How Kingdom Hearts Happened | NowThis Nerd

Hello, Somebodies, I’m Andrew and… I’ve been having these weird thoughts lately… Like, is any of this for real? Or not? I mean, I can’t believe ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ is finally here Hell, I have a hard time believing that ‘Kingdom Hearts’ even exists

Disney is notoriously protective of its characters, after all, they basically rewrote US copyright law to keep Mickey from falling into the public domain So why would they hand over their IP to an untested Japanese artist who’d never directed a game before? How did a chance meeting between two execs lead to one of gaming’s most beloved new franchises? And what does ‘Super Mario 64’ have to do with everything? One who knows nothing can understand nothing, so let’s find out How Kingdom Hearts Happened Let’s start with the series’ Birth As creators of the influential ‘Final Fantasy’ series, Square was already one of the most prestigious and powerful developers in the game industry, but even they were blown away by ‘Super Mario 64’ Here we go!!! Producers Shinji Hashimoto and Hironobu Sakaguchi wanted to create their own free-roaming 3-D adventure, but they needed a star that could compete with Nintendo’s peerless plumber If only they had access to a character as iconic and globally recognized as, say, Mickey Mouse? It seemed like a pipe dream, but as luck would have it, Square once shared the same building with the offices of Disney Japan

One fateful day, Hashimoto found himself in an elevator with a top Disney exec, and quickly pitched his idea for the crossover of the century Talk about an elevator pitch! Much to everyone’s surprise, the big D agreed, and assembled a crew of over 100 staffers, a huge number for the PS2 era, split between Square and Disney Interactive The wheels were in motion, the steamboat was a-chugging, but the game still needed a director Enter the artist known as Tetsuya Nomura ‘Kingdom Hearts’ was Nomura’s first time in the director’s chair, but he had already made a massive impact on the genre, after his character designs for 'Final Fantasy VII' helped propel JRPGs into the mainstream, Nomura’s penchant for spiky hair, giant swords, and superfluous belts and zippers seemed like an odd fit for Disney’s wholesome style, but Square and Disney decided to give the rockstar artist the keys to The Kingdom Nomura’s original concept was pretty simple: An original character travelling through various worlds inspired by the Disney canon

His first design for Sora, a little lion boy wielding a chainsaw-sword, left the Disney execs speechless, Hey there! Who are you? And what the Sam Hill is that thing? but they got on board once he softened the design, and came up with the concept of a keyblade At first, Nomura set out to make a simple and clean, kid-friendly game in line with Disney’s typical demographic, but Sakaguchi warned him that the game would be a failure if he didn’t aim to reach the same level of depth and complexity as ‘Final Fantasy’ Nomura went back to the drawing board, and re:Coded the world to include more 'FF' connections, plus a deep, ambitious, and infamously convoluted lore This world has been connected W-what are you talking about? His original working title was simply ‘Kingdom,’ inspired by Disney’s theme park nomenclature, but Square couldn’t secure the trademarks, so they further fleshed out the ‘heart’ concept and tacked it on the end to come up with 'Kingdom Hearts

' I know now, without a doubt, Kingdom Hearts is light! But why?! Speaking of IP entanglements, you’d think that Disney would show up with a strict bible declaring exactly what Square could do with their characters, but they were surprisingly hands-off Bob Iger, then president and current CEO of Disney, was a big believer in the project, and he gave the team more or less free reign of the Disney Vault, with one exception: Their flagship character Mickey Mouse was only contractually permitted to be in one scene, What?! they had to refer to him as ‘The King,’ Your Majesty! and he could only speak like, four words Donald Goofy Thank you This whole venture came out of a desire to make a Mickey game, but even with the Mouse off-limits, Nomura had a vast library of worlds to play with, and he strove to make them as spiritually faithful as possible, right down to their original voice actors, including James Woods as Hades, Chris Sarandon as Jack Skellington, and most impressively, Kathryn Beaumont as Wendy Darling and Alice, who seamlessly stepped back into her roles fifty years after the original films

Wow The biggest exceptions were Danny Devito as Phil, and Robin Williams as Genie, although his stand-in Dan Castelanetta, AKA Homer Simpson

Yes! Homer Simpson was in 'Kingdom Hearts 1' I will not be fought on this C'mon, Homer! I got an ambition to do some wishin'! Keep your pants on, Flanders! anyway, Dan Castelanetta did portray the big blue guy on the ‘Aladdin’ TV show Leave the intros to a professional! The one and only, Genie of the Lamp! And did I mention the all-star cast of turn-of-the-millenium celebs like Haley Joel Osment, Mandy Moore, Hayden Panettiere David Boreanis, Christy Carlson Romano, and Lance freakin’ Bass as Sephiroth? Throw in an incredible theme song by Hikaru Utada, and the Final Mix resulted in an all-time classic, just a wonderful, A+ experience When you walk away, you don't hear me say, please, oh baby, don't go

So how did a one-off game evolve into such a sprawling Saga? Believe it or not, before ‘Kingdom Hearts’ came out, fans were actually pretty skeptical about a Square/Disney collab Disney wasn’t exactly at the top of their game in 2002 Disney's 'The Country Bears!' Aw no! Country Bear Hole has been crushed! It was an awkward phase as they transitioned from 2D animation to CGI, and long before they snatched up Marvel and 'Star Wars' Meanwhile, Square was dealing with the aftermath of ‘Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,’ the infamous, $137 million box office bomb that nearly killed the company, and put their merger with Japan’s other RPG power house Enix in jeopardy Nomura was optimistic, though, and hid a secret trailer inside the first game, hinting at a much larger story that he hoped he’d get the chance to tell

Lucky for us, the game was a hit Despite the janky camera, lengthy tutorial section, and torturous Gummi ship segments, ‘Kingdom Hearts’ received rave reviews and sold millions of copies, ensuring that the saga would live on After releasing a remixed version of the first game, Square put out ‘Chain of Memories,’ a Game Boy Advance title that bridged the gap between 'Kingdom Hearts 1' and its sequel, ‘Kingdom Hearts 2,’ with a more-than-shoddy card game element Forget That

Game What's this? A card? When the sequel finally released in 2005, it was clear that Nomura was way more confident in his original ideas His complex canon had moved to the forefront, and while you still travelled to Disney worlds and hung with Donald, Goofy, and Tron, it was clear that the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ lore was strong enough to stand on its own The sequel improved upon its predecessor in pretty much every way, even the Gummi ship was almost tolerable, although I still don’t understand why they turned Atlantica into 'DDR' for babies But anything is better than dealing with swimming in a water level

That's fun Why do they even make that if you can't even win, then why am I freaking playing? Still, the game was an even bigger smash than its predecessor, and fans couldn’t wait for the third entry to close out the trilogy And wait we did One eternity later I'm old now My knees hurt now For over a decade, we’ve salivated over every tease and trailer, every rumor and nibble of info we could get to prove that ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ was alive and actually happening At various points, we thought that it would be a PS3 or Wii exclusive, that Stormtroopers and Spider-Man would be in the mix, or that the game was just plain cancelled They'll pay for this! Then, at long last, Squeenix officially announced ‘Kingdom Hearts 3’ at E3… 2013 It took another six years for the game to finally release, and in the meantime, Squeenix kept hope alive, and their pockets full, by releasing a flood of spinoffs, prequels, and side-stories, all of which resulted in a continuity that’s somehow messier than the ‘X-Men’ movies How do you even achieve that? Hey Logan

Hi Jean Kill me! I love you! You poor, poor man But if you needed a refresher on the Keyblade War and the various incarnations of Xehanort, there were plenty of compilations (with their own equally confusing names) like 'Kingdom Hearts HD 28 Final Chapter Prologue!' which would tide us over until the glorious day when ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ finally arrived So now that it’s here, what took so long? The short answer is ‘Final Fantasy XV

’ It started off as an ‘FF’ spinoff by the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ team, but the game’s development was particularly hellacious so Nomura bailed in 2013, to focus his full efforts on ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ The close to the trilogy was further delayed after switching the game’s entire engine from Squeenix’s in-house Luminous system to Unreal 4, but after rebuilding everything from scratch, 'Kingdom Hearts 3' finally went gold in November 2018 It’s been a long, exhausting, and confusing journey, but I think we can all agree it was worth the wait In the long spans between games, we’ve created real bonds with Sora, Riku, and Kairi

We used to see Donald and Goofy as marketing icons to sell us orange juice, now they’re our faithful companions, blocking with shields and healing with spells, as we explore new worlds and leave our childhoods behind, without forsaking the friendships and memories that made us who we are It's very nostalgic We’ve become a part of 'Kingdom Hearts,' and it’s become part of us, and even after 17 years, our hearts ain’t goin’ nowhere What's left of me now CTA: Thanks for watching everyone, There’s no way you’re taking Kairi’s heart! But you can tell us what you think of Kingdom Hearts III Leave a comment, let us know, Please subscribe to NowThis Nerd, and if you see Kerchak, Tell him ooh ah uh uh ah [a]split b-roll https://wwwyoutubecom/cha- nnel/UCCyrXyelKeXFx5KDgldMmNw/videos

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