Kingdom Hearts: the story so far

It seems a lot like Disney and Square-Enix are on different wavelengths as far as developing games goes, what with a Warren Spector project in the works and Final Fantasy XIII well on the way. But there was a time when these two juggernauts of adolescent entertainment teamed up to make sweet, sweet video game love in the form of Kingdom Hearts.

Far from being some tender romp in Japanese role-playing game land, the lovechild of Disney and Square-Enix is heavy stuff. There are epic battles, tragic betrayals and more dramatic plot twists than you could shake a DualShock controller at. To keep you on top of it all and get you up to speed on the story behind the upcoming prequel, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep for the PSP, we’ve put together as many of the plot points as we can comprehend in this handy primer. (Note: This guide will be even handier if Square-Enix and Disney surprise us all with a Kingdom Hearts 3 announcement this year. It could happen!)

Read on at the risk of spoilers and migraine-inducing confusion.

SPOILER WARNING: Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts II

The Story So Far… Part One

Gather ‘round, children and let me tell you a tale about a kid named Sora. He lives on a peninsula with his buddies Riku and Kairi, plus some de-aged Final Fantasy characters. Every day the six of them run off to an island where they try to build a raft to run away farther from home and discover some uncomfortable facts about adolescence.

Then a guy in a Jedi robe shows up babbling about doors and darkness. Soon after, the planet implodes amidst an invasion of creepy black insect things called Heartless. Kairi vanishes in Sora’s arms and Riku hits puberty a little too soon. Sora wakes up in a dark alleyway near a bar getting his face licked – which would be a problem if it were anybody other than Pluto! Then a ton of Final Fantasy and Disney characters show up and eventually Sora meets Goofy and Donald Duck.

Goofy and Donald are out looking for Mickey Mouse who was promoted to King of the Universe sometime after Fantasia. His Majesty ditched his responsibilities to fly around in a spaceship looking for an explanation about imploding planets. Because Sora has no place better to be, and because he now has a magic key-sword thing, he accompanies Goofy and Donald on their quest.

Eight Disney-themed worlds later, Sora, Goofy and Donald begin to suspect that something is really wrong. For one thing, several villains from various Disney films have formed a league to kidnap “Princesses of Heart,” which consist mostly of Disney Princesses plus Alice and minus Ariel. For another, Riku turned evil and made off with a catatonic Kairi to join up with said villains. And finally, Cloud from Final Fantasy VII is wearing Vincent’s clothing – which is probably as close as a Disney-themed game will ever get to addressing homosexuality.

It turns out that this guy named Ansem (who’s not really Ansem, but we’ll get to that later) – has been manipulating the Disney villains to gain access to something called Kingdom Hearts (we’ll also get to later). After possessing Riku, who is now devoid of fashion sense and willing to kill his best friend, Ansem escapes to the place where planets go to die. While all of that goes down, Sora rescues Kairi, turns into a Heartless, turns back into himself and then goes after the possessed Riku.

Sora, Goofy and Donald eventually find and confront him, whereupon Ansem first turns into himself (i.e.  Sephiroth plus Fabio divided by orange contact lenses) and then later into a boat with teeth. A smackdown ensues and after Ansem gets the boat beat out of him, he opens the door to Kingdom Hearts and explodes. Sora, Donald and Goofy try to close the door because it’s chockfull of Heartless. Riku shows up, now no longer evil and significantly better-dressed, as does Mickey Mouse and they close the door to Kingdom Hearts with Sora on one side and themselves on the other.

Now shit gets weird.


  • KHtho - October 1, 2013 5:21 p.m.

    Another thing too, just in case you were wondering how xehonart is old in birth by sleep, by older I the other ones, I can explain. You see in birth by sleep, xehonart had been trying for a long time to forge the X blade, and reawaken the keyblade war. He knows the only way to do that is to get ventus and vanitas to fight. But he begins to see that his old body isn't suitable to live for another hundred years or so, so he begins to awaken the darkness inside terra. After a bunh of events, they all (xehonart, ventus, vanitas, terra, Aqua,) all end up in the keyblade graveyard. While ventus and vanitas battle it out, xehonart, uses Terra's darkness to bond with him, creating a younger more powerful xehonart. Despite numerous attempts by aqua, she was not able to awaken the good terra out of younger xehonart or terra-xehonart. And that's how xehonart became the younge villain that started organization 13 and still to this day chases the X blade. What xehonarts plan is, well by the ending of dream drop distance, we know he plans to use all of his time traveling selves for one enormous plan in kingdom hearts 3. Hope I helped. Spelled some stuff wrong, i know, but I thinkyour got the point
  • AshesOfTheWake - July 5, 2013 12:59 a.m.

    I just replayed KH and KH II on my laptop with the PCSX2 emulator. Teared up at several different points in both games. I love this series!
  • antp1212 - February 7, 2013 1:26 a.m.

    The guy who wrote this article is FUCKING hilarious. Keep it up man.
  • Viron - April 6, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    I'm confused
  • Leonard - May 2, 2011 7:32 a.m.

    kingdomhearts a very interesting story ...!! continues the story of KH, KH chains of memories, KH 358 / 2 Days, and KH2. then return to the past storylines, 10 years before the story Kingdomhearts.. KH3 in the game on playstation 3. and it turns out Sora is the incarnation of the previous keyblade masters Ventius, and Riku is the incarnation of the keyblade master Terra..
  • Chaoscoolperson - October 20, 2010 8:27 p.m.

    Thanks for explaining the game again I already knew it but you reinforced what I thought. To everyone out there wondering what kingdom hearts is it's a gianormous planetoid made out of hearts and in the kingdom hearts universe hearts are the most powerful objects. Nobodies have no hearts and they think kingdom hearts will give them one. Also kingdom hearts is supposed to hold a HUGE unknown power or something and thats the confusing part about it. the heartless want it for some reason that isn't thoroghly explained. Also Riku is the most confusing character. But then again I haven't finished chain of memories I just got enough to understand 358/2 and the bridge of the first game and the second. stuck on vexus the ice shield guy boss then sold the last console that could play the GBA version. Haven't beaten Ansem yet in the first game farthest I've gotten is fifth form. Roxas in KH2 was confusing as well with the 2 twilight towns.
  • Spartan11794 - June 14, 2010 6:37 p.m.

    @cyberninja, I can explain how it fits, but it spoils the story, and it actually makes the story a little more understandable, plus there are some details left out in this
  • Spartan11794 - June 14, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    Birth by sleep is already out, and it explains quite a bit, like why Roxas and Ven look alike
  • dabomb52295 - January 31, 2010 7:35 p.m.

    the 1st time i read this i had a migarine for an hr no joke
  • Superdude576 - January 28, 2010 10:43 p.m.

    I love this series, and laugh at those who can't follow the plot, which I somehow can. These games are amazing, and I hope SE makes more, because kick stereotypical ass of JRPGs and RPGs. Here is what I believe: KH is the wonderful ultra good power. Sora and all do quest to basically seal it because with good there is evil, and KH got major infection problems. Sora supposedly will open a door, which Riku thinks he does in KH2 when they return to Destiny Islands. Message comes that says come help! Somehow this should be explained by BBS, which has Aqua, Terra, and Ventus (Water, Earth, and probably Fire or Air. Riku and Sora mean Earth and Sky, it's common for Disney and SE), the three keyblader pioneers. They'll get together, destroy Xehanort's heart (who will be fake Ansem and Xemnas), probably give KH the infection in the process, and reproduce Sora (because Ventus dies it from what the trailer shows, or at least is frozen). recaptcha: on redford! I guess they found out my secret identity! XD lol jk
  • GameManiac - October 24, 2009 5:47 a.m.

    Oh, before I forget... If what FALLINGFIRE said is true, and if whoever that guy is saw that joke from Robot Chicken (the joke goes "That's no moon, that's YO MOMMA!), does that mean that Xemnas is being a part of his mother? Also, has ANYBODY noticed that Xemnas's name can have its letters rearraigned to become the name "Mansex"? ......... ...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
  • GameManiac - October 24, 2009 5:39 a.m.

    Ahh...complex plots. You just can't get enough of them, can't you.
  • optimisticcynic - October 7, 2009 4:21 p.m.

    So can any one tell me what would be bad about the nobodys all getting hearts. it would get rid of both heartless and nobodys.
  • lovinmyps3 - September 24, 2009 9:55 p.m.

    Wow! What?! I've only played Kingdom Hearts for like 5 minutes, damn is this confusing!
  • noofer7 - September 24, 2009 9:07 p.m.

    Never played Kingdom Hearts before (I don't have a PS2 and the Disney characters never really appealed to me) but I'm still lookin' forward to 358/2 days of what is shapin' up to be pure kickassery. Although 358/2 would actually mean 176 days. They should just write it as 358 1/2 Days. It would be easier to figure out/say out loud, although it doesn't have the same flair. Anyway, is 358/2 Days even out yet?
  • fireman9iner - September 24, 2009 3:10 a.m.

    I always Found this story rather easy to follow loved 1 and 2.
  • mgkyo666 - September 24, 2009 2:43 a.m.

    i friggin love kingdome hearts! KH2 was the first game i ever pre-ordered PLEASE LET THERE BE A KINGDOM HEARTS 3!!!
  • Doctalen - September 24, 2009 1:50 a.m.

    Wow I have only played the two for the ps2 and I thought those were confusing.The total story is more confusing then people in my biology class thinking that Jimmy Hendrix is a race car driver.
  • netlatnu - September 23, 2009 3:06 p.m.

    "Eight Disney-themed worlds later..." Four pages of story, but the charm of the game summed up in a only a few words.
  • crimson_soulreaper305 - September 23, 2009 2:58 p.m.

    so the order to play this to figure out the story is KH:BBS, KH:I, KH:CoM, KH:358/2days, KH:II,and finally KH:III(hopefully)

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