Kingdom Hearts III – Ten Years And Counting, And Why That’s Absurd
So, being a huge Kingdom Hearts fan, I was hyped as all heck when, on June 10th, 2013, during E3 that year, we finally got the following:
For years, we’d been waiting patiently for this game to be announced after we’d played through side games and prequels, and finally, we had confirmation that it was coming. So, when was the game going to come out? Didn’t know. All we knew was that it was being worked on…which we kinda already knew, and that development had been held up because the same team had been working on Final Fantasy XV (then known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII), but hey, at least we finally caught a glimpse of it. Two years later, that glimpse was expanded upon.
YEAH, now we’re talking! So, when is the game coming out?! 😀
…MOTHER FUCKER! Yup, even after all this waiting, we still don’t have a solid release date. However, we then learned from the game’s director, Tetsuya Nomura, that there would be “news (and) new announcements” about the game at the Japan D23 expo in November, where he hoped to debut additional footage and content that was cut from the E3 2015 trailer due to time. And, in fact, on the 3rd of this month, we did get a trailer for KH3. Great! So, where’s the trailer? NOT AVAILABLE. Why? I don’t know. Apparently, it was shown exclusively to the people at the expo, who were told not to film the trailer, and everyone else was told that the official release of the trailer shown then was “To Be Determined”, which means there actually is no official release date for the trailer, because they don’t know when they’re going to show it to us. Of course, for all I know, that means the trailer could be posted as soon as I’m done writing this…although I wouldn’t count on that. lol
Now, with that said, I may not have the trailer, but I do know what happened in it, because I read the spoilers on KH13.com. And yes, a lot of what I read sounds very impressive. However, what I wanted to read most was the release date. Why am I so obsessed with that? Because Kingdom Hearts II originally came out in Japan on December 22nd, 2005. 2005! We’re less than two months away from ten years since that game was first released! For a decade, all anyone who enjoyed the Kingdom Hearts series has wanted to do was play Kingdom Hearts III, but we couldn’t for reasons that relate to Square-Enix’s priorities and that the new Final Fantasy game was a top priority to them. You wouldn’t think so, given how the last few FF games have gone, but it is, and thus we’ve had to be satisfied with side-games and prequels. Now, I will give this much: Birth By Sleep was probably always gonna be a thing, regardless of how plans went with the series due to waiting until KH3 could be done, and is a worthy prequel story that helps set up what we can expect in the next game. Also, while not 100% necessary in the grand scheme of things, 358/2 Days also had a good story that helped fans to learn of Roxas’ tragic life, and while held back a bit by the limitations of the Nintendo DS nonetheless plays pretty well. However, there was NO reason for Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, aside from the last chapter that, honestly, could’ve been done better and differently, and I don’t know why Kingdom Hearts χ is a thing. The odd one out in that line-up is Dream Drop Distance, which I can’t seem to decide if it makes for a worthy interquel like Chain of Memories before it or if it was another unnecessary side-game pushed out to satisfy fans. On the one hand, I DID really enjoy the new gameplay mechanics introduced, the revelations in the final parts of the story help to set up the conflict in KH3, and it was nice that it introduced a ton of new worlds we’d never been to. On the other hand, though, the story elements that actually matter could’ve been part of KH3 with little in the way of altering things, there were still locations we’d been to before present again (albeit with new additions to them), and from the looks of things, those same gameplay mechanics look to be made part of KH3’s gameplay anyway. Really, it just comes down to when you ask me.
Regardless, it’s safe to say that I’ve become more than a bit obsessed with learning the release date of Kingdom Hearts III. So, when I found info on the new trailer, I thought “Well, it’s been ten years, they’re no longer bound by the same issue revolving around FFXV, and this trailer is specifically going to contain visuals and info that didn’t make it to the E3 trailer”. As such, I read the details, looking forward to seeing that rele-MOTHER FUCKER!!! That’s right, STILL no release date! Oh, but you wanna know what DOES have a sort-of confirmed release date? Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue…Okay, we were pushing it with some of the titles before, but there is NO WAY you can take that game’s name seriously. Seriously, bet yourself five dollars you can say that name without either cracking a smile or feeling somewhat agitated just by the title alone… … …You just lost five dollars, didn’t you? lol But yeah, while we don’t know EXACTLY when, we do know that HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue will come out next year, and that it contains an HD remake of Dream Drop Distance, a special cinematic about the Foretellers from χ, and a new playable ‘episode’ (meaning probably a single world/level) starring Aqua and taking place sometime after Birth By Sleep. Ten years later, and Square-Enix is still making side-games.
Now, I don’t want anyone to come here and say that I just don’t get it, and that I think there’s no reason for the hold up. Of course there are reasons. Up until recently, the same team making KH3 was working on FFXV. Because of delays, the game has gone through drastic redevelopments, since I’m pretty sure they initially were thinking of doing it for PS3, and I know for a fact that they switched gameplay engines at least once so far. Plus, the people working on it beyond the developers have other projects they wanna do, and some have even died and had to be replaced. And no, I don’t know if Leonard Nimoy or Sir Christopher Lee got into a recording studio to do their lines for the game before their tragic passings this year. The only person I know that finished recording all their lines for the game was Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, who is admittedly a main character in that he’ll be following Sora throughout the game. I get that there’s all kinds of reasons for why this game has been held up. What I’m saying is that it’s been held up for ten years and counting, and that is absurd! Duke Nukem Forever only has that beat by five years, and that gap is only gonna continue to shrink if something isn’t done to get this game back on schedule in a hurry!
The other problem the hold-ups have is that, because of all the side-games being released and all the plots being introduced, there’s no way that the start-to-finish story originally thought of for Kingdom Hearts III is the same as it once was. Oh sure, because I truly believe Birth By Sleep was always going to be a thing, then I can buy that this game would revolve around the return of Master Xehanort and trying to restore Terra, Aqua, and Ven. However, beyond that, we now have the following plot points going into KH3:
- The fates of Roxas and Naminé, which honestly didn’t need development past the resolution in KH2, and of Xion, who was introduced in 358/2 Days.
- Lea and Kairi’s training as Keyblade Wielders to try and catch up with Sora and the others.
- What’s going to happen with Lea and Isa now that Isa is working for Xehanort.
- There are now THIRTEEN Xehanorts instead of just the one, some of which are past characters with pieces of his heart placed in them in through an ability we didn’t know could be done, and we still don’t quite understand how Xehanort pulled all this off, other than it involves Square-Enix’s favourite type of story: A time-travel mess with LOTS of dei ex machina involved. They now form a NEW Organization XIII, and are the main antagonists.
- Maleficent trying to steal the Datascape, and the connection it has to the Book of Prophecies.
- The data that Ansem the Wise left in Sora’s heart while he was sleeping, and the fact that he’s apparently still alive, too.
That’s a LOT to pack into a single game, and that’s not even including ongoing stories within any worlds that will be returning! We’ve also had a number of retcons introduced, like the purpose of the Organization, the true nature of Nobodies (although I can KINDA believe that might’ve been planned from the start…maybe), and the fact that…well…King Mickey is one of the biggest liars-by-omission EVER. lol How much has he failed to tell ANYONE about past events that would’ve been handy information to have if he’d just said anything? Now, of course, the reason he didn’t tell anyone is because, at the time, it hadn’t been conceived of by the people making the games. However, by introducing these plot elements and having him take part in them, he nonetheless comes off as someone who has been withholding valuable information and lying his ass off about stuff for YEARS. Just saying, I don’t think they thought this all the way through, and have kinda painted Mickey Mouse in a rather disturbing new light if you think about it long enough.
Now, the last thing I wanna say is, I’m not saying all of this because I hate Kingdom Hearts now, or that I’m announcing my refusal to get Kingdom Hearts III when it comes out (provided I own a system it’s available on at some point). I still love Kingdom Hearts. THAT’S the reason I’m saying all of this, because the next real entry in the game has been in a level of development hell that few games have entered, and the most infamous of which came out of in VERY bad condition, and I don’t want that happening here. I want whatever bullshit is holding up progress to be dealt with. Ten years is long enough.
Anyway, lemme know what you all think in the comments, and hopefully, we won’t have to wait long until more information is made available to us. If nothing else, I’m holding out hope that we’ll get something solid at E3 next year. Until then, all we can do is wait, and keep counting the stars, hoping that, one day, we’ll count that last one that leads us to our destination. Ja né!
13 of my Favourite Characters from Kingdom Hearts
So yeah, I’ve found myself rambling on and on to some of my friends about Kingdom Hearts for quite some time now, so in an effort to get it at least a little bit out of my system, I’m gonna take a look at 13 of my favourite characters from the series, be they the ones I love like mad, or the ones I love to hate (villains). These will be characters exclusive to Kingdom Hearts, so none of the Disney or Final Fantasy characters, and I will be going in-depth on them, so sorry folks, but there will be spoilers here.
In his first appearance, Riku comes off as someone who had to have what he wanted so badly that he was willing to sell out his friends, his loved ones, his home, even his own heart to the darkness. As a result of these actions, he can come off as a bit excessively emo in his later appearances, hating himself for what he’d done, though not in a way that we can’t understand why he goes so far. As of the end of Kingdom Hearts 3D, he seems to be well on his way of letting go what he’s done, accepting his friends’ forgiveness and having faith in himself as the new Keyblade Master. Also, the guy is a total badass. He’s beaten Ansem a multitude of times, he fought Saïx to a stand-off, he battled the devil himself and won, and even had the balls to call Master Xehanort a failure to his face.
Oh, and if I don’t bring this up, someone else will…There’s a VERY long-standing theory that Sora and Riku are…well, how should I put this? That Riku wants to use his Keyblade on Sora’s Keyhole. And yeah, there’s a lot of evidence that suggests it, and it’s of course easy to joke about and also for shippers to believe in. Now, the more meaningful relationship I’ve always found in them is that because we never see their families, Sora and Riku kind of operate as super-close brothers. So yeah, that’s always been my take on their relationship, but it’s obviously so much more fun to joke that they’re gay. LOL
I swear, with every game to come out in the series, I feel progressively worse for Roxas. The poor guy comes off as this universe’s punching bag at times for all the crap he’s had to endure. He’s enlisted into the Organization so that they can use him to create a massive Kingdom Hearts, all the while the higher members keep on keeping information from him and sometimes outright lying to him. He makes best friends with Axel and Xion, only for Xion to be revealed as a copy of him and Sora that was to inevitably absorb him into her being to that the Organization would have the perfect puppet, and he’s forced to absorb her first, not only losing his best friend but also forgetting her face and her name. Then he’s kidnapped by DiZ and made to recombine with Sora, effectively ceasing to exist in an orthodox manner in the physical plane of existence. Now we find out his physical form and parts of his personality are actually influenced by Ventus, and who knows what will happen to poor Roxas when Ventus wakes up. Add in that he’s a strong willed wielder of the Keyblade and is a generally likeable character, and by the end of his story, you weren’t really so sure you wanted Sora to wake up in Kingdom Hearts 2.
Be he Lea or Axel, this character has appeared in every game except the first and has thus undergone one of the longest and strongest evolutions of the various characters. His first appearance in Chain of Memories left us to believe he was a wild card within the Organization, acting out of his own agenda and seemingly aligned with no one specifically. Since then, we’ve learned all about his backstory, his complex histories with Roxas and Isa, and just how far he was willing to stretch his neck out for his friends. In his most recent appearance, he’s been re-completed as a person again and is now aligned with Sora and co. against Master Xehanort, even managing to gain his own Keyblade in the process. Bottom line, this is a complex character with equal opportunities spent to make him badass and comic relief. In short, this is an awesome character. Got it memorized?
………Humina…Uh, I mean, Master Aqua! Well, she’s a Keyblade Master, making her the most powerful of all the female protagonists of the games, potentially of all the protagonists period. If nothing else, her mastery of magic is far superior to that of Sora or Riku, possibly even King Mickey himself. Aqua is the reliable one in her trio of herself, Terra, and Ventus, and will always do whatever is necessary to protect them, making her strong of will as well as her powers…And yeah, I’m just gonna say it, I LOVE this character. She’s so devoted to her friends and is such a powerhouse of a Keyblade Wielder and, let’s be honest, is such a HUGE hottie, what’s not to love? I really hope that she’s playable in future games.
Hmm…That’s four Keyblade Wielders in a row. Should probably do a villain next…Ah, I know!
This is one of the few villains I can think of that makes the rose pedals thing badass. Even that thing he does where he pulls back his hood and rose pedals fly around, yeah it looks girly, but just try and tell him that when he’s got that giant scythe pointed in your direction. He’s arrogant, vein, and deceptive, trying to stage a takeover of Organization XIII and using Sora for his plot, and as with most of the really great villains in fiction, he probably would’ve gotten away with it if it hadn’t have been for those meddling kids. lol
Attitudinal and impulsive as all heck, but still a loyal and true friend, Hayner is one of those characters you always like to see appear. He’s just so much fun to see him and his antics and those of the Twilight Town Gang, which makes it sad that they’ve only appeared in two games thus far, three if you count their cameo at the end of Re:Chain of Memories, four if you count their appearance in the teaser for Birth By Sleep Volume 2. So yeah, here’s hoping that when THAT game comes out, we see plenty more Hayner awesomeness.
Both a Princess of Heart and a wielder of the Keyblade, Kairi is charismatic and kind-hearted. She also is perfectly willing to get her hands dirty if it means being able to help her friends. My only issue with Kairi is that she’s played the damsel in distress on a number of occasions, although if the secret ending of Kingdom Hearts 3D is any indication, it seems she won’t be in distress all that much in the future…
Of course, how could I do a list of my 13 favourite characters without talking about the protagonist himself? I think what I love most about Sora is that he’s very much the opposite of the modern Square-Enix protagonist in terms of personality. He’s kind and forgiving to nearly everyone, even on occasion to his worst enemies. He puts his friends as top priority, be they Riku and Kairi or his new friends that he’s met on his journeys. He spends a very small amount of time brooding over bad stuff that happens, if any at all, he doesn’t flip off people trying to help him, and while he can get really angry over stuff, it’s surprisingly easy for him to get over it. When Riku is made a Master over him in Kingdom Hearts 3D, he isn’t sad or resentful or obsessed with his own mistakes like Terra was in Birth By Sleep, he was genuinely happy for his friend and as excited as he would have been had he become Master himself. Is he a perfect character? No. But he’s most certainly a welcome change from the norm.
Sadly, there’s not a lot to say about Ventus that I haven’t already said about Sora and Roxas, as all three of them have VERY similar personalities. I will say though that he excels in bravery, willing to give up his life and possibly shatter his heart to save his friends from Vanitas. He’s also one of the more unique Keyblade Wielders in that he uses a backhand grip, and while Ven’s likely one of the weakest Keyblade Wielders in the game, he more than makes up for it with his sometimes ludicrous speed.
And speaking of his other half…
Vanitas creeps me the hell out. That laugh, the fact that he looks and sounds like Sora, and just how frigging remorseless he is for everything he does. He goads Ventus into battle by threatening to murder Aqua and Terra before his eyes, he snaps the wooden Keyblade that Terra gave him in half, and he creates the Unversed to run rampant across the worlds. But the sad thing is that, for all that he does wrong, it’s all due to the evil deeds of this man…
The one true villain of the series. It is Xehanort’s actions that causes the events that occur within the series. He tells Maleficent of the darkness, of the other worlds, and of the Princesses of Light, thus causing the massive invasion of the Heartless upon many of the worlds and the kidnapping of the Princesses. He possesses Terra, using his body for a number of horrible deeds. He recruits Braig, who later saves his apparent amnesiac self and helps him get within Ansem The Wise’s group. His Heartless, Ansem, takes over the runnings of the Heartless when Maleficent outlives her usefulness to him. His Nobody, Xemnas, creates Organization XIII with the intent to create thirteen incarnations of Xehanort, all the while lying to them about not having hearts, meaning every last terrible deed they did was over a lie. And along the way, he becomes directly or indirectly responsible for the sufferings of Ventus, Terra, Aqua, Vanitas, Roxas, Xion, and countless others. He pretty much gives us every single reason possible to hate him. But I will give him this much: Being voiced by Leonard Nimoy does give him a certain level of awesomeness. lol
Ienzo is observant and curious about the world around him, and his a hard worker at his studies, traits that was carried over to his Nobody, Zexion. Of course, where he differed was that he was a sick bastard that toyed with Riku in the cruellest of manners and was taking bets with Axel in Chain of Memories as to who would be the next member of their roster to die. But then again, I’ve never had my Heart taken away, lied to in order to make me think I can’t ever have another, and basically was told that I know longer have any moralities to ad-hear to, so who knows? Maybe that just does really messed up things to ya. What’s also notable about Ienzo is that after he’s re-completed, he doesn’t waste time being emo or remorseful over his actions, he gets right to work trying to figure out their immediate issues and actually talks to Lea in a rather pleasant tone, seemingly not holding any grudges for Axel leading to his death. Although now that I think about it, the destruction of his Heartless and his Nobody let to his re-completion, so I guess he would actually owe Lea for that.
Okay, this mostly comes from a gameplay perspective. Not that Terra is a bad character, just VERY easily led on. Like, even more so than Riku in Kingdom Hearts 1, and he’s supposed to be older and wiser than him. I mean for crying out loud, why can’t he see that Xehanort is the bad guy until he murders Master Eraqus? Do you need someone to draw a curly moustache on his face or something? Still, he’s at least a little easy to sympathise with. I mean, he could be worse.
But yeah, Terra is probably the heaviest hitter of all the main protagonists in Kingdom Hearts, without decreasing his speed so much that a turtle could outrun him. If you find yourself in his way in the middle of a fight, get out of his way or you’re going to be levelled. Bottom line.
Anyway, that’s my 13 Favourite Characters from Kingdom Hearts. Leave your comments below on what you think of these characters, who is on your top 13, and just comments on Kingdom Hearts overall. Ja ne!