Final Fantasy characters played major roles in the Kingdom Hearts series, but they were absent from KH3. Here’s why it was a good choice.
Tetsuya Nomura Final fantasy The series helped pave the way for the modern JRPG. By creating layered stories and complex characters, players began to care less about achieving the next goal and more about how the story would unfold. These characters and their stories were then incorporated into the narrative of Kingdom Hearts, and heroes like the great ninja Yuffie, Cloud Strife, and Leon (Squall Lionheart) play an important role in Sora’s story.
However, when Kingdom Hearts III launched, fans were surprised by the glaring lack of Final fantasy characters throughout the history of the game. It seemed unorthodox, as these games generally go hand in hand with other Nomura series. However, once the story was over and the credits rolled, it was clear that their absence made sense and benefited the story as a whole.
Most crossover appearances in video games are brief cameos or nods to an overall story, like Aiden Pierce from Watch dogs appearing in Assassin’s Creed. However, in Kingdom Hearts, Final fantasy the characters sometimes play a major role in moving the story forward. For example, Leon points Sora in the right direction through Traverse Town. However, in a game that is already heavily exposed, these appearances can slow down the momentum of the story and hamper Sora’s adventure. Without them appearing in Kingdom Hearts III, the narrative ultimately plays out better, with Sora making decisions that aren’t sandwiched between dialogue scenes with Final fantasy characters.
These appearances sometimes caused plot holes or dangling plot threads that did not alter or enhance the story. Often they only existed as a fan service. Final Fantasy VII‘s Cloud is a prime example. He first appears in the Colosseum in the original Kingdom Hearts as a challenger. Players can test their might against him in the competition, but he doesn’t appear anywhere else.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud’s foe Sephiroth makes an appearance as an optional boss. After his defeat, he and Cloud disappear, never to be seen again. While this is an undeniably great moment, it keeps the story going overall and without moving anything forward. Without those moments in Kingdom Hearts III, the game instead focuses exclusively on its main characters.
The absence of Final fantasy characters from Kingdom Hearts III also helped create an emotional ending to the game. The final act of the story sees Sora, Donald and Goofy face off against each member of Master Xehanort’s Organization XIII; each defeat saw the return of other heroes from across the series. Without the Final fantasy characters, Kingdom Hearts IIIthe end seemed exclusive to Kingdom Hearts universe and less like a major crossover, which makes it more powerful.
Kingdom Hearts and Final fantasy make a great pair, bridge the gap between fans of Final fantasy, Disney and JRPG. However, excluding Final fantasy characters from Kingdom Hearts III, the story flourished and was able to wrap up well over a decade of storytelling. the Kingdom Hearts III Re: Mind The DLC then reintroduced characters like Sid and Yuffie, but here it feels more organic and necessary than forced. For longtime fans, seeing them again in the DLC was refreshing, but it also reinforced that excluding them from the base game was the right choice.
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