X/Unchained X/Union Cross HD is the most likely release after Kingdom Hearts III



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Alpha Baymax

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Now that Kingdom Hearts III has been released, a lot of people assume that Kingdom Hearts IV is going to be the next game released because the spin-off method is outdated in a franchise focused era, and that native HD assets for Kingdom Hearts have been created. Well, I don't think that's going to be the case. Not only because Kingdom Hearts III is likely going to have post-game content being provided for it, but primarily because the X series is not a playable entry.

Yeah, we have X Back Cover, but the relevance of that cinematic has faded away with each passing day. Union X, on the other hand, continues to be relevant, and its inaccessibility for non-mobile gamers (or even for those who cannot download the game) continues to be a hurdle for a lot of people (which doesn't help with the delay of story content between Japan and Global). So, I've created this topic to highlight the reasons why X/Unchained/Union Cross HD makes perfect sense to be the next entry after Kingdom Hearts III and before Kingdom Hearts IV.

Union Cross will inevitably be removed from the iOS/Google Play store
This is the most apparent one. Free to play games have an expiry date, and just because Union Cross has been profitable as is, it's not going to last forever. The story for that game has to end at some point, thus, ending the lifespan of the application. Besides, every handheld Kingdom Hearts game has an HD version, Union Cross having a playable variant is especially important considering this factor, so a more permanent version of Union Cross makes sense with this in mind.

It's the most cost-effective option
It'd be easy to release Kingdom Hearts IV after Kingdom Hearts III, but it wouldn't necessarily be the most profitable option in the long run. As convoluted as the handheld entries and the HD re-releases are, they introduced new people to the series. Also, it doesn't hurt for Square Enix to have a larger pool of modern Disney properties to choose from for Kingdom Hearts IV, so having a stop-gap with a Union Cross HD release helps with the Disney world selection for IV.

Unreal Engine 4 variant of past Disney worlds
Outside of Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance, the Disney worlds in the handheld Kingdom Hearts games were repeated to Disney worlds that we already explored in Kingdom Hearts. Having a Union Cross HD would make us return to previously explored Disney worlds, but the Kingdom Shader re-design would make them feel fresh whilst providing the nostalgia that said Disney worlds provided in the previous entries. A lot of people wanted to see HD remakes of past Kingdom Hearts games to see these past Disney worlds in Unreal Engine 4, but this is honestly the better alternative.

The lore importance
This is arguably the most logical reason to release this game. It implements enough elements to not only stand as its own game, but it is clearly laying the groundwork for Kingdom Hearts IV. A lot of revelations have occurred for characters like Marluxia, Larxene and Ventus through this game, and further personification of Ephemer and Skuld strengthens the value of both those characters. Maybe have Ephemer and Skuld be the playable characters for the hypothetical Union Cross HD remake, that would be a smart incentive to make the game distinct enough from the current releases of the X saga.

So, what's everybody's thoughts on this?
 
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I would personally love it if this happened. Union X has a great story and it would be exciting to see it remade in HD. I think the reasons you listed make a lot of sense too. Whether or not it will happen is anyone’s guess, though. In my opinion, Square Enix has delivered a good amount of surprises lately. While it all boils down to financial success, I think that it’s safe to say no one really knows for sure what Square Enix will release next in terms of Kingdom Hearts. I think an HD remake of Union X is likely, but once again, it’s anyone’s guess.
 

Xblade13

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I think that this is a logical step. Having the entire X storyline available in a "proper" format would make sense, seeing as it appears that the plotline will be the crux of the next series saga.

I don't think IV is out of the question though, not do I think "spinoff" titles are outdated. Marvel has shown they can mix numbered titles (Iron Man 2/3) with subtitles (Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man Far From Home) and still make it work.

The reason "spinoff" titles were treated as lesser in Kingdom Hearts wasn't because they specifically had a subtitle, but rather that they were always on inferior hardware. Handheld devices were always considered less powerful, the graphics had to be toned down for most of those. Spreading the games out to so many systems was what jaded fans. I guarantee that if Chain of Memories, Birth By Sleep, and 358/2 Days had released on PS2, they wouldn't be as obscure. The PS3 could've then done Re:coded and Dream Drop Distance, along with maybe the initial HD sets.

The way I see it, there will be 3 games released between KHIII and KHIV.

- XHD, as you suggested.
- A game following Kairi trying to find Sora after KH3, traveling with Riku/Mickey
- a game following Lea, Isa, Roxas, and Xion finding the missing "her" they refer to in KH3. Seems to tie in to their next arc as characters, at least for Lea and Isa.
 

The_Echo

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A Re:χ developed for consoles is an inevitability.

But I don't think it'll be the next game after KHIII. After all, the Union χ[Cross] arc of the story has only really just begun, and the app itself can stay active for as long as it remains profitable.
I can only see a remake being put into motion once the story reaches its conclusion and/or player numbers start to dwindle and the money dries up (which I believe is what happened with χ[chi]).

As for the next game after KHIII, I don't think we're going to see a KHIV.
A few years ago Nomura said in an interview that KHIII was the "last of the main numbering series," a phrase which is a bit vague but I figure it means that numbered titles are out.
Which if you ask me is a good idea, considering all the misconceptions and "waiting 10+ years" people had over the number 3.
Perhaps the next saga will have titles featuring χ in some way to tie them together more obviously.

At any rate, for now the most immediate continuation of KH will be in the form of story updates for Uχ, and the next console title will likely pick up where KHIII left off with the new story updates in mind.
 

Recon

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Not trying to put down OP, but NO! God NO! Union Cross is everything we don’t want. It’s just a bunch of filler missions with no weight. We all know it was handled poorly. I think it’s better left for dead and for KH4 to have something original.
 

ShardofTruth

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I can see a stand-alone version of KHX/KHUX happening but why would it use the Unreal Engine? They could simply take the whole content and re-balance (and shorten) it into a better game, maybe even keep some of the multiplayer aspects. Since the graphics are mostly scalable they would also look good on a bigger screen.
 

Tartarus

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My first reaction was NO, because if they cared about us knowing this information, they would've made it more readily available for everyone prior to KH3. Post-KH3 is a little too late to start bothering and I'd rather they move on to KH4 instead of console jumping yet again. The only interesting point is Disney films that have been used before getting updated worlds because of their appearance in this game. What is the full list of Disney worlds that appear in the game? The only ones I know right off are Wonderland and Beast's Castle.
 

Rydgea

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What is the full list of Disney worlds that appear in the game? The only ones I know right off are Wonderland and Beast's Castle.
Dwarf Woodlands, Olympus Coliseum, Agrabah, Castle of Dreams and Enchanted Dominion (plus an additional world heavily speculated to be a WIR world)
 

SoulXaldin

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If this version of Union X is more streamlined, remade from the ground up with traditional KH gameplay in mind and tells a story that doesn’t span 800+ STORY MISSIONS, then I’m down.
 

Sakuraba Neku

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In order for that to work out, they would have to change the game core and make it more in line with the other KH games, because KHX games are just boring.

I honestly think another movie would be enough though. Maybe as a bundle with KH3 Final Mix (with the all the DLCs included)
 
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Graceful Schemer

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Personally, I think that a Back Cover-esque movies might be likely. The game is profitable and it is the KH contents in-between console games. The major issue they have to find a way to solve is when 'The Player' is relevant. That is going to be something they have to find a way if 'The Player' is ever going to surface outside of X saga.

It would be great if post-KH3 games just drop the numbers as the director intended. With FF7R, UX allows the director to flex his KH stuff without as much factors restraining things.
 

Tempo

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The_Echo

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Gonna go out on a limb and say this is about as likely as the χ[chi] servers coming back online
 

Alpha Baymax

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I would personally love it if this happened. Union X has a great story and it would be exciting to see it remade in HD. I think the reasons you listed make a lot of sense too. Whether or not it will happen is anyone’s guess, though.
If this version of Union X is more streamlined, remade from the ground up with traditional KH gameplay in mind and tells a story that doesn’t span 800+ STORY MISSIONS, then I’m down.
I think that this is a logical step. Having the entire X storyline available in a "proper" format would make sense, seeing as it appears that the plotline will be the crux of the next series saga.
In order for that to work out, they would have to change the game core and make it more in line with the other KH games, because KHX games are just boring.
Remaking Union Cross saves so much costs on scenario and story planning, all the team has to do is to convert the game from free-to-play to a console game. 0.2 Birth by Sleep implemented a character outfit mechanic so even that can be transferred over to a Union Cross HD.

Of course, the mission structure would have to be adjusted for a console experience, and medals would have to work differently, but if Chain of Memories was able to be converted to Re: Chain of Memories, then this game shouldn’t be a challenge to convert.

Oh, and Daybreak Town already has a model created, so that’s further asset costs saved.

I don't think IV is out of the question though, not do I think "spinoff" titles are outdated. Marvel has shown they can mix numbered titles (Iron Man 2/3) with subtitles (Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man Far From Home) and still make it work.

The reason "spinoff" titles were treated as lesser in Kingdom Hearts wasn't because they specifically had a subtitle, but rather that they were always on inferior hardware. Handheld devices were always considered less powerful, the graphics had to be toned down for most of those. Spreading the games out to so many systems was what jaded fans. I guarantee that if Chain of Memories, Birth By Sleep, and 358/2 Days had released on PS2, they wouldn't be as obscure. The PS3 could've then done Re:coded and Dream Drop Distance, along with maybe the initial HD sets.
Of course, IV is going to happen. No questions. The games that have the numbering conventions are adventures featuring Sora, Donald and Goofy. It’s too iconic and profitable of a formula to not carry on. But in the confines of this topic, I just feel that a Union Cross HD is the next best game to release after Kingdom Hearts III due to the relevance and cross-connectivity between both of these games.

In regards to the “spin-off” titles, three factors were at play for their original platforms of choice. Firstly, it was Nomura waiting out on the rights to use Pixar properties. Secondly, the Japanese console market share decreased as Japanese consumers preferred mobile gaming, and thirdly, it was the ideal platform to experiment with new gameplay styles.

Now that the market has changed, and Pixar is entirely integrated into Disney, I feel that canon Kingdom Hearts entries are going to remain multi-platformed on home consoles.

A Re:χ developed for consoles is an inevitability.

But I don't think it'll be the next game after KHIII. After all, the Union χ[Cross] arc of the story has only really just begun, and the app itself can stay active for as long as it remains profitable.

I can only see a remake being put into motion once the story reaches its conclusion and/or player numbers start to dwindle and the money dries up (which I believe is what happened with χ[chi]).
Valid point, Unchained/Union Cross continues to be a profitable application despite releasing for mobile devices since 2015/2016. But part of the reason why that has been surviving as long as it has is that it’s been the placebo to quench our Kingdom Hearts thirst. Now that Kingdom Hearts III is available, consumer interest is going to drop.

Outside lore, the only other thing Union Cross has going for it right now are the new Disney worlds. But whether these new Disney worlds will be enough to maintain consumer retention remains to be seen.

As for the next game after KHIII, I don't think we're going to see a KHIV.

A few years ago Nomura said in an interview that KHIII was the "last of the main numbering series," a phrase which is a bit vague but I figure it means that numbered titles are out.

Which if you ask me is a good idea, considering all the misconceptions and "waiting 10+ years" people had over the number 3.

Perhaps the next saga will have titles featuring χ in some way to tie them together more obviously.

At any rate, for now the most immediate continuation of KH will be in the form of story updates for Uχ, and the next console title will likely pick up where KHIII left off with the new story updates in mind.
I disagree with this. As mentioned earlier, the numbered titles are adventures with Donald and Goofy, and that sort of dynamic brings a sense of nostalgia and adventure that the non-numbered titles just cannot provide. Also, there’s too many revelations and origins for Union Cross to just be a reference for future Kingdom Hearts games.

Not trying to put down OP, but NO! God NO! Union Cross is everything we don’t want. It’s just a bunch of filler missions with no weight. We all know it was handled poorly. I think it’s better left for dead and for KH4 to have something original.
My first reaction was NO, because if they cared about us knowing this information, they would've made it more readily available for everyone prior to KH3.
There’s no denying that Kingdom Hearts Union Cross has a lot of issues as a free-to-play game from its execution of microtransaction incentives to the way that content is managed and released.

But there’s also no denying that the lore of this game has people interested. Strelitzia, a character that was only revealed for 10 chapters won the hearts of the fandom. Ephemer and Skuld have also been positively received characters too, and I think it would do the new and returning cast justice for them to be more realised through a Union Cross HD.

I can see a stand-alone version of KHX/KHUX happening but why would it use the Unreal Engine? They could simply take the whole content and re-balance (and shorten) it into a better game, maybe even keep some of the multiplayer aspects. Since the graphics are mostly scalable they would also look good on a bigger screen.
Firstly, remaking a hypothetical Union Cross HD means that you are amalgamating more of the Kingdom Hearts assets under the Unreal Engine 4 platform. That saves development costs in the long run, and makes the series more unified. Union Cross combines all of the Heartless designs from Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, and 358/2 Days with original designs. Having them created with Unreal Engine 4 means that said Heartless designs can be pasted into Kingdom Hearts IV and onwards.

But more importantly, part of the appeal with Kingdom Hearts III was that it was able to faithfully re-create the Disney properties featured with the Kingdom Shader. Having Dwarf Woodlands, Agrabah, and Beasts Castle be re-created with a more accurate look would make Disney fans geek out, and it would be a selling point for casual consumers to consider getting this Kingdom Hearts entry, because it faithfully re-creates a nostalgic Disney property.

I honestly think another movie would be enough though. Maybe as a bundle with KH3 Final Mix (with the all the DLCs included)
Personally, I think that a Back Cover-esque movies might be likely. The game is profitable and it is the KH contents in-between console games. The major issue they have to find a way to solve is when 'The Player' is relevant. That is going to be something they have to find a way if 'The Player' is ever going to surface outside of X saga.
Another movie is the last thing the X series needs. Not only do we already have one, but having another would be more narratively problematic than beneficial at this point. Union Cross has gameplay mechanics that can be tinkered for a console experience (that being the Keyblade evolutions, outfits and medals).

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No.
 

des97

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Hey dude, before reading your thread, I started my very own topic regarding Kingdom Hearts Re: Union X. Come check it out if you feel like!
https://forums.khinsider.com/kingdom-hearts-union/218853-kingdom-hearts-re-union-x.html#post6562089

To sum it up here, the key points are:
1. MMORPG with multi-player and micro-transactions.
2. Daybreak Town and classic Disney worlds, all in Unreal Engine 4.
3. KHUx will eventually end, so it would be a natural port.
4. Let's give KHUx some dignity and make it playable on a home console. The graphics and gameplay for KHUx are so bad when compared to KH3's. Plus the plot is too important to be left behind and Back Cover isn't enough to understand it.
 

Muke

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Oh, the whole X series desperately needs a rerelease, like, for sure. The only thing I'm curious about is whether or not they'll remove the player character (ie rewrite everything, keep them or give them a canonical appearance?). I really, really want a chi-game with the combat of KH2/3. And just as you said, seeing these old Disney worlds come to live again thanks to UE4 would be lovely.

Another thing I'm curious about is if it'll be a single player game or not
 

Alpha Baymax

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Correct me if I am wrong, but Nomura plans to make a Kingdom Hearts game before the Kingdom Hearts IV title. I cannot think of a better entry than a Union Cross remake.
 

ShardofTruth

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Firstly, remaking a hypothetical Union Cross HD means that you are amalgamating more of the Kingdom Hearts assets under the Unreal Engine 4 platform. That saves development costs in the long run, and makes the series more unified. Union Cross combines all of the Heartless designs from Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, and 358/2 Days with original designs. Having them created with Unreal Engine 4 means that said Heartless designs can be pasted into Kingdom Hearts IV and onwards.
At least asset-wise KHUX is much, much bigger than KHIII. If they could't be arsed to expand Twilight Town and Scala ad Caelum more while making other original worlds like Radiant Garden, Destiny Islands, Castle Oblivion playable in series' grand finale, I'm not sure where your optimism for your scenario comes from.
Of course they could re-uses these assets in potential sequels, but that's usually not how it's done, since then every KH game would have been bigger then the one before. What we're mostly seeing instead are more new worlds filled with new enemies.
 
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