Kingdom Hearts (Japanese: キングダム ハーツ Hepburn: Kingudamu Hātsu) is a series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix (originally by Square). It is a collaboration between Disney Interactive and Square Enix, and is under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura, a longtime Square Enix character designer.
Kingdom Hearts is a crossover of various Disney properties based in a fictional universe. The series centers on the main character, Sora, and his journey and experiences with various Disney, Final Fantasy, The World Ends with You and Pixar characters. The heroes of the series clash against the multiple incarnations of the primary antagonist, Xehanort, throughout the series. The Walt Disney Company owns almost all characters and worlds of the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
The series consists of thirteen games available for multiple platforms, and future titles are planned. Most of the games in the series have been positively received and commercially successful. As of February 2019, the Kingdom Hearts series has shipped more than 30 million copies worldwide. A wide variety of related merchandise has been released along with the games, including soundtracks, figurines, companion books, light novels, cards, and comic series.
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing, hack and slash|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, mobile phone, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Web browser, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS|
|First release||Kingdom Hearts|
March 28, 2002
|Latest release||Kingdom Hearts III|
January 25, 2019
|2004||Chain of Memories|
|2005||Kingdom Hearts II|
|2007||Re:Chain of Memories|
|2010||Birth by Sleep|
|2012||Dream Drop Distance|
|2017||2.8 Final Chapter Prologue|
|2019||Kingdom Hearts III|
Though Kingdom Hearts III was the end of the "Dark Seeker Saga" which revolved around Xehanort, it had been decided where certain characters end up in order to potentially continue their stories in future games.
Kingdom Hearts features a mixture of familiar Disney and Square Enix characters, as well as several new characters designed and created by Nomura. In addition to original locations, the Kingdom Hearts series features many worlds from Disney films. Sora must visit these worlds and interact with various Disney characters to protect them from enemies. Often, his actions in these worlds closely follow the storylines of their respective Disney films. The main characters try not to interfere with the affairs of other worlds, as it could negatively affect the universe's order. Moogles, small creatures from the Final Fantasy series, are another common element in the games. They provide the player with a synthesis shop in order to create and purchase items used in the game. The main cast from The World Ends with You also makes an appearance in the series in Dream Drop Distance, and Kingdom Hearts III features characters from Pixar films such as Toy Story series and Monsters, Inc..
The series starts with Kingdom Hearts, where a 14-year-old boy named Sora is separated from his friends Riku and Kairi when their home Destiny Islands is consumed in darkness. At that moment Sora obtained a weapon called the Keyblade that allows him to fight the Heartless, creatures that originate from the Realm of Darkness, before ending up in another world, Traverse Town, where he meets Donald Duck and Goofy, two emissaries from Disney Castle sent to find the Keyblade wielder under orders from their missing king, Mickey Mouse.
As the three band together and travel to save various worlds from the Heartless while searching for their companions, encounter a group of Disney villains whose ability to control the Heartless was given to them by Maleficent, who enlists Riku's aid in seeking seven maidens called the Princesses of Heart whose power would open the way to Kingdom Hearts, the heart of all worlds. Though eventually defeating Maleficent and reunited with Kairi after sacrificing himself to restore her heart to her body, Sora learns that Maleficent was manipulated by a sentient Heartless who claims himself as the Heartless researcher Ansem and has possessed Riku's body. Though Sora defeats Ansem, his act of sealing the door to the Realm of Darkness trapped Riku and Mickey there as he resolves to find them while Kairi remains at the Destiny Islands for their return.
In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora, Donald and Goofy's search for Riku and Mickey leads them to Castle Oblivion, a fortress controlled by a mysterious group of non-existent "Nobodies" called Organization XIII, the castle's overseer Marluxia using the power of a girl named Naminé to alter the group's memories for his agenda. After defeating Marluxia, the three are put to sleep for a year by Naminé to restore their original memories while losing the memories of their experience in Castle Oblivion. Meanwhile, Riku arrives in the basement of the castle and ascends to the surface with the aid of Mickey. Discovering Sora's sleeping state while joining forces with the mysterious DiZ, Riku helps Naminé keep Sora safe until he is awoken. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, a snag in the plan over the year forces Riku to capture Roxas—Sora's Nobody and Organization XIII member that came into being when Sora briefly became a Heartless in the first game-after he was forced to defeat and absorb Xion, a Replica of Sora in Kairi's image.
In Kingdom Hearts II, after Roxas was integrated back into him, Sora awakens from his sleep as he and his friends resume their search for Riku and King Mickey, the latter's mentor Yen Sid re-familiarizing the trio with the Nobodies and Organization XIII's remaining members whom they deal alongside Maleficent and her right hand Pete. The three reunite with King Mickey and encounter Xemnas, Organization XIII's leader and the Nobody of Xehanort, the true identity of the Heartless Ansem. The Organization's plan is also revealed: they seek to regain their lost hearts by creating their own version of Kingdom Hearts from the sum of all the hearts released from the Emblem Heartless slain by Keyblade users. Axel, a rogue member of the Organization who is Roxas' friend and first encountered Sora in Castle Oblivion, abducts Kairi in an attempt to see Roxas but ended up giving his former friend Saix leverage to force Sora to finish what Roxas and Xion began. Axel sacrifices himself to help Sora's group reach The World That Never Was (Organization XIII's headquarters) and team up with Riku as they reunite with Kairi. DiZ, revealed to be the real Ansem, attempts to dissipate some of the artificial Kingdom Hearts before being engulfed in an explosion when his extraction device self-destructs and is sent to the Realm of Darkness. Sora and his friends then battle Xemnas. After Sora and Riku defeat Xemnas, they get trapped in the Realm of Darkness, but a letter from Kairi summons a gateway for them, and the two are reunited with their friends at their home.
Sometime later, Sora, Riku, and Kairi receive a letter from King Mickey. The letter, written by Mickey during the events of Kingdom Hearts Coded, describes the parts of their past that Naminé learned while restoring Sora's memory. As they read the letter, they learn of Xehanort's true identity as a Keyblade Master who sought the secrets of the Keyblade War which created that current reality and the fates that befall the apprentices of his friend Eraqus during the events of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep: Terra, whose possession by Xehanort made him the original being Xehanort's Heartless and Xemnas were split from; Ventus, who sacrificed his heart while fighting his dark counterpart Vanitas to prevent Xehanort from recreating the legendary χ-blade which allows the user to control Kingdom Hearts, hiding it within a four-year-old Sora's heart; and new Keyblade Master Aqua, who becomes trapped in the Realm of Darkness during her attempt to save Terra from Xehanort. King Mickey also discovers that the destruction of "Ansem" and Xemnas has led to the restoration of Xehanort. To combat the new threat Xehanort poses, Sora and Riku take an exam to attain the Mark of Mastery that will allow them to become Keyblade Masters themselves.
During the test in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Sora and Riku enter the Realm of Sleep where they encounter a young version of Xehanort who can travel through time. The two Keyblade wielders also learn how Xehanort has long manipulated events since Birth by Sleep with Organization XIII's true purpose in providing thirteens vessels for him to inhabit and use against seven hearts of pure light (Princesses of Heart) in an ultimate battle to recreate the χ-blade. Sora is narrowly saved from becoming Xehanort's final vessel with the aid of Lea, Axel's original self, and Riku learns about data that Ansem the Wise had implanted within Sora during his year-long sleep, which may be used to save those connected to Sora. At the end of the exam, Riku is declared a Keyblade Master; in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, Sora embarks on another journey to regain his missing power, while Yen Side proceeds to train Kairi and Lea to help the other Keyblade users defend the Princesses of Heart and combat the new Organization XIII.
In Kingdom Hearts III, Sora is accompanied by Donald and Goofy and travels the worlds to regain his "Power of Waking" while Riku and Mickey retrace Aqua's steps to find her and Terra. Sora later discovers Master Eraqus' Keyblade on the beach and uses it to open a door to the Realm of Darkness, finding Aqua who has been consumed by darkness after Ansem was abducted by Xehanort's Heartless. Once Aqua is purified by Sora and Riku, she leads them to Castle Oblivion which she restores to its true form as the Land of Departure to revive Ventus despite Vanitas attempting to stop them. Later joined by Kairi and Lea, the group face Xehanort at the Keyblade Graveyard where they are joined by a revived Roxas as they manage to free Terra and a reconstructed Xion from the Organization's control with only Master Xehanort remaining once his forces have been defeated. But Xehanort kills Kairi to force Sora to manifest the χ-blade, using the weapon to summon the true Kingdom Hearts and act on his scheme to wipe the slate on reality clean before Sora and his friends finally defeat him. Xehanort departs with Eraqus' spirit into the light as Sora closes Kingdom Hearts, sacrificing himself to revive Kairi. Sometime later, everyone and a reconstructed Naminé celebrate victory at Destiny Islands. But Xehanort's right hand Xigbar is revealed to be the current incarnation of an ancient Keyblade Master named Luxu from the time of the Keyblade War who proceeds with the next phase of his mission.
The Kingdom Hearts games contain elements of action role-playing video games with hack-and-slash elements. The games are driven by a linear progression from one story event to the next, usually shown in the form of a cutscene, though there are numerous side quests available that provide bonus benefits to the characters. In most games, the player primarily controls the principal protagonist of the series, Sora. Sora is usually accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy, who are artificial intelligence-controlled non-playable characters that aid Sora in battle. In the first and third game, their behavior can be altered to suit different combat objectives. The games feature real-time combat that incorporates physical attacks, magic, and summonings, though each game handles battles differently. The game also allows for items to be used on the field of battle to heal oneself or one's party members.
Gummi Ships are another common element of the series, which serve as the main mode of transportation between worlds in the games. The gameplay for the Gummi Ship sections is more akin to a rail shooter. Because it received negative criticism in the first game, it was modified in the third title. Most games also feature a journal which is accessible from the main menu. This journal keeps track of information regarding the story, characters, enemies, and locations. In the first three games, the journal is kept by Jiminy Cricket, who was appointed by Queen Minnie as the royal chronicler. In 358/2 Days, Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance, the main characters write their own journal entries.
The games are influenced by their parent franchise, Final Fantasy, and carry its gameplay elements over into their own action-based, hack-and-slash system. Like many traditional role-playing games, Kingdom Hearts features an experience point system which determines character development. As enemies are defeated, the player gains experience which culminates in a "level-up", where the characters grow stronger and gain access to new abilities. The amount of experience is shared with all party members and each character grows stronger as experience is gained.
The music for the series has been primarily composed by Yoko Shimomura. Kaoru Wada works as the arranger for orchestral music, including orchestral renditions of the main vocal themes and the ending themes. The orchestral music was performed by the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Soundtracks were released for the first and third installments following the release of their respective games. A compilation soundtrack was later released that included soundtracks for the entire series, including reworked tracks for the re-released Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories.
While the themes for some of the Disney-based worlds are taken directly from their Disney film counterparts, most of them are given entirely original musical scores. In addition to each world having unique background music, each is given its own battle theme rather than having a common theme to cover all fights. Several of the main characters have themes, and the final boss of each game has several themes played in the various phases of those fights. The fights with Sephiroth feature a modified version of Nobuo Uematsu's "One-Winged Angel" from Final Fantasy VII.
The main theme songs for the Kingdom Hearts games were written and performed by Japanese pop star, Hikaru Utada. The three main themes are "Hikari", originally from Kingdom Hearts, "Passion", from Kingdom Hearts II, and "Oath" from Kingdom Hearts III. Each song has an English counterpart, "Simple and Clean", "Sanctuary", and "Don't Think Twice" respectively, for the North American and European releases. Utada was the only singer Tetsuya Nomura had in mind for the first Kingdom Hearts theme song. This marked the first time Utada had produced a song for a video game. Both of the first two theme songs reached notable popularity; on weekly Oricon charts, "Hikari" reached No. 1 in 2002 and "Passion" reached No. 4 in 2005.
The initial idea for Kingdom Hearts began with a discussion between Shinji Hashimoto and Hironobu Sakaguchi about Super Mario 64. They were planning to make a game with freedom of movement in three dimensions like Super Mario 64 but lamented that only characters as popular as Disney's could rival a Mario game. Tetsuya Nomura, overhearing their conversation, volunteered to lead the project and the two producers agreed to let him direct. A chance meeting between Hashimoto and a Disney executive in an elevator—Square and Disney had previously worked in the same building in Japan—allowed Hashimoto to pitch the idea directly to Disney. Development began in February 2000 with Nomura as director and Hashimoto as producer. While Nomura had done previous work in the Final Fantasy series as monster designer and graphic director, he did not gain widespread recognition until he was the lead character designer for Final Fantasy VII. Kingdom Hearts marked his transition into a directorial position, though he also served as the game's character designer. Scenarios were provided by Kazushige Nojima who was a scenario writer for Square from Final Fantasy VII until he left in 2003. Originally the development focused on the gameplay with a simple story to appeal to Disney's target age range. After Kingdom Hearts executive producer Hironobu Sakaguchi told Nomura the game would be a failure if it did not aim for the same level as the Final Fantasy series, he began to develop the story further. In June 2013, Nomura stated the name of the game came from him thinking about Disney Theme Parks, especially Animal Kingdom. However, Nomura could not get the IP with just "Kingdom", so the development team began to think about "heart" as a core part of the story, so they decided to combine the two to form "Kingdom Hearts".
Nomura placed a secret trailer in Kingdom Hearts in hopes that fans would want a sequel. He was unsure if fans would want a sequel and felt that if they did not, then it would be best to leave certain events in the first game unexplained. After Kingdom Hearts Final Mix was completed, development for Kingdom Hearts II began. There were several obstacles to clear before development could begin on a sequel. One was the development team's desire to showcase Mickey Mouse more; Mickey's inclusion in the first game was restricted to a very small role. Nomura had planned for the sequel to take place a year after the first and originally intended for the events of that year to be left unexplained. To bridge the gap between the two games, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories was developed. Nomura was hesitant about releasing a game on the Game Boy Advance because he felt the 3D graphics of the original game would not translate well into 2D. He changed his position after hearing that children wanted to play Kingdom Hearts on the handheld system.
Though Disney gave Nomura freedom in the characters and worlds used for the games, he and his staff tried to stay within the established roles of characters and boundaries of the worlds. Nomura has stated that though many of the Disney characters are not normally dark and serious, there were not many challenges making them so for the story, and despite this, their personalities shine because they maintain their own characteristics. He also felt managing and keeping multiple worlds was problematic. When deciding which worlds to include in the game, the development staff tried to take into account worlds with Disney characters that would be interesting and made an effort to minimize any overlap in the overall look and feel of each world.
The inclusion of specific Final Fantasy characters was based on the opinions of both fans and staff. Another criterion for inclusion was whether the staff felt the characters would fit into the storyline and in the Kingdom Hearts universe. Initially, Nomura was hesitant to use characters he did not design, because he was unfamiliar with the backstory of such characters. For Kingdom Hearts II, he changed his mind after receiving pressure from his staff. Throughout the development of the games, Nomura has often left certain events and connections between characters unexplained until the release of future games. Nomura does this because he feels that games should have room for fans to speculate and use their imagination. He has stated that with speculation, even though a game gets old, people can still be happy with it.
The first Kingdom Hearts was announced at E3 in May 2001. Initial details were that it would be a collaboration between Square and Disney Interactive, and would feature worlds developed by both companies and Disney characters. New characters were designed by Nomura and include Sora, Riku, Kairi, and the Heartless. On May 14, 2002, a press release announced a list of the English voice actors. The list included Haley Joel Osment, David Gallagher, and Hayden Panettiere as the three new characters introduced into the game. It was also announced that many of the Disney characters would be voiced by the official voice actors from their respective Disney films.
A secret trailer in the first Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts Final Mix hinted at the possibility of a sequel. Rumors for a sequel on the PlayStation 2 were spurred in Japan when a Japanese video game site, Quiter, stated that "an internal (and anonymous) source at Square Japan" confirmed that development of Kingdom Hearts II had begun. It was not until Kingdom Hearts II was announced, along with Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, at the Tokyo Game Show in September 2003 that rumors were confirmed. Initial details were that it would take place some time after Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, which takes place directly after the first game. Other details included the return of Sora, Donald, and Goofy, as well as new costumes. At the 2004 Square Enix E3 press conference, the producer, Shinji Hashimoto, stated that many mysteries of the first game would be answered.
To help market the games, websites were set up for each game and demos were on display at gaming events. Each game in the main series was also re-released in Japan with additional content and served as canonical updates to the series. The additional content foreshadowed later plot elements in the series. The rereleases of the main series games had the term "Final Mix" added after the title, while Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts Coded were re-released as Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded and released on the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS, respectively, with 3D graphics, voice overs during some cutscenes, and new game content.
|Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories||36/40||76|
|Kingdom Hearts II||39/40||87|
|Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories||68|
|Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days||36/40||75|
|Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep||37/40||82|
|Kingdom Hearts Re:coded||66|
|Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance||38/40||75|
|Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix||77|
|Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix||81|
|Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ||70|
|Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue||34/40||78|
|Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix||84|
|Kingdom Hearts III||39/40||84|
The Kingdom Hearts series has been critically and commercially successful. As of March 2014, the series has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The three main games in the series all met with positive sales at the time of their releases. In the first two months since the North American release of Kingdom Hearts, it was one of the top three highest-selling video games. Chain of Memories sold 104,000 units in 48 hours in Japan, a record for a Game Boy Advance title at the time. Its positive debut sales placed it in the top spot of sales charts in Japan. In the first month of its North American release, it was ranked 1st on GameSpot's ChartSpot for portable systems and 6th for all consoles. Within three days of the Kingdom Hearts II release in Japan, it shipped 1 million copies, selling through within a month. By the end of March 2006, the NPD Group reported that Kingdom Hearts II was the highest-selling console game in North America, with 614,000 copies. In the month after its release in North America, Kingdom Hearts II sold an estimated 1 million copies. As of February 2019, the Kingdom Hearts series has shipped more than 30 million copies worldwide.
The games have also received high ratings and positive comments from reviewers. All of the main games in the series have scored a 36 out of 40 or higher from the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, known for its harsh grading. All six games have been praised for their visuals. Game Informer considers the series the eleventh "must-play PlayStation 2" series. The individual games have also won several awards. GameSpot commented that the concept of mixing the serious elements of Final Fantasy with the lighter elements of Disney seemed impossible, but was pulled off quite well. Because of that they awarded Kingdom Hearts "Best Crossover Since Capcom vs. SNK" in their 2002 Best and Worst of the Year awards. IGN named Kingdom Hearts "Best Art Style/Direction" in their 2003 list of "Best Looking Games on PS2". G4 awarded it "Best Story" at their 2003 G-Phoria awards show. Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded Kingdom Hearts II "Best Sequel" of 2006. It tied with Resident Evil 4 as Famitsu's Game of the Year 2005. The manga series has also been well received. Several of the manga volumes were listed on USA Today's "Top 150 best sellers". The highest ranked volume was Kingdom Hearts volume 4 at #73. Every volume listed stayed on the list for at least two weeks; Kingdom Hearts volume 4 stayed the longest at four weeks.
Both Square Enix and Disney have released a wide variety of Kingdom Hearts merchandise including toys, figurines, clothing, and jewelry. Two of the games, Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, had a soundtrack released to coincide with the video games. These were followed by a nine CD complete set which featured both soundtracks and unreleased tracks. Kingdom Hearts has been adapted as a trading card game by the Tomy corporation of Japan. An English version of the game was released in November 2007 by Fantasy Flight Games. The video games have also been adapted into manga and novel series.
Like the Final Fantasy games, a series of "Ultimania" books were released in Japan for many of the games. These books include game walkthroughs, interviews, and extra information from the developers. Kingdom Hearts -Another Report- was released along with Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ and features game information, visuals by Shiro Amano, and a director interview. In North America, Brady Games released strategy guides for each game. For Kingdom Hearts II, they released two versions, a standard version and a limited edition version. The limited edition was available in four different covers and included a copy of Jiminy's Journal along with 400 stickers.
A manga based on the Kingdom Hearts storyline has been released in Japan and the United States. The story and art are done by Shiro Amano, who is also known for his manga adaptation of the Legend of Mana video game. The story follows the events that took place in the video games with differences to account for the loss of interactivity a video game provides. The manga was originally serialized in Japan by Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan and eventually released in tankōbon format. The first tankōbon was released in Japan in October 2003. The manga was released in the USA by Tokyopop two years later in October 2005. Yen Press now holds the rights to publish the books for the USA market. The first series, Kingdom Hearts, consists of four volumes, while the second series, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, has two volumes. The third series, Kingdom Hearts II, has had five volumes published and is on hiatus. A fourth series based on Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is being serialized. The games have also been adapted as a light novel series, written by Tomoco Kanemaki and illustrated by Shiro Amano. Like the manga series, it is divided into separate series based on the games. Kingdom Hearts is divided into two volumes; "The First Door" and "Darkness Within". Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is divided into two volumes. Kingdom Hearts II is divided into four volumes; "Roxas—Seven Days", "The Destruction of Hollow Bastion", "Tears of Nobody", and "Anthem—Meet Again/Axel Last Stand".
Donald: But we can't. If we take him to another world, we would be... / Goofy: Muh... Mudd-- / Donald: Meddling!
King Mickey's Note: Donald, Sorry to rush off without sayin' goodbye, nevertheless, there's big trouble brewin'. Not sure why, but the stars have been blinkin' out, one by one. And that means disaster can't be far behind. I hate to leave you all but I've gotta go check into it. There's someone with a "key" — the key to our survival. So I need you and Goofy to find him, and stick with him. Got it? We need that key or we're doomed! So go to Traverse Town and find Leon. He'll point you in the right direction. P.S. Would ya apologize to Minnie for me? Thanks, pal.
Jiminy: So you can put 'em back together? / Naminé: Yes, but first I have to undo the chains of memories I made on my own. After I've done that, I have to gather up the memories scattered across each of your hearts and them reconnect them. It might take some time. But I think it might work. No—It will work. I'm sure. It's my turn to look after you. / Sora: All right. We all really trust you. / Jiminy: Oh... Wait just a second! You said you'd have to undo the links you made. But that means— / Naminé: Yes. You won't be able to remember anything about what happened here. / Sora: Not even you? / Naminé: I'm sorry. It's the only way, I'm afraid.
Mickey: But, what you actually fought was his Heartless. Ya see, he wasn't really Ansem. He just went around telling everybody that he was.
Mickey: Now I remember! Xehanort! Ansem's apprentice! The leader of Organization XIII is Xehanort's Nobody!
Ansem the Wise: It's a device to reclaim Kingdom Hearts and encode it as data. / Mickey: Not sure I get it. / Ansem the Wise: I do not claim to know the outcome of this venture, either. After all...Hearts are unpredictable.
Xemnas: Heed me, Kingdom Hearts! Lend me your power, so that we may be complete! The power to erase the fools that hinder us.
Sora: W-We're back. / Kairi: You're home.
Data-Naminé: It all began with these memories that were sleeping way down deep in Sora's heart. / Data-Sora: These are my memories? / Data-Naminé: No. Not yours. These belong to people connected to you. [...] When I first found them while repairing your memory, I thought I'd made a mistake.
Xehanort: Ah, but destiny is never left to chance. I merely guided them to their proper places. The broken boy who failed to be the blade...the misguided master who sacrificed herself for a friend...and the feckless youth who became my new vessel.
Mickey: Xehanort? But his two halves are gone. There was Ansem, who commanded the Heartless...and Xemnas, who commanded the Nobodies. Didn't Sora defeat them both? / Yen Sid: Correct, those two met their end. However, therein lies exactly our problem. Their destruction now guarantees the original Xehanort's reconstruction. /.../ In short...this means Master Xehanort will return.
Yen Sid: Mickey, please summon Sora hither. Riku as well. / Mickey: Of course, but...why? / Yen Sid: To show us the Mark of Mastery.
Young Xehanort: I am Xehanort from the most distant past. My future self gave me a task—to visit the splintered versions of myself in many worlds, and ensure they gathered here today.
Xigbar: Xemnas and Xehanort formed the Organization for a specific reason—round up a bunch of empty husks, hook them up to Kingdom Hearts, then fill them all with the exact same heart and mind. Translation—they were gonna turn all the members into Xehanort.
Mickey: Why? How was I so blind? I should've seen it, as soon as Maleficent started gathering the seven princesses of heart. / Xehanort: Yes. They were all my doing. I used the evil fairy to find seven pure lights for me, just as I prepared thirteen vessels to fill with pure darkness.
Xehanort: All of the pieces are destined to appear. Your seven lights just like my thirteen darknesses, whose final clash will beget the prize I seek— / Xehanort and Mickey: The χ-blade!
Ansem the Wise: Perhaps I wanted to atone for events of the past, even if no apology can undo the harm I have wrought. I felt...that I ought to leave at least something behind. So I digitized myself and my research, and hid them within Sora. /.../ He has touched countless hearts, he has accepted them, and he has saved them. And some of those hearts have never left him—whether they fell into darkness or were trapped there—whether they sleep in the darkness of Sora's heart, or were welcomed into its warmth--they can be saved. All Sora needs to do is be himself and follow wherever it is that his heart takes him. It is the best and the only way. The rest is in there.
Riku: I believe we need a new Keyblade Master, one with a new kind of power. Sora and Riku, you both deserve the honor. However, one of you braved the realm of sleep again to unlock the final Keyhole and save a friend. Riku, I name you our new true Keyblade Master.
Yen Sid: [Even] if we deliberately avoid finding our seven lights to avert another Keyblade War, Xehanort will still target the seven princesses in order to forge the χ-blade. [...] To protect the seven pure hearts, we will need seven lights strong enough to stand against the thirteen darknesses.
Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix (formerly Square). It is the result of a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios. Kingdom Hearts is a crossover of various Disney settings based in a universe made specifically for the series. The series features a mixture of familiar Disney, Final Fantasy, The World Ends with You and Pixar characters, as well as several new characters designed by Tetsuya Nomura. In addition, it has an all-star voice cast which includes many of the Disney characters' official voice actors.
The series centers on Sora's search for his friends and his encounters with various Disney and Final Fantasy characters along the way. Players primarily control Sora, though there are numerous characters that join Sora's party as computer controlled members. The majority of the characters were introduced in the original game Kingdom Hearts. Subsequent installments have featured several new original, Disney, and Final Fantasy characters, Dream Drop Distance introduces characters from Square Enix's The World Ends with You, while Kingdom Hearts III introduces characters from several Pixar films, such as the Toy Story series and Monsters, Inc..Various types of merchandise modeled after the characters' likeness have been produced, including figurines and jewelry. The characters have garnered praise from several video game websites and magazines for the quality of their voice acting and visual style. Comments have focused on the accurate presentation of Disney characters, the unique visual style of Square Enix characters, how well all the characters blend together, and the consistent quality performances from voice actors.Jesse McCartney
Jesse McCartney (born April 9, 1987) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor. He achieved fame in the late 1990s on the daytime drama All My Children as JR Chandler. He later joined boy band Dream Street, and eventually branched out into a solo musical career. Additionally, McCartney has appeared on shows such as Law & Order: SVU, Summerland, and Greek. McCartney also is known for lending his voice as Theodore in Alvin and the Chipmunks and its sequels, as well as voicing Robin/Nightwing in Young Justice and Roxas and Ventus in the video game series Kingdom Hearts developed by Square Enix.Kingdom Hearts (video game)
Kingdom Hearts (Japanese: キングダムハーツ, Hepburn: Kingudamu Hātsu) is a 2002 action role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation 2 video game console. It is the first game in the Kingdom Hearts series, and is the result of a collaboration between Square and The Walt Disney Company. The game combines characters and settings from Disney animated features with those from Square's Final Fantasy series. It follows the adventures of Sora, a cheerful teenager who fights against the forces of darkness alongside Donald Duck, Goofy and other classic Disney characters.
The game was a departure from Square's standard role-playing games, introducing a substantial action and hack and slash element to the gameplay. Kingdom Hearts has an all-star voice cast and includes many of the Disney characters' official voice actors. It was longtime Square character designer Tetsuya Nomura's first time in a directorial position.Kingdom Hearts was praised for its unusual combination of action and role-playing, as well as its unexpectedly harmonious mix of Square and Disney elements. It was a large presence in the 2002 holiday season, receiving numerous year-end game awards, and went on to achieve Sony "Greatest Hits" status. The game prompted numerous sequels, and the Kingdom Hearts series has gone on to ship over 30 million copies worldwide. Kingdom Hearts is the tenth best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time as well as the most commercially successful entry in the series to date and is considered by some gaming publications to be one of the greatest video games of all time. The game's success resulted in a Japan-exclusive re-release of the game featuring extra content, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, released in December 2002.
The Final Mix version of the game was re-mastered in high definition and released globally in 2013 as a part of the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix collection for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (キングダム ハーツ 358/2 Days, Kingudamu Hātsu Surī Faibu Eito Deizu Ōbā Tsū, subtitle read as "Three Five Eight Days Over Two") is an action role-playing video game developed by h.a.n.d. and Square Enix for the Nintendo DS. It is the fifth installment in the Kingdom Hearts series, and takes place near the end of the first game, continuing parallel to Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. The game was released worldwide in 2009. The story is told from the perspective of Roxas, following his daily life within Organization XIII and his relationship with fellow Organization member Axel; it also introduces a fourteenth member, Xion, who becomes friends with the former two.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was directed by Tetsuya Nomura and Tomohiro Hasegawa. Nomura decided to develop a game for the Nintendo DS, and once a system had been chosen, decided upon Roxas as the protagonist. The development team wanted to use gameplay similar to previous Kingdom Hearts games but could not due to the insufficient number of buttons the DS had. Following its release, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days received generally positive response by critics, with praise directed at the gameplay and graphics, and criticisms directed towards its storyline. A soundtrack, various light novels, and a manga series based on the game were released in Japan.Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (Japanese: キングダム ハーツ バース バイ スリープ, Hepburn: Kingudamu Hātsu Bāsu bai Surīpu) is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation Portable, serving as the sixth installment in the Kingdom Hearts series. The game was released on UMD in Japan on January 9, 2010, in North America on September 7, 2010 and in the PAL regions on September 10, 2010. An international version of the game titled Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix was released in Japan in January 2011 featuring the changes made in the non-Japanese versions.
The game utilizes an overhauled battle system different from previous games in the series with new elements. It is a prequel to the original Kingdom Hearts, taking place ten years before. The game centers on the journeys of Terra, Aqua and Ventus, characters briefly featured in Kingdom Hearts II in their quest to locate the missing Master Xehanort, and protect the worlds from creatures known as the Unversed. The player has access to the three characters' different scenarios when playing.
Development of the game began in June 2005 with parts of the game Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix meant to bring clues of Birth by Sleep. The game was directed by Tetsuya Nomura and co-directed by Tai Yasue. Nomura has referred to the game as "Episode 0" (and later "Episode 0.1" following the release of Kingdom Hearts χ) saying that the game is on the same scale and plays as big an importance as Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. The game has been well-received, selling 1.27 million copies worldwide as of November 2010, and receiving positive comments by video game publications. Critics praised the gameplay, graphics, music, and storyline of the game, with criticism reserved for the level design and the characters. A high definition version of the Final Mix edition was released for the PlayStation 3 in 2014 and PlayStation 4 in 2017 as a part of the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix collection.Kingdom Hearts Coded
Kingdom Hearts Coded, stylized as Kingdom Hearts coded, is an episodic action role-playing puzzle video game developed and published by Square Enix, in collaboration with Disney Interactive Studios, for mobile phones. Coded was a Japan-only release announced at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show. Its Nintendo DS remake entitled Kingdom Hearts Re:coded was released in Japan, North America, Europe, and Australia. A cinematic remake of the game was included in the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix video game compilation for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
The gameplay is centered mostly around puzzle solving, with action-RPG gameplay elements, similar to previous Kingdom Hearts games. Mini-games and platforming are also featured, with three dimensional backgrounds and two dimensional characters. In mid-2007, game director Tetsuya Nomura decided to create a Kingdom Hearts spin-off for mobile phones that would have a different gameplay style than previous titles and allow players to explore the game like a playground. The game was originally released in eight parts and one preview to mobile phone gamers from June 2009 to January 2010. To reach a wider audience, it was remade for the Nintendo DS and released internationally.
Kingdom Hearts coded is the fourth installment in the Kingdom Hearts series and is set after Kingdom Hearts II. Jiminy Cricket's journal, chronicling Sora's fight against the Heartless and Organization XIII, is found to have two secret messages written by persons unknown, and after the journal is digitized for further analysis, the contents become corrupted. This leads king Mickey and his friends to make a digital Sora to enter and repair the journal so that the meaning of the hidden messages can be deciphered. The game received mixed reviews, with critics praising the graphics and gameplay variety, but panning the story, camera and controls.Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (キングダム ハーツ HD 1.5 リミックス, Kingudamu Hātsu HD 1.5 Rimikkusu, stylized Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 ReMIX) is an HD remastered collection of the Kingdom Hearts series, developed by Square Enix for the PlayStation 3. It was revealed in September 2012 and released in Japan in March 2013, and North America, Australia and Europe in September 2013.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix includes both Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Re:Chain of Memories in high-definition and with trophy support. Additionally, the collection features a cinematic remake of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, including high-definition cutscenes from the original game plus new scenes; the 358/2 Days cinematic also has trophy support. Ideas for a remastered collection of Kingdom Hearts games were first revealed in August 2011, with the collection formally announced in September 2012. Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, in addition to being created from the ground up due to lost assets from the original game, had the most adjustments made to its gameplay, including adding Reaction Commands first introduced in Kingdom Hearts II and allowing the camera to be moved with the right thumb stick.
The collection was met to generally favorable reviews. A second collection, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, was released in 2014 while a third collection, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, was released in 2017. 1.5 Remix was released in a single, combined collection with 2.5 Remix on the PlayStation 4 in March 2017.Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is an HD remastered collection of three games in Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts series: Kingdom Hearts II, Birth by Sleep, and Re:coded. A successor to the series' HD 1.5 Remix collection, it was released as a PlayStation 3 exclusive in Japan on October 2014 and internationally two months later.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix includes Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix in high definition and with trophy support. Additionally, the collection features a cinematic remake of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded that features remastered cutscenes from the original game as well as new content. A third collection, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, was released in 2017. 2.5 Remix was re-released along with 1.5 Remix on the PlayStation 4 in March 2017.Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (キングダム ハーツ HD 2.8 ファイナル チャプター プロローグ, Kingudamu Hātsu HD 2.8 Fainaru Chaputā Purorōgu, stylized Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue) is a collection of the Kingdom Hearts series, developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4. A successor to Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, it was announced in September 2015 and released in January 2017.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue includes a high-definition remaster of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, as well as two new pieces of content to the Kingdom Hearts series. The first, Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, is a cinematic based on Kingdom Hearts χ that details events not shown in the original game. The other, Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, is an original game that takes place after the events of Dream Drop Distance, with a majority of the story taking place after the events of Birth by Sleep and during the events of Kingdom Hearts, from the perspective of Aqua. Back Cover and A Fragmentary Passage were the tenth and eleventh installments in the Kingdom Hearts series.Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts II (Japanese: キングダムハーツII, Hepburn: Kingudamu Hātsu Tsū) is a 2005 action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2 video game console. The game is a sequel to Kingdom Hearts, and like the original game, combines characters and settings from Disney films with those of Square Enix's Final Fantasy series. The game's popularity has resulted in a novel and manga series based upon it and a Japan-exclusive re-released version of the game featuring extra content, Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, released in March 2007.
Kingdom Hearts II is the third game in the Kingdom Hearts series. It picks up one year after the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Sora, the protagonist of the first two games, returns to search for his lost friends while battling the sinister Organization XIII, a group of antagonists previously introduced in Chain of Memories. Like the previous games, Kingdom Hearts II features a large cast of characters from Disney films and Final Fantasy games.
The game was critically acclaimed and earned year-end awards from numerous video gaming websites. In Japan, it shipped more than one million copies within a week of its release. One month after its North American release, it had sold over one million copies and was the second best-selling game of 2006. By April 2007, the game had shipped over four million copies worldwide. The game has been included by gaming publications in lists of the greatest video games of all time.The Final Mix version of the game was re-mastered in high definition and released globally in 2014 as a part of the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix collection for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts III is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is the twelfth installment in the Kingdom Hearts series, a sequel to Kingdom Hearts II, and the final chapter in the Dark Seeker saga. Set after the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, returning protagonist Sora is joined by Donald Duck, Goofy, King Mickey and Riku in their search for the seven Guardians of Light and the "Key to Return Hearts" as they attempt to thwart the restored Xehanort's plan to bring about a second Keyblade War. Their journey has them cross paths with characters and visit worlds based on different Disney and Pixar intellectual properties.
Concepts for the game began as early as 2006 after the release of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix in Japan, with the game not being announced until 2013, following years of rumors and speculation. Kingdom Hearts III sees many returning gameplay features from the series, while expanding parties to five characters total, introducing new "Attraction Flow" attacks that incorporate various Disney Parks attractions, and minigames inspired by classic Walt Disney Productions Mickey Mouse cartoons in the style of 1980s LCD games. The game was built using Unreal Engine 4.
Kingdom Hearts III was released worldwide in January 2019. Upon release, the game was met with positive reviews from critics. The game sold over 5 million copies worldwide one week after release.Kingdom Hearts χ
Kingdom Hearts χ, stylized as Kingdom Hearts χ[chi], is a Japanese role-playing browser game developed by Nomura, SENA, and published by Square Enix for web browsers as the eighth installment in the Kingdom Hearts series. Gameplay involves players navigating a customized avatar through Disney-inspired worlds fighting enemies, along with taking down bosses in multiplayer matches in competition with other teams. A version of the game for mobile devices, Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ, was released as the ninth installment of the series in Japan in September 2015, and worldwide in 2016. In April 2017, Unchained χ was rebranded as Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross].
Kingdom Hearts χ is a prequel to the Kingdom Hearts series as a whole, taking place centuries prior. It takes place before the Keyblade War, which established the organization of the Kingdom Hearts universe as of the original game. The player assumes the role of a Keyblade wielder who joins one of five factions led by Keyblade Masters fighting for control of the limited light existing in the world. Unchained χ/Union χ acts as a sequel, retelling part of the story of Kingdom Hearts χ before diverging and telling a new story set after its events. The game's plot is connected to Kingdom Hearts III, the next main entry in the series. The title refers to the χ-blade, a weapon central to the series' story arc.
The game was designed as a playing experience that newcomers to the series could come to. Its presentation was compared to that of a fairy tale, as depicting the usual style of the series would have been difficult on the platform. Both Tetsuya Nomura and Yoko Shimomura, veterans from the main series, returned as director and composer respectively. The game received favorable reception from critics. A companion film, Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, was released as part of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue in January 2017.List of Kingdom Hearts media
Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix (formerly Square). It is the result of a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios, combining characters and elements from Square Enix's Final Fantasy series and multiple Disney franchises. Currently the series includes seven video games released on various platforms, a manga series, a novel series, video game soundtracks released on audio CDs, and a collectible card game.
The video games provide the canonical story of the series. The manga series is adapted by Shiro Amano and the novels are written by Tomoco Kanemaki and illustrated by Shiro Amano. The stories follow the events that take place in the video games with differences to account for the loss of interactivity that a video game provides. The manga and novel series are both divided up into three series based on each of the three main video games. Each series is further broken up into multiple volumes. The manga was originally serialized in Japan by Square's Monthly Shonen Gangan, but has since been released worldwide. The manga was released in the United States by Tokyopop near the end of 2005, but was discontinued in 2008.Organization XIII
Organization XIII (Japanese: XIII機関, Hepburn: Jūsan Kikan) is a fictional group of characters featured in Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios' Kingdom Hearts video game series. The group comprises thirteen beings without hearts called "Nobodies", formed when a person's body fades from existence upon losing their heart and transforming into a "Heartless".
The concept of the Organization was originally introduced in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix within a bonus ending titled "Another Side, Another Story [deep dive]", where their Japanese name was translated as the "Thirteenth Order". The group was later introduced as the "Organization" in the game Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, where they serve as the main antagonists, and returns in the same role in Kingdom Hearts II. Organization XIII is prominently featured in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days as characters available for play, along with a new female member named Xion. Several members, prior to becoming Nobodies, appear in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, return following their restoration in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and have returned in Kingdom Hearts III.
The group was moderately well received by reviewers. Comments focused on their difficulty as adversaries and mysterious nature, which fueled expectations of future titles. Roxas specifically received press comments, focusing on his introduction in Kingdom Hearts II.Sora (Kingdom Hearts)
Sora (Japanese: ソラ) is a fictional character and the protagonist of Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts video game series. Introduced in the first Kingdom Hearts game in 2002, Sora is portrayed as a cheerful teenager who lives in the Destiny Islands and has been best friends with Riku and Kairi since childhood. When they plan to go on a journey to see other worlds, they are separated by creatures known as the Heartless, with Sora obtaining a weapon called the Keyblade. Donald Duck and Goofy then recruit him in their journey across various worlds to aid King Mickey while Sora searches for his friends. Along the way, the trio protects the worlds they visit from various villains. In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora searches for Riku and fights against Organization XIII, who attempt to seize Kingdom Hearts for their own. Sora has also made supporting appearances in other games from the series, and reprised his role in manga and light novel adaptations of the games.
Sora was originally designed by Kingdom Hearts series director and character designer Tetsuya Nomura during a discussion between Disney and Square about who should be the protagonist of the series. Wanting an original character, Nomura made various sketches of Sora until the design met the approval of Disney. Nomura came to regard Sora as his favorite character that he had designed, and pushed for the character to have a leading role in the Kingdom Hearts story in spite of the character's youth. Throughout the series, Sora has been voiced by Haley Joel Osment in the English version and Miyu Irino in the Japanese version. For his depiction as a child in the prequel Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Sora was voiced by Luke Manriquez and Takuto Yoshinaga in English and Japanese, respectively. Sora's character has received generally positive critical response due to his warm personality and adventurous spirit. His personal and martial growth in the series also received praise, especially in his appearance in Kingdom Hearts II. Additionally, Sora has ranked high on various video game character popularity polls.Tetsuya Nomura
Tetsuya Nomura (野村 哲也, Nomura Tetsuya, born October 8, 1970) is a Japanese video game artist, designer and director working for Square Enix (formerly Square). He designed characters for the Final Fantasy series, debuting with Final Fantasy VI and continuing with various later installments. Additionally, Nomura has helmed the development of the Kingdom Hearts series since its debut in 2002 and was also the director for the CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.Universe of Kingdom Hearts
The Kingdom Hearts video game series, developed by Square Enix in collaboration with Disney, is set in a universe consisting of numerous self-contained worlds based on intellectual properties from both companies. Many of these worlds are based on animated Disney movies, though Kingdom Hearts II introduced worlds based on live-action Disney films as well. In addition to the Disney worlds, a number of original worlds appear over the course of the series.
The series centers on the character Sora, a boy who searches for his lost friends and encounters Disney and Final Fantasy characters as he travels between worlds. In the first game, Kingdom Hearts, Sora fights against the villains of the series known as the Heartless and seals each world he visits to prevent their return. In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora helps the residents of these worlds again in search of his friend Riku. The Kingdom Hearts games have been both critically acclaimed and commercially successful and the design of the worlds has been praised for its faithfulness to the source material.