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Shade Is The Heart's TRUE Essence

Pahrak Model ZX

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Recently Famitsu did a survey in honor of Kingdom Hearts' 15th anniversary, asking things like favorite characters, favorite scenes, what Final Fantasy characters you want to see (Bartz placed fifth!!), etc. More recently, Nomura responded to these results, and there were two things that really stood out to me.

 

One: he is disappointed that Riku didn't place higher in the popularity poll and wants to fix that. I wholeheartedly agree.

 

And two:

 

tumblr_ooazab5uHb1r2j8o4o1_500.png

 

(screenshot from KHInsider)

 

Nomura has called American fans out on their impatient, entitled attitude, and it gives me life.

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I got old waiting for this game to come out.

 

Seriously. In between KH2 and KH3 I've:

 

• Started High School in the US

• Graduated High School in the US

• Stuck it out in the Singapore army

• Literally all of college

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I just have never felt saying we've waited forever for KHIII is entirely fair.  It makes it sound like Square has been holding out on us and doing nothing the entire time, when we've gotten a bunch of games since then, most of which have had massive pot developments.

 

Like, KHII is a pretty good endpoint for everything that's happened up to then, and what is put in there to hint at the future was all pointing to/picked up in BBS.  The only things that we've been reasonably expecting since then but haven't gotten yet are the title Kingdom Hearts III (which I am honestly fine without) and Keyblade transformations as a functioning game mechanic (okay that one I have been lusting for).

 

Imagine going back to 06 and talking to someone who had just beaten Kingdom Hearts II.  If they asked what III was going to be about and you said "Well seven Guardians of Light, including Axel who has a Keyblade now, are going to be fighting thirteen different versions of Xehanort who are all existing at the same time via a combination of heart-splitting, possession, and time travel in order to stop him from forging the X-blade (no, not Keyblade) and reigniting the apocalyptic war Kairi's grandmother vaguely alluded to in the first game", they'd be kinda lost.

 

It's just...a lot has happened, and I feel like many fans tend to act like none of it matters solely on the basis of the title.  That the work Square has put in doesn't matter.  It just bothers me.

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But like, if everything in between is all the in between, why hasn't there been an interim sequel? Is KH3D important? I don't have a 3DS so I didn't play it (nor did I play Days). It feels like rather than making a real sequel Square Enix's been making midquels for as many different consoles as possible, with never a second game on the same platform after KH2.

 

This isn't like MGS:Peace Walker where there wasn't an intended sequel (until MGSV was announced), it was implied that Something More was going to happen. It feels a bit like a cash grab, and a lot like development heck.

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I would say that 3D is important (as well as BBS, which I already mentioned).  There was an interview (here) where Nomura talks a lot about how he considers 3D, 0.2, and KHIII all part of the same story, and says he’s put parts of it out to benefit pacing of the plot and give players something to tide them over.  How that can be received, well…

 

In any event, the short version of KH3D’s relevance: it tells us what to expect in KHIII, with Xehanort’s new scheme, (some of) the new incarnations of Xehanort, some concepts that might become relevant, a tentative lineup of Good Guys ™, and a reason for Sora’s level to go back to 1. (Not gonna lie I like that they always have a reason.) Pretty much all of that is in the last world so if you’re curious I’d say just look up a playthrough of that bit and consult the Wiki for any questions that you find yourself with.

 

There is a decent chance cash grab is involved—the compilations are really only notable for bringing Final Mixes out of Japan, 2.8 is an oddity in and of itself, Days and coded contribute little if anything to the overall story (the former debatably just a display of Organization XIII fanservice)—but 3D is…well, I guess you could say it’s somewhere in the middle.  It definitely has important story developments and is considered a main title, but said developments are spaced out quite a bit for a game that feels a little short.  Not to say I didn’t love it, the gameplay is phenomenal and Riku claimed his birthright as Best Guy, but you’d have a case for saying a large portion of it is filler.

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That's I think what harms the franchise. It's parceled out, sure, but it becomes much harder to just be kinda into the games. Had they called 3D just 3, I'd be somewhat more forgiving, especially if they scaled it up to a full release. It feels like breadcrumbs, especially in the past buncha years, where it's like "Here's this, until you get the real thing."

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I have to admit, I'm beginning to feel a little impatient myself.  The X set of games just have so little relevant plot spaced out over such a long period of time, and other than that the only break from remasters has been 0.2, which is short and packaged with a remaster.  Also I haven't been able to play it myself.

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See, cash grab? I appreciate Nomura's shade — heck, years between KH2 and now are a running joke at this point — but I do think the impatience is a valid point.

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