We're still a way off from Kingdom Hearts III, at least according to recent interviews with series director Tesuya Nomura, who's stated we'll hear more during the game's 15th Anniversary, among having a number of new titles to jump into. So during this time it's best to start catching up on what's come before for fans.
Eight Things You Need To Know Prior To The Release Of 'Kingdom Hearts 3'
With #KingdomHearts 2.8 bridging the gap between an ocean of content and the next numbered title in the franchise, there's a whole lot of plot to catch up on prior to numero tre. But perhaps you haven't got umpteen hours free to play all eight Kingdom Hearts games or you're just interested in a few titles! Well, fear not, things can get a little confusing, but we're here to inform fans of the franchise all the key things they'll need to know prior to the release of #KingdomHearts3.
1. Sora Wasn't Supposed To Be A Keyblade Wielder
Despite being the clumsy hero of the franchise, Sora wasn't picked to be a Keyblade wielder. In contrast to both Riku and Kairi who were put into contact with the Keyblade through Terra and Aqua in Birth By Sleep, our beloved protagonist just got lucky!
Sora gains access to the Keyblade from Riku, touching it before Riku fell into the darkness at the start of the original Kingdom Hearts. This is why Riku reclaims it in Hollow Bastion, and thus the Keyblade becomes Sora's when his heart proves stronger in an ensuing fight.
Kingdom Hearts Director, Tetsuya Nomura has emphasized that Sora is meant to be a relateable character because of how ordinary he is.
The decision to not make Sora a Keyblade Master was not really difficult, but I thought it was better that he remains an ordinary boy to be closer to the players - Tetsuya Nomura, Kingdom Hearts Director when discussing Dream Drop Distance
2. The Worlds In 'Dream Drop Distance' Are Asleep
Sora and Riku aren't time traveling in Dream Drop Distance (DDD), instead the worlds in DDD are trapped in 'Sleep'. These worlds fell to the darkness in the original Kingdom Hearts, but were not restored at the end of the game. Whilst the worlds are sleeping, they dream of the inhabitants who live there.
Which sounds awkwardly like the plot of Final Fantasy X
3. The Greek Letter 'Kye' Refers To The Legendary X-Blade And Xehanorts Ultimate Goal
Kingdom Hearts is filled with numerous Keyblades, but the x-blade, forged by the perfect cross between light and darkness, is a little different. It co-exists with Kingdom Hearts—the entity, not the franchise—and possesses more power than the man-made Keyblades used throughout the series.
The original x-blade was destroyed in the Keyblade War, prior to the events of Birth By Sleep and after the events of Kingdom Hearts Chi, shattering into 20 pieces, seven of light and thirteen of darkness. Xehanort, the series's villain, requires the x-blade to gain access to Kingdom Hearts and achieve his goal of creating a new world, one where the balance of light and dark will be in perfect equilibrium.
This sigil means a lot to Xehanort and he uses it to track Sora during the events of Dream Drop Distance, allowing them to manipulate his journey from behind the scenes.
4. The Heart Of Ventus Sleeps Within Sora
The original Kingdom Hearts isn't the first game in the series chronologically; Birth By Sleep is the first chapter of the 'Xehanort Saga', following the actions of Terra, Aqua and Ventus and setting the stage for the rest of the series.
Xehanort tries to recreate the x-blade by extracting the darkness from Ventus's heart and turning this into an enemy known as Vanitas. Prolonged exposure to Vanitas damaged Ventus's heart and Ventus was left to die on Destiny Islands, the place where the first game begins.
It was here that his heart made contact with Sora, whose kindness filled the gaps in Ventus's damaged heart. This connection saved Ventus and allowed him to regain consciousness. However, this also transformed Vanitas, who took on the appearance of a dark-haired and yellow-eyed Sora.
When Ven and Vanitas fought in the Keyblade Graveyard, Ventus sacrificed himself to protect his friends and destroyed Vanitas, which resulted in heavy damage to his own heart. Ven's damaged heart sought out Sora and was sheltered inside him until he stabbed himself with the Keyblade of People's Hearts in Hollow Bastion. This series, man.
Ven's heart returned to Sora a year later when he merged with his Nobody, Roxas during the start of Kingdom Hearts 2. But before doing so, Roxas awoke Ven's sleeping heart, which allows Roxas to dual wield Keyblades. Thus Ven's body was hidden in the chamber of waking by Aqua at the end of Birth By Sleep, waiting for his heart to return.
5. The Antagonist In 'Kingdom Hearts 1, 2 And 3' Are All The Same Person
Kingdom Hearts 3 will bring the 'Xehanort Saga' to a close, the arc that's played out in every Kingdom Hearts title to date.
Master Xehanort is a Keyblade Master, who believed the balance between dark and light was too heavily skewed to the latter. He seeks to ignite a new Keyblade War and reforge the legendary x-blade, required to gain access to Kingdom Hearts, where he plans to reshape the world.
Xehanort transcended his mortal body by transferring his heart into the body of Terra, creating a fusion known as Terra-Xehanort, who became an amnesiac when Xehanort locked out both their hearts with his Keyblade.
With only the memory of his name, Xehanort worked with Ansem to research the darkness in people's hearts. Ansem brought this research to a halt when he realized it was too dangerous. Xehanort continued this research in secret, creating the heartless and opening the doors between worlds.
After recovering his memories, Xehanort waved goodbye to his—Terra's—body and became a heartless. His heart retained its sense of self and without a mortal form, he traveled back in time and engraved these events into the heart of his younger self.
Eventually Xehanort prays on Riku, hoping to acquire control of his body during the events of Kingdom Hearts. Despite being defeated by Sora, his heart remained within Riku, which explains why at times he looks visually similar to Terra-Xehanort. Riku would eventually escape Xehanort when Ansem The Wise's Heart Machine exploded, purging Xehanort from Riku's heart.
Kingdom Hearts II revolves around Xehanort's Nobody, Xemnas, which is the body left behind when Xehanort turned himself into a heartless. Xemnas was the leader of Organization XIII, whose ultimate goal was to infuse a piece of his heart into all of the organization members—basically turning them all into Xehanort horcruxes—in order to summon the x-blade.
However, with Xemnas's defeat at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2, both his heartless and nobody were destroyed, meaning Xehanort will be revived.
6. If The Guardians Of Light Won't Fight In 'Kingdom Hearts 3', Then Xehanort Will Use The Princesses Of Heart
Xehanort's ambition throughout the series has been to recreate the legendary x-blade and gain access to Kingdom Hearts, which he will use to reshape the world.
His current plan revolves around pitting the seven guardians of light against the thirteen seekers of darkness. If the Guardians of Light don't plan to fight, then Xehanort can use the princesses of heart to force them.
7. Who Are The Guardians Of Light?
They are a number of people who will stand up against Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts 3, though the Guardians of Light are most likely keyblade wielders, based on Yen Sid's insistence on training Kairi at the end of DDD.
In our opinion, that makes these characters the most likely candidates for Guardians of light membership:
- King Mickey
- Lea - The resurrected form of Axel, the nobody
8. The Plot In 'Kingdom Hearts 3' May Revolve Around Recovering Those Lost
Sora is the only one to return normally to his human form after becoming a Heartless/Nobody. Ansem the Wise's data-self informs Riku of this in Dream Drop Distance. He states that Sora's heart is unique, able to mend broken connections—like those in Ventus.
During the events prior to Kingdom Hearts 2 when Namine was restoring Sora's memories, she came across links to the hearts of those he was sheltering, thus leaving a message of warning in Jiminy's Journal, which is found during the events of Re: Coded.
At the same time, Ansem the Wise, who was overseeing Sora's memory restoration, recognized how strong Sora's heart was and stored vital information inside it that involves saving those who were lost. As in the people who've died or have been turned into heartless.
9. Sora May Have A Very Open Heart, But This Burden Is Taking Its Toll On Him
We've established that Sora has a very generous heart, repairing the damage to Ventus's in Birth By Sleep and housing his heart throughout the series thus far.
During the events of Kingdom Hearts, Sora protects Kairi's heart until he frees both by stabbing himself with the Keyblade of People's Hearts in Hollow Bastion.
When Kairi revives Sora from being a Heartless, his body has already been reborn as a Roxas, his Nobody in Twilight Town, which turned Sora into a walking heart for a period of time—probably something you don't want to imagine.
This was the case until Sora merged with Roxas when he took on the heart that had grown within Roxas and his replica Xion. The pain all these hearts have gone through have put a burden onto Sora, who succumbs slightly to the darkness in Dream Drop Distance. Ven's heart protects Sora for long enough that Riku can dive into his heart to save him. Coping with this darkness could be a key plot point in Kingdom Hearts 3.
If you're excited for Kingdom Hearts 3, then make sure you check out everything we know thus far. For the first time in 14 years, the Kingdom Hearts franchise will be available on a single console when the 1.5 and 2.5 Remix are released on PlayStation 4 in March.
Are you excited for Kingdom Hearts 3? Have any other bits of info you think we should know?