I’ve been playing a lot of Kingdom Hearts 3D lately for a review I’ll be publishing sometime early next week. And no matter what, whenever I play another Kingdom Hearts game, I always fall onto the same thought.
“These worlds are cool, but what about those that Square Enix have missed?”
There’s no question that the Disney catalog has some rich worlds and stories. The likes of Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty And The Beast among others have already been explored to a masterful interpretation. With the inevitable third core game in the franchise coming sometime in the future, now’s about the time for Square to be thinking about what worlds to start virtualizing.
And I’m here to help them think of a few.
I’ve scoured the good and the bad of Disney’s history, and compiled a list of worlds that would be perfect for the Kingdom Hearts franchise. These are by no means the only worlds that would work for the game, however, they are definitely the ones that would be the most interesting, make the most sense in context of story or simply be the most fun. Some will make sense. Some won’t. Some will seem odd that it hasn’t happened yet. Some, yet, also are meant as total curveballs.
But without further delay:
When not causing controversy for being historically inaccurate or making people feel uncomfortable for being politically incorrect, Pocahontas had a rich world with memorable characters and an Academy Award winning musical score. It followed the tale of a Native American tribe struggling against New World settlers, the governor of which believes that the tribe is hiding vast amounts of gold. Amidst the conflict, Pocahontas and settler John Smith fall in love, and wish to end the conflict between their respective groups.
The world of Pocahontas would be a perfect fit for Kingdom Hearts. Much of the franchise is about removing the darkness from worlds plagued by it, and what seems more dark than a corrupt governor willing to slaughter entire tribes of innocent people in the name of greed?
Imagine Sora coming to this world, not only finding Governor Ratcliffe on the attack again, but the Heartless have invaded the forest and caused many flora and fauna to become evil and rabid. Admit it, the thought of having a boss battle to knock some sense into a possessed Grandmother Willow is suddenly sounding really cool. It’s like Whispy Woods, but voiced by Linda Hunt! Take that nature!
Plus, Square’s love of trying to get original voice actors to reprise their roles mean that Mel Gibson, who voiced John Smith, could be involved in the project. Which is always a barrel of….something…..
9. The Jungle Book
An oldie, but a goodie.
Honestly, it’s somewhat surprising The Jungle Book hasn’t appeared in Kingdom Hearts yet. It also falls into the formula perfectly. Almost too perfectly. One could probably make the argument that this world would be too close to the Tarzan world that was already on Kingdom Hearts. But The Jungle Book had the plus side of having more silly characters, while Tarzan had more serious characters. And let’s not forget that The Jungle Book didn’t feature the easter egg of having the antagonist hanged at the end of the movie. That was horrifying.
Or maybe I just want to finally beat the snot out of that snake. He was annoying. Particularly because I couldn’t listen to him without thinking that he swallowed Pooh Bear and stole his voice. Jerk.
Okay, enough of being safe and picking Disney movies everyone knows about. Let’s explore something that barely anyone remembers. Let’s explore:
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8. Treasure Planet
Yeah, remember this one? Me neither. But if Disney can resurrect Tron for use in a Kingdom Hearts game, they can certainly take advantage of the cyberpunk world of Treasure Planet.
Treasure Planet was revolutionary for combining the 2D animation that most of us were already familiar with and adding 3D backdrops and certain assets, like Long John Silver’s arm there. It also had that one weird captain that was half-human, half-cat and all attractive-to-a-12-year-old.
Sora has tussled with the likes of pirates and robots before, so why not combine them? And it might be the perfect excuse to remind people that this movie even existed.
Think of all the gameplay possibilities that visiting a Treasure Planet world would mean. It would be accessible similarly to Monstro in the previous games, where randomly your player would come into contact with the flying pirate ships at the end of a level. You’d keep encountering them randomly, and each time would progress more of their individual story.
Or even better, add some sort of treasure map mechanic, and Sora (or whoever you’d play,) would keep finding clues to find an ultimate treasure at the end of all the clues. Maybe it turns out to be some sort of horrifying boss or something. The possibilities are endless!
Also, solar surfers.
Yeah, this needs to happen.
But what if a world was put into the games that had nothing to do with Disney? What if, instead of bringing Square Enix’s characters to a Disney world, Donald, Goofy and Mickey took a trip to…
7. Midgar - Final Fantasy VII
Okay, okay, okay, calm down kids. The die-hard Final Fantasy fanatics are angry right now because I’m “giving in” to the popularity of Final Fantasy VII, and the die-hard Kingdom Hearts kids are angry at me because of adding worlds that aren’t Disney. To the former I say “this idea could work for any given Final Fantasy world,” and to the latter I say “Oh boy, you’re gonna hate the rest of my list.”
I mean, the Kingdom Hearts franchise is already tailor-made for the Final Fantasy worlds, and we already know Square doesn’t mind mixing things up a big thanks to the Dissidia games.
Plus there’s that awkward thought of having Mickey Mouse walking through the slums of Wall Market.
Other good locales would be Balamb Garden from Final Fantasy VIII, Baron from Final Fantasy IV or Rabanastre from Final Fantasy XII.
And it would have the added bonus of silencing all the people out there asking for remakes of most of the games in the series. And then they’ll continue just a few months later when they actually finish the game.
Regardless, the high fantasy setting would make a perfect fit. Which is also why Square should think about:
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Yes, I realize that the movie technically a live-action movie more than it is animated, but if they can cram Pirates of the Caribbean and Tron into Kingdom Hearts, they can certainly fit Narnia.
In retrospect, Narnia is a perfect fit. You’ve already got tons of fantastical creatures available, a magical talking animal and war. What else do you need?
And think of all the fan fiction that would be spawned if Simba and Aslan teamed up! That’d be….really weird, actually, but it’d be awesome! The White Witch makes a perfect villain, tainted by the darkness of the Heartless. There’s contrast everywhere, and it all spells awesome!
And can you imagine how Sora would discover Narnia? He’d be getting debriefed by Yen Sid back at his tower, only to notice a strange roaring sound coming from a wardrobe in an otherwise deserted room. He and his friends take a look only to fall in and be thrust right into the middle of a magical civil war.
It could even be the sight of a major battle between the forces of light and dark! On one side you have Sora and the usual cast of Square Enix and Disney heroes he’s amassed during his travels, and on the other is a horde of Heartless and other villains, led by Xehanort. The visuals, man! The visuals!
Son of a…it’s PERFECT Square! PERFECT! Make it happen!
Or, alternatively, you can go for something a bit darker. The Narnia books/movies are supposed to be based on Christianity after all. What if you went with something a bit more scary, like….
5. The Black Cauldron
Fun fact, whenever I formulate a feature like this list, I always run ideas by a few of my most trusted gaming friends first. When I went through this whole list, I got many odd looks, smiles and “OH MY GOD I WANT THIS!” reactions. The Black Cauldron was the one where no one I had talked to had ever even heard of it.
I can’t blame them. I wouldn’t have even heard of it had it not been for a random advertisement I had seen for a re-issuing of the film while having a nostalgia driven binge of my old Disney VHS tapes. But the movie itself was pretty cool.
The Black Cauldron was always the black sheep (ba dum tish!) of Disney’s animation past. It was a noticeably darker movie than anything else Disney had released. The entire story centered around an undead monarch, known as The Horned King, seeking the Black Cauldron in order to raise his army of the dead. It was terrifying, especially for something that still looked like a children’s movie.
Sure, maybe an entire world wouldn’t necessarily work. However, I keep likening The Horned King to that of Maleficent. We didn’t see a world based on her film, Sleeping Beauty, until 2010′s Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, despite Maleficent appearing in the very first game eight years earlier. So if nothing else, The Horned King would make a great villain to stand by Maleficent’s side, along with his army of the undead.
You never know. Maybe Disney will finally generate enough interest in the film. Sure it didn’t resonate very well, and was considered a failure, but The Mistress of All Evil teaming up with The Undead King? Match made in Hell right there.
You know what? All this darkness is making me feel a little depressed. Let’s switch gears for a bit. Let’s talk about something ultimately happy. Something like…
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4. Mary Poppins
Okay, now I KNOW I’m gonna catch flak for this one. Before you ridicule me and exile me from ever writing again, hear me out. This could be awesome.
Remember the undersea world of The Little Mermaid in the first Kingdom Hearts? There was very little in the form of actual enemies, but it was still important. However, everything was progressed in the form of musical numbers, because The Little Mermaid still had some of the best music of any film of all time.
Mary Poppins‘ music may not have been quite as catchy as that, but what if England was represented here in the form of a musical world like The Little Mermaid was? You gotta admit it would be awesome to see Sora dancing away with Dick Van Dyke and the rest of the chimney sweeps, or taping away with the weird butler penguins in the chalk world. Even the song selection screen could just be Sora staring at the chalk drawings that Dick Van Dyke’s character is doing, and Sora jumps into the drawings to begin a song.
And plus, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke aren’t really doing anything at the moment. How cool would it be for them to reprise their roles?
Okay, I’m done being nostalgic. Almost. Not until I mention:
3. The Muppets
Okay, I admit, I only included this here because I really want to see what Sora would look like as a Muppet. And I want to hear the crew get heckled by Statler and Waldorf. And Kermit the Frog to meet Mickey Mouse. And the metaphor of Sora being a “heartless puppet” that keeps getting thrown around would make actual sense here.
Okay, I’m done with nostalgia. Now for something that actually makes sense. Something like:
2. Toy Story
What can I say about Toy Story that you don’t already know? It was an animation marvel that many people, myself inclu–GAH! WHY HASN’T THIS HAPPENED YET?!?!
Think of adorable toy Sora and friends, using stealth mechanics to stay hidden from the life-size Organization XIII members. Sora has experimented with being tiny before in the series’ past Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland worlds, so it’s not a concept that would be unfamiliar with the developers.
Heck, any Pixar movie would be perfect. Except maybe Up. I love the movie, but there’s really nothing unique about the world to make it interesting. The Incredibles? A Bug’s Life? Cars? Those could all be quite interesting.
But seriously, why hasn’t this happened yet? You could even get Pixar to help with the animations and whatnot. Having Toy Story involved in a Kingdom Hearts game would be instant money fountain. Make it happen, Square.
But the top spot on this list is reserved for perhaps the greatest curveball. Something that many of you have already thought of, but most of you haven’t. Something that would be the ultimate risk for Square Enix and Disney. The top world that should be featured in Kingdom Hearts is…
The day that Disney bought Marvel was one of the potentially worst days for comic book nerds worldwide. Disney hasn’t screwed up, thankfully, and the Marvel brand has thrived even more thanks to the additional backing.
However, since Disney now owns all the personalities and heroes of the Marvel universe, how cool would it be to see a world where Earth’s mightiest heroes teamed up with celluloid’s greatest childhood characters to take on evil? We’d be mixing the finest Japanese game making with classic American comic book characters. It’s the stuff of nerd wet dreams all over. Or not. They do come from very different worlds, you know.
Wouldn’t it be just perfect if the world’s evil supervillains heard about some amazing darkness that was used to make you grow stronger? I know a ton of baddies that would gladly give their already black hearts in order to finally triumph over those pesky heroes.
That’s all I’ve got, kids! Those are the top 10 worlds that would have a perfect fit within Kingdom Hearts. What do you think? Got any dream worlds you want to see in the game? Let’s get a conversation started in the comments below.Previous