15 Years ago today PlayStation 2 players were able to go out and buy Kingdom Hearts for the first time. This game developed due to a partnership between Square Enix and Disney, creating a brand new Action RPG taking characters from Final Fantasy and Disney, and putting them all together in a universe of their own. While this game was originally released for the PlayStation 2, today Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 has released bringing almost all of the titles, including the original Kingdom Hearts, to PlayStation 4, and with the addition of previously released Kingdom Hearts 2.8, you can experience every Kingdom Hearts game on the PlayStation 4.
The way that Kingdom Hearts came around though was purely by chance when Tetsuya Nomura, current director and designer for Square Enix, overheard Shinji Hashimoto and Hironobu Sakaguchi, two of Square Enix’s producers, commenting on the success of Super Mario 64 and that the only way to be able to make a game with similar movement in three dimensions that could rival its success would be by using Disney characters. Nomura had the idea of pairing Final Fantasy characters with the popular Disney characters, the producers liked the idea so much they appointed Nomura as director. This was somewhat a daunting task for Nomura though as he had never been in a director’s role before. That’s when the next opportunity arose to continue the development of what would end up becoming Kingdom Hearts. Square and Disney both shared a building in Japan and shortly after the idea was conceived Hoshimoto ended up in an elevator with an executive from Disney. During this time he was able to pitch the idea to the executive who decided that it sounded like a good idea, development began on Kingdom Hearts in early 2000.
The story for Kingdom Hearts was originally meant to be a lot simpler with the idea in mind to create a game that would appeal to Disney’s regular target audience. Once a plot had been created, Sakaguchi approached Nomura with the belief that if they didn’t make a story line on the same level as previous Square Enix titles, such as the Final Fantasy series they had become so known for, that it would fail. Nomura took this advice and continued developing the story to what we have today. While there were a lot of aspects that were changed during development various aspects have since been revealed to the general public including original sketch work for the main character Sora, who used to be part lion.
Now the franchise has eight different games across six different platforms, three remakes, and four collections that have been put together allowing you to play all of the titles on generations going forward. All of these titles are a direct consequence of Nomura overhearing a conversation and believing that he could make that game.
Do you remember the first time you played Kingdom Hearts? What was your favorite world from the original game?