I’ve been playing Kingdom Hearts II.5 ReMIX again. I am in love with this game. It was my favorite game of last year, without a single competitor. For real, nothing even remotely came close. It blew past the competition without a backwards glance. Sure, there was that annoying third game that was nothing but cutscenes, but I don’t even care about that. It doesn’t exist, in my mind. All that exists in the first two – Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Final Mix. Both of those games are absolutely stunning. The amount of content and great narrative just combines to make great games. The former is one of my favorite games of all time. What’s more, the HD remix version blows away the original. As I sit here, watching Tron tell the MCP who’s boss, I can’t help but think about the next entry in the franchise. I keep hearing about it. Some of what I am hearing is unsettling. Like, it’s going to be released this year? That makes no sense. They just began production in earnest. How can they be ready to release it already? Also, I am hearing talk about making Marvel and Star Wars worlds. We’ll get to that in a few. I compiled a list of the top 10 ways that the next entry into the franchise could be one of the greatest games ever made. I doubt Square Enix will ever read this, but if one of you could send it their way, I’d be very grateful.
10. No ‘Let it Go’, or musical levels
I swear, if I hear that god-awful song in this game, I am going to beat someone to death with their spine. I get that Disney wants Frozen in this game. They are big on whoring out their stuff. But for the love of God, no more musical levels! They suck! We know this! Let’s leave it at that.
9. Pixar Worlds
Why has Pixar been avoiding your love?! I know that Disney has rights to Pixar’s stuff. Their logo wouldn’t be in those movies if they didn’t. So why have we not seen any Pixar-based worlds?! That kind of animation lends itself easily to the style of Kingdom Hearts. So let’s get on that! With all the great selections to choose from, why not go bold? Toy Story comes first to mind, but they could all be great. Call me crazy, but part of me would love to see a Ratatouille world. I know, just thinking outside the box.
8. More NPCs
I get why the original two games didn’t have a lot of these. The second game pushed the PS2 hardware to its limits. It was a marvel of digital creation. But as I play Birth by Sleep, I can’t help but be a little put off of how deserted all these worlds feel. With how rich some of these environments are, they don’t feel lived in. The next game is going to be for current consoles. There is NO excuse why the worlds should feel barren. It’s time that we get people to interact with.
7. Take Your Time!
Why am I hearing about this game coming out this year? It was just announced! Unless you all have been busting ass without anyone knowing about it, it sounds like you are rushing to get this out there, now that Square Enix is on people’s good side again. That’s not cool! I want the next game in this franchise to be a powerhouse! I want it to wow my eyes and blow my fucking mind! You can do this, Square Enix! Just tell them to chill and to get this thing right. You’ve put almost a decade into a game that you are hedging your company’s future on (no joke, if Final Fantasy XV sucks, their company is probably going down with it), so take the time and get this thing right. Polish the edges to a smooth shine. Cook it to perfection. Metaphor for getting it right! Get it right!
6. Bring in Final Fantasy Villains
Now, I am hearing that this game will not be the last in the saga. It will end the Xehanort saga, and then end with them finally sealing the Door to Darkness and stopping the Heartless problem for good. If that is the case, then maybe this can wait for the last entry in the franchise. But the universe of Final Fantasy has some awesome villains! You brought in the most iconic, but how about some others? Like Seymour from Final Fantasy X, or even better – Kefka! He would be awesome! I had this scene in my mind of the next game introducing him. He’s like this perplexing character, who you have no idea whose side he’s on. Is he evil? Is he good? What is he? Then, in the end, he kills the final boss, after you beat him, and busts open the Door to Darkness and lets it all out. He lets the Heartless run totally effing nuts in all the worlds. Effectively making shit get real. That would get me so pumped for the next entry! Wouldn’t it you?! So yeah, just putting this out there, it’s a big catalog of great villains. Use them.
5. More Side-Quests
I couldn’t help but notice that pretty much every side-quest in the original two games was either collecting stuff or doing jobs for cash. In all the worlds that we could visit, give us stuff to do! I will say that it never felt like busy work, but you can do better. Have character interactions and random assortments of shit to get done. Just putting that out there.
4. More Creative Levels
I touched on this with my post about the worlds I want to see in the next game. However, I thought I would clarify here. In Kingdom Hearts II, there was a world based on the old Disney films. It was rendered in an old Disney style. You even had Sora done in old-school Japanese animation. That was clever! That kind of creativity should come into the next game. I still hold that I would love to see you all play with the concept of Fantasia. Have a place without dialogue, where the music tells the story. I have a million and a half ideas about how that could be done, but it’s you all’s show. I know that it’s easy for you to just give Disney what they want by whoring out their shiny new stuff. But you all can do better than that. A sprinkle of mad-crazy creativity will go a long way.
3. More Final Fantasy Characters
An extension of the previous idea, we need more characters from Final Fantasy. And not just the 3D ones. Give some love to the 2D games! Let’s get Edge in there! Or Shadow. Or Locke. I’d say Terra too, but you already have a character with that name in the franchise, so that’s out. Also, let’s throw the SJWs a bone and have Lightning be in the game. I really liked her character in XIII, and it sucks how she got milked in two terrible games that followed. Now’s a chance to have her shine, fighting side-by-side with Cloud and Leon. The three could be a trio of ass-kicking badasses. Or have a girl power moment with her, Tifa and Yuffie fighting it out. We need more characters from this franchise in this game. It’s time.
2. A-Game Voice Actors
Now, here is where it gets sticky. Part of this is due to Square Enix putting Kingdom Hearts on the back-burner for so long. Haley Joel Osment is in his 30’s. Hayden Penetierre isn’t far behind. David Gallagher is too. The three biggest names in the franchise, and they might not sound the part. If so, honestly, I am not against replacing them. I know, I know! It would be terrible, in some ways. But I’d rather have a good game that has great voice acting than bringing them back. Not to mention, they might not come. Not sure what any of them are doing, these days. I know that Penetierre is starring in a new survival-horror game that is based on old slasher movies. So maybe she’s still got it. But if changes have to be made, do what you have to do. Though get people who can sound the part, eh? But aside from those three, it’s time to bring the A-Game to the table. For real, I want this to have the best people you can find. Whoever ends up dubbing this game, you have a lot riding on you. Get it right!
And the best way to make this game awesome is…
1. No Marvel and Star Wars!
Why do so many people want this?! Am I the only one who saw how ugly the world of Pirates of the Caribbean was?! Not to mention, why do a Marvel world, when you could do a world based on The Incredibles? That would be totally awesome. But, for real, all worlds based on real-life places look awful. I find it so amazing that you knew to adapt Final Fantasy character models to fight in the game’s style, but didn’t do the same with real-life characters. I get that Disney wants to whore this out right now. But you must resist! For the sake of not making worlds that suck!
So, what do you all think? What would you all like to see in the next Kingdom Hearts? Do you want to see Marvel and Star Wars in there? Let me know in the comments section.
Until next time, a quote,
“It isn’t how often you see each other that’s important. It’s how often you think about each other.” -Hayner, Kingdom Hearts II