It’s a pretty exciting time to be a Kingdom Hearts fan. While the latest entry has been divisive among players, Kingdom Hearts 3 was bigger in scope, had a satisfying end for many character arcs, and left us with a mysterious secret ending. But what’s next and how can the next entry fix the fans’ qualms of KH3? Let’s talk Kingdom Hearts 4.
NOTE: We’ll be spoiling the ever-loving goodness out of Kingdom Hearts 3, so beware!
Kairi Plays A Bigger Role
This generation has seen many strong heroines in the gaming space. The confident and strong Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn, the thoughtful and smart Kara from Detroit: Become Human, and the head-strong badass Claire Redfield in Resident Evil 2 Remake. While the graphics in KH3 are far superior to the PS2/portable games, the Kingdom Hearts series has failed to keep up with the times in terms of female character development. Kairi was yet again the damsel in distress. She barely had the time to shine and was easily taken by the Organization, despite much training with Merlin and Lea. It was disappointing that after all this build-up of her keeping Sora safe rather than the other way around, she still found herself in trouble. In the end, her promise to Sora fell flat. It would be interesting if Kairi is given more of a personality and steps up in Kingdom Hearts 4 to save Sora. Perhaps, she could even be playable.
A Multiplayer Mode
It’s perplexing that in the age of online multiplayer games, Kingdom Hearts hasn’t made the jump with its third entry. We’ve had local co-op with 358/2 Days and Birth By Sleep, but KH3 hasn’t done so as of yet. Even the mobile game Kingdom Hearts: Union X has a PvP mode! Taking on missions throughout the worlds with friends as the Guardians would increase the longevity of this game that has lacked in post-game content. While it is still possible this could be implemented in KH3, Kingdom Hearts 4 might be a great way to incorporate it. While Sora and Riku are away, there have to be others who protect the world of light. Perhaps there could be missions featuring the rest of the Guardians, and maybe Kairi could get more development as a character. Missions would be similar to the DS installment 358/2 Days, in which there are bosses or waves of heartless that have to be taken care of. It would be fun to have each character with their own style of combat and role in the battle. It could also bring back older worlds, like Agrabah and Halloween Town to KH4.
This is a small aspect to ask for, but the addition of different costumes would be fantastic. Everyone has a favorite outfit from the series and with each mainline entry, there’s a new look. It would be nice to pick and choose which costume for the characters to wear. Customization was introduced in Birth By Sleep 0.2 with accessories for Aqua to wear, but this feature never made the jump to III. Kingdom Hearts 4, after finishing the main game, could have you fighting as KH1 Sora or perhaps an entirely new costume by the fashion forward director of the series Tetsuya Nomura. How about a Noctis costume for Sora? That would be hilarious!
Bring Back Classic Disney Worlds
Something that was sorely missing from Kingdom Hearts 3 was its lack of variety in Disney worlds. Every film featured in the game was from the current era of the famed animation studio, except Hercules and Toy Story. While the majority of films selected were excellent choices for worlds, it would have been marvelous to have the likes of The Jungle Book, The Sword in the Stone (exploring Merlin’s world and seeing Wart become King), or Robin Hood become areas for KH3. Part of the magic of Kingdom Hearts is to have a diverse group of environments to explore that celebrate the history of The Walt Disney Company, and KH3 disappointed in that front. Let’s hope KH4 adapts more than the current slate of Disney films. However…
Star Wars and Marvel
Yes, let’s go there. While Kingdom Hearts should be a celebration of Disney classics across the ages, Star Wars and Marvel have become a part of The Walt Disney Company’s renowned history. Avengers: Endgame just became the highest-grossing movie of all time, and Star Wars is synonymous with many around the world. While Star Wars is a huge galaxy to include in the Kingdom Hearts lore, Square Enix can adapt it into their universe. The Death Star could be a world all in its own and doesn’t necessarily have to tie into anything. We have seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, Toy Story, and Monsters’ Inc tie into the Kingdom Hearts universe naturally. The same could be said about Marvel. For Marvel, it could be a self-engrained story within different worlds. I’d love to see a Kingdom Hearts take on Spider-Man and zip along the world alongside our Friendly Neighborhood Hero like in Big Hero 6’s world in KH3. Even having Thanos as a secret boss or The Hulk in Olympus Coliseum in his Thor Ragnarok outfit would be amazing. Also, a lightsaber keyblade sounds like a perfect match in weaponry!
Kingdom Hearts 4 has so much promise, and we can’t even imagine what it will be like on next generation systems. What are you hoping to see from the future of the series? Let us know!