Monday, January 29, 2018

Worlds That Should Not Appear In Kingdom Hearts 3


Kingdom Hearts 3 is slated to be released later this year--that is, if it's not delayed yet again. (Because at this point, it certainly feels like Square Enix has conspired with Sony to keep delaying the game in an effort to keep selling new PlayStation consoles under the false promise that KH3 will be released this time around--no seriously, we swear!)

Ever since the game was officially announced in 2013, Kingdom Hearts fans have been speculating as to what new Disney worlds will be included in the newest installment. Already, the game has been announced to feature worlds based on Tangled, Big Hero 6, and Toy Story, with more worlds to be revealed in the future.

Like little kids writing wish lists to Santa begging for the toys they want for Christmas, every Kingdom Hearts fan has written their own wish lists of what worlds they want to see in the newest game--which is why I won't be writing such a list.

Aside from the fact that everyone else has already written such a list, I feel that writing my own would not only be as equally cliché, but also as futile--almost as futile as, well, writing a wish list to Santa begging for the toys you want on Christmas. (Seriously, guys: it's not like Square Enix is combing the internet for ideas based on lists written by fan on internet forums. It ain't gonna happen!)

Instead, rather than writing a list of worlds that I want to see in Kingdom Hearts 3, I'll be writing the exact opposite: a list of worlds that I feel shouldn't be in the game. Because just because the Kingdom Hearts franchise has proven that Final Fantasy and Disney make for a unique combination like pineapple and ham on pizza, that doesn't mean you have to consider adding pickles and peanut butter--though I'm sure someone out there actually likes such a pizza combo.

So in an effort to be contrarian by countering the wish fulfillment of other KH fans, here's a list of worlds that should not be in the next game. Why? Because I said so. That's why!

To view the worlds that should not be in the next game, click READ MORE:

Zero Chan

#1: Wonderland/Agrabah/Halloweentown

Do I even need to explain why we don't need to re-visit these worlds again? When they first appeared in the first Kingdom Hearts, being able to fly on a carpet through the streets of Agrabah or trying to navigate the confusing madness of Wonderland were whole new, fresh experiences that gamers had never, well, experienced before.

But ever since then, at least one of these worlds have re-appeared in each of the new sequel and spin-off games, and thus their novelty have worn off. Sure, Agrabah would add a new magic carpet mini-game here, and Wonderland would add a new hedge maze there, but in the end, it was the same old, same old we were already used to in the original game, and as the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt.

The exact same could be said of Olympus Coliseum, but since that world is already slated to appear in Kingdom Hearts 3, it's going to be in the game regardless of how trite the world is. Besides, at least it's one of the few older worlds that have at least tried to add new experiences. KH2 included the Underworld, Birth By Sleep included the surrounding city of Thebes, and KH3 will actually include the titular Mount Olympus.

If another of the older worlds needs to re-appear, it should be Agrabah, as that world is one of the few with storytelling potential. As its story in KH2 was loosely based on Return of Jafar, its inclusion in KH3 could follow that of King of Theives. Not only would its plot be based on the only good Aladdin sequel, but it could also allow John Rhys-Davies to reprise his role as Aladdin's father, Cassim. (And with KH3 allowing for more party members, imagine being able to fight alongside him and Aladdin?)

Otherwise, we've already played enough out of Wonderland and Halloweentown, and we don't need to play though them again for the umpteenth time!


#2: Marvel/Star Wars/20th Century Fox

Now I love Marvel. I love Star Wars. And I would love to see worlds based on these franchises in Kingdom Hearts. But just because I want something doesn't mean it's necessarily a good idea. I would love to eat pepperoni pizza and chocolate lava cake at the same time, but if I did, then I would end up like ContraPoints by having a stomachache and scapegoating it on capitalism.

For me, at least, Kingdom Hearts has always been a crossover of properties made by Disney, not merely with properties that it owns. In the beginning, that focus was primarily on animated movies. However, after KH2, with the inclusion of worlds based on Pirates, Tron, and even Steamboat Willie of all things, that focus shifted to any and every property under the Disney brand. And while this has certainly opened the door to endless possibilities, I can't help but feel that it's diluted the very heart of the game--no pun intended!

So as much as I would love to see Sora and the gang fighting against Darth Varder or teaming up with the Avengers (though I'd much rather see them team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy), in the end, I want Kingdom Hearts to stay true to being a game about Disney properties and not merely about properties owned by Disney.

Speaking of which, let's address the Large Body heartless in the room that is Disney's recent purchase of 20th Century Fox. With Disney buying new toys for its toy chest, there's not doubt that it wants to make the most out of its games with those toys. After all, how cool would it be for Sora to fly on a banshee in Pandora, or fighting a boss battle against a Xenomorph or Predator alien?

But again, just like with Marvel or Star Wars, adding any worlds based on such properties would already dilute the theme of Kingdom Hearts. There are plenty of movies that Disney already owns, and they deserve to have worlds based off of them. Because in the end, I would much rather have a world based on Atlantis or Treasure Planet than, say, The Simpsons. (Please, don't put Springfield in Kingdom Hearts!)


#3: Live-Action Remakes

Don't get me wrong. I don't have a problem with the live-action remakes. While I once rolled my eyes over the prospect of Disney re-making animated classics like Alice in Wonderland or Jungle Book in live action, I've since somewhat warmed up to the idea, as these movies are at the very least attempts by Disney to breath new life into old stories. (Which is more than I can say about the live-action Beauty and the Beast!)

And it's not like there wouldn't be a way to incorporate worlds based on these movies into Kingdom Hearts, even though worlds based on their animated counterparts already exist. Just have Yen Sid or Mickey explain that infinite worlds mean infinite possibilities, which mean that some worlds and characters will end up looking like others because, well, wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey, wub-a-lubba-dub-dub, that's how the multiverse works!

And it's not like adding these worlds wouldn't provide some interesting and creative possibilities. For example, how would the normal evil Maleficent react to meeting her nicer live-action counterpart played by Angelina Jolie? Or how would Sora react to meeting another Belle and Beast without giving away the fact that he's already met two other characters like them? Or how cool would it be for Sora to team up with the live-action Alice to defeat the Jabberwocky?

But that's the thing: we already have worlds based on Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and Alice in Wonderland. The only exception is The Jungle Book, and it would be an extremely dick move to add a world based on the live-action version when the original animated version was supposed to appear earlier in the franchise. Otherwise, we already have worlds based on these movies, and we don't need any more based on their lesser live-action versions.

Also, considering that Disney already has a vast library of animated movies that have yet to appear in the Kingdom Hearts games, it would be nice to include worlds based on them before including worlds based on live-action versions of worlds we've already been to. Again, if it means including a world based on Atlantis or Treasure Planet, by all means, skip over the world based on Johnny Depp in Burtonland!

Worldwide Chat

#4: Television Series/Movies

Did you know that the first Kingdom Hearts was originally going to include a world based on the 1994 animated series Gargoyles? That may have sounded interesting back in 2001 when re-runs of the show were still airing on television, but now? Do you know anyone who's under the age of 25 who even knows what that show is, let alone has seen it?

That's the problem with television series. They're not as timeless as movies. Unless they've been airing on television for a long time like The Simpsons or Spongebob Squarepants, they only remain relevant in the overall cultural zeitgeist for as long as they remain airing on television. Once they go off the air, they're not as easily remembered.

You can easily re-watch an old movie long after it stops showing in theaters, as DVDs and Blu-Rays are easy to find and buy. Television shows, on the other hand? Once they go off the air, unless they get released on box sets or onto streaming services, they're not as easy to track down and re-watch.

So as much as I would love to see Sora and the gang solving mysteries with Dipper and Mabel Pines, or fighting the forces of evil with Star Butterfly and Marco, I know that I can only enjoy all of that now that both Gravity Falls and Star Vs. The Forces Of Evil are airing on television. But ten years from now when both shows are no longer on the air and when most young children have never seen either, how fun or memorable would such worlds be? It'd be like playing a Gargoyles world more than 20 years after the show stopped airing.

I guess it's only fortunate that Kingdom Hearts 3 wasn't released back in the 2000s when High School Musical was at the height of popularity; otherwise, we'd probably have a musical world with Sora dancing along to rhythm games based on songs like "We're All In This Together." Really? Who'd want to play something as cringeworthy as that?


#5: Studio Ghibli

Wouldn't it be cool if Sora and his friends could visit Howl's Moving Castle? Or call forth the aid of No Face or Totoro as summons? Or simply have the "Ghibli Town" April Fools Joke on the Kingdom Heart Wiki confirmed as not an April Fools Joke? Of course it would!

Any world or reference based on a movie from the studio led by the Japanese equivalent of Walt Disney would be awesome or "kawaii". But here's the thing: none of that will ever happen. Ever! Why? Simple: Disney doesn't own the rights to any of the Studio Ghibli films.

Oh, Disney owns the localization rights of those movies, and the distribution rights to them in North America and other English-speaking areas, but they don't own the actual movie rights to them. Studio Ghibli does. (Actually, correction: Disney no longer owns those rights!)

So unless Square Enix is willing to create yet another contract with another movie studio in order to use their movies in the Kingdom Hearts games, a world based on a Ghibli film is as unlikely as No Face giving you his gold to pay off your student debts.

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