Why Final Fantasy doesn’t matter to Kingdom Hearts

We suppose our regular readers, weaned on the violent acts of Marcus Fenix and Solid Snake, deserve an explanation. Why has GamesRadar devoted five whole days to anthropomorphic rodents and smile time gags on the week Halo 3: ODST hits shelves? It’s partially due to poor scheduling (not necessarily on our part!) and a lifetime of love for The House of Mouse. And it wasn’t all that long ago when Disney’s name actually meant something.

Above: During the early to mid ‘90s, Disney’s games earned an illustrious slot in Nintendo Power’s Game Atlas right alongside Mario and Link

For almost a decade prior to the first Kingdom Hearts, the name “Disney” meant approximately jack and shit to gamers with disposable income and pubic hair. While the Kingdom Hearts’ releases didn’t quite create a resurgence in quality cartoon products, they were at least robust and rewarding enough for animation fans to look forward to. So, it’d be a shame to see that go away because of some spiky haired people we could do without.

We love Kingdom Hearts (Duh!)

It’s not every day that two of culture’s most prolific stables of characters crossover into a singular universe! Even if you’re a gamer who claims not to care about either Final Fantasy or Disney, you should at least be curious for the medium’s sake. Which reminds us:

Above: Check back Thursday for our EXCLUSIVE KH 358/2 review

We’ll always have a soft spot for Kingdom Hearts, and with over ten million games sold over the course of three games, we can safely assume you do, too. To put that in perspective, the original Kingdom Hearts on PS2 individually moved more units than the all but a few Madden titles available on multiple platforms, as well as a majority of games in the ultra-successful Zelda series. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Final Fantasy doesn’t matter
Why not a “Week of Kingdom Hearts?” Well, not to sell Square’s cast of characters short, but Kingdom Hearts matters because of Disney. After all, it’s their story. You see, if we have one beef with the KH franchise, it’s that the Final Fantasy folks have never served much of a meaningful purpose. Cloud and Auron have had moments in the spotlight, but they’re extremely brief within the scope of the series, and just about every other FF character is reduced to cameos and roles of pure exposition.

Above: Dude, your sword has a gun in it… Little help?!

Think about it: With twelve games featuring the most richly distinct universes of all time, how is it Kingdom Hearts has never once taken us to Midgar, or Zanarkand, or Esthar? Apparently, they’re less important than the 100 Acre Wood and Tarzan’s Jungle, which we’ve been to repeatedly!

Above: Who would want to play here? Oh yeah, Everybody!

When we say “Final Fantasy doesn’t matter” that doesn’t mean we don’t wish it did. But it looks like the people at Square believe the people of Gaia are better served outside of the Kingdom Hearts universe. And if you don’t believe us, take a look at the brand new Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days… because this is the only Final Fantasy representative you’ll find in the DS game:

Above: “Hey, the other guys couldn’t make it…”

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  • DethKok - June 13, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    Funny about this article... I was always wondering why the hell they didn't include MORE of Final Fantasy into Kingdom Hearts!
  • kaaos - February 22, 2010 9:58 p.m.

    Kingdom Hearts are better off without FF characters like Leon or Seifer.They need to actually make sora more mature instead of a big 15-year old crybaby,and really they need to let you play more characters like Riku,Roxas,Axel,and most of all bring Tidus back in the picture.
  • hybrid616 - November 11, 2009 10:08 p.m.

    oh, and btw LAST!
  • hybrid616 - September 24, 2009 9 p.m.

    I want to play KH & KH2 now, but my PS2 just broke :'( i just bought beyond good and evil and half-life too... oh well, at least i've got CoM to play until christmas (or whenever i get a slim PS2)
  • undeadleader - September 24, 2009 1:55 a.m.

    OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG KINGDOM HEARTS!!!!!!!!!!!! To bad Epic Mickey is supossed to be a Steampunk Disney Game...I want my KH3 for Xbox 360!!!!
  • Cloud1Fair3 - September 23, 2009 1:20 a.m.

    Maybe the final fantasy characters didn't matter much but then without them, where would square be involved in this kingdom hearts game? If you eliminate Square Enix from this game there goes the amazing in depth story telling that only Square can deliver. Just a thought but maybe if they found a better balance between the two, (I don't understand this legal crisis to be honest so don't consider that in my arguement) maybe it would make the series even better rather than disregarding FF. I think FF makes it better than Disney makes it, I mean who wants to see a game all about Mickey Mouse running around killing stuff when you can have Cloud do it? Maybe more cameos like Zack Fair? I don't know I guess, KH has it's own amazing story and so much they could put to it, it's just so open to things like more keyblade wars and legends and it's own anthology.
  • EmmaXII - September 22, 2009 5:51 p.m.

    Great article!! I never realised what a great marketing sceme kingdom hearts has! lol
  • GamesRadarChrisAntista - September 22, 2009 8:14 a.m.

    I wasn't trying to say I don't love the inclusion of the FF characters, because I do! Of course, I'd love to see some pre VI characters on the roster... but if the addition of any FF character is creating even the smallest blockade to development, I say cut 'em all loose. Irregardless of how much more sense it would make to the universe, I'd rather hear Mr. Toad, Baloo, Robin Hood, or The Goddamn Aristocats babble on at me about the forces of light and dark than wait another half a decade for a third game.
  • Brutus - September 22, 2009 6:42 a.m.

    Wow, its hard to believe that its been sooo long Thank you for the reminder GR, I think I may dust off KH1 just for you guys
  • iKOemos - September 22, 2009 4:03 a.m.

    I'm gonna suicide bomb Square and Disney if they don't announce KHIII soon. I'm dead serious. C'mon guys I want this game!
  • ksmash - September 22, 2009 3:57 a.m.

    I'm going to use some of the logic I've learned from being a Firefly flan. The only way that there will be a KHIII only if we sell out to the smaller add-on's like chain of memories for ps2 and 358/2. I can guarantee that KH3 will be rushed and won't be as good as we hope because it will most likely be a cash in that we will enjoy but will not be content with or it will have happen to it what BSG had to it(meaning that it will lose track of its original plot throw in a bunch of unnecessary games (358/2 is a prime example I can't find a single person who enjoyed being Roxas and the Nobodies were pretty unnecessary( but hey we went along with it because it kicked us into nostagia mode without having us play a game that turned out to be bad but time just got rid of the odor for us))) "I see that you have made three spelling mistakes." - Thomas de Mahay (upon reading his death sentence) Is the quote that comes to mind when I think of when i am reminded the wait we will endure for the next true game of the series the death of kingdom hearts will be a slow and painful one we will see horrible games coming from this titles if the third doesn't successfully type the ends and get another project that will create the same feelings without destroying the joy he had of playing the originals. So all I can say is expect the worst hope for the best. because even if KHIII is the finaly we want we will see series hobble with pitifully bad off shoots
  • its_aco - September 22, 2009 2:53 a.m.

    i was looking forward to the new game informer for a full month cause i thought it was kingdom hearts 3 now im pissed
  • HMXsean - September 22, 2009 2:47 a.m.

    So you're saying we'll never see Punisher vs. Barret?
  • Romination - September 22, 2009 2:33 a.m.

    DISNEY WEEK?! More like Chris Antista Lovetime Week! Two features in a day, you sly dog!
  • GameManiac - September 22, 2009 1:45 a.m.

    Until a possible (yet STILL unconfirmed) KH3 comes out whenever, KH DS (I HATE calling it 358/2 Days, even in comments), will be the next best thing in my book.
  • D4rk2triker - September 21, 2009 11:53 p.m.

    Why not try adding some of the newer or really older FF characters? I haven't played 2 or beaten 1 yet, but it from who I've seen, it's just characters from FFs 7 & 8.
  • AaronTheGamingGeek - September 21, 2009 10:07 p.m.

  • elilupe - September 21, 2009 7:58 p.m.

    I would cry if they never made Kingdom Hearts 3
  • Wave360 - September 21, 2009 7:50 p.m.

    I miss Kingdom Hearts, both Playstation ones and the Gameboy one were some of my favorite games. Afew years back I couldnt wait for Kingdom Hearts 3 not knowing anything about legal issues and such. I 100% KH 1 and almost did the same for part 2. Lastly this article was really interesting and now that I think about it FF characters never really did matter as much as I though, the only really memorable one in the series is Sephiroth who is the best boss fight in both KH games.
  • Awesomeforthemasses - September 21, 2009 7:41 p.m.

    It did seem like having FF characters was just a selling point, this pretty much confirms it. It is a decent series though.