Yo I borrowed a friends Ds and another friends Psp To Play 258/2 and Birth by sleep. I Loved Birth by Sleep thought 358 was hot garbage later would borrow another friends 3Ds for Dream Drop Distance. I beat that game I don’t remember any of it beside the World ends with you characters and the Dream eaters.
This is unlikely to happen but what if y’all did the Dot Hack games next
I would even settle for just .hack//Sign. It’d be cool to hear everyone’s thoughts on it.
Austin mentioning Morrowind’s lore reminded me of this concept art I saw recently when I fell down that particular wiki hole, which seems extremely appropriate for this podcast, specifically the “head burst from enlightenment” bit:
P.S. You should totally do Morrowind (or Daggerfall) because I don’t think enough people truly understand exactly how important giant mechs are to the Elder Scrolls lore, and who better to teach them than Waypoint?
358/2 Days is maybe not the best game in the series, but for me it has the strongest character moments in the series. The interactions between Roxas and Axel always get to me; the scenes of Roxas getting pissed and leaving the Organization in particular.
Some more stuff about the release timeline:
Kingdom Hearts: coded, the original phone game, was episodic, think a Telltale game. They released an episode every month or two, so while it was originally released before 358/2 Days and Birth By Sleep, by the time we got to the conclusion of the game that mentions Xion and the trio from Birth By Sleep, those games had already come out. All three games were supposed to be some kind of lead-up to the next big installment of the series, which ended up being Dream Drop Distance.
My Organization XIII name is Xattm, which I think is as good as it’s going to get with my name.
As for suggestions, I was thinking maybe Assassin’s Creed. Those games go some places. I think it could be really interesting, and lead to some shenanigans when describing certain scenes, the end of Assassin’s Creed 2 for example.
Man, I know how hard yall are trying and I got real respect and all, but yall forgot the reveal that Namine is Kairi’s Nobody and that’s REAL IMPORTANT yo. Like, I’m not even sure if I should have spoiler tagged that since it’s pretty important going forward.
But yeah, Coded’s a real weird thing. I actually enjoyed watching the video of it for about 2/3rds of it’s runtime though, even if the last part is pretty dull. It’s the start of the series turning Maleficent and Pete into the Team Rocket of the series, which is such a good move.
Also about the KH2 secret ending thing, it really is kind of the peak of the weird vibe KH gives off in it’s story. I think the best way to describe it is that it feels like the series was written in non-linear time. I think Nomura’s got all of KIngdom Hearts 4 already planned out and has already planted the seeds for literally everything that happens in it, and then when it actually happens I’m gonna be like “you just made that up on the go”. But he didn’t! Probably? Everything was there! It’s kind of like if Miyazaki included literally everything he has in his Dark Souls Bible in the games and we didn’t have to do any historian-level narrative reasembly.
Oh, and I got a weird suggestion for more Lore Reasons. What if instead of peicing together a proper narrative that kind of already exists, you try to build one from games that don’t try to make that narrative themselves? I’m saying you should try and construct a Sonic the Hedgehog timeline. Where does the GBA game fit in? Which Shadow the Hedgehog route was canon? Are the Archie Comics and alternate universe? I think it could be a similar level of Wild as this show is right now! Which is an EXTREMELY good thing!
So a thing about this is that y’all miss out on the anime melodrama in a lot of places, which I would say is pretty important. Here’s the scene where Axel takes Xion back:
Also makes clear Dis is an asshole.
And when Roxas merges with Sora, again, Dis is a piece of shit:
Those two just stood out to me as scenes that would be worth watching, at least. They provide a lot of a character and context you can’t really get by recounting the Plot Relevant stuff, of course watching all the cutscenes isn’t really feasible and you probably don’t want to, but yeah I just thought these were worth seeing.
I’m gonna premptively throw my hat in the ring for Morrowind as well.
Okay for real, y’all KILLED it this time around, especially on Days, but I’m back at it again with some clarification/important tidbits! (Sorry it’s so long)
Axel remembers everything from his pre-Nobody life, as do most Nobodies- Roxas is the exception to the rule. This is important because in Birth By Sleep, Ven meets teenaged Lea and Isa, later Axel and Saïx, who were once best friends, and the two of them have some ongoing Drama™.
Saïx (pronounced sigh-icks) does not get sent to Castle Oblivion- instead, Saïx specifically chooses Org members who are either traitors (Marluxia, Larxene) or getting in his way (Vexen, Lexaeus, Zexion) to be sent to Castle Oblivion, along with Axel, who Saïx had secretly instructed to get rid of everyone else. Axel does, in fact, personally kill Vexen, uses Repliku to kill Zexion, and lets Naminé go so she can help Sora kill the rest. (Axel and Saïx are constantly up to some real cloak & dagger shit throughout CoM/Days and I love it)
The “Proof of Connection” thing y’all referred to re: Lingering Will is just a little cosmetic thing you get for beating Lingering Will bc he’s fuckin tough to beat. When it says “Perhaps it has changed Sora somehow,” it literally just means Sora gets a little crown on his head.
The heart, body, and mind/soul are explicitly different things. We see this in Terra (his body being Terranort, his heart being buried in Terranort somewhere, and his mind controlling Lingering Will), and this is even explicitly stated in KH3 (this quote was posted on the KH JP Twitter before the game came out, so minimal spoilers): “We only need his heart in order to forge the key- we do not need his soul.”
Org XIII does, in fact, start with 13 members. As of the start of KH2, with Roxas having bailed, approximately half remains: Xemnas, Xigbar, Xaldin, Saïx, Axel, Demyx, and Luxord. The other 5 (Vexen, Lexaeus, Zexion, Marluxia, Larxene) were killed in CoM. Sora kills all of the remaining Org members over the course of KH2, except for Axel, who kills himself in his big self-sacrifice (more on this later). Xion was technically the 14th, but she was never actually counted as a real member because she was a replica.
Roxas’ dreams at the beginning of KH2 are Sora’s memories of KH1 as Naminé works on restoring them to Sora (which conveniently serves as a recap of KH1). With each night’s worth of dreams, a spooky robotic voice says “Restoration at x%,” and that percentage increases every night until it reaches 97% the night before Roxas returns to Sora.
DiZ calling Naminé a witch is mostly because DiZ is a giant fucking asshole and takes every available opportunity to shit on Naminé and Roxas. She just has memory powers over Sora & those connected to him bc of how she was made (Kairi’s heart leaving Sora’s body).
Chicken Little is really a fuckin good summon early- to mid-game, we stan Zach Braff’s fursona (also, the KH2FM speedrun uses him a good bit)
Axel kidnaps Kairi to bait Sora into coming after him so that Axel can turn Sora back into a Heartless to get Roxas back. Kairi gets away, Axel’s plan fails, so with the Organization closing in on him, Axel blows himself up to save Sora, and by proxy Roxas, from a shitload of Nobodies. (It’s kinda fucked up.) Roxas is so upset by this that it awakens him within Sora, leading to the Roxas vs. Sora fight. (As an aside: the music for that fight, The Other Promise, is the best boss fight music of all time and I will fight anyone on this)
Kingdom Hearts reforms in KH2 directly due to you playing the game- this is what Saïx reveals in the middle of the game, that by killing Heartless, you are releasing their hearts, which assemble to form Kingdom Hearts. Sora has a big internal conflict over whether continuing to fight is the right thing to do if doing do advances the Org’s plan, even though people will be hurt if he doesn’t.
Also, as a bonus, I would really recommend watching the scene where Axel tries to pull the “Knowing the truth isn’t going to help you” bullshit on Roxas because Roxas is having absolutely fucking NONE of it (also, big shoutouts to Jesse McCartney’s delivery here, he’s so good):
Anyway! You’re doing great! And since you mentioned maybe playing BBS, thought I’d just mention that each story of BBS is approximately 6-8 hours long with some extra stuff at the end, so the experience overall is about 25 hours.
Seconding the suggestion to watch the Roxas returning to Sora cutscene- the impact of this scene after spending 3+ hours with Roxas (“Looks my summer vacation is… over,” the LATE title card, going from Roxas’ tragically sad theme into Sora’s super bombastic one) really can’t be overstated. It still gives me chills every single time
Austin asked about what it was like for fans waiting 5 years for Birth By Sleep after Kingdom Hearts 2 so I just wanted to talk about my experience. I finished KH2 when I was 10 (about the same time as I started to build an online identity - hence why my username is a reference to the series) but had to wait until I was 15 play Birth By Sleep.
KH2 Final Mix never came out in Europe so I remember being wowed on message boards by extremely-low-resolution animations of some secret boss-fight in Final Mix. It was a video like this except from 2007, not on YouTube, with no audio and just titled “Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix Secret Boss” or something. I also eventually saw this video of the Japanese cut-scene around that boss fight. I understood none of this but 12-year-old me was in awe of them.
Side-note: In 2009 I had an extended trip to the US with my sister to meet my Mum's new boyfriend where I got to play what I believed was KH2FM. WARNING: This story evolves into talking about REAL WEAPONRY
We stayed at his house in Missouri for 3 weeks. Early on during the holiday, we went to a Walmart and I begged my mum to buy us a US PS2. She agreed thinking it would be nice to have something for me and my sister to play if her relationship with him continued. One of the games available was Kingdom Hearts II, but it had the Final Mix+ cover. I knew the game had only ever been officially released in Japan but I just had to take my chance to play it. They had all the games behind locked glass cabinets which were situated with all their other locked-goods. It still gives me chills asking a staff member to get the Disney game for me while surrounded by assault rifles (especially as someone who has never seen a real gun before or since).
Conveniently, as the Final Mix version was an excuse to bring the English-speaking “International” release to Japan, the game was almost completely in English. Since I had limited time to play it, I never figured out if it was the Final Mix version or they just had the incorrect cover on the box. The secret boss I saw a few years prior stayed a distant idea in my head as I never got up to the fact during our short trip. We left the PS2 when we returned to the UK with the possibility of coming back. A few weeks later, my mum got a call from the US Police asking her questions about this man she had met up with. Turns out he had sold almost everything in the house, including the PS2, to stock up on weapons in the basement with the intent to take down the government. 14-year-old me barely understood what was going on (it’s still a surreal memory) but I do remember selfishly being disappointed I’d never finish that KH2FM playthrough…
During my early teens, I continued to be excited about the series even though I was afraid to tell other kids that I still liked “the Disney game”. I already adored Roxas so I made sure to play 358/2 Days and was deeply affected by Roxas’, Axel’s and Xion’s friendship (even if I hated the mission-structure of the game). When I knew that Birth By Sleep was finally coming out in September 2010, I saved up to buy a second-hand PSP and played Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII while I waited. I thought about getting the all-digital PSP GO which had released in 2009 but chose not to when I found out Square Enix planned not to release BBS digitally. I vividly remember watching a Philip DeFranco video talking about Sony’s woes with PSP GO where he mentioned one of the reasons for low sales was that the most anticipated PSP title was a Kingdom Hearts game that you wouldn’t be able to play on it. It’s the only time I remember BBS being mentioned around release by someone somewhat-mainstream.
Birth By Sleep met and exceeded my expectations. I pre-ordered the special version with a small art-book in a lovely cardboard box featuring Aqua, Terra and Ventus. It’s still my favourite cover for a KH game and I still have it: I even kept it visible from my bed for over 8 years (I plan to put them back up when I finish redecorating my room). The cover had so much energy to it and I couldn’t help getting excited with ideas for who they were “Is that guy if Riku was a Samurai? Is that Roxas? THEY FINALLY LET A GIRL USE THE KEYBLADE”. I thought it was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen when the game’s intro revealed you got to choose who to play as. The other two weren’t going to relegated to the Donald and Goofy side-kicks either - they were going to have their own adventure and I desperately wanted to see it all.
The Shotlock attacks and many abilities unique to Aqua, Terra and Ventus made it feel like a true evolution of the KH2 combat (whereas 358/2 Days felt like a poor imitation). Seeing all the Disney worlds implied in Kingdom Hearts 1 (like Snow White’s, Cinderella’s and Sleeping Beauty’s lost worlds) felt like finally having a core part of KH1’s backdrop revealed. To this day, the set of Disney worlds in BBS are still the most exciting for me. BBS was the first game in the series to continue the main plot piece-by-piece during every Disney world. Plus, since the story was split between the three characters going their separate ways and then crossing paths at key points, I was always being fed new and exciting plot details. Entering the Keyblade Graveyard and seeing the secret ending to KH2 unfold in front of me only to then play it is still one the most satisfying climactic moments in a game for me. The game managed to surprise me one last time with an Epilogue after you beat all three playthroughs which wasn’t just a cut-scene! The epilogue was multiple post-games bosses that had understandable and important plot-relevance (unlike the typical strange Heartless of original KH1 and KH2).
It helped that the gameplay felt like an evolution of KH2’s combat, rather than a poor handheld imitation like 358/2 days. The new Shotlock ability was actually useful and each of the protagonists had new and unique abilities that made them feel special. Even the most basic of moves like their run animations, dodging mechanics, and blocking abilities were different which made playing as them all feel distinct. The game lacked the constant chatter of other party members (lacking Donald/Goofy stand-ins, only having infrequent guest characters in some worlds) which made the game felt inherently darker in tone. Seeing the scenes of Aqua, Terra and Ventus friendships put under stress only to then have to play through the next combat section with only one of their voices really struck a chord with me.
Even without the ability to try the co-op missions with other people (i.e. I played all of the Mirage bosses single player), I left Birth By Sleep not only satisfied with the 5 year wait but completely captivated with the result.
This podcast series is fucking me all the way up; I’ve never played a KH game but I’m down here in the depths with you because this is just mind-bogglingly wild.
I would really really like to get that Hollow Knight Lore Podcast Austin and Natalie were prepping for last summer; I know we got the GotY discussion but what about that lore though?
Alternatively, with the impending release of Anodyne 2, I’d like to hear Danielle just gush about those games and do a lore breakdown for the rest of the waypoint crew.
Edit: My name is tough to mix up but I’m gonna go with Xiadcarp
Just wanted to say that as someone who used to be completely clueless about Kingdom Hearts, I’ve been having a blast listening to all these lore pods!
I would absolutely love a miniseries on Pathologic as it would be a great fit for the crew (lots of great characters, factions, political strifes, plot twists, weird shit and all that good ol’ lore + different perspectives, interpretations and conclusions of the story itself due to the game having three different playable characters), plus the remake will finally come out this year, but unfortunately there’s not many resources out there that distill the lore and all three storylines besides old written LPs that are based on the original (bad) translation of the game.
Anyway, Dragon Age would definitely be a great pick too!
This out of left field but if you haven’t seen the wild plots in 3DO’s Army Men games you really should.
The last game in the series for example involves a coup during a peace treaty that sees every single main named character in the series being killed off except for Sarge and the ending is just a pan over their steel caskets.
Also my Org XIII name is def Raawaxznot
I also know zero things about KH and have been really enjoying this. My suggestion for a follow up series would be Dragon Age, since it’s fairly tame on the surface but has some bonkers lore when you dig into it.
My Org13 boys call me Draxwen.
First of all I thought there was no way there was no way I’d get a good lore name and I was a fool: Axculs (lucas)
Secondly while it would be messy, I want Destiny, its pilot for book of sorrows and the history of the awoken
Hello talented people of the internet, can I please get an animation of Natalie (Ilenaxta) and Austin (Nixtaus) sword fighting, Waypoint is my favorite anime
So this isn’t important to the overall lore at all but it is something I linked together when re-playing the games in preparation for kh3, this is the (assumed) tragic downfall of Capt. Peg-leg Pee-Wee Pete Peterson into villainy in the kingdom hearts lore.
Back in the steamboat Willy era Disney Town had the timeless river however after the construction of Disney Castle there hasn’t been any trace of said river. What happened to it?
I assume that in the construction of Disney Castle the river had to go and with no river Pete couldn’t fare his steamboat and had to part with it. Having no direction in his life because the thing he loved to do the most was taken from him he became the local troublemaker after a failed attempt to usurp the throne (dream drop distance).
After which Birth by sleep happened where in the end Pete ended up being banished from Disney Town into The lanes Between (basically space in the kh universe where you fly with the Gummie ship) by queen Minnie.
There he meets Maleficent and she takes him under her wing as her lackey.
Though Pete takes it all in stride in Kingdom hearts 2 we do see him lament his current life and wish for the old times where he had his boat, which causes him to be able to create a time travel door to the steamboat Willy era. Kinda like Xehanort but I don’t know how.
And that is the semi tragic story of Capt. Peg-leg Pee-Wee Pete Peterson it might not excuse his actions against the universe but what does really.
Great episode! I wanted to throw out some games to examine the lore on. I think that the lore in Planescape Torment would be super interesting to go into. Morrowind seems like a great choice as well. I think that the Destiny series would be a good case study of how lore changes over time within a series. The lore in The Witcher series would be cool to go into as well. The lore of The Legend of Zelda Breath Of The Wild would be cool to go into because that game’s lore is sparse but still interesting to me. The Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic series does some neat things with Star Wars that would be cool to talk about. The lore of No Man’s Sky would be cool to go into as well. Resident Evil 4 would also be interesting to do as well. Sorry for the block of text, but I just wanted to throw out some ideas.
I think they’ve been posted elsewhere, but here’s some Waypoint X Kingdom Hearts fanart I’ve seen on Twitter:
And here’s one from August 2017 – the fate of all is never left to chance…