post Days games justice, and it isn't SE's fault so much as it is a hardware constraint. They just can't get good game physics on their mobile entries, and THAT sucks because both BBS and DDD pretty much had similar enough graphical fidelity to KH1 and KH2.
 

2 quid is good

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In a word: No.

In a lot of words: I don't even freaking know what the direction is supposed to be anymore. Are we high concept urban fantasy now? What are the stakes? Why do they even matter?

I know in previous games the stakes were "high" because it was a matter of all the worlds being in danger, but they felt a lot more personal because they directly affected Sora, and Sora's goals were always tied to his friends, who were people we - as the player - knew. And then all the secondary plots and themes were simply that - secondary. A fun thing to look into and find connections for. Now it just feels like that's what's driving the series and Sora - and by extension, the player - are being driven around rather than being in the drivers seat.

This is probably more meta than you were aiming for but to me, this is the issue with the direction, not the actual influences. I don't think the changing settings and themes are what's affecting the direction, it's just a change in priorities with regards to HOW they're incorporated.
 

Max

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Hmm, I don't know. I still like the series and enjoy the new games, but as far as the story and lore and whatnot goes I think KH1, CoM, KH2, and Days were kind of the peak of my enjoyment of the story. Everything after that starts to feel tacked on. Not bad, but not great either. "Well and then this happened first. But this happened before that, and..." There starts to need to be so much explanation and exposition for the new games since they jump around all over the place and clearly weren't planned from the start instead of just moving on to a new story, and you can just kind of feel that "separate-ness" that comes with that. The initial 4 games I named I feel all flow really well together as one story, and I don't feel that way so much about everything else.
 
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I know in previous games the stakes were "high" because it was a matter of all the worlds being in danger, but they felt a lot more personal because they directly affected Sora, and Sora's goals were always tied to his friends, who were people we - as the player - knew. And then all the secondary plots and themes were simply that - secondary. A fun thing to look into and find connections for. Now it just feels like that's what's driving the series and Sora - and by extension, the player - are being driven around rather than being in the drivers seat.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. I don't care much for the fact that the lore got deeper and tied knots around itself, but I do think that the plot (the events currently unfolding as you play) have gotten weaker and weaker for each release. My favorite will always be KH1 because everything was more neatly connected.

Sora had something the antagonists wanted, so they had a reason to go after him. Sora was looking for his friends, so he had a reason to visit different worlds. That sort of thing. Now it seems like Sora's adventures are an excuse for the audience to be able to see the lore tie its loose ends.
 
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Phoenix

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I think even for people who don't like the direction of the series, we're going to disagree on what exactly was the point where it went wrong for us.

Lorewise, my favourite entry is CoM, and it's not even really close. It's the first game that tries to develop and overarching role, but it still maintains this feeling of melancholy and loss that gives the series a unique identity.

It's this feeling of loss that I feel is being... well, lost. The thing that's hurting this series for the the most is that Nomura won't let anyone stay dead, and that's undoing and undermining a lot of the moments I treasure. The end of Days was legitimately incredibly sad and tragic, which in turn led to Roxas' summer vacation being over, which in turns led to Axel's sacrifice, which is what allows Sora and Riku to triumph. The utter ruin of their lives servers to show the kind of person Xemnas is, and are baton passes that led the protagonist make it to the end. Reviving Xion, Roxas, Axel, Saix, Terra, Ventus, literally everyone. There's no feeling of loss. The game can still tug at your heartstrings by showing you three crying people hugging, but any series can do that. And now Sora uses too much forbidden power and fades away... which doesn't matter, because the trust is gone and we all know they're not going to kill him, so who cares?

Lorewise, I'm sorry, I know some people really like it, but the lore went completely off the rails at DDD. More and more concepts were introduced with very little payoff (sleeping worlds, time travel, 13 darknesses, 7 guardians), and the antagonists it set up are the same exact antagonists we had already defeated. KH3 (and UX) kept going by making Vanitas a pre Ventus entity, which again undermines a previous part of the series (the Ventus-Vanitas dichotomy). Their relationship is now less interesting, because it's less strong than we initially thought.

And I guess that's what I don't like about the direction of the series. The scatter shot approach works when you have very little lore, and now I feel that every game parasitically uses the lore from the last and undermines it, all so it that can set up whatever the hell the current game wants to set up.

PS: the writing is far worse. Compare the dialogue of CoM with KH3. It's night and day.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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I…don’t know.

I can say I absolutely did not like the direction KH3 took. I just do not like the story. I enjoy fragments of it and I can’t say I HATE KH3 because it is still the one KH game that is so easy to pick up and just goof off in, but I think Nomura just blew up his own fabricated lore because he was bored with it and also likely wanted to implement new ideas…and I acknowledge that KH3 was never going to match the expectations of any one fan. There was too much lingering in the past games, too many things we all hoped for, too many fans who hadn’t kept up.

I complained about KH3D because if you overthink it, the story and lore sort of crumble apart, but I still loved it. It’s stupid, it’s Inception, it’s silly and Flowmotion > Attractionflow.

I enjoyed KHUX for what it was but hated how it was trying to take everybody’s money, and I thought Dark Road has a LOT of story potential that was squandered on trying to take our money for the ugliest cards and most obtuse gameplay ever.

I can’t conceive of what KH is going to become. I’m intrigued by Missing-Link, but I also dread this game because of the current landscape for SE’s mobile games.

Essentially eh I love this series regardless. I’ll just suffer for eternity unless they like…kill Riku off or something. Then I’ll give the series up forever.
 

Phoenix

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I…don’t know.

I can say I absolutely did not like the direction KH3 took. I just do not like the story. I enjoy fragments of it and I can’t say I HATE KH3 because it is still the one KH game that is so easy to pick up and just goof off in, but I think Nomura just blew up his own fabricated lore because he was bored with it and also likely wanted to implement new ideas…and I acknowledge that KH3 was never going to match the expectations of any one fan. There was too much lingering in the past games, too many things we all hoped for, too many fans who hadn’t kept up.

I complained about KH3D because if you overthink it, the story and lore sort of crumble apart, but I still loved it. It’s stupid, it’s Inception, it’s silly and Flowmotion > Attractionflow.

I enjoyed KHUX for what it was but hated how it was trying to take everybody’s money, and I thought Dark Road has a LOT of story potential that was squandered on trying to take our money for the ugliest cards and most obtuse gameplay ever.

I can’t conceive of what KH is going to become. I’m intrigued by Missing-Link, but I also dread this game because of the current landscape for SE’s mobile games.

Essentially eh I love this series regardless. I’ll just suffer for eternity unless they like…kill Riku off or something. Then I’ll give the series up forever.

It's interesting to think about what could actually drive us away entirely. I can't think of many single events that would cause me to abandon ship, but I thought the same about Pokemon and I eventually left that fandom.
 

Launchpad

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From BBS-KH3, the series lost me in terms of story (and gameplay most of the time, besides KH3). BBS, Days, and Re:Coded sought to introduce external motivations for Sora to fight Xehanort in KH3, by creating a bunch of characters to be victimized by Xehanort's schemes. This led to a lot of 'poor me' characters that, despite everything, really only exist to be tragic, and don't seem to function beyond that. KH3 is the game that tries to put it all together, and it doesn't exactly pay off. The player might have formed some kind of connection to all these disparate trios and villains, but Sora definitely did not, which led to an inconsequential climax.

But I will say this; ReMind did a wonderful job of putting Sora at the center of the story again. He abused the Power of Waking because HE wanted to save Kairi. He wasn't told to do it, he wasn't asked to do it, he put himself at extreme risk to save his friend and paid the consequences, along with deeply scarring his friends in the process. That's some spicy stuff for Kingdom Hearts!! He's been gone for over a year, that's actually nuts. Riku is putting himself at risk just for the off chance that he might find Sora. These are the personally motivated stories that we haven't been getting since the early days.

In KH2, Days, BBS, Re:Coded, DDD, and KH3, the player is told their motivation by an authority figure (Yen Sid, Eraqus, Xemnas) but in KH4, our motivations will come more intrinsically. That is very exciting to me. KH is doing better now than it has in over a decade.
 
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In KH2, Days, BBS, Re:Coded, DDD, and KH3, the player is told their motivation by an authority figure (Yen Sid, Eraqus, Xemnas) but in KH4, our motivations will come more intrinsically. That is very exciting to me. KH is doing better now than it has in over a decade.

Something I'd been hoping with the Dark Seeker saga coming to an end was that the next installment could be more self contained. We're way past that at this point since the Master of Masters and all of the mobile game shenanigans are implied to play a large role already, but maybe Sora will have some time to, as you put it, more intrinsically become entangled in the Master's schemes and have a personal, character-driven motive to push against him.

To me, the Ephemer moment in KH3 was a huge slap in the face. I had never been interested in X or UX and KH3's plot was already bloated tying into BBS, Days etc. so seeing them come out of nowhere to save Sora felt so gratuitous and self-indulgent.
 

Liodin

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Reading you all makes me feel a bit lonely. Especially coming from people who have been fans as long as I have, and even more.

As a fan since 2007, my love and appreciation for KH has evolved with me, and I consider myself to be a bigger fan now than ever before. One of the things I love the most is, that all the games are canon and are part of the same story. No other franchise dares to do that.

In terms of gameplay, Re:Mind is the best of the series, so I'm very confident in that area.

In terms of storyline, I love the direction it started to take in BBS, followed by Ux and KH3, especially with Re:Mind. And Missing Link and KH4 look like they're going to continue down the same path about everything that interests me right now, so I couldn't be happier.

I share many of the complaints you have, but for me the good is far superior to the bad. I tend to be the type of person who adapts and values things for what they are, and not for what they could have been.

I hope KH4 manages to win many of you back, so we can all be excited for the future of the franchise.
 

sakonan7

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Reading you all makes me feel a bit lonely. Especially coming from people who have been fans as long as I have, and even more.

As a fan since 2007, my love and appreciation for KH has evolved with me, and I consider myself to be a bigger fan now than ever before. One of the things I love the most is, that all the games are canon and are part of the same story. No other franchise dares to do that.

In terms of gameplay, Re:Mind is the best of the series, so I'm very confident in that area.

In terms of storyline, I love the direction it started to take in BBS, followed by Ux and KH3, especially with Re:Mind. And Missing Link and KH4 look like they're going to continue down the same path about everything that interests me right now, so I couldn't be happier.

I share many of the complaints you have, but for me the good is far superior to the bad. I tend to be the type of person who adapts and values things for what they are, and not for what they could have been.

I hope KH4 manages to win many of you back, so we can all be excited for the future of the franchise.
That’s a very good take. I have similar beliefs. Sometimes it’s weird seeing people somehow not change within the course of a long franchise. But I think it’s because I change a lot and often. I think in long franchises, there's two camps. The one that liked it the way it was many years ago and another that embraced or wanted change on some level. I am not a long time Legend of Zelda fan and I liked Breath of The Wild more than previous Legend of Zelda games.
 
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Phoenix

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That’s a very good take. I have similar beliefs. Sometimes it’s weird seeing people somehow not change within the course of a long franchise. But I think it’s because I change a lot and often. I think in long franchises, there's two camps. The one that liked it the way it was many years ago and another that embraced or wanted change on some level. I am not a long time Legend of Zelda fan and I liked Breath of The Wild more than previous Legend of Zelda games.

It's a really good point and it probably does speak to a difference in a way we engage with our respective fandoms, because similarly with Zelda, I don't like open world games, full stop, so as a Zelda fan since Link's Awakening, the series going forward seems like it's just not going to be for me anymore.

I don't necessarily mind change, but I do have pretty distinct preferences in my fiction, and I have things that I don't like. Hopefully KH4 goes in a direction that I do.
 

Chie

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Speaking just in terms of story:

The minute to minute execution can be very very shaky especially in KH3.

That said I think the intention behind the ideas is fantastic and internally thematically consistent. I know most people don't see it the way I do, but I'm following what he's putting down (mostly), and it gives me tons to think and talk about.

It's funny to see that list of inspirations posted. I would say KH blatantly takes from Suda51 and Revolutionary Girl Utena (and gnosticism but that's a given). But those are esoteric, so to other people I guess it just looks like popular stuff.
 

sakonan7

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Speaking just in terms of story:

The minute to minute execution can be very very shaky especially in KH3.

That said I think the intention behind the ideas is fantastic and internally thematically consistent. I know most people don't see it the way I do, but I'm following what he's putting down (mostly), and it gives me tons to think and talk about.

It's funny to see that list of inspirations posted. I would say KH blatantly takes from Suda51 and Revolutionary Girl Utena (and gnosticism but that's a given). But those are esoteric, so to other people I guess it just looks like popular stuff.
If I was to roast something big in Kingdom Hearts 3, it’s the Big Hero 6 world lol. That part made me scratch my head in a bad way. I legit asked myself “what am I supposed to feel”. It felt like it was written while asleep. Especially the parts with Dark Riku. He does the usual bad guy comes in and talks shit and says mysterious stuff, only for all of it to fall flat. What makes it weirder is that Dark Riku has Riku’s memories, so he should know how to fuck with Sora lol.
 

KudoTsurugi

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I’ll be honest, in my opinion, the Keyblade War stuff should've ended with X[chi] and not gone any further. While I’m happy for fans of Union Cross that characters from that will be playing a role in the upcoming Missing Link, revealing that Ventus came from the distant past was a “jumping the shark” moment for me, not helped by the fact that Larxene and Marluxia’s whole selves(and apparently Demyx and Luxord) are from there too.

And like Oracle, I can't say I outright hate KH3, as there are a lot of moments that are played out as I hoped they would, and the stories of Sora’s visits to the Disney worlds are a lot of fun. But the execution of the main story fell flat. All the important stuff feels slapped onto the end, and the way they use the Power of Waking as an excuse for Sora to disappear at the end because he “misused” it. I’m sorry, is there a right way to use it? Because you sure didn't bother clueing us in until after he did it, Nomura. I’m sure there was a better way to handle Sora saving his friends that didn't have him disappear at the ending again. If he really wanted to, he could've just written an alternate post-credits scene of Sora going off on his next adventure, and save the Luxubar reveal for KH4’s opening scene. And while Re: Mind did a good job clarifying and expanding on certain moments, the ending still feels like a sour taste thanks to the unnecessary one-year time skip.

When it comes to anything Keyblade War or past-related in KH, I’m clocked out. The only thing that keeps my interest at this point is Sora’s story and those of his friends.
 

KudoTsurugi

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Uh...yes? We literally saw it in DDD and when Sora woke Ven up.
We only ever saw the one way to use it before the whole Lich thing. No right way or wrong way, just a way of using it. There could have been multiple ways of using it in a way that could have saved the others, but at present time we don't even know. I’m convinced he only wrote in the whole “wrong way/taboo” angle just to have an excuse for why Sora disappears at the end of KH3.
 
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