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NoWay

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I think KH is just in a different place in its “life” compared to other Square franchises at the moment. It just finished a near 20-year continuous narrative arc. Re:Mind and Melody of Memory were an epilogue to that arc to lead into the next, but whatever comes next is going to set the tone the future of the franchise. I think they didn’t want to have more spin off games between 3 and 4 as they would have muddied 4’s fresh start to the new saga. After 4 establishes the Lost Master arc, I think we’ll start seeing more side games and more frequent releases again.

FF and Dragon Quest also both have the benefit of being anthology series. It’s easier for multiple dev teams to work on different games under those brands without needing to connect them to each other. For KH, Nomura has to oversee everything and the narrative has to stay consistent. So it’s more manageable to only work on a couple projects at a time.

There’s also something to be said about it being one of their first franchises to move to Unreal Engine 5, even before FF. They must not hate the franchise too much for it to get the first stab at the latest game development tech. It will likely even be one of the first games from a mainstream AAA franchise to release using it. So I think that will get it a lot of attention.

If you put it like that, I’m feeling very excited about the future of the franchise. I’ve also forgot that UE5 is going to be the new engine.. I really hope that we’re getting some news after Rebirth’s release..
 

Chie

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Oh yeah I also really really want Aya Brea to be in the game.
 

Perkilator

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I think I know how to make a game starting Kairi and Aqua stand out: you know Interlinking from Xenoblade 3? I was thinking this hypothetical game could do something similar with a transformation requiring a heart strongly linked to light (Kairi) and a heart strongly linked to darkness (Aqua).
 

Megavoltage

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and a heart strongly linked to darkness (Aqua).
I’m really curious if this is true. Seems that Sora defeating Aqua healed her heart and she’s back to normal aside from the PTSD episode she had in the Keyblade Graveyard. But maybe she’s been permanently changed from the experience? Some Anti Aqua residue still exists deep down inside? Will she have some weird connection to the Darkness/Heartless/Darklings? Does she still have PTSD, will seeing Anti Aqua deliriums be a recurring thing? Aqua volunteered to go back to the Realm of Darkness to search for Sora and came back from it, this implies she’s healthy and moving on but who knows for certain.

I dream of Aqua being heavily involved when it comes to Darklings. Not just protecting the realm from Darkling antics but solving the mystery around them and eventually finding a way to heal them. Since Aqua was close to apparently becoming one herself this sets her up to be the Darkling specialist. And Aqua would probably feel especially sympathetic for them even if they’re violent trouble makers, she wouldn’t want those hearts to be left rotting in darkness. Ventus has previous history with them, he could be useful in this journey. And Kairi’s princess of heart light could maybe be helpful in the purification process of Darklings, that ties it together with your game idea.
 

Perkilator

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I’m really curious if this is true. Seems that Sora defeating Aqua healed her heart and she’s back to normal aside from the PTSD episode she had in the Keyblade Graveyard. But maybe she’s been permanently changed from the experience? Some Anti Aqua residue still exists deep down inside? Will she have some weird connection to the Darkness/Heartless/Darklings? Does she still have PTSD, will seeing Anti Aqua deliriums be a recurring thing? Aqua volunteered to go back to the Realm of Darkness to search for Sora and came back from it, this implies she’s healthy and moving on but who knows for certain.
When I say “strongly linked to darkness”, I’m alluding to the time she’s spent in the Dark World.
 
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I'd really like them to "return to their roots" and focus 90% of the protagonist attention on Sora, Riku, and Kairi. I don't need much more from Aqua, Terra, Ventus, Roxas, Axel, Xion, Namine, or any other protagonist character in KHIV. I doubt any of these characters will completely disappear, but I'd like to see them take a backseat to the main Island Trio for this next game. One issue I had with KHIII is that we just had too many characters that no one really had the spotlight, so it'd be nice to give the spotlight back largely to Riku and Kairi as they find Sora. And yes, I feel they should be the ones to find Sora. Not Donald and Goofy, not Mickey or Yen Sid, not any of the other aforementioned characters. Riku and Kairi would travel together, find Sora, and save him. That would be the main plot of the game.

As far as antagonists go, I would like for Maleficent to get her hands on the black box. That would at least give her some relevancy throughout the game. But I don't want anything to do with Xehanort in KHIV. I think I've resigned myself to the fact that Xehanort will at some point return in some capacity, which is fine. But I don't want him in KHIV beyond a brief mention or two. I would take that a step further and say if you were an Organization member, and you have nothing to do with the MoM, I don't want you showing up in KHIV. We don't need another Lexaeus and Xaldin situation in this game. The exceptions would be Marluxia and Larxene because a) they're my favorites and b) I think they could rival Maleficent and Pete and add to that storyline somewhat.
 
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