When Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts 3 was first announced, people begun preying for Star Wars and Marvel worlds involving the BTEC Justice League, The Avengers. While everyone else was off doing that, I was instead penning an entitled letter demanding that Tetsuya Nomura include The Great Mouse Detective, The Incredibles, and The Brave Little Toaster because Sora and co as kitchen utensils would be incredible no matter the objection from any naysayers. I was also spending most of my time binge watching Disney’s greatest animated series, Gravity Falls. And, while doing this, my miniscule brain occasionally thought about how perfect the Gravity Falls setting is for Kingdom Hearts. That was until creator Alex Hirsch called Square Enix’s Final Fantasy and Disney crossover an abomination that proves God doesn’t exist.
Now, Alex Hirsch’s scathing criticism isn’t new as he said it way back when Tumblr was something I sort of liked, but his damning judgement has resonated with me a lot as I’ve become a grouchy old man who is dubious about everything. You can listen to Alex Hirsch’s harsh words about Square Enix’s franchise by clicking here, but to sum it up he basically blacklists Kingdom Hearts as Space Jam levels of cynical that proves God doesn’t exist as Mickey Mouse in a goth hoodie with zippers is the absolute worst sight. My initial reaction was to tell Hirsch to calm down and breathe as Kingdom Hearts isn’t that bad or serious, but then the pesky and distrustful minions overtaking my brain are slowly forcing me to come to the realisation that he’s right.
Look, I adore Kingdom Hearts 3 (despite its obvious drawbacks) and I probably will always love the franchise, but there’s no denying it’s a superficially pretty series that is only popular because it plays off our nostalgia for Disney and childhood. It’s certainly not the convoluted and poorly written story that keeps us coming back, nor is it the Final Fantasy rejects that don’t know how to work a zip. There’s no substance, and all it essentially succeeds in doing is advertising Disney flicks and brainwashing us into thinking that every formulated movie churned out at Mickey Mouse’s overworked factory is the greatest thing of all time. Like with Space Jam, the older I get, the less Kingdom Hearts feels like a unique passion project, and more a thinly veiled royalties scheme.
This isn’t to say I will abandon Kingdom Hearts as it’s impossible for me to do so (I’ve invested way too much of my life into it). Instead, I am merely admitting to myself that Tetsuya Nomura’s ridiculous story and Organization of angsty and airheaded emos simply don’t matter as the sole purpose of Kingdom Hearts is and has always been to promote Disney movies, toys, clothes, and whatever else they have their characters’ faces stamped on. Yes, you can say this has always been obvious, but there will forever be children and die-hard aficionados that are blind or refuse to see the truth. You could also say that it doesn’t matter, but then I’d ask you to honestly consider the amount of times you’ve criticised a movie for shameless advertising and product placement.
In other Kingdom Hearts 3 news, Tetsuya Nomura has explained Final Fantasy's absence and why Star Wars and Marvel weren’t able to be included as worlds, and the director has also suggested there will be another spin-off before Kingdom Hearts 4. You can also check out my ranking of the Disney worlds by clicking here.
As for Square Enix, they’ve discussed the sales of Shadow Of The Tomb Raider (in which they failed Lara Croft), and the director of Final Fantasy 14 has said he wants the 16th instalment to take the series back to its roots.