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Photo: ‘Kingdom Hearts’
If you’re like me, a long-time video game fan, then you’d know fairly well how nostalgic games that you played in the past can truly be. The magic that you felt inside of your bones when you first picked up the controller (or touched the keyboard), and the title screen played the fitting instrumental that clicked together in perfect harmony for what you were about to experience. And, when you have long awaited for those said games to come out for a while–or they’re games that are simply additions to the franchise you ever-so love–then that experience plucks an even deeper string in your heart.
To put it plainly, video games are a magical part of people’s lives (mine very much included); without them, the perfect outlet that the previously mentioned experience brings forth onto fans/audiences’ hearts would not be prevalent. This especially goes for additions to a video game franchise; years upon years of a growing development of fans–leading towards a more dedicated fanbase and an utter more sense of nostalgia.
One of the many games that do this for me personally (and a large amount of people as well) is the Disney and Square Enix crossover video game franchise ‘Kingdom Hearts’–and this love is only getting exponential. And now, with the recent announcement of new additions to the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ franchise, I can only imagine the new set of fans coming and enjoying the series alongside me and fellow fans.
‘Kingdom Hearts’ – Brand New Storylines, Brand New Worlds
Announcing the next big (and dearly long-awaited) installment to the beloved series that is ‘Kingdom Hearts’ couldn’t have been introduced at a better time. During the Square Enix livestream for the 20th-anniversary of the birth of the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ franchise, it was revealed that two brand new games would be integrating themselves into the series. Alongside the announcement, multiple trailers previewing the two upcoming games premiered as well; giving audiences a better look into what they can excitedly expect.
Taking a look at the trailer, you’ll notice that there’s an extra ‘Kingdom Hearts’ game that’s announced at the beginning. This is a small, but mighty, expansion to the franchise; the ‘Kingdom Hearts: Union X [Cross]’ series is an additional storyline to the entirety of the ‘Kingdom Heart’ overall storyline. But, for extreme fans of the franchise, the new upcoming game ‘Kingdom Hearts: Dark Road’ is absolutely something to look forward to–becoming a shiny new inclusion to the ‘Kingdom Hearts: Union X [Cross]’ series.
Moving forward through the trailer, what comes next is ‘Kingdom Hearts: Missing-Link’; an in-development mobile game for iOS and Android. The game will be set in the mystical world of Scala ad Caelum from ‘Kingdom Hearts 3’, and it will follow a brand new and original story that will eventually tie into the storyline of ‘Kingdom Hearts 4’. Based on looks alone, the game has beautiful graphics that are reminiscent of ‘Kingdom Hearts 3’ and ‘Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory’ (the most recent ‘Kingdom Hearts’ game). The game being developed solely for phones with these graphics is interesting, and I beg to wonder how it will play out and connect to the main storyline of ‘Kingdom Hearts 4’. Once it’s fully released, I also wonder how the game will look on phones. However, currently, no release date has been announced yet for ‘Kingdom Hearts: Missing-Link’ as it moves further into its development.
Bringing “Fourth” A Fresh, New Experience
Alright, now let’s get to the big and most awaited news during the 20th-anniversary livestream: the announcement (and physical proof) of ‘Kingdom Hearts 4’.
Not much is currently known about what audiences can anticipate being the full storyline of ‘Kingdom Hearts 4’. Nor do we know a release date either; but, as the end of the trailer says, it is a “Magic in the making”. Ultimately, the story of the world of ‘Kingdom Hearts’ is notoriously convoluted and ginormous; which is understandable when you take into account that this franchise did create an interesting take on crossovers by implementing Disney into Square Enix’s stories (which most notably all revolve around the ‘Final Fantasy’ franchise). With that said, it will be incredibly intriguing to see how much more of a whirlwind of lore insanity the franchise will form itself into–and I say this with the utmost love in my heart. What we do know though is that the story will bring us back to Sora, seemingly following right after the events of ‘Kingdom Hearts 3’ and the DLC, ‘Kingdom Hearts 3: Re Mind’. Not to mention how exhilarating it will be to potentially see new Disney worlds, alongside the iconic Donald and Goofy yet again.
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From what we know so far, it seems as though Sora will be going on yet another adventure to fight the heartless and battle both external and internal darkness. Look-wise, the graphics and gameplay fit the classic style that Square Enix has developed ever since the first game in 2002. Sora looks a tad bit more realistic than before, and the environment around him is reminiscent of real-life neighborhoods in Tokyo, Japan. According to the series director, Tetsuya Nomura, overall the team wants to achieve a contrast between two perspectives as Sora explores a new world mixed in with a familiar one; so, this seems to fit with the first impressionable look that we’re being given at this time.
An Ending To Just The Beginning
As a huge ‘Kingdom Hearts’ fan, I’m typically used to Square Enix going on long hiatus’ to create further games for the franchise. But, I’m beyond thrilled and find it impeccable timing that they would be able to develop three new games just in time for the 20th-anniversary. It’s been a long journey for both Sora, and fans alike, and curiosity highly peaks in this context when we wonder if this game will be the final piece to the long-winded puzzle that is ‘Kingdom Heart’s overall storyline.
Regardless, even if it takes another year to make (or even two), I will be rushing right into the nearest Gamestop to get my copy of the game to add to my curated collection of ‘Kingdom Hearts’ games. There’s a new world, and experience, for fans to go on; and when that day finally arrives, it will be so utterly sweet and a total sense of justice for the patience we’ve all had while waiting for the dear day that the new installment would be announced. I’m so excited to see how all the other games turn out as well, and how much more magical this series can form itself into.
By Leah Donato
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