With the Kingdom Hearts 20-year anniversary event occurring early next week, fans have been discussing what they want to see announced alongside what is reasonably expected. Personally, I’ve been finding myself more cynical regarding the outcomes of this event, primarily due to the fact that it will not be live-streamed.
This will be solely in-person for lucky lottery winners in Japan, so the chances are that if something is shown, it will undoubtedly be behind closed doors. Participants will be forbidden from taking photos or videos of the premises, though discussion after the fact is allowed. Further, Square Enix has stated that a video of the event will be made available at a later date, but there has been no specification on when exactly that will be.
In essence, this 20-year anniversary event has been leaving many of us fans simultaneously anxious and thrilled for understandable reasons. However, assuming the worst doesn’t come to pass and there are notable announcements aside from merchandise, some baseline news should be provided.
Firstly, assuming that Square Enix doesn’t randomly release the rest of Kingdom Hearts Dark Road prior to the event (which, considering that game’s haphazard existence, wouldn’t surprise me) concrete information about when the rest of that title’s offline version will be released should be stated. The recent delay was denoted by brevity, so it’s highly probable that the rest of Dark Road will launch either on the anniversary date or shortly thereafter. I’d classify this as more of an expectation that has to be addressed during the event.
Another fair expectation should be some news on the next console entry for the series. Regardless of how minor or vague this news will end up being, such as a logo, official confirmation of another console game in the works would kickstart hype. As for what this game can be, there are countless possibilities. Many, including myself, desire a Kairi-centric title containing more traditional gameplay than Melody of Memory’s spinoff nature. Considering her training with Aqua, the Fortellers’ arrival, and the presence of the rest of the primary cast in the Realm of Light sans Riku and Sora, an unimaginable amount of directions can be pursued there.
Another console entry that is far less exciting, at least personally, is a Mickey-centric game focusing on his journey to Scala ad Caelum based on the final scene from Melody of Memory. Honestly, though, this seems far less likely since I doubt they’d bother with a Mickey-centric title, but hey, it could happen.
One last new console possibility worth bringing up is the ever-elusive Verum Rex. Judging from the finale of Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind, the ties to the ill-fated Final Fantasy Versus XIII are becoming increasingly evident. Several fans want to see an entry focused on this new plane of existence with Yozora as a protagonist. I find this possibility more likely than a Mickey-only game, and there’s definite bias from me due to my lingering sentimentality with Versus XIII as a whole.
Ultimately, though, I believe a Kairi-centric game is the most likely scenario going forward if only 1 new title is announced at the anniversary event. She has been receiving extensively more focus on merchandise and marketing than ever before, and her backstory will be undeniably crucial to future events. Aside from a few qualms with her writing in Re Mind, I’ve enjoyed her characterization so far, with Melody of Memory enhancing that appreciation. Her finally receiving the sole spotlight would be quite cool.
Those aforementioned points cover people’s most prominent expectations, which I think are reasonable. News regarding Dark Road, general celebratory merchandise, and at least 1 new console game are the baseline of what fans expect to see brought up. Next, however, let’s dive into the more unrealistic scenarios; fan desires. And to be blunt, I don’t see most of these forthcoming desires being fulfilled, but let’s at least humor them.
By far, the most frequent desire I’ve seen when going around social media is a remake for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Now, I’ll be honest; I’m not entirely sure why this is even being brought up so strongly as a likely possibility by so many. While Days is one of the more beloved entries in the series, and it not being playable on consoles is unfortunate, I was under the impression that fans wanted to move forward rather than make revisions to the past. Well, that might just be me projecting. Regardless, as neat as it would be to receive a full-on modern remake of Days, I don’t ever see that happening, primarily because there’s no realistic point to it aside from satiating fan desires. It’d be neat as a side-project, but since there’s already an HD movie adapting that game’s general events on consoles, Square probably views that as a complete experience all on its own.
An HD movie adaptation of the events in Kingdom Hearts Union χ fits the realm of expectation since the events of that colossal collective entry will need to be known going forward. However, unrealistic desires are for an MMO remake or single-player experience. As much as I yearn for the latter, it just seems too good to be true. I have no specific reason for labeling this as unrealistic aside from the scenario seeming too idealistic. I’d love to be proven wrong, though.
In 2020, rumors from journalists and the like began sprouting regarding an animated Disney Plus series for Kingdom Hearts. While Disney has been steadily acknowledging Kingdom Hearts more than ever before, an entire dedicated series on their streaming series seems way too hopeful and ambitious to be true. Similar to how I feel about a Kingdom Hearts Union χ remake, I’d love to be proven wrong, but I don’t believe Disney has quite that much faith in this IP to greenlight a show on their platform. Specific points of these rumors can be viewed via KH13’s initial coverage.
Also, I haven’t seen anyone discuss this potentiality, but I figured it’s at least worth bringing up; a prospective next-generation upgrade for Kingdom Hearts III. It has been over 3 years since Kingdom Hearts III’s initial console release, so the chances for a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X upgrade are rather slim, especially when judging how Final Fantasy VII Remake already received such treatment. Still, it’d be a neat gift to fans to celebrate this anniversary.
I’m sure I missed some desires and expectations, but those should be general enough lists of both categories. With how much Square Enix has been hyping up this event since its announcement late last year, they clearly have some news in store, though it’s a matter of whether their announcements provide enough sustenance for fans.
20 years is a long, long time for such an unconventional wild-card franchise as Kingdom Hearts, and it deserves to be thoroughly celebrated. Here’s hoping we don’t leave April 10, 2022, feeling disappointed beyond all measure. Obviously, not every fan can be satisfied, but if it’s clear that Square is pouring effort into numerous projects, I’m sure most of us will be happy, even if it’s the silent majority.
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