After 14 years since the last sequel, KINGDOM HEARTS III is finally here! Here are some fun facts about the greatest Disney-Final Fantasy mashup of all time.
The epic KINGDOM HEARTS video game launched in 2002, as a collaboration between Disney and Square Enix. Sora, a young boy and unknowing heir to a spectacular power, is joined by Donald Duck and Goofy to stop an evil force known as the Heartless.
With Disney princesses and Final Fantasy badasses all in one game, it’s not surprising that the first game was a massive success. KINGDOM HEARTS has sold over 25 million units worldwide, making it one of the best-selling video game series of all time.
14 years after KINGDOM HEARTS II, the “Dark Seeker Saga” will conclude with KINGDOM HEARTS III on Jan 29, 2019. Here are some fun facts about the KINGDOM HEARTS series, for both the veterans and newbies.
1. KINGDOM HEARTS III Is Not The Third Game In The Series
KINGDOM HEARTS III is actually the thirteenth game in the series, not including remakes and remixes. Like Star Wars, the KINGDOM HEARTS universe has plenty of spin-offs, making KINGDOM HEARTS III the third game in the original trilogy.
If you’re new to KINGDOM HEARTS, it can be daunting to try and figure out which games to play. Luckily, the KINGDOM HEARTS 1.5 + 2.5 Remix, and KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue on the PlayStation Store make things easy, combining all the games before KINGDOM HEARTS III in two neat collections!
For a complete history of KINGDOM HEARTS games on the PlayStation, where it all began – please refer to our infographic, KINGDOM HEARTS: A PLAYSTATION HISTORY.
2. You Can Visit the Toy Story and Frozen Worlds in KINGDOM HEARTS III
KINGDOM HEARTS III will definitely be a throwback to your good old childhood days. If you’re a millennial, chances are you grew up watching Toy Story. If you’re part of Generation Z, you’d know all about Frozen. And now, you’ll get to explore Arendelle and shake hands with Woody in KINGDOM HEARTS III!
3. KINGDOM HEARTS happened because Square Enix and Disney’s gaming team were neighbours in Tokyo
“The Square Enix Japan office happened to be in the same building where Disney’s gaming division was,” KINGDOM HEARTS director Tetsuya Nomura said at the panel for D23 Disney fan club convention in 2017. “It just so happened that our executive producer, Mr Shinji Hashimoto, and a Disney executive rode the elevator together.”
“They would have conversations saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice for us to do something collaborative?’ So rather than having either Square or Disney approach the other with a formal business plan, it was all down to being in the same building!”
4: KINGDOM HEARTS is full of celebrity voices
You’re bound to recognise a few familiar voices as you play through the KINGDOM HEARTS games, as many of the Disney characters’ are voiced by their original voice actors. Sora continues to be voiced by The Sixth Sense actor Haley Joel Osment, while Donald and Goofy are played by Disney veterans Tony Anselmo and Bill Farmer.
Also, did you know that Sephiroth in KINGDOM HEARTS was voiced by Lance Bass, of NSYNC fame? Hercules in that game was also voiced by Sean Astin, who plays Samwise Gangee in The Lord of the Rings. And in in Birth By Sleep, Master Xehanort was voiced by Leonard Nimoy, while Christopher Lee played Xehanort’s Heartless, Ansem.
5. You can watch Utada Hikaru Singing The KINGDOM HEARTS Theme Songs in 3D, With The PlayStation VR
If you’ve always wanted to see Utada perform live, here’s the next best thing. A special performance, the Hikaru Utada Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018 – “Hikari” and “Chikai” is available for PlayStation VR users.
Filmed with a 4k stereo/3D crane camera, it captures Utada singing the KINGDOM HEARTS theme songs in all her 3D glory. “The videos you watch with the PS VR headset have a different impact — the user feels like Hikaru Utada is singing just for them,” says Robot Communications director Wataru Takeishi.
“Hikari” is the original KINGDOM HEARTS theme song, and “Chikai” is the ending theme for KINGDOM HEARTS III. Check out the trailer here.
6. Vivi and The Moogles Almost Never Made It To KINGDOM HEARTS
Final Fantasy IX’s Vivi, who’s now a member of Seifer’s gang, is one of the only characters to appear in KINGDOM HEARTS who was not originally designed by Final Fantasy artist, designer and director Tetsuya Nomura. Tetsuya Nomura originally intended to include only Final Fantasy characters whom he had designed himself, but ended up caving to pressure from his staff. And thus, Vivi and the Moogles made their way into KINGDOM HEARTS.
7. KINGDOM HEARTS Really Likes To Anagram Things Up
The naming system behind the members of Organisation XIII, the antgonists of KINGDOM HEARTS II, is a fun one. Each of the original members’ names is an anagram of their original name prior to becoming a Nobody, with the addition of the letter “X”.
The same goes for characters Master Eraqus and Yen Sid: ‘Eraqus’ flipped gets you ‘Square’, in reference to Square Enix, while ‘Yen Sid’ gets you ‘Disney’.
8. KINGDOM HEARTS is obsessed with the number 13
You’ll find multiple occurrences of the number 13 throughout the KINGDOM HEARTS series. The most obvious one is Organisation XIII, the antagonists of the series. Also, KINGDOM HEARTS has 13 letters in it, and KINGDOM HEARTS I and II both have 13 worlds each. Fans have also noticed that original characters Sora, Riku and Kairi have 13 letters combined in their names. Coincidence?
9. There’s a cooking minigame in KINGDOM HEARTS III, based on Ratatouille Back in 2007
Ratatouille came out and won audience’s hearts through its adorable rodent hero, Remy. You’ll get to run around with Remy in a Ratatouille-themed minigame in KINGDOM HEARTS III, and there’s even a Frying Pan Keyblade you can wield as a weapon. Neat!
10. Bye Bye, Tarzan
Deep Jungle, a world which appears only in KINGDOM HEARTS and its Final Mix form, is based on the 1999 Disney film Tarzan.
It hasn’t appeared in a single KINGDOM HEARTS game since, because the rights to the Tarzan franchise now belong to the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ estate, not Disney. So unfortunately, the KINGDOM HEARTS developers were unable to get the rights for it for KINGDOM HEARTS II. Sorry, Tarzan and/or Jane fans!
KINGDOM HEARTS III will be released on 29th January, 2019.
If you purchase the Digital Standard Edition or the All-in-One package at the PSN Store by 28th February 2019, you’ll get an Early Purchase Bonus! It includes a PS4 Custom Keyblade for KHIII, which may be available for purchase as a downloadable item in the future.