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Why Final Fantasy doesn’t matter to Kingdom Hearts

Conversely, Final Fantasy doesn’t need Kingdom Hearts
There’s no reason lend any credence to rumors you’ve heard about Square and Disney being on the rocks (they recently announced an overseas publishing deal) but we all know that the relationship between developer and license is just as difficult as it is fleeting and flimsy. And when you’re dealing with two monolithic companies beholden to legacy content of unprecedented magnitude, you’re looking at a legal nightmare of red tape and paper work multiplied a billionfold.


Above: Capcom long ago lost the retail, physical disc rights to MvC2, so a DLC release was a very lucky loophole 

The sales figures for the Kingdom Hearts series are certainly nothing to sneeze at, but they were still outsold individually by Final Fantasy X and XII by a considerable margin. Whether that’s due to the bazillion special editions or rereleases is irrelevant, since you don’t need a consumer analyst to tell you that no matter how it breaks down, that’s a giant pot that Square doesn’t have to split with Mickey. And since the Final Fantasy IP doesn’t require the permission of another empire to spin-off, sequelize, and remake at will, you could argue that Square’s resources are better put to use in an environment where it can operate autonomously and without mouse-eared lawyers breathing down their necks. 


Could the crossover bring about the end to Kingdom Hearts?
After 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, a PSP prequel set ten years before the original Kingdom Hearts, is the only other Kingdom Hearts game with any confirmation of existence. Both portable games were announced in 2007, however, they were hinted at as far back as 2006 in Kingdom Hearts II (Dec 2005 in Japan.) And since games don’t spontaneously create themselves the day they hit retail, it should go without saying that the framework was being laid for both games several years before that.


Above: KHII’s “secret ending” was basically an introduction to the teen stars of 2009’s Birth by Sleep?!

So, where’s our high-def, next-gen Kingdom Hearts III? KHI came out in 2002 and Kingdom Hearts II followed roughly three and a half years later… yet here we stand at the precipice of 2010 with not so much as an announcement.


Hope runs epic…

Yes, we believe it’s over for Kingdom Hearts following the release of Birth by Sleep… but all is not lost. Neither Disney nor Square “need” each other in the strictest business sense, but they’ve still had a profound influence on one another. Disney had been irrelevant to gamers for nearly a decade before the reigns were handed Square, who immediately adapted Mickey and Co into a masterfully woven world of depth and density in a manner no one would’ve previously thought possible.


Above: The last Disney masterpiece to come out before Kingdom Hearts

Borrowing Final Fantasy’s tone and template, the Disney characters not only proved that they needn’t be confined to by-the-numbers kiddie shovelware, but that they could once again appeal to people of all ages. Is there any reason another development studio couldn’t infuse some personality into the Disney family? Could the Kingdom Hearts torch be passed?! And then these pics hit the net:

Referred to by the code name “Epic Mickey,” a portfolio of concept art by someone purportedly working on a Wii game leaked onto the interwebs depicting all manner of Disney dystopia, the very kind no one would’ve had the balls to attempt had it not been for Kingdom Hearts. So, given that we know Warren Spector, creator of the super-adult Dues Ex series, confirmed he’s collaborating on a project with Disney, one could speculate… Oh, what the hell? Game Informer basically confirmed Epic Mickey’s existence with a tease in their latest issue.


Above: For ambiguity’s sake there’s even a visible Disney copyright logo right on the cover

So it looks as if Disney is creating direct, in-house competition to its own Kingdom Hearts, making future games in that series all the more unlikely. Which is shame… especially now that Disney owns Marvel and The Goddamn Muppets!


Above: Mickey and Ariel too expensive? Bring in the sexy, sexy stars of Disney’s B Squad!

Epic Mickey’s vision looks positively astounding, and it gives us hope that there could still be a universe where our favorite Disney characters can mingle, continuity be damned! But it’d still be a tragedy if Square didn’t get the chance to give Kingdom Hearts a fitting close. 

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35 comments

  • 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.

    SQUARE, DISNEY AND SONY LISTEN!!! IF YOU MAKE A KINGDOM HEARTS III FOR PS3 ONLY YOU WILL MAKE LOTS OF MONEY AND PS3's WILL SELL LIKE CRAZY LIKE WHEN GOD OF WAR III WILL COME OUT. MAKE DAMN IT MAKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 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.

Showing 1-20 of 35 comments

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