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I Want Another Kingdom Hearts Collection - This Time With a Greater Emphasis on Preservation



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Luap

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Now, don't get me wrong, I think 1.5, 2.5, and 2.8 did a great deal correctly when bringing the series to modern consoles. The fact that I can play KH2FM on a my TV in 4K 60FPS still feels pretty wild to me, since I remember the days when I was a teenager when playing any of the Final Mixes outside of Japan was difficult and expensive to do, outside of emulation. But, as time moves on, I do think I want a new collection that places a greater emphasis on preserving the greater history of the games in this series.

A few weeks ago I watched this GDC talk from 2016: "It's Just Emulation!" - The Challenge of Selling Old Games. I highly recommend giving this whole thing a watch, but for the purpose of this post I'd recommend watching at least the segment on "boutique packages" for video games, including a discussion of how the Megaman Legacy Collection was put together to include a lot of additional content outside of just the games that helps preserve the history surrounding those games. If you don't want to watch the whole talk, please check out at least the segment from around 32:42 to 38:08.

I'd like the Kingdom Hearts series to get that "boutique package" treatment. The original versions of the games on PS2, PSP, and 3DS games are quite different from their modern counterparts. Most of these changes are things people agree are for the better (1080p/4K resolution, higher res textures, modern anti-aliasing techniques, etc.), but there's also a lot of things that are not definitively better that were changed as well (orchestrated soundtracks, character model changes, enemy color palette swaps). In the end though, which changes are better or worse isn't what games preservation should be about, and is a moot point of discussion when talking about what should be made accessible for fans and newcomers alike.

Here are some ideas of what I'd like out of a theoretical "boutique package" or the series:

  • 4:3 & 16:9 toggle for gameplay & cutscenes (some cutscenes are cropped in 16:9, this would allow the whole original frame to be seen)
  • 30 FPS & 60FPS toggle
  • ability to launch OG or Final Mix versions of the games (bringing back OG title screen art and original heartless color palettes to modern consoles)
  • toggle for character models changed between PS2 and HD remixes (most notably Sora and Ansem SoD use the models made for Dream Drop in the HD remixes)
  • toggle for orchestrated and original soundtracks
  • art galleries with loads of promo art and Ultimania content
And outside of the main playable games in the HD collections, I think it would be amazing to bring all of the games on lesser hardware to modern consoles through emulation. Fortunately, none of the DS games really need the touchscreen to remain playable, and the touchscreen menus could easily be programmed to use regular inputs. The Wii U had a DS virtual console the gave players several options with how to display the top and bottom screens on their TVs, and I think adapting similar options to allow 358/2 Days and re:Coded to be played on a television would be awesome. Even if we somehow receive proper remakes of these games are some point (which I doubt will ever happen), making the original versions playable on modern hardware should still be important. Which brings me to....

I want the original version of Chain of Memories for the GBA to be playable on modern hardware. Plenty of sprite based GBA games are playable on modern hardware via emulation that just blows up the original image to a modern resolution. GBA CoM and Re:CoM are very different products, and I think it is a shame that the GBA version has been confined to one handheld since 2004.

But let's go deeper. Why not give fans a way to play the original Kingdom Hearts Coded that was exclusive to a specific Japanese phone on modern hardware? Looking up gameplay of KH coded, it plays completely different from what eventually became re:Coded. It'd be incredibly interesting to be able to play the original version of this game.

As I said at the beginning on this, I do think the modern collections are good. Great even! But I think a series that is so adored like Kingdom Hearts deserves something a bit more "boutique" that really preserves all the different versions of these game and their history.

Also, I just wanted to say it's a crime that I've never been able to play Kingdom Hearts V Cast and this needs to be rectified as soon as possible.

----

It's been seven years since I posted here, so this feels a bit strange haha. Oddly fitting, my last posts were me being excited for 2.5 on PS3. I posted this same thread over on r/KingdomHearts, and figured good ol' KHI would be a great place to have this discussion too. :)
 

AegisXIII

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Interesting,

For me I have always been interested in the "narrative preservation". The story that is included in the collections has to be consistent and should not require any knowledge of an unavailable game.

For me the 1.5+2.5+2.8 does a little bit of that, but it's not quite right. Watching the days and re:coded cutscenes sure allows to understand the story, but I constantly feel sorry for the people who are experiencing it through this medium for the first time. The gameplay is part of the story unfortunately and cutting it off entirely can only create this weird feeling that these cutscenes are just the tip of the iceberg and that some crucial informations are missing. And now that KHux is dead, it will only get worst.

However, I do not see the point of selecting old ratios. In a sense, it should be possible with the window settings ratio on pc, but why bother since no rectangular screen is available on the market?
Selecting original heartless colors and original soundtrack is definitely a must have.
Art gallery is sort of available in Melody of Memory in a sense. XD

If anything, I would have gone in the opposite direction and re-release the old games with improved graphics, 3dmodels etc, like what they did for Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, but your take is interesting. I never looked at it this way.

Anyway, it's nice to see someone who wants a re-release of a collection, since I feel that the one we have is lacking on some aspects.
 

AdrianXXII

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For preservation purposes I do see the value in this kind of collection, but I can't really see it being something that'd be high in demand outside of hard core fans and preservationists.

Though I personally would be interested in a port of the DS and GBA games. Not being able to play some of these games is a bit of shame, especially with Days where the room to breath and repetitive gameplay are kind of part of the larger story. I also feel with how popular Sprite games are now, it's odd that there isn't a Chain of Memory port to smart phones and other platforms yet.

Like the DS games don't have to be remakes like Re:CoM was, just having the option to play the older games in some form would be nice. Currently the only way to play KH: Days is via an emulator (unless you have the DS and game cartridges) and depending on which one you use, it's amazing how much can be done with just minor tweaks. The graphics on some emulator beat the OG DS version quite easily.
 
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AegisXIII

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For preservation purposes I do see the value in this kind of collection, but I can't really see it being something that'd be high in demand outside of hard core fans and preservationists.

Though I personally would be interested in a port of the DS and GBA games. Not being able to play some of these games is a bit of shame, especially with Days where the room to breath and repetitive gameplay are kind of part of the larger story. I also feel with how popular Sprite games are now, it's odd that there isn't a Chain of Memory port to smart phones and other platforms yet.

Like the DS games don't have to be remakes like Re:CoM was, just having the option to play the older games in some form would be nice. Currently the only way to play KH:Days is via an emulator (unless you have the DS and game cartridges) and depending on which one you use, it's amazing how much can be done with just minor tweaks. The graphics on some emulator beat the OG DS version quite easily.
I still have hopes that the melody of memory team is secretly working on the days and re:coded ports with updated assets for the 20 years anniversary.
 

AdrianXXII

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I still have hopes that the melody of memory team is secretly working on the days and re:coded ports with updated assets for the 20 years anniversary.
That'd be awesome. Would be a nice surprise for the 20th anniversary, though I almost see that as more of a 25th anniversary thing.
 

Elysium

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Yes, I wish that re-releases would offer two different versions you could play, the original and the altered version, sort of like a film will sometimes let you watch a version with a deleted scene added for an extended cut v. one without it. And that goes for any game--for example, FFX. I recently re-played the game on the PS2 even though the remasters are generally superior to see all the little things that are different and experience the sound of the game the way it was when I first played it even though the orchestrations for the Remaster are beautiful.

I guess because KH1 was like crack to me as a middle-school child back in 2003 and I played it hundreds of times waiting for a sequel that all those little things stick out to me when I play the re-releases, lol. The things in the re-release that most annoy me are very minor... Like when Sora first wakes up on Destiny Islands after being asleep, something about the part when Riku and Sora sit for a beat just before jumping up to race is wrong. It kind of ruins it. Or when Ursula's scene after Ariel and SDG leave Ariel's grotto for the first time, the face shot is wrong in a way. It literally looks like a dead-eyed corpse floating there in that moment, lol, as if they simply dropped the model there without animating it / rigging it (whatever you call it, I'm not a 3D fan, so I know little about how it's made). Or the scene of Maleficent's council after Riku has kidnapped Jasmine and the over-long focus on the vision of Kairi that Maleficent draws up that ruins the flow of the scene. "We had a deal, yes? You help us, and we grant you your wish..." *hologram of Kairi appears* ............................................ "KAIRI!" And of course I hate the dratted triangle button they added to KH1, that makes it harder to use triangle to control party members in battle because of the commands that appear now and especially to fight the Agaricus.

Still, I'm grateful to finally have FM and Proud for KH1 in whatever form. I know they had to re-build KH1 from scratch for the Remaster from what I remember. The only change for KH2 that really bothers me is how they changed Roxas' model to fit BbS. No, no, no. No. And I *so* agree on CoM. I enjoy re:CoM (unlike a lot of fans apparently), but the original was beautiful. It would be great to retain it in its original form somehow.
 
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Meilin

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I love this idea, especially because I loved the translation of the GBA Chain of Memory and while the more correct translation in Re:COM is fine it's missing some of the oompth the original had for me. I also felt the gameplay in that worked better in 2d.

But I feel that keeping record of things like KH2 trailers with scenes that never showed up in the games is important for the history of KH. I still have fond memories of scenes that were never used, like Donald freezing himself trying to hit Goofy in an early KH2 trailer, and Sora fighting to the front of Hollow Bastion to get to a hooded figure.

Though I wonder how hard this would be for the original game, since the assets were lost and rebuilt for the re-releases?
 

MATGSY

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I definitely think they could stand to have remakes along the lines of the FF Pixel Remasters. By which I mean remaking the games in a cleaner, easier to develop for engine. Square said the reason they did the PReMs is because the previous mobile/Steam releases were over a decade old & getting too costly to keep updating for every new version of Windows/iOS/Android that comes along. The new versions aren't just simply new, they were made in Unity, a very well supported, low cost & easier to develop for engine that basically ensures Square will be able to support the new remakes for a much longer period of time.

The KH HD collections we have now are basically frankenstein code beneath the surface. Having lost the original source code for these games, they've reverse engineered the discs while using models from later games (KH1 Sora & Ansem being from DDD for example). On top of that, they were made with the PS3 in mind, a console notorious for how difficult its cell processor is to program on. This meant later releases had the uphill climb of wrangling PS3 code to work on new platforms. These ports pretty much only succeed by merits of the extra raw power of said platforms.

The consequences of how the collections were approached have been pretty self-evident: no 360 versions, XB1 & PC versions were years late & were probably paid for by MS & Epic to even happen at all, & worst of all, the Switch had to settle for Cloud versions because there was no getting them to run on weaker hardware despite the Switch being more powerful than PS2/PSP/3DS & having many more advanced games (E.G. Witcher 3 or Doom Eternal) available. The Switch in particular should've been a wake up call to Square that these games need cleaner code if they to continue on. Do what they did with FF1-6 & remake the series on a dev-friendly like Unity or Unreal.

In fact, they kinda already got the ball rolling with MoM. MoM was made in Unity & it runs super smooth with small file size & short load times even on Switch. Plus a ton of art assets were either port or remade for this game: almost every world in the series history & many of the enemies are present. I may be wrong with how this works but I think it will save Square time to repurpose MoM's assets as much as possible if they were to go the Unity remake route.

Plus, it would probably make it asier for them to patch in updates or features to these games later more the road this way. Like say putting soft reset back in KH2. & make them more more mod friendly for that matter.
 
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KingdomKurdistan

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I want someone like Tachen, Folio Society, or Headcase Design to create a "library binding" collection like the books in Hollow Bastian where the series is split into three volumes and seperate issues/books within those volumes (none of the Nomurarist algebraic equation title numbering nonsense). Each title gets a seperate "book" that opens up to loads of goodies and props and bookets inside.

For example KH MoM might be Vol. III Book ii (III.ii).

And then the actual game parts follow the libraru theme by including all the preservation aspects and historical KH stuff discussed in this thread.

Seriously, look up Headcase Design's work on the Twin Peaks and Hamilton books, or Beehive Books' series of Dracula briefcases that contain the entire epistolary novel composed of the materials in the story (so instead of you reading a letter in the book, you read the actual letter in a briefcases, and so on) to see how much potential a prestige KH physical release could have.
 
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