One of the main selling points of the Kingdom Hearts games was the weird mashup of Disney and Final Fantasy characters. Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura recently sat down with Game Informer to discuss Kingdom Hearts 4 and addressed several questions, including concerns about Final Fantasy characters.
When asked about the relative lack of Final Fantasy characters in recent Kingdom Hearts entires, Nomura had this to say:
I understand there weren’t that many Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts III. One thing I want to clear up is that a lot of fans are saying that Kingdom Hearts is this collaboration between Disney characters and Final Fantasy characters. But I really feel like that’s not the basic concept of Kingdom Hearts; that’s not exactly what Kingdom Hearts is.
When we released the first title, we had only a few original Kingdom Hearts characters. When they were interacting with really well-known, beloved Disney characters, I felt nobody really knew these new characters, so it was harder for them to stand their ground just yet. And so, we had a lot of Final Fantasy characters involved to lend a hand for everyone to get to know these [original Kingdom Hearts] characters better.
Now, there are so many original characters from Kingdom Hearts that are so well-loved, and people want to see more of those characters. With Kingdom Hearts III, since we did have so many original Kingdom Hearts characters, it was hard to find room for including more Final Fantasy characters. We’re trying to find a good balance for that. I know that some fans were concerned about that and weren’t too happy and wanted to see more Final Fantasy characters. That’s something we definitely are thinking about. But just with the sheer number of original characters that we have now, it’s hard to say what the exact balance is going to be and how it will play out in Kingdom Hearts IV. We can’t really give you a firm reply on this just yet.
This answer seems to imply that he’d rather flesh out the original Kingdom Hearts characters than add more Final Fantasy characters. This answer may disappoint fans who were looking forward to seeing more Final Fantasy as there are a plethora of characters to choose from.
Looking through the various Kingdom Hearts games, there have been many characters from more popular Final Fantasy games such as Final Fantasy VII and X, but none from any recent Final Fantasy games. Protagonists such as Vann from Final Fantasy XII, Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, or even Noctis and crew from Final Fantasy XV are nowhere to be seen in a Kingdom Hearts game.
It could be that Nomura wants the game to live off the strength of its original characters rather than ride on the popularity of Disney and Final Fantasy characters. That said, one could argue that Disney and Final Fantasy are what make Kingdom Hearts, well, Kingdom Hearts.
Kingdom Hearts 4 is the latest in the series with its debut trailer showing off a more realistic Sora in the world of Quadratum. Nomura talks more about Kingdom Hearts including the uncertainty of getting Sora into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
David Matthews is a freelance writer specializing in consumer tech and gaming. He also strongly believes that sugar does not go in grits. Follow him on Twitter @packetstealer