It was recently the 20th anniversary of the very first Kingdom Hearts game. During a 20th-anniversary announcement video, a reveal trailer for Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts 4 was released showing protagonist Sora in the seemingly real-life world to us with stunning new graphics and impressive gameplay.
Although this is very exciting for KH fans everywhere, not much else is known about the future title.
However, there are some things that could make Kingdom Hearts 4 the best in the franchise so far. So here are 5 things we want from KH4.
MORE AMAZING SCORES, AND THE CLASSICS TOO
Without a doubt, one of the strongest components of the Kingdom Hearts franchise is its tear-jerking soundtrack that combines magical wonder with contrasting sadness to make even the most stone-cold fans get emotional.
Kingdom Hearts 3 was one of the most emotional titles to date and easily had one of the best soundtracks we’ve heard. There’s no reason why Kingdom Hearts 4 won’t be able to dethrone its predecessor in this respect.
Combining the beautifully crafted scores which we have heard over the decades and adding some new ones would be a treat for the ears, and would be a strong factor in making Kingdom Hearts 4 the best game in the franchise yet.
It’d still be nice to hear some of the classics like Roxas’ Theme and Lazy Afternoons, but we’re always looking to discover more epic sounds along Sora’s journey. And of course, we will no doubt be hearing the iconic Dearly Beloved more than a few times.
NEW MAPS – MAYBE STAR WARS AND MARVEL?
Like the soundtrack, the original and Disney based locations are the heart and soul of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. From Twilight Town all the way down to Olympus, there really is an aesthetic for everyone to be enjoyed.
Sharp-eyed viewers who watched the reveal trailer might have spotted a small potential reference to George Lucas’s Sci-fi giant, Star Wars. The reference in question is a metallic looking plate that looks very much like the foot of an AT-ST walker from the Star Wars universe. And the forest looking terrain could easily be the iconic forest moon of Endor from Return of the Jedi.
With Disney owning Star Wars, and the franchise as a whole being more popular than ever thanks to the release of the recent Disney+ shows, it is highly likely that Sora will meet some familiar Skywalker faces during his adventures in the new game. And yes, Sora will a lightsaber keyblade would be beyond spectacular.
As for Marvel, once again this franchise is more popular than ever and is continuing to grow thanks to the steady release of multiple Disney+ shows and feature films. It just makes sense seeing Sora, Donald and Goofy teaming up with characters like The Avengers to take down recognisable comic baddies.
The likelihood of these two industry titans making an appearance is bigger than ever and their presence alone could propel KH4 right to the top of people’s ranking list.
MORE EMPHASIS ON ORIGINAL CHARACTERS AND STORY
The Kingdom Hearts series has probably one of the most convoluted and yet investing stories of most games to date, and that is most definitely due to its wide cast of interesting characters and deep-seated lore.
And when I say convoluted, I mean convoluted. There are characters from basically three different franchises all in this one-game series. There’s Disney/Pixar, Final Fantasy, and then the series’ own original characters. However, as much as the inclusion of Disney and Final Fantasy characters has been an iconic staple for the series, it would be nice to get an even stronger focus on the original characters and story lore. You know a franchise is good when it makes you crave more of the spotlight against Disney.
I know that this slightly contrasts the previous point about Star Wars and Marvel maps, and I’m not saying to remove Disney completely by any means, but just more of a focus on the original lore would be nice.
Obviously, there are many Disney characters that play an integral role in the series, like Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. So it would make sense for them to remain.
The need for more original lore is a testament to what Square Enix has accomplished with its world-building over the decades.
MORE SWITCHING CHARACTERS
One of the most enjoyable new aspects which came from Kingdom Hearts 3 was the scripted segments where the player would take control of another character in the game such as Riku or Aqua. I know technically this had been seen in previous games, but it felt more prominent in KH3.
As much as Sora is a beloved character in the franchise, there are too many great characters in the game to not desire a play around with from time to time. A lot of the time when playing through KH2, I would deliberately die as Sora so I could temporarily play as King Mickey just because it felt so badass.
Everything from the differing combat animations to the new abilities was a delight when playing through the latest mainline instalment, and it was even built upon further with the release of its DLC, Re-minded, which allowed players to play through the final chapter of the main game campaign as different characters.
There is no reason why this feature cannot be expanded upon with the release of Kingdom Hearts 4. Just imagine the choice of playing through the game as one of your favourite characters like Roxas or Mickey and being able to utilize their variations of combat and abilities. The choice to customise not only Sora but other characters as well would be a fine addition to the franchise.
Perhaps if this idea is too ambitious, there could be a reward feature for completing the game in which the player can repeat certain sections of the game as alternative characters who were present for that segment in the campaign, again, similar to Re-minded in KH3.
EVEN BETTER COMBAT
Devil May Cry and Kingdom Hearts basically pioneered flow-motion combat in gaming. And every new Kingdom Hearts instalment has pushed it to the next level.
Keyblade centred abilities and Disney themed amusement rides were a welcomed addition to fighting gameplay in the latest mainline instalment. From what little has been shown in the KH4 announcement trailer, Square Enix appears to have made fighting gameplay even better as if it was even possible.
It’s hard to think of improvements to a formula that had basically been near perfect since the second mainline game. However, small features like more abilities and improved AI would be a nice treat for players.
The ability to take control of Donald and Goofy would also be a very useful strategic feature when taking on harder sections of the game. I mean the companion AI was pretty decent in KH3, but come on, how useful would it be to play as one of your trusty teammates when Sora goes down in battle.
It would not be a surprise if Square Enix was to dwell even further into the RPG side of the game and add armor based stats and benefits to encourage more loadout configuration for certain battles, e.g. wearing frost resistant clothing against ice damage dealing enemies.
What features do you want to see in Kingdom Hearts 4? Let me know in the comments below!