Obvious Statement: Kingdom Hearts is a peculiar game if based solely on its premise. Basing it solely on premise would be a disservice to the franchise though. Beyond your heartfelt memories lies a rock solid action RPG, or card battle system, or dream simulator, or whatever other crazy game Kingdom Hearts happens to be at the time. Whatever the bizarre mechanic, it is sure to be anywhere between good and spectacular.
That being said, one of the major pulls for Kingdom Hearts games is living through some of your favorite Disney or SquareEnix stories. I know I was more than a little excited to visit the world of Pirates of the Caribbean in Kingdom Hearts 2. But as the Kingdom Hearts games continue to be made, and Disney continues to expand, I can not help but feel like Square and Disney are overlooking several obvious opportunities to mine our collective Disney/Square nostalgia pit. So I have assembled a list of Nostalgia Quarries that I feel should be excavated for Kingdom Hearts 3.
Muppets - Imagine if you will, a felt Sora, and a felt Keyblade, and felt Hearltess. Felt Heartless! The Hot Topic doors practically bust themselves down. Fighting alongside Miss Piggy, Kermit is too busy being green, and saving the world from Heartless that were enraged by Fozzie’s horrid jokes. The final confrontation takes place during a musical number where you have to fight to the rhythm of a frightfully uplifting song. Then maybe Beaker explodes.
Star Wars - There exists a multitude of Star Wars Games, almost all of them atrociously bad. However Kingdom Hearts has enjoyed remarkable luck with involving you in stories without breaking them. So hopefully Square could pull off the Fanfic I wrote where Sora and Han blow up the Deathstar, pistol whip the Emperor, and go pound shots at the Mos Eisley 2 Cantina. Seriously though, the struggle between good and evil is already there. Just make the Emperor spout off something about hearts and boom, Game of the Year.
Let us become real for a moment, we all want to bludgeon Darth Vader. All you have to do, Square, is make him the “Sephiroth” of Kingdom Hearts 3 and fans will be praising the game until the day they die.
Marvel - Forget Goofy and Donald, give me Gambit and Thor, or I would settle for a Hulk themed Keyblade. Nope, better idea: While in Marvel World you have several Forms. Instead of Brave Form you have Hulk Form, instead of Dark Form you have Wolverine Form, and instead of Magic Form you have Iron Man Form. There are a million stories in the Marvel universe, so just pick one and plant Hulk Sora in it.
Final Fantasy Tactics - The story of Final Fantasy Tactics is so convoluted and crazy that, sure, Heartless creatures could show up and start Heartlessing people. If Square wants to show that they really care about the fans they would give you a couple characters from Ivalice and stop trotting Cloud out. Cloud is tired, Square, not just tired from a usage standpoint, but he always looks like he is going to fall asleep, give the guy a break. But Ramza, now Ramza has a pep in his step. Make Sora fight all the Zodiac monsters and save the world all the while being rendered in that “sketchbook” artstyle introduced in the Final Fantasy Tactics PSP release.
Toy Story- “Hello, this is money calling. I just wanted to ring you up and ask why you are leaving me out here on this cold hard table?” Sora is mistaken for a new toy in Andy’s playroom except he knows he is real. But, through Woody and Buzz’s convincing, and a special Heartless that is stealing your memories, Sora’s memories, he is now convinced he is a toy. Then a fight, RC, Pizza Planet, The Claw, and finally you fight Sid the giant, with a rocket on your back as well. It would be like Shadow of the Colossus, only it is a young boy you are brutally assaulting.
The Emperor’s New Groove - Yzma is way more villainous than Maleficent could ever be. What did Maleficent ever do, turn into a dragon? Boring! Yzma turned a man into a llama, by accident! She meant to kill him, take his throne, and eat starving orphans. Give her one second with Maleficent and she will be using those silly dragon horns as goblets. Think the Heartless will listen to anyone but Yzma after she guts Krunk and gorges herself on his dripping entrails? Poor Krunk, should have pulled the right lever…
Indiana Jones – The Indiana Jones series already has a character that steals hearts so the main foe is pretty well sorted. You could burst through the underground mines, fighting giant bug and snake heartless, all the while sporting a stylish fedora. The level would take a turn for the dark as as Goofy is strapped to the sacrificial table and the Heartless priest attempts to remove his heart. Once saved, Goofy gives Sora a big sloppy kiss of appreciation and everyone laughs. Also Donald plays the role of Short Round.
The Curse of Monkey Island- LeChuck is already nine-tenths the way to being a Heartless so that is tied up nicely. All we need now is some witty dialog, Guybrush to say “Arrr,” and a couple leaps of Adventure Game logic. Or instead Sora could just make Guybrush look silly by using his giant key to solve all the puzzles. “No, you have to order the roast duck to get the oil to grease the palm of the tradesman to get the key for the chest.” Guybrush would protest.
“Or I have a key, it’s gigantic and opens every door.” Sora would sigh.
“But… adventure game…”
Gargoyles – Lightning flashes, rain drips off razored claws, a statue rumbles, cracks, and stands. The camera catches the stone silhouette from behind as harsh wings expand into the air. A flash of light flickers in one hand, fading quickly to reveal an enormous edged key. The creature glances behind, catching the camera with its sickly yellow eyes. A wink, a step, and the creature falls. A flap, a roar, and it ascends to the sky, facing against the moon and blotting it out before the camera fades to black.
Wait, what was the storyline to Gargoyles again?
Monsters Inc. – Another easy addition. Monsters scare kids, so do heartless. Sora must help Mike and Sully discover, reveal, and defeat Mr. Waternoose and his child hostage plans. This area could be used to seriously expand the Heartless types as nearly every creepy monster could be slapped with a black texture and the Heartless Crest. Think Darkside is intimidating? Try a gigantic slug lady made of shadows and bureaucracy.
The world of Monsters Inc. could also be used as hub station. Every closet leads to a child’s bedroom, so why not lead to a bedroom in Traverse Town of Halloween Town? Of course, this would cause some problems if the storyline for the original Monsters Inc. was used. Remember the whole ‘humans are poison’ plotline? Seeing as how Sora is a human, running from door to door freely would probably involve some costume change that will likely make millions for Hot Topic and Disney.
Power Rangers – In 2001the Power Rangers franchise was sold to Disney. They retained ownership until 2010, when the series creator, Haim Saban, bought the rights back for $43 Million. So there did exist a time in which Kingdom Hearts could have featured the Power Rangers. Rita Repulsa, The Green Ranger, Putties, Megazords, etc.
There are surely more that I missed; ones that would tap into your personal nostalgia reserves. What are those franchises? How would you want them to play out in Kingdom Hearts 3? Let us know in the comments.