Discussion: The wasted potential of Dream Drop Distance



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Nevros

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Hi everyone. I just finishing KH3D and I wanted to talk about some of the great opportunities for storytelling that the game missed. I realize that there are many posts made to rant about this game and its story, so I'll keep this (relatively) short and sweet.

In my opinion, KH3D is quite an uninspired game, made with the sole purpose of setting up KH3. Because of that, it is filled with many cheap plot devices (time travel, recompletion, dreams within dreams, etc) so that everyone's favorite characters could come back and KH3 won't have to get it's hands dirty trying to explain why it exists. I believe that since the focus of this game was so narrow and uninspired, it missed many great opportunities:

1. Developing Kairi: A dreamscape would've been the perfect place for Kairi to train with her keyblade, alongside Sora and Riku who would supposedly be able to protect her. It's way past time for her to have a character arc that doesn't make her the damsel in distress. Also, her personality would've fit with the cutesy dream eaters much better than just Sora's and Riku's. Plus, having her as a playable character in a way similar to Birth By Sleep would've fixed the pacing issues and problems with the Drop system. My best explanation for Kari being used as only a surprise at the end of 3D is that Nomura obviously has plans for her in KH3, possibly starting the game with her training. Still, she would've fit perfectly in 3D.

2. PSYCHOLOGICAL THEMES: Come on Nomura, if you're going to pull the "dream within a dream" card and have Riku inside Sora's heart the entire time, why wouldn't you use it develop Sora's (or Riku or Kairi's) character? What does he fear? Does he have any secrets? Is there a reason that he is the way he is? How is he affected by the hearts inside his? Any sort of psychoanalysis would've been better than making Sora a precious dumb baby of pure light like the story did.

3. Something, Anything new and not cliche: Even before KH3D, I joked about how, in the KH series, if you're a good guy you end up inside Sora, and if you're a bad guy, you're actually Xehanort. Now Normura is just beating those plot points to death by re-establishing that at least 3 people are inside Sora's heart, putting Data Diz in there as well, and bringing in 13 XEHANORTS. What if, instead of time travel, we learned about a legitimate process in which a person can be recompleted that would apply to both Organization XIII and those who are waiting for Sora to save them? What if the game relied on a plot device that made sense? What about some new characters? Bringing in new characters seems to be Nomura's strength, as the best parts of BBS, Days, and CoM are, arguably, the awesome new characters they introduced.

Well that's pretty much all I could come up with for now. What do you think?
 

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Because of that, it is filled with many cheap plot devices (time travel, recompletion, dreams within dreams, etc) so that everyone's favorite characters could come back
We've known about recompletion for literally 8 years now, and KH3D wasn't even the game to introduce us officially to the concept.

and KH3 won't have to get it's hands dirty trying to explain why it exists.
Why what exists? KH3?

1. Developing Kairi
Agreed, but that can literally be said about every game.

2. PSYCHOLOGICAL THEMES: Come on Nomura, if you're going to pull the "dream within a dream" card and have Riku inside Sora's heart the entire time, why wouldn't you use it develop Sora's (or Riku or Kairi's) character? What does he fear? Does he have any secrets? Is there a reason that he is the way he is? How is he affected by the hearts inside his? Any sort of psychoanalysis would've been better than making Sora a precious dumb baby of pure light like the story did.
They touch on this stuff in a few spots (Hunchback, The Grid, TWTNW), but let's be honest, I don't think KH is ever really going to be that kind of series that really goes deep on those kinds of things?

And if you don't think Riku's character developed in this game I don't even know what to say.

What if, instead of time travel, we learned about a legitimate process in which a person can be recompleted that would apply to both Organization XIII
We did... it was the thing you complained about at the start of your thread.

and those who are waiting for Sora to save them?
Those characters aren't being saved through time travel?

as the best parts of BBS, Days, and CoM are, arguably, the awesome new characters they introduced.
ur jokin rite

What about some new characters?

The series cast is already overexpanded enough as it is, and they have proven they are not good at developing an ensemble cast deftly. This is why 75% of the Organization are still little more than cardboard cutouts. New characters would not help this. And it certainly wouldn't help the characters we already have who need development and screentime (Kairi, as you point out, for example)
 
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Nevros

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Haha I'm seeing that I should've clarified a few things

We've known about recompletion for literally 8 years now, and KH3D wasn't even the game to introduce us officially to the concept.
3D was the first to introduce the mechanic of killing both a heartless and a nobody to bring the original person back to life. Before, it required a nobody such as Roxas. As a plot device, it's pretty weak because it can be used to bring anyone back without consequences.

Why what exists? KH3?
Yep. Ansem and Xemnnas were already defeated, so 3D got handed the dirty job of coming up with a convoluted explanation for how Xehanort could come back.

They touch on this stuff in a few spots (Hunchback, The Grid, TWTNW), but let's be honest, I don't think KH is ever really going to be that kind of series that really goes deep on those kinds of things?

And if you don't think Riku's character developed in this game I don't even know what to say.
I always thought that the spinoffs should focus more on character development than their weakly-explained ties to the overall series. And I wasn't saying Riku is undeveloped, just that diving into his (or anyone's psyche would be cool to do).

ur jokin rite
We obviously have very different opinions on the series. To each their own

The series cast is already overexpanded enough as it is, and they have proven they are not good at developing an ensemble cast deftly. This is why 75% of the Organization are still little more than cardboard cutouts. New characters would not help this. And it certainly wouldn't help the characters we already have who need development and screentime (Kairi, as you point out, for example)
Yeah I agree with you here. I was mostly trying to explain that, in my opinion, the games do better when they introduce new characters than when they go through the same old stale plot points.
 

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3D was the first to introduce the mechanic of killing both a heartless and a nobody to bring the original person back to life.
No, it was Re:Coded.

Yep. Ansem and Xemnnas were already defeated, so 3D got handed the dirty job of coming up with a convoluted explanation for how Xehanort could come back.
The recompletion of someone's original self isn't exactly convoluted, and that IS the primary way that Xehanort came back.

in my opinion, the games do better when they introduce new characters than when they go through the same old stale plot points.
And you felt that KH3D went through the same old stale plot points of past games?

So just be clear, you're against needless convolution, and stale repetition, yet thought Days was...good?
 

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Haha I'm seeing that I should've clarified a few things


3D was the first to introduce the mechanic of killing both a heartless and a nobody to bring the original person back to life. Before, it required a nobody such as Roxas. As a plot device, it's pretty weak because it can be used to bring anyone back without consequences.
Audo's right, we've known about this since the KH2 days. Nomura mentioned it in an interview, and it was hinted at in the novels. Not to mention, Yen Sid explicitly states it in canon in re:Coded.

For the record, the reaffirming of all these people in Sora's heart? What, did you want them to never mention it again? That IS one of Sora's fears and insecurities. That's why it dragged him down so much. In fact, 3D probably does a better job of showing us what goes in Sora's head than any other game.

The 13 Xehanorts thing isn't ideal, but it's not like they weren't prepping for it since BBS and re:coded. We knew multiple Xehanorts were coming.
 

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Audo's right, we've known about this since the KH2 days. Nomura mentioned it in an interview, and it was hinted at in the novels. Not to mention, Yen Sid explicitly states it in canon in re:Coded.

For the record, the reaffirming of all these people in Sora's heart? What, did you want them to never mention it again? That IS one of Sora's fears and insecurities. That's why it dragged him down so much. In fact, 3D probably does a better job of showing us what goes in Sora's head than any other game.

The 13 Xehanorts thing isn't ideal, but it's not like they weren't prepping for it since BBS and re:coded. We knew multiple Xehanorts were coming.
To be completely nitpicky the source that first informed us about the recomplation process was a Nomura interview in the book "Director's Secret Report XIII" which was shipped together with the original KH 2 Final Mix and thus is right another "Japan-only"-medium just like the Ultimanias.
This book was made in 2006 if I remember correctly and was also the first instance where an ominuous "true goal" of the Organisation was mentioned (this got further nebulous hints in some interviews regarding Days, but was never actually covered in the primary medium => the games).

While sites like KHInsider or KH13 have translations of those interviews, marking these facts as "already firmly established" for interested fans since the time of KH 2 Final Mix and thus no real surprise in either Re: Coded or Dream Drop Distance, it is the series' own fault (or rather either Nomura's or the scenario writing staff's) to not include this kind of information in the primary medium to begin with.

Re: Coded finally established it in the primary medium through the secret ending, which if I remember correctly though was notoriously hard to get in the original DS-version of Re: Coded.
Add on top of this that Coded is out of the handheld titles probably the one played and known the least by a majority of the fanbase and it is not so surprising anymore that some people may understand these things as "cheap plot devices".

It is not necessarily true that they are cheap or unneccessary plot devices (well, except maybe the whole time-travel mumbo jumbo), but they were presented and prepared in such an atrocious manner like japan-only supplementary materials that they may come over as such to parts of the audience.
Additionally there comes also in play that Nomura, as he himself admitted in another interview, likes to make things "surprising" in terms of the overaching KH story and some of the plot points in the story painfully show that he tends to get vastly overboard with this "tick" by introducing new concepts and twists just for the sake of the "surprise" effect without actually considering that there may be already concepts in place in the actual mythology of the series itself that can be used to get the same result in a much easier and better understandable way.
For example, the whole time travel-garbage in DDD was completely unneccessary with concepts like the Recompletion process, everything can grow a heart as well as hearts sheltering other hearts already being in place. With these things, if used creatively and with some planning, the whole 13 Xehanorts-stuff could have been realized easier and actually deepened the already established concepts in the mythos somewhat without introducing even more layers leaving people headscratching.
 

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Wasted potential? Everything about Birth by Sleep screams wasted potential. I'd argue Kingdom Hearts 2 had a lot of wasted potential as well.
Those entries warned us of what to expect from Nomura's shoddy planning.
 

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Let's be honest here: according to the fandom as a whole, every game in this franchise is wasted potential unless it's the original game or Chain of Memories.
 

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Let's be honest here: according to the fandom as a whole, every game in this franchise is wasted potential unless it's the original game or Chain of Memories.
True. Those games used most of their characters well and kept the plot simple and clean within its entry.
 

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True. Those games used most of their characters well and kept the plot simple and clean within its entry.
Well then that makes Simple and Clean and associated songs the most ironic themes for BBS and DDD :p
 

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Let's be honest here: according to the fandom as a whole, every game in this franchise is wasted potential unless it's the original game or Chain of Memories.
That's because it's true poppet~
Even though 1 & CoM had their own flaws gameplay wise, Storywise they were far more solid.

Well then that makes Simple and Clean and associated songs the most ironic themes for BBS and DDD :p
Now you understand an older fans pain.
 

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While sites like KHInsider or KH13 have translations of those interviews, marking these facts as "already firmly established" for interested fans since the time of KH 2 Final Mix and thus no real surprise in either Re: Coded or Dream Drop Distance, it is the series' own fault (or rather either Nomura's or the scenario writing staff's) to not include this kind of information in the primary medium to begin with.
Thanks for clearing that up. I didn't know about those other sources, and tbh I just read the wiki of re:Coded.

Additionally there comes also in play that Nomura, as he himself admitted in another interview, likes to make things "surprising" in terms of the overaching KH story and some of the plot points in the story painfully show that he tends to get vastly overboard with this "tick" by introducing new concepts and twists just for the sake of the "surprise" effect without actually considering that there may be already concepts in place in the actual mythology of the series itself that can be used to get the same result in a much easier and better understandable way.
For example, the whole time travel-garbage in DDD was completely unneccessary with concepts like the Recompletion process, everything can grow a heart as well as hearts sheltering other hearts already being in place. With these things, if used creatively and with some planning, the whole 13 Xehanorts-stuff could have been realized easier and actually deepened the already established concepts in the mythos somewhat without introducing even more layers leaving people headscratching.
You wrote this much better than I did. I started this thread late at night after just finishing the game and I was frustrated with the confusing way they threw in all these plot devices at the end.

I hope that the time travel and other plot points will end up paying off well in KH3. Hopefully Nomura had really awesome ideas for KH3 but couldn't think of a way to make them happen without all this mess.
 

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Thanks for clearing that up. I didn't know about those other sources, and tbh I just read the wiki of re:Coded.
YOU COME INTO MY HOUSE, DISRESPECT MY PROBLEMATIC FAV AND THEN ADMIT TO SKIMMING THE WIKI?

it's cool, at least watch the movie on youtube, it's cute and has good stuff
 

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Well, I dont usually mind about these things and I like every title in the series but... still sometimes it makes me really sad to see that there was potential to be even something greater. That hasen`t destroyed my affection towards the series, but it is like this little irritating feeling back in my brain. I sometimes find the manga rather depressing to read, since it kinda shows the potential it could have had(all thou I am not sure even if Amanso thing is perfect, but it is really good), and throws all the mistakes of the games has right into your face. :(
Well, that is what usually think, but when the new trailer for KHIII was shown, I went batshit insane, cried, and forgot most of the bad things that had happen. Sooo... yeah. :D
 

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Well, I dont usually mind about these things and I like every title in the series but... still sometimes it makes me really sad to see that there was potential to be even something greater. That hasen`t destroyed my affection towards the series, but it is like this little irritating feeling back in my brain. I sometimes find the manga rather depressing to read, since it kinda shows the potential it could have had(all thou I am not sure even if Amanso thing is perfect, but it is really good), and throws all the mistakes of the games has right into your face. :(
Well, that is what usually think, but when the new trailer for KHIII was shown, I went batshit insane, cried, and forgot most of the bad things that had happen. Sooo... yeah. :D
This is pretty much how I approach it all. It is bothersome that there are loose ends and missed opportunities that the games' narratives never took, but I don't let it bother me too much. I like all the games, and I don't see the point in dismissing everything over something I have no control over. If I want a change... that's what a headcanon is for. And KHIII trailer hype was refreshing. :p
 

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Wasted potential? Everything about Birth by Sleep screams wasted potential.
Seriously. The only entry that has more wasted potential than BbS is Days. I mean, you hear they're making a prequel set 10 years before KH1, what are the things you'd want or expect to see from that time? Maleficent taking over RG, young Squall and the other FF characters fighting Heartless and abandoning RG, the apprentices screwing over Ansem the Wise, the Heartless experiments (including Isa and Lea, perhaps?), Pete being banished from Disney Castle by Mickey, what Keyblade wielder Triton met in Atlantica, Kairi's life at RG and then her first arriving at Destiny Islands, maybe TRON's world being changed because of Xehanort and Maleficent beginning her villains group, etc. We only get very vague ideas about everything happening in RG, Xigbar's backstory, and the beginning of Maleficent's arc. Seeing Hercules when he was young was also a nice idea. Otherwise, it doesn't touch on any of the things you'd expect to see in a KH prequel.

Honestly, I didn't have those same expectations for Coded or 3D. Maybe that's why I enjoyed them more (among other reasons)?
 

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Seriously. The only entry that has more wasted potential than BbS is Days. I mean, you hear they're making a prequel set 10 years before KH1, what are the things you'd want or expect to see from that time? Maleficent taking over RG, young Squall and the other FF characters fighting Heartless and abandoning RG, the apprentices screwing over Ansem the Wise, the Heartless experiments (including Isa and Lea, perhaps?), Pete being banished from Disney Castle by Mickey, what Keyblade wielder Triton met in Atlantica, Kairi's life at RG and then her first arriving at Destiny Islands, maybe TRON's world being changed because of Xehanort and Maleficent beginning her villains group, etc. We only get very vague ideas about everything happening in RG, Xigbar's backstory, and the beginning of Maleficent's arc. Seeing Hercules when he was young was also a nice idea. Otherwise, it doesn't touch on any of the things you'd expect to see in a KH prequel.

Honestly, I didn't have those same expectations for Coded or 3D. Maybe that's why I enjoyed them more (among other reasons)?
A lot of those things should have been seen at this point in the KH series, though I wasn't expecting many of them for BBS since most of what you listed happened 9 years before KH1 and BBS was always going to happen the year before. Still, it could have fleshed out so much more, though maybe it speaks for my disdain for the writing even then that I never expected it to.
 
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Agreed, but that can literally be said about every game.
True, but it's particularly noteworthy for this game because it didn't really have an excuse. She was fine in KH1, in all game set between that and KH2 she was on the island with no way to follow all year. I don't know why a data version of her was nowhere in Re:Coded, but that's a different gripe and doesn't go into developing the current her. DDD was the first game set after KH2, where Kairi said the three of them were going to stick together from now on and where she got her keyblade.

The only real reason behind her not being allowed to sit at the tower like Donald and Goofy (especially since she'd be safer sticking with them than staying along at Destiny Islands again) was because the twist secret ending relied on you either forgetting Kairi exists or forgetting that she can wield a keyblade.

Seriously. The only entry that has more wasted potential than BbS is Days. I mean, you hear they're making a prequel set 10 years before KH1, what are the things you'd want or expect to see from that time? Maleficent taking over RG, young Squall and the other FF characters fighting Heartless and abandoning RG, the apprentices screwing over Ansem the Wise, the Heartless experiments (including Isa and Lea, perhaps?), Pete being banished from Disney Castle by Mickey, what Keyblade wielder Triton met in Atlantica, Kairi's life at RG and then her first arriving at Destiny Islands, maybe TRON's world being changed because of Xehanort and Maleficent beginning her villains group, etc. We only get very vague ideas about everything happening in RG, Xigbar's backstory, and the beginning of Maleficent's arc. Seeing Hercules when he was young was also a nice idea. Otherwise, it doesn't touch on any of the things you'd expect to see in a KH prequel.
Didn't that happen 9 years before KH1, though?

Cid: One day, a swarm of Heartless took over our world!
Leon: That was nine years ago.
 

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Regardless, BBS may have begun 10 years ago but it doesn't mean it had to be so short. If anything, Aqua's story is proof they could have extended the narrative.
 
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