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Where Kingdom Hearts is failing



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Does anyone else think Disney needs to stop being so involved

  • Yes, we want Kingdom Hearts not a Disney game

  • No, the loading time was worth Disney Cutscenes


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Mariya2

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It's simple for me. If Disney gets more involved that's it. I won't bother looking at KH even if it becomes popular. KH3 was the absolute PISS-TAKE. All them unnecessary overly extended Disney Cutscenes that had NOTHING, like seriously NOTHING to do with KH!! Like all that time could have been spent more on Sora, Riku, Kairi, Aqua, Terra, Ventus, Vanitus, Axel, Master Eraqus and Xenhort. The final scene where you battle against each organisation member, although it was beautiful, could have been extended. It seemed rushed hearing everyones story within seconds. To be honest at that point I was glad it was so short because I was SICK of all the Disney Cutscenes. However I would sacrifice 89% of all them Disney Cutscenes for anything to do with the KH characters done with justice. All that loading time would be worth the irritation to see anything related to strictly KH inplace of Disney. Never wad a fan of Disney, I genuinely play KH for KH characters and the lightest merge qith Disney classics. Disney messed up with their hotel and there stubbornness on Classic Disney not being on cassettes and they need to stop spoiling KH immediately too. Disney are also trying to make villains seem like the misunderstood people. Sorry Disney that makes them Victims not villains. Villains should stay as villains and maybe they hadn't noticed Square Enix chose the classic Maleficent, Jaffer and everyone. The original, THE villains. So don't spoil that. KH 2 was such a masterpiece that followed KH1. Infact everything else in between were so much better than KH3. (I cheated and watched KH:Chain of Memories) but I swear I would attempt to play that again than go througj all those KH3 Disney Cutscenes and loading time. Plus I needed more Chirithy. I get that might be what KH4 might all be about.
 

KingdomKurdistan

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I'm stunned that people can get through KH3 and believe it's the non-Disney parts that shine and need to be replicated.

The only reason KH3 was a releasable product is because of Disney's quality control for parts featuring their IPs. The OG KH stuff was the worst-produced of the whole series.
 

AR829038

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The problem isn't the amount of Disney, it's how they're handled. And I'd agree with KingdomKurdistan—the original sections of the games are what need more work in terms of writing and cinematography. The vast majority of the more "animated" moments in the game came from the Disney worlds, mainly because they had to recreate Pixar's brilliant work (which, to be fair, they did very well). But it's obvious that people tend to care more about how these worlds fit into main narrative. To be clear, Kingdom Hearts hasn't been very good at this since KH1, KH2 being no exception. In fact, the Disney worlds in KH3 actually added more to the main narrative than the worlds in KH2 did, even though the premise for going to these worlds being the PoW was a bogus goose-chase.

To be clear, there will NEVER be a Kingdom Hearts game with little or no Disney. It's just not gonna happen. KH is a Disney property first and foremost, and they would never allow themselves to be sidelined in their own franchise. People seriously need to stop deluding themselves with this idea.
 

Mariya2

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I'm stunned that people can get through KH3 and believe it's the non-Disney parts that shine and need to be replicated.

The only reason KH3 was a releasable product is because of Disney's quality control for parts featuring their IPs. The OG KH stuff was the worst-produced of the whole series.
If the OG KH stuff was so rubbish a KH3 wouldn't even be possible. Disney don't get involved in failures. KH was a beauty and had just the right amount of Disney content. It was never a Disney game and Disney made that clear. Suddenly Disney sees profit and get so involved it becomes a Disney movie/game and completely moves away from where Kingdom Hearts could've grown.

The problem isn't the amount of Disney, it's how they're handled. And I'd agree with KingdomKurdistan—the original sections of the games are what need more work in terms of writing and cinematography. The vast majority of the more "animated" moments in the game came from the Disney worlds, mainly because they had to recreate Pixar's brilliant work (which, to be fair, they did very well). But it's obvious that people tend to care more about how these worlds fit into main narrative. To be clear, Kingdom Hearts hasn't been very good at this since KH1, KH2 being no exception. In fact, the Disney worlds in KH3 actually added more to the main narrative than the worlds in KH2 did, even though the premise for going to these worlds being the PoW was a bogus goose-chase.

To be clear, there will NEVER be a Kingdom Hearts game with little or no Disney. It's just not gonna happen. KH is a Disney property first and foremost, and they would never allow themselves to be sidelined in their own franchise. People seriously need to stop deluding themselves with this idea.
It was always supposed to have Disney in the game. KH won't be the same qithout Disney. But the game was never supposed to be a Disney game. Disney didn't even want anything to do with KH. They hardly supported the advertisement side of the game. They didn't even want Micky used in the game. The different worlds made more sense in KH3, in fact it makes a lot of sense. But they OVER EXTENDED EVERYTHING. That's the issue. All that Disney for a game that isn't a Disney game. It is a Square Enix game that asked Disney if they can have some of the magic. Disney didn't want it until they saw money and suddenly there is no KH story left in the game. There was sooooooo much room for Kairi and Axels training. So much room for when Aqua and Terra were involved and when Ventus woke up. The game is called Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts is literally the title and the whole point of visiting different kingdoms. Disney is just this little sprinkle of Pixie magic. The use of the OG villains was fabulous too. It made Disney look more magical. KH3 basically looked like a Disney movie where KH was getting in the way.

Every time i see a thread of someone complaining about the amount of disney content in a kingdom hearts game I wish they would simply play one of the various Final Fantasy games.
Yeah because Final Fantasy will expand on the story of Sora, Riku, Kairi, Axel, Aqua, Terra, Ventus, Organisation 13, The Union and so on.

Kingdom Hearts was never a Disney game because Disney didn't want it as a Disney game and made it extremely clear that they will end KH1 if it is advertised with emphasis on Disney (the buisness).

Sad people think KH was a Disney game. People forget the first game came out in a different decade and so for that time the story was brilliant, same with KH2. KH3 were trying to catch up with current cinematic gaming world. This they did brilliantly. But Disney simply overtook the game and left hardly any room for KH. The game is called KH, maybe people who want to play Disney should play Disney games.
 

Elysium

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I don't think the Disney content needs to shrink, just the original content needs to be improved. I mean, 2, 1, and 3D had the same amount of Disney content % as KH3 practically, but you still got well-developed original worlds in Traverse Town, Twilight Town, Hollow Bastion / Radiant Garden, The World That Never Was, etc.
 

*TwilightNight*

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I don't understand this new take about blaming Disney and the Disney Worlds. Sounds to me like they are being used as an escape goat since KHIII had disappointed.

What should be blamed is the low quality writing, lack of narrative build up, and shallow intercharacter relationships of any character not in a trio. KHIII wasn't bad because of Disney, it was bad because of the director and the lack of competency behind it. Disney has never been an issue. It's the original story elements that are half-assed. The favored male cast and the need to utilize females as trophies or have their motivation be male-based doesn't help its case either.

The reason it's failing it's because Nomura just uses KH now as his brain storm of ideas without much build up, basis, or exploration. Therefore random stuff the characters suddenly care about happens (or they know stuff without explanation, power as the plot demands, etc.) and retcons happen. And so far he just doesn't care. I bet the reason that Roxas shoots down from the sky and why Riku Replica matters to Naminè out of left field is because he thought those moments would be sweet or cool. And to reserve those moments and make them happen, he holds Roxas and Naminè from returning earlier, avoiding the rushed mess of the game be damned. I'm pretty convinced that's how his mind works.
 
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Nicolas

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I think the issue with KH3 was not necessarily the Disney content (though some worlds could've been handled better), it was the pacing. The game threw you right into the Disney worlds and it was Disney Disney Disney and then hours of exposition and original content. It was really badly paced in that sense. Most other Kingdom Hearts games have something in the middle to balance it all out, give the plot more time to breathe.
 

kirabook

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The problem with Kingdom Hearts is the lack of proper character interactions in and out of Disney worlds. The Disney worlds in KH1 had way more weight outside of their world. Certain characters in the worlds were well aware of what was going on outside the worlds, interacted with other Disney characters from other worlds, and even participated in outer worldly conflicts.

And with all the OC content, we do not have enough time with them together to properly flesh out their relationships, especially now that the cast is so big.

Plus the pacing. The pacing in KH3 was so whack.

THOSE are the problems with Kingdom Hearts. Not Disney itself. If it's Disney's meddling that is causing this issue, then yeah. Technically Disney overlords is the issue, not the Disney content.
 
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KudoTsurugi

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The problem with Kingdom Hearts is the lack of proper character interactions in and out of Disney worlds. The Disney worlds in KH1 had way more weight outside of their game. Certain characters in the worlds were well aware of what was going on outside the worlds, interacted with other Disney characters from other worlds, and even participated in outer worldly conflicts.

And with all the OC content, we do not have enough time with them together to properly flesh out their relationships, especially now that the cast is so big.

Plus the pacing. The pacing in KH3 was so whack.

THOSE are the problems with Kingdom Hearts. Not Disney itself. If it's Disney's meddling that is causing this issue, then yeah. Technically Disney overlords is the issue, not the Disney content.
This. The worlds in KH3, on their own, are fine. But as part of a larger narrative, it feels all over the place. Twilight Town was larger in KH2 than it was in KH3, and we don’t get to visit Yen Sid’s Tower or Radiant Garden outside of cutscenes(not counting the Limit Cut episode).

There are ways to flesh out the characters that even the manga takes advantage of, but due to either time constraints or simply not thinking of it, some of the game characters start to feel hollow.

And yes, fans haven’t forgotten about KH1 when Beast/Prince Adam found his way to Hollow Bastion simply through the power of belief. If all your partners throughout the series were able to help you in the large heartless fight just before the battle with Xehanort’s Organization XIII 2.0, that would’ve been so cool to see. It’d be like The Battle of 1000 Heartless on a multiversal scale. Of course you might not be able to get everybody there depending on their endings, but even so, the potential was there!
But nope, we can’t have that because of the ‘World Order’, which only got brought up again just to have Sora disappear to Quadratum after essentially bringing back his friends from the dead.

Hindsight can be a pain for stuff like this, but while the moments in KH3‘s endgame were very cool in isolation, a lot of them weren’t put in the right places narratively. Anti-Aqua’s fight could’ve been set as a midway point after the first 4 worlds, then after the second half you get her going to Ven. And as great as Re:Mind was at fleshing out the final battle, they should’ve just had those moments in there from the start.

I could go on, but you get the picture: Disney content is not the problem. The problem lies in the execution of the original stuff, at least as of late. At the end of it all, Kingdom Hearts may not just be a Disney game, but it wouldn’t be Kingdom Hearts without Disney or Square in it.
 
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AR829038

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People also tend to forget how troubled the production of this game was, and how much that factored into the bad pacing and clumsy climax. I do think Nomura could write the Disney stuff in the narrative better if Disney would allow him more leeway in utilizing their IPs, but that doesn't mean I think Disney is the main problem. Nomura's writing just isn't that great. Scenes between OG characters and scenes between Disney characters sometimes feel like night and day, because the interactions between Disney characters have significantly more energy and personality to them, whereas nowadays KH characters just kind of stand around a room and talk about shit they know or about what they're going to do. There's very little action that occurs, and the cinematography in these scenes is usually quite bland. It's only more noticeable now because we're in the next generation of consoles. Back in the Ps2 days, it wasn't as much of an issue, but now there's less excuse to be this lazy.
 

KingdomKurdistan

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Back in the Ps2 days, it wasn't as much of an issue, but now there's less excuse to be this lazy.

This is it. KH used to excel at maximising yield within the constraints of console tech limitations.
  • KH1's talking bubbles never felt like cop-outs because the cinematography was so artful in animated scenes. Look at the dynamism of the camera work/editing on Destiny Islands. Look at the meticulous shot blocking of that first Disney Castle scene where every cut was planned to a tee for comedic timing.
  • The sprites in CoM never felt like downgrades because they understood the limits of the GBA and used them to create something greater than the sum of its parts
  • The astonishing scale of KH2 from Roxas's Dive into The Heart sequence to the 1000 Heartless battle didn't even seem possible. And the technical shortcuts used to make it happen were so well-hidden and innovative.
  • Birth By Sleep ironed out the kinks through the novelty factor of AAA gaming on a portable console
  • DDD was just magic. Can't believe the game looked and played that well on a 3DS.
But then the transition to the PS4 didn't have any of that. It's like they forgot those issues the series had previously could now actually be fixed and instead just thought a new texture pack and more disc space for VA lines would suffice.
  • Talking bubbles were replaced with phoned-in, directionless, voice acting. Were the actors even given notes on tone? So many examples of actors putting the wrong emphasis on the wrong words like they were just sent lines without context and asked to perform them. This didn't happen for Disney world dialogue. KH1 cutscenes sound like they're all on set together and are performing the scenes IRL with instructions from a director. In KH3 they just replaced the non-animated text-bubble dialogue with non-animated voice dialogue.
  • The artistic beauty of stuff like CoM's sprites and the black and white world in KH2 were replaced by imaginative hyperrealistic textures.
  • The huge battle at the end felt like a copy/paste job for the 1000 Heartless one in KH2 and even then, despite nearly two decades of progress, it felt less impressive. You had to try really hard in KH2 to spot the "paper cut-outs" but in KH3 it was clear only those heartless very close to you were "real". Lower resolution back then helped hide it but with 4K the jaggies stood out from miles away.
From over-delivering on weak hardware to underdelivering on the most powerful hardware, it's like they didn't realise those things looked over two decades ago would stick out massively today.

KH was once at the very top of the pile in terms of narrative storytelling in games. I don't think any game even came close to matching KH1's ambitious stab at games as filmmaking at the time. Now it's lagging so far behind (again, apart from the Disney worlds which actually feel like proper productions with actual actors, writers, directors and editors).

Rather tragic, tbh. Disney really need to help out the OG KH stuff from now on. I don't mean interfere with the artistic choices, I just mean get someone to look over that script and polish it up in consultation with Nomura and co. The dialogue is painful and translators shouldn't be the ones tasked with making the writing presentable.

Whatever they did with the Disney worlds (I presume taking the translated screenplays and then polishing them in-house?) they need to do for the KH stuff, too.

Does Disney do casting for the OG characters? Because it's like someone has a list of anime dub VAs on a Google doc and just picks actors for original KH roles from that.

And I won't even start on the writing/storytelling/pacing aspect. Because that's a whole book
 

kirabook

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About the text bubbles, I was kind of surprised to see them go away. I don't remember my first reaction to them missing, but I think I realized at some point that if they feel it's necessary to now voice ALL lines in the game, that means there will be less talking all together.

In the past, Aqua's rescue would've happened earlier in the story and she'd be resting a Yen Sid's place for a few days. You could stop by and read some speech bubbles that maybe update now and then when something major happens.

You'd be able to interact with more NPCs because well, they're all speech bubbles and not voices lines.

I'd like to see the return to speech bubbles. Not everything needs FULL voice lines. Through in some generic sounds like sighing, laughing, hmmming, etc to fill in dead space if ya want. Those can be reused over and over.

Maybe they couldn't find an elegant way to put the speech bubbles back? I dunno.

The "Everything voice acted!" initiative was cool and all, but I actually prefer speechbubbles if voice acting means less content.

The biggest crimes of them all is there's no opportunity to take pictures with Terra.
 

KeybladeLordSora

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I feel like the one guy who didn't think KH1's cutscene direction was all that memorable outside of like a select few scenes.

Also I still can't believe no one modded the other Guardians into the starting fight at the Graveyard. In fact I'm surprised no one modded that fight at all.
 

kirabook

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It's not necessarily about the cutscenes. I mean, if you compared KH1's cutscenes to KH3's cutscenes, it's clear which ones are better shot visually. But there was.... more. Like, literally more to read often times especially OUTSIDE of the cutscenes. It's not that I want the fish faces back because lucky us, we don't have fish faces anymore, they can just have the characters seemingly saying nothing even as their mouth moves. Or stop after it seems like they've talked enough to fill the sentence. Or just have them emote. Something that allows the team to put more content and context in the game without bloating up file size or costing more money for voice acting.
 
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AdrianXXII

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I feel like the one guy who didn't think KH1's cutscene direction was all that memorable outside of like a select few scenes.

Also I still can't believe no one modded the other Guardians into the starting fight at the Graveyard. In fact I'm surprised no one modded that fight at all.
Wasn't there a mod like that shown off shortly before the PC version was released?
 

KingdomKurdistan

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I feel like the one guy who didn't think KH1's cutscene direction was all that memorable outside of like a select few scenes.

Also I still can't believe no one modded the other Guardians into the starting fight at the Graveyard. In fact I'm surprised no one modded that fight at all.

Just flicked through on YouTube trying to find some actual bad ones. They're at least functional throughout. Nothing stands out as downright poor or lazy.
It's not necessarily about the cutscenes. I mean, if you compared KH1's cutscenes to KH2's cutscenes, it's clear which ones are better shot visually.

Put aside the obvious graphical performance boost and I can't say I agree (ignoring Disney worlds and focusing solely on KH story cutscenes. I was referring to cinematography, framing, fluidity, editing, pacing, blocking, choreography, acting range, emotion, dramatic stakes, flow...


Just look at this. I was stunned to see it's only 5.59 long. Felt like I'd just come in from a long day at a school theater play when I first watched it. And it's not even close to the worst one.
 
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