With Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts 3 coming out in a matter of weeks, it turns out that the long-awaited sequel wouldn't have happened if the game's director couldn't use Pixar characters.
The first Kingdom Hearts hit the PlayStation 2 back in 2002 and was an inventive Final Fantasy/Disney crossover. As the franchise expanded, more and more characters from the world of Disney have made their way into Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts 3 is the final chapter in the arc that started all those years ago and will focus on Pixar newcomers like James P. Sullivan and Buzz Lightyear.
A big pull of Kingdom Hearts 3 will be Pixar movies like Toy Story and Monsters, Inc., so it's not surprising that Tetsuya Nomura told the February 2019 issue of EDGE (via GamingBolt) that he wouldn't have it any other way:
“After we were done with Kingdom Hearts II and were starting to consider III, we started talks with Disney, I remember saying, ‘If we can’t use Pixar, then we can’t have a third game. It’s that important to the game series. The whole world loves Toy Story – everybody feels the appeal of that story and those characters. So yeah, at the very beginning I directly said to them, “If we can’t get this, I don’t want to do it’.”
While new locations include Tangled's Kingdom of Corona, Big Hero 6's San Fransokyo, and Frozen's Arendelle, Pixar worlds like Toy Box and Mostropolis promise to make up a big part of the story.
Nomura went on to explain the collaborative process between Square Enix and Pixar that led to the finished product of Kingdom Hearts 3:
"I wrote a general outline of the story and I submitted it to Pixar. It took them several years to okay the story and the character designs. Previous to Kingdom Hearts III, I think these companies kind of saw it more as like, secondary rights permissions. They saw it more as a product like you would a branded toy or something.”
In particular, Kingdom Hearts fans have been pestering for Toy Story's inclusion since the first game. The road to Kingdom Hearts 3 has been a long one, and fans only have to look at the hyped reveal of the Toy Story-inspired world at D23 2017 to see that developers made the right choice by adding Pixar to the roster.
It's also interesting to note that other beloved Disney movies like Treasure Planet, The Jungle Book, and Pocahontas are still missing from Kingdom Hearts. Disney's recent Ralph Breaks the Internet was a treasure trove of Disney properties and even included nods to the expansive galaxy of Star Wars. That being said, Nomura saying a third game would've never happened without Pixar properties might seem a little extreme.
Either way, Kingdom Hearts 3 looks like it could be one of 2019's biggest games and will hopefully be a faithful end to the franchise's Dark Seeker saga. Although gamers would love to see the entire Disney back catalog in Kingdom Hearts 3, they're going to have to come to terms with the fact that not everything will fit into the role-playing game. Still, there's plenty of room for some Pixar favorites before the credits roll.
Source: EDGE (via GamingBolt)