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KHI makes a KH game! Discussion #1: Story, Narrative and Themes



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Shamdeo

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I submit a hypothetical: say the "Xehanort Saga" has ended, and the Kingdom Hearts series begins totally anew; starting from scratch, if you will. The platform for this game has yet to be determined. Let's also say you've been put on the team as a director, writer, artist, level designer, or whatever you wish to build the new Kingdom Hearts game from the ground up. How would you take an already established concept like this series and start it again? What would you carry along into the new series or leave behind? What I'd like to do is start a series of discussions about what Kingdom Hearts Insider members would do if they had a chance to collaborate as if they were a development team making an entirely new "Kingdom Hearts" title. There are people here of many different talents that can write, draw, or just plain conceptualize things for a good videogame. We're interested in what you'd do!

What I'm going to do is break down the discussion into seven major points with a recap discussion at the end, with about a week or so in between which will give you guys some time to let your ideas stew and share them here. At the end of each week we need to come to a consensus for what we'd like to do for the game in each topic. However if there is still sharp disagreement, that's fine as well. We'll simply state why there was a division in opinons and state why. I think it's interesting in analyzing things like this! What I will do is give you a series of prompts to consider for each theme. During the discussion I will be asking you all questions about what you have come up with to further prod your ideas by giving you more hypotheticals and so on and hopefully that may trigger some deeper discussion about the mechanics of the game.

This week's theme is:
Story, Narrative, and Themes Design
Characters and Character Design
Art Direction and Interface Design
World and Level Design
Gameplay and Battle System Design
Character Growth Development and Encounter Design
Tertiary Gameplay Design (Mini-Games)
Analyzing the Total Experience


So here's the deal, we know everyone has ideas they'd like to pitch at different levels. You can take your time and write an entire essay if you wish, but if you feel like leaving a paragraph or two of your own ideas or sentiments, by all means! Also, those of you that are inclined towards art may feel free to drop concept sketches off when we get into the topics that require it. If you feel like starting now go ahead, but I'd just wait until the weeks where we discuss those topics so that we don't derail the current week's topic that much.

But how should you answer the prompts? Well, what I suggest is first by directly answering the prompt itself and then expanding into your own ideas. I will write a short example:

Q: What themes do you feel this new Kingdom Hearts game should explore that we haven't seen in the series before? (ex: good triumps over evil, the bonds of friendship)
A: I feel like a new Kingdom Hearts title should further explore the feeling of longing for a home they cannot return to. (And here I begin to elaborate.) I would expand this idea by writing a story where the character has been separated from his/hers/its hometown/place of birth/etc and thrust reluctantly into new responsibility. I would illustrate this by having the character unable to return to his home world because it is destroyed or he/she/it was banished or so on. I would use dialogue and emotions such as loneliness, displacement, and xenophobia to show that the characters are like fish out of water away from their worlds. I would counterbalance this story and evolve it over the course of the narrative by having the main character or cast understand that they have come into great responsibility and that there are worlds beyond their own that are relying on them. I would show this by having the character(s) form bonds with other they do not know through certain events over the course of the game.

So yeah, kinda like that. The prompts in the next week will maybe be less text-heavy and will allow you to submit your own sketches or artwork. You don't have to answer all the prompts in a week to contribute. What matters is that we get some ideas bouncing around. Also, if an idea for a prompt strikes me over the course of the week I will update the OP so that you guys can respond to it. I'm also open to suggestions for prompts you guys would like to see responded to and explored.

Well, let's take a crack at it!

Story, Narrative, and Themes Design:
+ What kind of a story do you want to tell? Do you prefer games that are cliche but written well at the expense of depth or games that are more convoluted and require more reading between the lines at the expense of confusion? If you want both, please elaborate.
+ What themes do you feel this new Kingdom Hearts game should explore that we haven't seen in the series before? (ex: good triumps over evil, the bonds of friendship)
+ How can the concepts established in the original Kingdom Hearts series work with your ideas? If not, why?
+ How balanced is the game's narrative? The Kingdom Hearts series traditionally has had it's narrative gravitated towards the bookends, but would you opt for a more balanced way of story-telling or do you think it is effective as is? Also, tell us how you would create a balanced (or imbalanced) narrative by expanding on how the story evolves over the course of the game.
+ At what point does the main theme of the game become apparent? Is your theme something that is present without, or does it surface over the course of the story? Good versus evil is a good example of the former and a love story is a good example of the latter.
+ How do you think people will generally respond to the themes you've created for your story? Do you want to make people laugh or cry? Do you want them to be intrigued or entertained?
+ How would you handle contrasting events and themes? If your story is about the bonds of friendship, how would you illustrate the feeling of seperation and how prevalent should it be?
+ Do you set up your story for a sequel(s)? How do you establish things in your original game's story that carry into the next story and help bridge them effectively?
+ Do you want to tell a story from one character's perspective or several? If it's one character, how would you let the player get into the character's head? Is the player character someone who is very reliable that the player can replace with their own persona or does the character have a defined personality that we eventually come to understand?



Looking forward to discussing these responses!
 

Luap

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Hm? I like this thread.
Will definitely come up with a story idea later.
I'm to lazy to do it right now, so, I'll just lurk to see what others will say.
 

metrifyx

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Shamedo. This is amazing. Amazing. I'm excited to hear what everyone has to say. Expect a very long essay from me by tomorrow morning.

I'm incredibly excited for the following three weeks, specifically. <3
 

Silverslide

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So basically, you want us to reboot KH, or build on what Nomu already has?
 

Key to Truth

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I am a programmer, I could create the game from scratch with the help of people. In fact I was creating a KH 3D game myself but ended up losing hope because I lack a lot of knowledge in lots of subjects such as story-writers, animators, modelers, etc.

If you guys want me to collaborate somehow just tell me, lol.

EDIT: I think I got the whole point of the thread wrong, hahahaha.
 

Xsora5X

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Why not create another universe of worlds parallel to the original kingdom hearts? but not exactly the same... completely different story characters and places but keep the same enemies and add to them. new weapons, summons, forms, and have kingdom hearts connected to all of it. i have thought about making my own kingdom hearts spinoffs that wouldnt be called kingdom hearts, but have connections to it.
 

Organization_42

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Starting from scratch, yes.
But could we base our ideas off of the same characters, considering that KH is Sora's story? I'm not trying to limit anyone's creativity here, I'd just prefer to base my own ideas off of that.

Either way, this is such a cool idea, and you can definitely expect me to contribute once I get my thoughts in order!
 

Sodhipop

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First of all, I'd just like to say that I have been a frequent reader of KHI for years, but this thread was just too great not to finally join. Glad to finally be a part of the community.

+ What kind of a story do you want to tell? Do you prefer games that are cliche but written well at the expense of depth or games that are more convoluted and require more reading between the lines at the expense of confusion? If you want both, please elaborate.
+ What themes do you feel this new Kingdom Hearts game should explore that we haven't seen in the series before? (ex: good triumps over evil, the bonds of friendship)


I definitely prefer a game with a lot of depth in a story, over a cliche idea that has been done time and time again. I like art that goes out on a limb to try something fresh and original.

I don't remember where I first read this, but someone somewhere had the idea of making the Kingdom Hearts series a bit more darker in tone. I'd love this. Obviously KH could never get too dark and gritty, because after-all Disney is involved, but giving the game some more emotional depth and mature themes would be a major plus.

The idea of what human nature is, that everyone has the potential to do evil if put in the right set of circumstances, themes like that. Admittedly, I haven't played many KH games since KH2 (too many to keep up with!), but from what I know, most of the themes of "darkness" in KH are quite literal. There is darkness in someone's heart, literally, it's a shadow coming out to get them. I'd like it if that theme was a bit more metaphorical in nature. Obviously we need creatures like the heartless or nobodies to serves as enemies, otherwise there would be no game, but also the theme of "darkness" in one's heart as a more metaphorical/philosophical theme (without getting too preachy or complicated).

Also, the themes of loyalty and empathy. How far should someone go to save a friend before it becomes a lost cause? The theme of loss and moving on. Sora is a very pure soul, he never wants to give up until he saves the day and his friends. Maybe in this new game, something should happen that forces Sora to make a choice, maybe he loses something or someone, and can do nothing about it.
 

Shamdeo

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But could we base our ideas off of the same characters, considering that KH is Sora's story? I'm not trying to limit anyone's creativity here, I'd just prefer to base my own ideas off of that.

Either way, this is such a cool idea, and you can definitely expect me to contribute once I get my thoughts in order!
Well we're going to create a new protagonist (not because it's not Sora's story, but for our own creative purposes). However if you like what was done in the original series by having it be "the protagonist's story" then that's something to consider.
 

StVen

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This is nice. I will tag along Gameplay and Battle system design. I have lots of ideas in mind really. :) But story-wise I don't think I'm good at making one >.< I will be just reading along and if something comes to my mind I'll be posting it. :D
 

Epif

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I'm currently working with another member of these forums on an RP that I feel could be seen as a reboot of KH (similar to the point or other of this thread). What I mean to say is that I think I'll have a bunch to say. [If the other member is reading this right now and is asking his- or herself "What the hell, Epif?" then I have yet to contact them about this. UGHAFAH. UGHAFAH IS WHAT I SAY.]

Right now, I'm exhausted to all Hel, so I'll get back to this with a properly working brain. I'm really excited to participate in this!
 

Greekguy7

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Im trying to think of opposites to Sora's story.
Instead of an island, a huge New York-like city. Destiny Island, Legacy City
Intead of a sword/blade, a Bow and Arrow.
Instead of 3 friends, 2 people who hate each other and a stranger
Themes:
Whether you Forget your past, or embrace it.

I like the story progressing like it progresses in The current series, as in it all leads into somethig else, and the Reading between the lines that were in the OP.
 

Epif

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So, I've been trying to place an addendum on my previous comment since I posted it. I just want to say quickly (before adding more later):

The sentience and sapience of keyblades should be explored in this reboot or other.

I'll say more on things after I've had some rest.
 

Ordeith

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I'd like to explore the mechanics of the heart and the Keyblade--such as what would occur if a non-wielder bested a Keybearer in combat. It has been said that the Keyblade would become theirs, but if they defeated another wielder without using their Keyblade, would that Keyblade defer to them as well? (This could be a possible villain...)

Also, we've seen a Utopian world disconnected from all the others (BBS-era Radiant Garden), but suppose the connections between worlds could create an era of universal enlightenment? Use of the Keyblade would become more prevalent, and Keyblade wielders could potentially become institutionalized/bureaucratized. It would be interesting to see a Keyblade-wielding government, then to see the effects of this overbalance of light. The resulting surge in darkness would send the worlds into a panic, and maybe lead to a "Darkness Inquisition" of sorts.

These are just nebulous ideas that I'm spewing out--but I'm essentially trying to say that we're free to create whatever story and setting we please, so long as it stays true to the laws of the KH universe. The villains can be light-blinded bureaucrats, the opposing darkness can be just as blind--and the protagonists can be from both sides, attempting to find balance in both the worlds and their group.
 

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How about instead of an Island we can make it a City in which two best friends grew up together. But the keyblade is a known thing. In fact they choose who get's it. The group that picks it would be a governing body of keyblade master's who choose the newest heir. Much like a counsil as stated before me.They are chosen when they are born to protect there world. Let's say friend A (not to make up names yet) is chosen to wield it and Friend B accepts this but yet still wants to be a hero. One day the darkness attacks there world. Instead of fighting the darkness Friend A becomes it accepts it much like RIku. Friend B wanting to be a Hero stands strong and obtains the keyblade. He then defends the city and the darkness leaves. Friend A is gone and now it is Friend B's job to get him back because it is his duty to defend the city.

Now with this we would have to completely rewrite how heartless act into a more organic like creature. One that is plotting on it's own but in the end is still determined to just destroy worlds and capture hearts.
We would also have to make it so that Keyblade wielders have more of an affect on each world making it so there is one in every world. This would give us room to make more original character's with new traits and such.

Just some thoughts

Adding to this maybe we could give the Keyblades each wielder has more of a personality per say such as (I hate to go here but) Bleach. There blades have traits and there own character inside. This would make it so not only is the Main Character not traveling alone he is learning and befriending this entity that has been around for a very long period of time
 
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lasersquash

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I'd like to explore the mechanics of the heart and the Keyblade--such as what would occur if a non-wielder bested a Keybearer in combat. It has been said that the Keyblade would become theirs, but if they defeated another wielder without using their Keyblade, would that Keyblade defer to them as well? (This could be a possible villain...)

Also, we've seen a Utopian world disconnected from all the others (BBS-era Radiant Garden), but suppose the connections between worlds could create an era of universal enlightenment? Use of the Keyblade would become more prevalent, and Keyblade wielders could potentially become institutionalized/bureaucratized. It would be interesting to see a Keyblade-wielding government, then to see the effects of this overbalance of light. The resulting surge in darkness would send the worlds into a panic, and maybe lead to a "Darkness Inquisition" of sorts.

These are just nebulous ideas that I'm spewing out--but I'm essentially trying to say that we're free to create whatever story and setting we please, so long as it stays true to the laws of the KH universe. The villains can be light-blinded bureaucrats, the opposing darkness can be just as blind--and the protagonists can be from both sides, attempting to find balance in both the worlds and their group.
I dont fell like playing that because it sorta reminds me of Fable 3, from which i was thoroughly disappointed with it, while having a Fable/FF sort of feeling.
 
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