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Olympus Coliseum & Treatment of Disney Worlds



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Face My Fears

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I've been thinking a lot about how the Disney worlds' appearances seem limited by the films' potential in the KH series. Hercules was never a favourite film of mine, I barely remembered what happened in it besides Hercules saving Meg at the end and Pegasus (when I was younger) and I didn't rewatch it for years (until shortly before KH3 came out). So I went for maybe 2 decades not realizing that Olympus Coliseum was NOT even in the Hercules film! Yet the coliseum showed up SO MANY TIMES in KH. Sure, it's a small world in most games (besides KH3), but still, it's a bit odd that a world that is based on nothing from the film would be used so much. Not only that, but The Underworld which wasn't featured as much in the film, got expanded upon in KH2.

Does anyone know if there is an actual reason for this? Why does Hercules get the special treatment of "thinking outside the box" for how the film is used in KH and the liberties taken with the film in the KH series? Every other film used seems to go by the book - IE following the film and using their locations - with the closest exceptions being "NeverLand" in KH1 (which was a step back from the potential the film offered) and Deep Space in BbS (which was clearly a calculated move by Nomura to include Stitch, but skip Lilo).

Also, with this in mind, why do people seem so hesitant and downright opposed to the idea of certain worlds returning? For example, most people groan at the mention of Halloween Town returning, yet there's a lot of potential for that world if Nomura thought outside the box. Each holiday tree can be an expansive level, kind of like the different stores in Toy Box (which the familiar location of Halloween Town being the hub to return to, like Andy's Room in Toy Box). Why is everyone fine with Olympus getting KH exclusive locations and expansion on the film, while other films are thrown in the bin because "there's nothing left to do"? Worlds like Atlantica, Halloween Town, Agrabah, Land of Dragons etc. have so much potential - especially aesthetically - to explore as worlds. Olympus Coliseum barely ever followed the film's plot, so why can't another film get that treatment and an ounce of originality in the world use? Is there a reason for this?

I used to think that it was because Nomura wanted to give us a recognizable Disney boss fight at the end of the world. But since that pleasure (and apparently "privilege") has been cancelled by the Disney corporation, then at least throw the fans a bone by letting us explore the film worlds in the beautiful KH3 engine with recognizable and timeless characters. I have no problem fighting a giant heartless with Aladdin, Ariel, Jack Skellington, Mulan etc. I just want to see their worlds in the beauty of KH3 graphics because those are actually worlds I would love to explore.

What are your thoughts on this? And I apologize in advance if I offended anyone who prefers strictly following Disney film plots for the KH worlds (and also the removal of the Disney villain as a boss fight and insertion of a giant heartless in their place).
 

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Combination of the creative leads on Hercules having already left Disney (so little to no resistance regarding its interpretation in KH), coliseum offering a nice setting for gameplay and side content and Nomura being a big fan of Hades's character.

But it's not like anyone actually treats this film as some kind of golden child? The team has their own ideas on how to implement things into the games, and just because they may not align with yours doesn't mean they're giving special treatment.
 
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But the Coliseum was kind of in the film? In KH1 while the Coliseum that we know it isn't exactly the same as in the film, there IS that gym area where Hercules works out in near the end of the film (when he makes the "deal" with Hades, fights with Phil, etc) that I assume our Coliseum in the game is based off of. It has the same structure, similar torches along the top edges, etc. Also, the world of Hercules in KH1 is very limited I assume because they wanted a very resource light world to save on assets for other places, and making a lot of iconic Disney areas from that movie would take a lot of unique assets so they cut the world down to literally three boxed-in rooms. Basically, just Hercules' gym. I don't think it was born out of a desire to see a different side of that world, unfortunately. Creating Thebes back then would have been difficult, potentially.

Besides that, Olympus Coliseum isn't the only world the team expended creative juices in building. I mean, Timeless River as an example was a sort of mish-mash imagination of what the shore of Steamboat Willy might look like, despite that not really being shown much or at all in the original film. Plus all of the little window portals into different "sets" were kind of their own thing. That, or I am not familiar with what film set they were directly copying.

My general feeling for most worlds is that they stitch together a whole map with one or two iconic locations thrown in to make it feel more cohesive. Monstro was entirely random created rooms apart from the mouth zone with Geppetto's ship. You mentioned Agrabah, but what was the inside of the Cave of Wonders except for whole areas they designed from the ground up? I mean they created an entire world out of Fantasia--which was literally as creative as you could be in building map/set design based off of just conceptual stuff.

For the Coliseum, in KH2 the iconic room was Hades'...throne room? Whatever that place with the table map thing was (and I suppose the Coliseum). So to me the worlds based off Hercules fall into that same mold as all the others.

That being said: I do think worlds feel more successful when the areas they make feel natural and fun to explore. If we take a current world into account, lets say, Kingdom of Corona-- they have the usual one or two "iconic" rooms (in this case, Rapunzel's tower and the castle town area itself) and stitched the maps together with unique forest locations and cliffs that had a few "easter eggs" of other film locations peppered in. It felt like its own place, but still very much like part of the film's universe in that respect.

I am not trying to massively disagree with you here, though. I do think there are some worlds that a lot of people have been saying they don't want to go back to which could massively benefit from having more assets available in the current gen/ps4 gen system to divert towards them. Atlantica could be made far more impressive in scope, same with Agrabah.

For that reason I do feel like as technology and asset availability grow and expand there is no reason why we should ever write off a disney property as being fully "done".

However, just for personal reasons I feel "done" with places like Halloween Town unless we do something like you suggested with exploring other holidays mostly because I am sort of tired of the theme of the film. Having more expanded zones isn't really going to rid me of that fatigue and desire to see something completely new. Like....Jack is cool and all but I feel like the whole time I would be questioning why we were going back to a place we have already seen when we could be exploring new concepts in a similarly macabre setting like in Coco.
 

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Nomura's fondness for Hades is probably why we will be seeing more of Olympus past KH3. Of course if he wants to expand his role outside of Olympus like Maleficent that works for me too.

As for my feelings on returning worlds I'm all for it if they can make them feel new and fresh with different areas. Just look at the difference between Port Royal and the Caribbean
 

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Combination of the creative leads on Hercules having already left Disney (so little to no resistance regarding its interpretation in KH), coliseum offering a nice setting for gameplay and side content and Nomura being a big fan of Hades's character.
Actually, Musker & Clements were at Disney until 2017 or so (a little after Moana, their last film). The funny thing is Hercules in KH3 is the one time the world closely follows the film (practically re-creating certain shots verbatim), even though KH3 was the first game released after they were no longer at Disney. No, I don't think Disney's film directors had been involved in KH worlds until KH3--which I blame on Lasseter micromanaging more than anything else. Hopefully it won't continue now he's gone and the worlds can go back to having Disney bosses, but we'll see.

I didn't know Nomura was a fan of Hades. I only know TLK is his favorite film.
 
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I've been thinking a lot about how the Disney worlds' appearances seem limited by the films' potential in the KH series. Hercules was never a favourite film of mine, I barely remembered what happened in it besides Hercules saving Meg at the end and Pegasus (when I was younger) and I didn't rewatch it for years (until shortly before KH3 came out). So I went for maybe 2 decades not realizing that Olympus Coliseum was NOT even in the Hercules film! Yet the coliseum showed up SO MANY TIMES in KH. Sure, it's a small world in most games (besides KH3), but still, it's a bit odd that a world that is based on nothing from the film would be used so much. Not only that, but The Underworld which wasn't featured as much in the film, got expanded upon in KH2.

Does anyone know if there is an actual reason for this? Why does Hercules get the special treatment of "thinking outside the box" for how the film is used in KH and the liberties taken with the film in the KH series? Every other film used seems to go by the book - IE following the film and using their locations - with the closest exceptions being "NeverLand" in KH1 (which was a step back from the potential the film offered) and Deep Space in BbS (which was clearly a calculated move by Nomura to include Stitch, but skip Lilo).

Also, with this in mind, why do people seem so hesitant and downright opposed to the idea of certain worlds returning? For example, most people groan at the mention of Halloween Town returning, yet there's a lot of potential for that world if Nomura thought outside the box. Each holiday tree can be an expansive level, kind of like the different stores in Toy Box (which the familiar location of Halloween Town being the hub to return to, like Andy's Room in Toy Box). Why is everyone fine with Olympus getting KH exclusive locations and expansion on the film, while other films are thrown in the bin because "there's nothing left to do"? Worlds like Atlantica, Halloween Town, Agrabah, Land of Dragons etc. have so much potential - especially aesthetically - to explore as worlds. Olympus Coliseum barely ever followed the film's plot, so why can't another film get that treatment and an ounce of originality in the world use? Is there a reason for this?

I used to think that it was because Nomura wanted to give us a recognizable Disney boss fight at the end of the world. But since that pleasure (and apparently "privilege") has been cancelled by the Disney corporation, then at least throw the fans a bone by letting us explore the film worlds in the beautiful KH3 engine with recognizable and timeless characters. I have no problem fighting a giant heartless with Aladdin, Ariel, Jack Skellington, Mulan etc. I just want to see their worlds in the beauty of KH3 graphics because those are actually worlds I would love to explore.

What are your thoughts on this? And I apologize in advance if I offended anyone who prefers strictly following Disney film plots for the KH worlds (and also the removal of the Disney villain as a boss fight and insertion of a giant heartless in their place).
I would be really happy if Halloween Town returned in future games, I never thought about how it would return in the series but I like your idea of the areas with the trees being the main hub world and leading to different levels. Everyone has there own reasons for not wanting certain worlds to return but for me its either because I found them boring, annoying or they appeared to much in the series for example I think Olympus Coliseum and Agrabah have appeared too much and I don’t want them to return, I’m fine with how the worlds played out and I don’t dislike them it‘s just I seen them way too much as this point. I‘m not to sure why certain worlds have more freedom with the plot than other worlds, I believe the ones in KH3 were down to how protective Disney was of the original film and how much creative freedom the company was willing to give, Frozen was definitely the perfect example of this. Also I’m not sure if I’m right about this or not, but I always thought that the reason Olympus Coliseum area appeared despite not being in the film was simply because they wanted to give us the chance to fight characters like Sephiroth and Cloud and they didn’t want to create a new world for the fights only especially if they couldn’t figure out any plot for it so they decided to choose a Disney world and Olympus Coliseum was the best one they could think of. Perhaps In previous games Disney were still protective of all it’s other properties and didn’t want too much to change,but Nomura managed to convince them to make an exception for Olympus Coliseum somehow?
 

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Combination of the creative leads on Hercules having already left Disney (so little to no resistance regarding its interpretation in KH), coliseum offering a nice setting for gameplay and side content and Nomura being a big fan of Hades's character.

But it's not like anyone actually treats this film as some kind of golden child? The team has their own ideas on how to implement things into the games, and just because they may not align with yours doesn't mean they're giving special treatment.
With Nomura commenting that certain worlds cannot return because of their maps or whatever, it does somewhat seem like he favors Olympus and is giving it special treatment. The Pride Lands and Halloween Town cannot return because of their maps and because their stories' are done, but Olympus can be used in almost every single KH game and still be fresh and new?

Side content can easily be thrown into other worlds. The coliseum is basically just rooms of heartless with a trophy at the end. Nomura could easily put some side quest in worlds where you have to get tp a certain location (via clearing rooms of harder heartless) to get to a trophy. Olympus isn't the only Disney world that this can happen in. So why was it the chosen one?
But the Coliseum was kind of in the film? In KH1 while the Coliseum that we know it isn't exactly the same as in the film, there IS that gym area where Hercules works out in near the end of the film (when he makes the "deal" with Hades, fights with Phil, etc) that I assume our Coliseum in the game is based off of. It has the same structure, similar torches along the top edges, etc. Also, the world of Hercules in KH1 is very limited I assume because they wanted a very resource light world to save on assets for other places, and making a lot of iconic Disney areas from that movie would take a lot of unique assets so they cut the world down to literally three boxed-in rooms. Basically, just Hercules' gym. I don't think it was born out of a desire to see a different side of that world, unfortunately. Creating Thebes back then would have been difficult, potentially.

Besides that, Olympus Coliseum isn't the only world the team expended creative juices in building. I mean, Timeless River as an example was a sort of mish-mash imagination of what the shore of Steamboat Willy might look like, despite that not really being shown much or at all in the original film. Plus all of the little window portals into different "sets" were kind of their own thing. That, or I am not familiar with what film set they were directly copying.

My general feeling for most worlds is that they stitch together a whole map with one or two iconic locations thrown in to make it feel more cohesive. Monstro was entirely random created rooms apart from the mouth zone with Geppetto's ship. You mentioned Agrabah, but what was the inside of the Cave of Wonders except for whole areas they designed from the ground up? I mean they created an entire world out of Fantasia--which was literally as creative as you could be in building map/set design based off of just conceptual stuff.

For the Coliseum, in KH2 the iconic room was Hades'...throne room? Whatever that place with the table map thing was (and I suppose the Coliseum). So to me the worlds based off Hercules fall into that same mold as all the others.

That being said: I do think worlds feel more successful when the areas they make feel natural and fun to explore. If we take a current world into account, lets say, Kingdom of Corona-- they have the usual one or two "iconic" rooms (in this case, Rapunzel's tower and the castle town area itself) and stitched the maps together with unique forest locations and cliffs that had a few "easter eggs" of other film locations peppered in. It felt like its own place, but still very much like part of the film's universe in that respect.

I am not trying to massively disagree with you here, though. I do think there are some worlds that a lot of people have been saying they don't want to go back to which could massively benefit from having more assets available in the current gen/ps4 gen system to divert towards them. Atlantica could be made far more impressive in scope, same with Agrabah.

For that reason I do feel like as technology and asset availability grow and expand there is no reason why we should ever write off a disney property as being fully "done".

However, just for personal reasons I feel "done" with places like Halloween Town unless we do something like you suggested with exploring other holidays mostly because I am sort of tired of the theme of the film. Having more expanded zones isn't really going to rid me of that fatigue and desire to see something completely new. Like....Jack is cool and all but I feel like the whole time I would be questioning why we were going back to a place we have already seen when we could be exploring new concepts in a similarly macabre setting like in Coco.
You're right that Monstro and Timeless River were creative uses of those properties, but KH3 has set a somewhat precedent now. There's no unique world in KH3 where it's very different from the film's plot or the world itself is unique to explore (unless you bring up the Ice Dungeon in Arendelle).

I'm all for seeing new places like Coco, but I feel like one of the things missing from KH3 was Sora revisiting old friends. Hercules was fine, but Jack wasn't even Jack until the end, and Pooh was there for like 5 seconds. Sora really made better connections with people like Ariel, Beast, and Mulan versus the new friends in KH3. I don't know about anyone else, but I really would like to see those friendships continue. Also, those worlds would come across as new as Sora hasn't been there (in real world time) in over a decade.
I would be really happy if Halloween Town returned in future games, I never thought about how it would return in the series but I like your idea of the areas with the trees being the main hub world and leading to different levels. Everyone has there own reasons for not wanting certain worlds to return but for me its either because I found them boring, annoying or they appeared to much in the series for example I think Olympus Coliseum and Agrabah have appeared too much and I don’t want them to return, I’m fine with how the worlds played out and I don’t dislike them it‘s just I seen them way too much as this point. I‘m not to sure why certain worlds have more freedom with the plot than other worlds, I believe the ones in KH3 were down to how protective Disney was of the original film and how much creative freedom the company was willing to give, Frozen was definitely the perfect example of this. Also I’m not sure if I’m right about this or not, but I always thought that the reason Olympus Coliseum area appeared despite not being in the film was simply because they wanted to give us the chance to fight characters like Sephiroth and Cloud and they didn’t want to create a new world for the fights only especially if they couldn’t figure out any plot for it so they decided to choose a Disney world and Olympus Coliseum was the best one they could think of. Perhaps In previous games Disney were still protective of all it’s other properties and didn’t want too much to change,but Nomura managed to convince them to make an exception for Olympus Coliseum somehow?
You're probably right on why the Coliseum was the way it was in KH1. I just don't understand why it was the only exception. KH1 literally showed that you can add extra content to other worlds (like Kurt Zisa and The Phantom). I get introducing Cloud and other Final Fantasy characters in the Coliseum is somewhat easier, but Final Fantasy characters like Fran/Balthier would fit into The Caribbean's setting easily, and having secret bosses in other worlds can be done.
 

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I always thought he might make another attempt at a musical side quest world with Halloween Town. It makes the most sense considering we've never actually seen the characters put on the Halloween performances they talk about all the time and the movie has a soundtrack most people enjoy.
 

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I get that Nomura really favors Hades and all, but it doesn't excuse how almost every visit in Olympus is the same exact story. Now KH3 has a twist...they're ACTUALLY following the movie. And if worlds like Halloween Town, Wonderland, and....Monstro comes back, it'll be no different either, really. That's usually how the Disney worlds are. Usually just rehashing a past plot, or completely going off by the movie script and premise. Been like that since 1, if you think about it.

Why is everyone fine with Olympus getting KH exclusive locations and expansion on the film, while other films are thrown in the bin because "there's nothing left to do"? Worlds like Atlantica, Halloween Town, Agrabah, Land of Dragons etc. have so much potential - especially aesthetically - to explore as worlds. Olympus Coliseum barely ever followed the film's plot, so why can't another film get that treatment and an ounce of originality in the world use? Is there a reason for this?
Bold of you to assume we aren't tired with Olympus in Kingdom Hearts. We were only fine with it because it's the first world with COUNTLESS appearances that ACTUALLY decided to change it to a completely different map. Doesn't excuse the fact that it has LONG overstayed its welcome. I don't know about the rest of the community, but I'm done with Olympus. There really IS. Nothing left for that world just like the rest.
 
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Face My Fears

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I always thought he might make another attempt at a musical side quest world with Halloween Town. It makes the most sense considering we've never actually seen the characters put on the Halloween performances they talk about all the time and the movie has a soundtrack most people enjoy.
If he was going to do another musical world and rehash the movie plot, I wish it would be Mulan. I don't know why they excluded Mulan songs from MoM.

But I guess in the grand scheme of things, Halloween Town would fit side musical world best. I'm just not sure how people will react to a combat world being "demoted" to a musical world - I know I felt ripped off that Atlantica was musical only. I liked the musical aspect, but I really wanted to fight with Ariel again.
I get that Nomura really favors Hades and all, but it doesn't excuse how almost every visit in Olympus is the same exact story. Now KH3 has a twist...they're ACTUALLY following the movie. And if worlds like Halloween Town, Wonderland, and....Monstro comes back, it'll be no different either, really. That's usually how the Disney worlds are. Usually just rehashing a past plot, or completely going off by the movie script and premise. Been like that since 1, if you think about it.


Bold of you to assume we aren't tired with Olympus in Kingdom Hearts. We were only fine with it because it's the first world with COUNTLESS appearances that ACTUALLY decided to change it to a completely different map. Doesn't excuse the fact that it has LONG overstayed its welcome. I don't know about the rest of the community, but I'm done with Olympus. There really IS. Nothing left for that world just like the rest.
How can there be "nothing left" for that world or any world? That's the point of my thread. Olympus basically proves that if Nomura wanted to, all the other Disney worlds that Nomura has expressed that there's "nothing left" could have something. The very fact that totally original plots like in Toy Box and Monstropolis can happen and map expansion to places that were not seen/detailed in the film, like in Olympus, means that any world has potential to do something.

Nomura's already done with giving us Disney boss fights, so it doesn't matter who the villain is in the world anymore since we're probably not going to get a fight with them (very disappointing). I just want to see past worlds get a better treatment in KH3 quality graphics and maybe they can transcend copying and pasting the film plot and actually do an original plot related to the main plot.
 

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I always thought he might make another attempt at a musical side quest world with Halloween Town.
If they do something like this I bet they'll use Melody of Memory's gameplay as a base but with new editions. I'm one of the few that didn't hate KH2's Atlanica so I'd like more musical quests.

I'd love to revisit The Nightmare Before Christmas franchise in KH and I've been dying to see those other holiday worlds since I was a child. But which new holiday world would make for a good Kingdom Hearts visit? Christmas and enjoying spooky fun are universal. But the Guardians of Light might be disinterested or even confused if you bring up stuff like Independence Day or St Patrick's Day.
 

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I honestly think Olympus Coliseum has played its part. It was in pretty much every iteration and played all of its roles in KH. If SE wants more off "The Games" then go for it. But the story and all of its side stories have done their part.
 

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The Bizzare Room in Wonderland has a great deal of creative liberty taken with it. It looks like they replaced the original room with the inside of White Rabbit's house instead.
 

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Actually, Musker & Clements were at Disney until 2017 or so (a little after Moana, their last film). The funny thing is Hercules in KH3 is the one time the world closely follows the film (practically re-creating certain shots verbatim), even though KH3 was the first game released after they were no longer at Disney. No, I don't think Disney's film directors had been involved in KH worlds until KH3--which I blame on Lasseter micromanaging more than anything else. Hopefully it won't continue now he's gone and the worlds can go back to having Disney bosses, but we'll see.

I didn't know Nomura was a fan of Hades. I only know TLK is his favorite film.
Thanks for the correction!

Yeah, Nomura really likes Hades, and it seems like he's not the only one. While looking up the exact interview that he mentioned it, I came back across this old thing from the KH2 Ultimania Alpha, where he explains why they brought back the coliseum for KH2:

In the previous game the map only covered the coliseum, so this time I decided I wanted to allow players to walk through a wider variety of maps. Then, when thinking of what to use for a setting, I remembered how popular Hades had been in the previous game, and knowing it would allow for a completely new atmosphere, I decided to try making the Hades-ruled Underworld the main focus.
Edit: Reasons for BBS:

How did you decide which Disney worlds would be in Birth by Sleep?

The process of choosing worlds has been the same with every entry. First, we select the worlds that are essential based on the scenario; in this title's case, the three pricess' worlds. Then, to add some variety to the locations we decided to include Deep Space (Lilo & Stitch) and Neverland (Peter Pan). Since Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep takes place before the rest of the games in the series, we decided to include Olympus Coliseum (Hercules) to show the contrast between past and present. We were able to incorporate more locations because of the hardware's capacity, and also because this title carries the same weight as a numbered Kingdom Hearts title.
Reasons for KH3:

—Among the worlds of KH3, Olympus is a constant that has appeared in nearly every game in the series so far. Do you have particular feelings towards it?

Nomura: There isn't really a reason for that, it's honestly just by chance. I mean, the reason it appears in KH3 is simply because it made for a perfect beginning to the journey: Sora going to visit a hero who had once regained lost powers, in order to try and regain his own. If I were to say I had particular feelings about it, I'd say that I love having Hades appear. He's a very funny character, and I start wanting to watch him moving about.
Doesn't seem like they ever disclosed the specific reason it was included in Days? I don't remember if anything important took place there, so I guess we can chalk it up to gameplay concepts they wanted to implement:

-- How did you go about making the missions?

Ito:
First we decided on the play concepts for each world - for Agrabah, a map with a lot of movement between low and high places; for Olympus Coliseum, unique battles in the coliseum itself. Then we listed ideas for gameplay we could implement in each world. Putting those two things together, we also made sure not not to put similar missions on consecutive days, to keep some variety.
 
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  • 15th Anniversary
Alright, Might as well throw my hat into the ring

As Disney123 hasso eloquently put it, A lot of us are sick of visiting Olympus. One of the main reasons it stayed around for so long was because the movie wasn't that financially successful/that big of a hit than say, Lion King or Frozen. I'll make this as clear as a windowpane flounder, THE MAIN REASON why Olympus has appeared is because Disney cares less about it because it wasn't a money making juggernaut. As such, there's less creative control there whereas Arendelle was included to ride the coattails of Frozen's popularity, and as such Disney had a stronger grip on it. Because of this and Nomura liking Hades as a character, it has frequently appeared time and time again. Though I doubt my opinion would change much, the direction Nomura's taking the series with his fanfiction OC's is the wrong one. He should be focusing MORE on utilizing notable Disney classics like Brother Bear or Bambi which would give him more creative freedom than sticking with what's popular at the time. It's only a matter of time until Donald and Goofy are replaced with Magus and Aegis from Verum Rex, whoever the heck they are.
 
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