So, When's the Final Mix Dropping? – Kingdom Hearts III


The person with red and blue eyes isn’t riku, but, i think, the main protagonist of Verum Rex.
And yeah, I kind of wish they at least resolved something with Sora maybe, but I do definitely admire how they can just keep raising more and more questions.

Also, the Secret Reports actually have really interesting details in them. I totally missed them since they come from the Battegates that unlock at Keyblade graveyard


Oh man, I gotta read those.


Oh, is that where they’re from? I thought I missed something.

Secret ending detail for @LOTR_Dan to salivate over – it’s not modern Tokyo, Sora is specifically in The World Ends With You’s Tokyo, which we know because the sign on the tower is 104 (as in TWEWY) and not 109 (as in real life).

The background music also incorporates Somnus from Final Fantasy XV – listen to them back to back and you can pick it out… – Somnus & Yozora – 1:28 in particular!


Roxas made it to the beach. I wept like a baby. That’s all I wanted for all these years…


Finished 3 now. I really enjoyed it! I’m amazed at just how much actually got wrapped up, no matter how messily. More than anything though I’m SUPREMELY glad that Xion got to come back. In general I wasn’t expecting the Roxas/Xion/Axel reunion to hit me so hard, but I guess they ended up being some of my favourite characters, so it tracks. Plus as a Namine Stan I’m glad she Got Out, even if it’s unclear exactly how that happened considering what happened to Kairi.

Though speaking of Kairi… yeah. Set up like she was gonna be an Interdimentional Ninja then dropped to being literal bait. Bah. Still, there’s some slight hints that she might get to take a more agentic role I the future of the franchise, so ima cling to those like I clung to her getting a keyblade at the end of DDD.

So speaking of future hints, here’s my Galaxy Brain on all that Secret Movie stuff and whatnot:

First off, the Kairi stuff I mentioned. Sora fading away at the end while she was still on the tree, plus the way she and Sora swap places in the final card just before(I think) the credits make me think she’s gonna go looking for him this time. Small stuff.

But my real big prediction is this: Verum Rex is a Real-Ass Videogame that Square is gonna release at some point in the future. It’ll be mostly unrelated to Kingdom Hearts for most of it’s playtime, then go off the rails into setting up KH4. At the very least, Verum Rex is gonna be important somehow for sure. My first thaught about the Coat Guy was that it’s the Master of Masters, and that this is where he’s disapeared to. I’m expecting a plot point about how the world of Verum Rex is hidden well because it’s a world that exists only within worlds, or some bullshit like that. I’m into what’s being put down either way. Just tell us what’s in the box tho.


This is my Galaxy Brain take:

The next Kingdom Hearts will not have Disney worlds. Nomura has said that Disney was much more difficult to work with this time around, so he’s just not gonna do it. Oh, sure, Maleficent and Mickey and a few might make cameos, but the story will be even LESS about the Disney worlds. Sora is beyond them now.

But what other worlds would you go to? Video game worlds. Sora seems to be in The World Ends With You and Riku is in Verum Rex, both video games. How hard would it be to go to Ivalice next? Or Alefgard? Or Midgar? Earth in the far future of Neir or Neir Automata? Dare I say The Kingdom of Zeal? Maybe Eos from FFXV, but I think that might still be a sore subject for Nomura. Or if you want to get crazy, use that Square Enix power and crossover with other IPs. Thief? Life is Strange? Deus Ex? Tomb Raider? Hitman?

The other IPs are a stretch, I know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we at least went to a Final Fantasy world. With most of the plot threads tied up after KH3, it would be a way to move the story in new directions.

Now I don’t REALLY think all of this will happen, but I think there is at least a small possibility of some of it.

I guess we have to wait until Kingdom Hearts 3.5 Final Mix to find out more.


My understanding is that the KH franchise copyright is held by Disney, who technically lets Square work on it. (I’d guess there language in the contract that no one else can.) So I’m not sure a Disney-less KH could/would happen.


That makes sense. Maybe less Disney, but still some? But yeah, those copyrights do tend to put a damper on things.


I’ve been sitting on my thoughts on the game for a few days.

One thing I just wanted to comment on is that I feel like the Disney worlds in this outing are, while a nightmare for the game’s pacing (more on this below), are some of the strongest Kingdom Hearts has had for a while. I skipped over Dream Drop Distance (so my experience is with I, II, and Birth by Sleep), but they are all fairly solid, if uneven in pacing.

They aren’t mixed terribly well with the main plot, but they also don’t feel siloed off – there’s great moments with Woody in Toybox and Sully & Mike in Monsteropolis where they get to interact with the villains.

I do feel that the poor mixing with the main plot gives the game’s third act a real sharp acceleration moment that wasn’t really needed – why does (endgame spoilers) the return of Aqua, Ventus, and Roxas & the reveal of the last two Organization members need to wait until the third act?


This is going to be long and messy, much like the Kingdom Hearts series, but I wanna get some of these thoughts out in one space, so apologies in advance to anyone who reads it all!

Right off the bat - I’m pretty certain I had a really great time with this game. My enjoyment of individual entries in this series has a tendency to dwindle (KH2), or evaporate completely (KH, CoM) when I revisit them, so I wanna give it some space to breathe, and maybe replay it at least once before I Etch My Takes In Stone or whatever. And that replay probably won’t happen any time soon, 'cus I enjoy how everything feels by the endgame way too much. I played on Proud Mode, and it definitely felt pretty easy to get through almost everything aside from some of the bosses and that one post-game battlegate, but I don’t know that I’d really complain about that. I don’t think this series has ever really been about the complexity of any given non-boss combat encounter. I’m bad at games, so it was nice to have fun with this, even on a higher difficulty.

I do hope this series starts to embrace comprehensive NG+ modes or something soon, because I’d love to replay some of the little world vignettes etc. without losing all the gummiphone/minigame/synthesis progress I’ve made in the process. Maybe let players scale world levels up based on what they’re coming in at too? idk, I’ve got nearly 80 hours on this game somehow already, and I was satisfied with it when I was at like 30, so perhaps I’m being a bit too greedy? It just feels a little bit like… now that I finally have access to everything the game can throw at me mechanically, there’s a very limited pool of interesting engagements to mess around with it in? There were a lot of cool gameplay arcs and bosses I’d love to take some of this stuff back in to. I wish I’d started using the airstep shotlock to close in on enemies between combos waaay earlier in the game. Also the formchange stuff and the new drive forms etc. are a whole lot of fun.

On the writing side of things, I think a lot of the dialog was better this time around, and I was as satisfied as I could expect to be with how a lot of story arcs were tied up. Axel/Lea being as self-aware as he was was great. The narrative itself was alright, though I wasn’t thrilled by how otherwise apparently competent characters were constantly written as losing fights, or giving up hope or whatever. there’s so many ways to get all these characters into the exact situations the writing team wants them in, without having them just drop the ball. There’s still plenty of flaws with how the narrative is delivered to the player, as is always the case with KH games imho. Reading the gummiphone story entries helped explain some things, but I wish most of that stuff was just presented a little more clearly.

The biggest frustration for me, however, is that I really wish this series would start doing right by Kairi already. She had some moments that I guess could be called characterisation this time? I enjoyed her moments with Axel/Lea. A lot of her stuff rang a little bit too hollow (or was too Sora-focused) for my liking, and any negativity I felt about all that is, ofc, heavily compounded by her literally being damseled and fridged to motivate Sora for the final clash. I hope there’s some massive blow-back for this in the Japanese fandom, because this was handled so badly. There are so many ways to land the sequel hook here without throwing Kairi’s already slow development back out the window. And if her death was really necessary for whatever Nomura wants to set up, they could have at least framed the whole thing better for her. It is one of my deepest wishes for this series that Kairi is allowed to be more than just a Pure Heart Who Loves Sora, because the character arcs for so many of the other characters are so compelling, and there is so much potential for her. Obviously death is highly impermanent in KH, so she’ll definitely be back, but that just adds salt to the wound more than anything. For me at least. Shonen-style narratives can be done so much better than this!

I otherwise really appreciated all the work that obviously went into this beautiful mess. I enjoyed most of the Disney content, but definitely preferred worlds like Toy Box and Monstropolis, where they weren’t just retreading the source material in an extremely fragmented way. I had a lot of fun running around Galaxy Toys, and felt like Toy Box in general is just a great example of what this series strengths are - Taking a theoretically interesting setting, and building an experience that expresses some core element of it, in some way that helps it contrast or stand out against the other locations. The Caribbean managed to be pretty fun for me too, somehow, despite following the retread-the-film-in-abstract model. But yo what’s with the voice acting situation there? Like… putting how little Elizabeth sounds like Elizabeth etc. aside… Disney, really? Tia Dalma being so obviously voiced by a white woman faking an accent, even in 2018/2019? :grimacing:

Slightly more negatively, while Corona was a great space to run around and take in, it felt like it failed somewhat to have Sora & co. engage with the source material in a well-integrated way. I don’t hate Frozen, but Arendelle felt like the biggest example of this being done really badly. The parts of the film that they use, how those parts are framed for the player, and how Sora is involved in the story within the world - those elements all fell somewhere between bland, poorly constructed, and confusing in my opinion. But at least Larxene was there to steal every scene she was in, I guess? Most of these complaints are just par for the course with the series, I know, but the good parts of this game were better than ever, so stuff like this stood out even more.

It feels a little unusual (and even a little too demanding?) to have been anticipating this game for so long, and to already find myself already in a position where I’m like “okay, so what’s next?”. I just hope we get a chance to see more done with everything they built for this game, before the next generation of consoles etc. start to roll out. Whether we get some cool DLC for this game, a non-numbered title for consoles using the same tech, or a Switch instalment that at least uses Unreal and retains similar systems or something… I’m just down for more already, and it definitely doesn’t have to be time for KH4 quite yet. This series is 100% trashy-fun comfort food for me (and a whole lot of other people), and while I’m acutely aware shonen anime and Disney are deeply flawed, I’m already here lining up for that smorgasbord.

Also I want that chess set, even if it is functionally useless. It pretty.


After beating the game, I still think that KH2 is the only entry I’d call truly great, but that was enjoyable.

I definitely think that the game feels cramped and overstuffed, both in terms of narrative and gameplay. The ending stretch had really cool moments, but it also felt like it was going down a checklist, and the sheer number of characters at play with so many games worth of story behind them meant that it was impossible to give most of them enough time for a satisfying ending. Most of the face turns at the end felt way too sudden, and basically every Sora/Kairi scene would be legitimately stronger if Kairi was replaced by Riku

I’m actually really excited for whatever comes next, though. There’s a lot of room to reset a lot of things. Also, my “Kingdom Hearts would be better off without Disney” stance has soften to “Kingdom Hearts would be better off if the non-Mickey Disney characters were able to do meaningful things that actually contribute to the overarching story.”


This is kinda the thing that is at stake and doesn’t really work, particularly because folks are often into only a handful of characters depending on what they liked. I like Birth by Sleep a whole lot, so I naturally wanted those characters to get more screentime (I need to know what actually happened to the Lingering Sentiment and if they ever met with Terra now that he’s back) and there were definitely times at which I felt like ‘my’ story was being crowded out by other elements getting their due.

Which isn’t necessarily bad! It’s a natural outcome of me desiring the level from their resolutions as I did in their home games where they were the leads, which isn’t going to happen in a Sora-centric game.


I haven’t quite finished the game yet. I’m hoping to tonight. But something that has really amazed me is just how much I’ve turned around on this game/series in the month running up to the release of KH3 (In a good way).
I’ve played all of the games as they came out, but I felt like I outgrew they series, and it just got too cluttered to have a satisfying story. But as I’m playing KH3, I’m impressed by just how fun it feels. Like, at least the story is trying to do some stuff. Some really wild and interesting stuff!

A couple weeks before KH3 I bought Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition. The Tales series is one I have a similar history with. I used to love it, but the anime tropes got to me. I was hoping ToV would impress me because a lot of people rank it quite highly, but I just kinda found myself bored (not to knock the many people who love that game).
I expected Kingdom Hearts 3 to be the same, but it’s so much more of a rollercoasters.

I think a lot of videogame narratives (maybe even most) aren’t super good compared to other mediums (I read a book recently. Dang, books have some good stories!). So It’s fun that if Kingdom Hearts can’t have the best story, it can at least be fun and interesting enough to spawn a million explanation videos and discussions. It’s a thing not many other series do.


I feel similar. I loved Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 back in the day, but figured I outgrew them and their ridiculously named spin offs. But around when I saw the trailer for KH3, I was kinda interested again. And I HATED myself for that reason. How could I, a grown man, be interested in this stupid anime bullshit?

When the Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 collection for PS4 was on sale, I bit the bullet. I thought I would laugh at the games, but at the same time, I DID want to play them again. My partner pointed out to me “For someone who says they hate Kingdom Hearts, you sure seem to like Kingdom Hearts.”

And I got sucked back in. If you had told me even a few years ago I would be the kind of person who has played all the Kingdom Hearts spinoffs, who has strong opinions about lore and characters, and bought KH3 on release day, I wouldn’t believe you. But somehow this anime bullshit got back into me, and I love it.

This vine sums up my journey.


Reading those last two comments have cemented it. I’m getting Kingdom Hearts III! I was in similar mindsets as y’all. Really liked 1 and 2, and even played two of the spin-offs (Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days). I just had got totally lost in all the anime bullshit. Ever since the Lore Reasons podcasts I’ve watched so many videos explaining as well as listen to each of those podcasts twice to make sure I totally understand. I thought I had “grown” out of this Disney anime crossover. Every time that KH III gets brought up though my attention focuses on that. I want more KH III info without getting spoilers. I have so many fond memories of the games, but the anime bullshit was just so grown inducing that I didn’t think I’d want to get back into it. I guess not because I’ll definitely be getting the game for my birthday this month if it’s a gift or if I have to buy it myself.


I think it’s worth pointing out, generally, that the anime bullshit in the Kingdom Hearts series is mostly the fun kind.
Obviously there are some major problems with how the series handles women, but there aren’t boob and panty shots. I stopped playing Tales of Berseria shortly after a skit popped up where the men in the party explain to a child how women are crazy and mysterious. That’s the kind of anime bullshit I hate. When women and other minorities often feel like the punchlines of a obligatory and tired jokes.
Kingdom Hearts mostly avoids that and indulges in a kind of anime bullshit that can but “fun” if you can go along. Big explosions, power ups, special attack names, melodrama, big eyes and bigger hair.

I got pretty emotional towards the end of the game when Lea is sitting on the clocktower with three ice creams and no one to share with, and Saix comes up and steals one and they have some friendly banter.


Oh wow. It’s almost 1am and I just finished the game. Wow. I really loved this experience. So much more than I thought I would.
I agree with all of the points made above about certain characters definitely not getting the development they should have. But dang I loved those ending scenes.

and the twist with Xigbar! I feel a little silly getting all worked up over a series known for having a convoluted story but I just can’t help myself.

My partner stayed up and watched me finish the game. They kinda understood it at this point, but I was trying to explain to them that this means so much because it unfolded over 15 years for me. I saw Xigbar in KHII as a lackey. I saw him again 4 years later and teamed up with him. The. I saw his past years after that in BBS. Then to get another twist! It’s not just that it’s surprising. It’s that I have a personal relationship with all of these characters at this point! My partner likened it to the experience of reading Harry Potter as it was coming out and having Harry grow up with you.

Gotta go to bed now and have dreams set to Utada Hikaru songs.


I’m curious about something going forward now. Because based on that ending and the secret movie and everything, Union X is gonna be the touchstone for the series going forward. After reading all the secret files from the postagame it’s especially clear: The guy in the secret movie is the master of masters, Ava’s done some Time Travel Shit and the other union leaders are back in play for some Real Big Stuff. So like, they gotta make all the important stuff from Union X more easilly accessable, right? As I understand Back Cover(which I actually really enjoyed, which I don’t think is the populart concensus?) leaves out a lot of important stuff regarding Ava’s whole duty and something to do with alternate dimensions, which seems like something that will come up later. What are the chances of Union X getting a similar treatment to the original Chain of Memories, upgraded into a mainline thing to get more eyes on it? Or even a directors cut of Back Cover?


I’d be totally up for a remastered Union x. I’ve never been interested in Mobile games but I could have some fun if they streamlined a single player experience.


I’ve been mulling this over, and I think Riku might be the most interesting character in III.

I’m particularly thinking about the scenes that he has with Riku Replica, which are kinda fascinating because we never get the equivalent scenes with the people in Sora’s heart. We don’t get the deep dive into a theory of the self, but there’s something cool about seeing someone talk with another version of themselves.

It also plays into the final battle confrontation that he has with the New Riku Replica that the Real Organisation XIII has made. Not only do we get an opportunity to see what a Riku Replica without the attachment to Naminé (but with keen oversight from Xigbar and the Xehanorts) would have been like, the scenes interplaying between the three Rikus reach a level of personal interest that the game never actually gets into with Sora, Ventus, and Roxas (never mind Xion). I still feel like that final sequence, while cool, is a little underbaked across the board because it is trying to wrap up so many arcs at once, but this one (along with Terranort) really landed for me.