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The State of KH Series: DISNEY/Square Enix/Original Characters



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Face My Fears

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After reading a few threads around here, it really made me wonder about how the series will proceed with the characters: DISNEY/Square and original characters.

At this stage, there are WAY too many original characters and probably more to come in KH4. Not only that, but the lore of the series has changed exponentially since KH1/KH2 days - IE it's not just Sora, Riku and Mickey (and Kairi) with keyblades. So the role of Final Fantasy characters, especially the "important" ones like Leon have been reduced to basically nothing. It's clear that they only appeared in ReMIND because of fan demand. If Nomura actually cared to include them in the plot, at least one of them could have been in the castle lab during the events of MoM with Kairi and Riku - especially since the Fairy Godmother was with them in ReMIND.

So it's pretty clear that the Final Fantasy characters will really be cameos at this point. I'm hoping maybe as a boss fight in DISNEY worlds that have no fightable villain. But speaking of DISNEY, what about those characters? Can or will any DISNEY characters ever be important to the main plot again? Maleficent and Pete are there... and that's it. Hades may be relevant in KH4 (and I hope he leaves Olympus to hunt down Sora for ruining his plans), but what else can they do? I know that with DISNEY becoming way more involved with the KH series, the regulations have been tightened up more than ever. So is that less of an incentive for Nomura to involved DISNEY characters in the main plot? I mean, if Mickey can be involved (and even get killed), then why can't there be some leeway for other characters?

What are your thoughts on the usage of the DISNEY/Square/Original characters going forward?
 

Agroogrooiya

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Gotta kill off Team Destiny and write new OCs imo. Time to treat KH like Final Fantasy, using the Keyblade and "Worlds" just like Espers and Magick.

The problem with KH narratively is that we have this extremely weird mismatch of time periods and characters that have nothing to do with each other .

Team Sora at first was finding friends (KH1, CoM), then stopping the dorkness (KH2), THEN Sora breaks off to...take the Mark of Mastery and eventually defeat MX (DDD-3). We then learn that AcKshUalLy, Xehanort PlAnNeD tHiS so he could learn more about Team MoM and used SRK as bargaining chips to go against some as of now unknown threat (MoM).

Meanwhile we have at least one bodyhopper (Luxu) going from Age of Fairy Tales to current era to possibly even unreality? Like what?

Take KH4 for example: Sora (BBS-3) is gonna be in quadratum with Strel (Age of Fairy Tales i.e 200+ years ago), potentially going up against Team MoM (AoFT) and Maleficent (if she ever becomes relevant again, Disney char).

It's extremely hard to even care about Disney or SE inclusion when the OC characters and plotlines are themselves confused and tangled. I dont care about cameos or callbacks anymore - I just want the core cast to be truly related to the plot at hand.

Sora had no reason to be plot relevant to BBS for example - and he *wasn't* at least until Blank Points. But now, even if Sora isn't mentioned by name we know he is oh so important even in KHDR which doesnt concern the boy.

Rant ovah
 

Rodin

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I'm fine with cutting the FF characters because they just feel like fan cameos and don't add much. But a spinoff with Leon/Mickey would be dope.

The Disney worlds are a double edge sword. They are the main appeal of the series but the rehashes get old real fast.
KH2 would've been easier to follow for my friends if some if the Disney characters became nobodies. KH3 had a step in the right direction by having new plots. I don't mind getting new Disney companions like Oswald, Max, Webby etc. Same with new villians like Dr.Facilier.

The original characters are the weak links. The Xehanort saga made nearly everyone worse. I rather retire Sora/Kairi and bring in some new faces. However I don't mind a spinoff with TAV, Riku or the Organization members. Or more of a focus on the Age of Fairytales. Roxas/Xion/Namine are screwed over by their connections to Sora/Kairi. It's a good idea poorly handled so they would need a retool.
 
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Elysium

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What I would like: Pre-existing original characters beyond Sora and Riku to be benched, really just the leads dealing with the new game story-specific original characters like Yozora, Foretellers, etc. (Although I wouldn't say no to an Isa game, but I know that wouldn't happen.) I wouldn't care if new FF characters are introduced, but give RG its own world subplots much like the Disney worlds once in a while. Of the Disney characters, at least have Maleficent (and/or other villains if they ever retired her) more involved in the plot, the rest could stay around 3 and MoM level and it would be alright, I guess.

What I expect: I'm actually willing to bet I'll get mostly what I want with the original characters, but probably a little more will happen with Lea, Ventus, Kairi, and Isa via cutscenes (although I suppose one of them could lead a mobile game...). The FF characters will continue to not exist. Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Yensid will be involved as usual, but Maleficent will continue to skirt around the edges doing nothing, and even less from the rest of the Disney characters.
 

Chie

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i'm going to keep enjoying Nomura doing whatever he wants instead of writing op-eds about how i don't understand the story and how they should just murder any characters who aren't super important after spending multiple games focusing on "everyone has a right to exist"

We then learn that AcKshUalLy, Xehanort PlAnNeD tHiS so he could learn more about Team MoM and used SRK as bargaining chips to go against some as of now unknown threat (MoM).

Meanwhile we have at least one bodyhopper (Luxu) going [...] to possibly even unreality? Like what?
Neither of these are true. Nor is Sora "important" in Dark Road but I guess that's slightly more subjective.
 

Just Dari

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@Agroogrooiya bro I literally had to look up nearly every thing you abbreviated, i've fallen out of knowing what anything means hard the last decade or so.

Anyway

Thanks to how the game was shipped, I doubt it will ever escaped the half-pacing predicament it's felt since the first game. I'm with Rodin's points about the disney worlds, I wanna take that a step further by saying having multiple different factions vying for the similar goals and harassing the main-cast was probably a largely un-talked about point from kingdom hearts II.

Resurrecting maleficent to then expand her role as "a third party" is something I really feel like they "let go" of at some point. Kingdom Hearts III I can understand it was meant to be a wrap-up of Xehanort's chapter and goddamn did he slap three generations in terms of casts around...LOL
 

TruestSyn

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A lot of new Disney stories are going with a less "Good vs Evil" narrative and using more of a "Bonds" narrative which is going to make it a lot harder for them to be included in KH. You can choose to replace a theme in the movie with Darkness but without a primary villain you'd either have to find someone to have the negative energy that would draw the heartless or make the big bad of a world unrelated to the actual plot.

Onward, Encanto, Luca, Soul, Turning Red, Strange World coming next...None of these movies have villains. Raya and the Last Dragon is one of the few and is perfectly themed to fit into Kingdom Hearts. It's almost like they're being forced to use things like Star Wars and Marvel, that still have villains they can utilize for video game content.
 

Muke

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I genuinely wouldn't miss either of them. The worlds being Disney movies were and are a selling point, yes, but I fear thst they hold the team back a lot. They're at the end of the day simply backdrops for our adventures - this is more true for some of the games than others, but that's the state of the series right now. If anything, I think we need a better mix. KH1 and KH2, as well as BbS, had multiple explorable original worlds. KH3 fell short on that regard. Twilight Town was very small, the Graveyard is just battles with no real exploration, and Scala ad Caelum was beautiful and interesting but, again, we only played it for a small time, even in ReMind. For the story to continue, I think we really need more original worlds, and more important story beats that happen in them. So in that regard, I wouldn't really be sad when we have less of Disney in future games. A good part of the original worlds is also that the Final Fantasy characters would be easier to implement.
 

Face My Fears

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Gotta kill off Team Destiny and write new OCs imo. Time to treat KH like Final Fantasy, using the Keyblade and "Worlds" just like Espers and Magick.

The problem with KH narratively is that we have this extremely weird mismatch of time periods and characters that have nothing to do with each other .

Team Sora at first was finding friends (KH1, CoM), then stopping the dorkness (KH2), THEN Sora breaks off to...take the Mark of Mastery and eventually defeat MX (DDD-3). We then learn that AcKshUalLy, Xehanort PlAnNeD tHiS so he could learn more about Team MoM and used SRK as bargaining chips to go against some as of now unknown threat (MoM).

Meanwhile we have at least one bodyhopper (Luxu) going from Age of Fairy Tales to current era to possibly even unreality? Like what?

Take KH4 for example: Sora (BBS-3) is gonna be in quadratum with Strel (Age of Fairy Tales i.e 200+ years ago), potentially going up against Team MoM (AoFT) and Maleficent (if she ever becomes relevant again, Disney char).

It's extremely hard to even care about Disney or SE inclusion when the OC characters and plotlines are themselves confused and tangled. I dont care about cameos or callbacks anymore - I just want the core cast to be truly related to the plot at hand.

Sora had no reason to be plot relevant to BBS for example - and he *wasn't* at least until Blank Points. But now, even if Sora isn't mentioned by name we know he is oh so important even in KHDR which doesnt concern the boy.

Rant ovah
It's insane to just kill off Sora and the original characters. Also, it will be weird if you use new original characters every game to visit the DISNEY worlds - particularly worlds the past characters already visited.

I agree that the core cast should be related to the plot at hand, but that isn't going to be fixed by just dumping Sora and the gang. I think the solution is for all these characters that know things (Mickey, Yen Sid etc) to actually inform Sora and the gang. The shocking surprises may have worked back with Ansem/Xemnas/Xehanort in KH2, but after that it's been twist after twist that I don't think the series can handle any more without it's top falling off.

The storytelling needs to change and Sora definitely has to be positioned in a proper protagonist role. He was there in KH3, but the pacing for that story was so off (along with several side stories) that Sora couldn't be an effective protagonist. Unfortunately, Sora hasn't been a good protagonist since KHCoM. Another major reason why is because the main villain in KH is written poorly throughout the story. Xemnas did nothing except his debut at Hollow Bastion, then hours later his cameo appearance at Hollow Bastion again, then at the end of the game at The World That Never Was.

I'm truly hoping we get more main villain(s) interacting during the course of the game. Nomura should be more creative. If DISNEY denies a DISNEY boss fight, then throw in an original character. For example, in Monstropolis the Unversed slime thing could have been the mid-world boss and then the final boss could have been Vanitas. Randall tricks you into entering a room and then it seems like you're going to fight him, then Vanitas appears - maybe even give Sora a special limit during the fight (that references Ventus). It's as if Nomura is scared to let us beat the villain and then fight them later. Did he forget about the iconic Riku Replica fights in KHCoM?
I genuinely wouldn't miss either of them. The worlds being Disney movies were and are a selling point, yes, but I fear thst they hold the team back a lot. They're at the end of the day simply backdrops for our adventures - this is more true for some of the games than others, but that's the state of the series right now. If anything, I think we need a better mix. KH1 and KH2, as well as BbS, had multiple explorable original worlds. KH3 fell short on that regard. Twilight Town was very small, the Graveyard is just battles with no real exploration, and Scala ad Caelum was beautiful and interesting but, again, we only played it for a small time, even in ReMind. For the story to continue, I think we really need more original worlds, and more important story beats that happen in them. So in that regard, I wouldn't really be sad when we have less of Disney in future games. A good part of the original worlds is also that the Final Fantasy characters would be easier to implement.
I agree that the original worlds should be bigger and more explorable. However, I think Nomura is against that. I don't want to say it's laziness for main plot stuff, but it kinda feels that way. Hollow Bastion (and Twilight Town/The World That Never Was) in KH2 was where all the main plot stuff unfolded, but in KH3 he dumped everything into The Keyblade Graveyard/Scala and because everything was just a climactic battle - not much else needed to happen.

I feel like having Quadratum as a huge city may help and allow the plot to continue, but I think what will actually help more is if Nomura uses the DISNEY worlds to move things along. The idea that main plot can only take place in original worlds is kind of what held back KH3. Sure, I liked and appreciated what Nomura did with the DISNEY worlds in KH3 (especially compared to KH2), but he could have pushed the boundaries for main plot further. Like he could have actually shown Young Xehanort after Toy Box using the research obtained and explaining what it was for... and actually show what the villains were doing. That way we could feel like we actually did something meaningful in Toy Box by interrupting Young Xehanort, thus being more involved with the main story.

Final Fantasy characters can easily be thrown into DISNEY worlds that need boss fights. Like Kefka could be the final boss of Wonderland.
 

Chie

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I agree that the original worlds should be bigger and more explorable. However, I think Nomura is against that. I don't want to say it's laziness for main plot stuff, but it kinda feels that way. Hollow Bastion (and Twilight Town/The World That Never Was) in KH2 was where all the main plot stuff unfolded, but in KH3 he dumped everything into The Keyblade Graveyard/Scala
Do you think it is more likely for Nomura to walk into work and personally go "yeah... I just don't really feel like making the game good today, because i'm lazy", or for video games to go through troubled developments where hard decisions have to be made in order to finish the game at all
 

Face My Fears

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Do you think it is more likely for Nomura to walk into work and personally go "yeah... I just don't really feel like making the game good today, because i'm lazy", or for video games to go through troubled developments where hard decisions have to be made in order to finish the game at all
I wasn't saying that Nomura chooses to make bad games or stories.

He admitted that KH3 was hard to write and it shows. He wrote himself into a corner with KH3 and was restricted/limited with what he could do with DISNEY properties. However, KH3 could have STILL had better pacing. Even if some main plot stuff happened mainly in Twilight Town in the mid-game or moved Aqua's return to the mid-game... he could have moved around what was already there with slight adjustments to create a better narrative.

Also, you cut out the part that gave context to what I was saying. The fact that the Dark Seeker Saga was basically over meant that KH3 just needed to have a climactic battle at the end. Which in turn meant that there wasn't really use for original worlds in KH3 since everything really only needed to happen at the Keyblade Graveyard. Nomura probably saw it this way and instead of using time and resources on creating Radiant Garden to explore or expand Twilight Town, he did the bare minimum to achieve what he needed.

My point was that with KH4, since it's starting fresh, large original worlds can be helpful and actually needed since there is way more main plot to explore. Original worlds are really only useful depending on the main plot. KH1 and KH2 needed them, but KH3 only really needed segments. I can't even think of what a full sized Radiant Garden would have been used for in KH3.
 

Agroogrooiya

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I didn't mean literally kill off SDG, but stop including them in everything. Look at BBS for example - on its face, the first KH games to NOT include Sora in some way and even though Ven was just Sora-lite for many (or even weird-Roxas), the game managed to create new OCs that mostly stood on their own. Sora and Riku were just footnotes in their stories and in BBS' story at large, I don't see why they can't do the same with KH4 onward. Sora's story IMO ended at KH2, but realistically it just has to keep going because in Nomura's words, Sora will always be *the* protagonist of KH.

Yozora can't just be a dope OC, he HAS to be the unreality version of Sora or whatever. ho-humming aside, I hope KH4 manages to focus enough on the OCs and distance Sora from some of the main conflict.
 

Guernsey

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I can understand where you are coming however I am not sure that is going to change. Unless the writers make Sora more involved in the story, Sora is just going to feel like he is there.
 

Face My Fears

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I didn't mean literally kill off SDG, but stop including them in everything. Look at BBS for example - on its face, the first KH games to NOT include Sora in some way and even though Ven was just Sora-lite for many (or even weird-Roxas), the game managed to create new OCs that mostly stood on their own. Sora and Riku were just footnotes in their stories and in BBS' story at large, I don't see why they can't do the same with KH4 onward. Sora's story IMO ended at KH2, but realistically it just has to keep going because in Nomura's words, Sora will always be *the* protagonist of KH.

Yozora can't just be a dope OC, he HAS to be the unreality version of Sora or whatever. ho-humming aside, I hope KH4 manages to focus enough on the OCs and distance Sora from some of the main conflict.
Yeah, but KH4 is about Sora dying and finding his way back to the real world.

Why wouldn't the plot follow Sora in Quadratum? Everything was more or less resolved in the real world, and all the original characters seem to be gunning for Quadratum now.

No one knows right now what Yozora is, so you can't just say he is another clone of Sora. I think distancing Sora from the main conflict is the problem with the KH games. He's the main character, but always the furthest from the plot until the end of the games. In KH2 especially, Sora didn't really get involved with the main plot until the very end. Everything was happening behind the scenes.
 
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