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Gamer Tuesday

July 23, 2013

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Pap's Dream Worlds for Kingdom Hearts III Part 1: The Animated Lands

Kingdom Hearts III has FINALLY been announced, and I couldn't be more excited for it. The conclusion of the massive storyline is one of the many reasons why, but my number one reason for my excitement is the possibility of stunning new Disney worlds. Since Kingdom Hearts II, Disney has released so many classic films, and has obtained many new licenses and characters. This means that Square Enix now has even more Disney material to create worlds out of, and if the inclusion of Port Royal (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) and Space Paranoids (TRON) in Kingdom Hearts II were out there, I am willing to bet anything that Kingdom Hearts III will throw us on a loop once it is eventually released in a few years.

Kingdom Hearts 3

I've been dreaming about the worlds we could visit since the game's announcement, so today for Gamer Tuesday, I will be listing the Disney worlds I am hoping to see in the next game. Note that this is a personal dream list. While there is the chance that Square Enix might turn them into playable worlds, the list is mine and mine alone, and should not be taken as confirmation that we will see any of these worlds in the final game. In addition, this will be done across several articles as the possibilities are almost so endless, I need to elaborate on them further.

That being said, let us plunge into my imagination and see what I can come up with...

The Kingdom of Corona (Tangled, 2010)

The Story: Sora, Donald and Goofy arrive in the middle of a lush forest, wondering where they have ended up. As they try to figure out their surroundings, a thief passes them in an extreme hurry. That thief is none other than the notorious Flynn Rider, and he is on the run from Corona's guards, as well as the Stabbington Bros. Sora and friends follow him to a mysterious tower, which they climb. Upon reaching the entrance, they see the thief knocked out on the floor. A young girl then addresses Sora in an aggressive manner. Once she has calmed down, she introduces herself as Rapunzel, a maiden of almost 18 which has been raised in this tower and has long hair. Rapunzel sees both Sora and Flynn as the perfect opportunity to escape the tower and see the kingdom's floating lights on her birthday. They agree to help Rapunzel out, because Sora can't pass up the chance of helping a beautiful young lady in need. What they don't realize is that Mother Gothel's dark, selfish desires to keep Rapunzel in her tower attract the dark forces of the Heartless to this world, leaving Sora to figure out why a seemingly calm kingdom has attracted the Heartless, and just what makes Rapunzel so special.

Why I think it should be in Kingdom Hearts III: Out of Disney's recent output of animated classics, Tangled has seen the biggest success of them all. The mixture of comedy with adventure, romance, music and drama has made the film a modern animated classic that has seen generational appeal throughout the world. Tangled also offers plenty of action sequences that lends itself to be presented in an action-RPG. In addition, the Kingdom Hearts series has presented nearly all of the fabled Disney Princess films in their games. This is because both the Disney Princess line has been one of Disney's strongest franchises, and the Princess films are often the best and most popular of the canon. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and many more have been presented as playable worlds, so it makes sense to turn the Kingdom of Corona into a world in Kingdom Hearts III. Its status as a popular Princess film and successful modern classic raises the chances of it being a world in the new game.

The Princess and the Frog
The Land of Jazz (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

The Story: Prior to Sora and friends landing on this world, we see a young woman in a blue princess outfit. Her name is Tiana, and her wish is to own a restaurant and fulfill her dad's dream. Out of desperation, she wishes upon a star. Seconds later, a talking frog appears by her side. He calls himself Prince Naveen. He tells her that he has been cursed by a witch doctor named Facilier, and needs to be kissed by a princess to be turned into a human again. Tiana begrudgingly agrees, but turns out the kiss turned HER into a frog! Both end up on the bayou where they meet Sora and friends. They agree to help them find Mama Odie and see if she can help them undo the curse. We then learn that Facilier is in leagues with Maleficent as she tries to conquer the Disney worlds. She then grants Facilier the power to control the Heartless. The end of the level has Sora, Donald and Goofy battling him on a New Orleans graveyard.

Why I think it should be in Kingdom Hearts III: Much like Tangled, The Princess and the Frog is a modern day animated classic and successful Princess film that introduced the world the first of the millennial princesses, Tiana. Kingdom Hearts is a series that places a lot of emphasis on the Disney Princesses as they are the key to opening up Kingdom Hearts, the world of pure light. It is unknown if Kingdom Hearts III will be placing focus on the princesses yet again, but Tiana's determination to make her dreams come true through hard work makes her a princess of pure light, which would prompt a visit from Maleficent to try and take over her world. Plus, Facilier lends himself well as a boss you get to do battle with at the end of the level. Just imagine the 'Friends on the other side' scene, except you get to battle through it. Doesn't that sound awesome?

Monsters, Inc.
Monstropolis (Monsters Inc., 2001)

The Story: Sora, Donald and Goofy turn into monsters as they enter this odd domain. Despite their confusion, the denizens of Monstropolis have accepted them because of their monstrous looks. They learn that the city is in peril due to both a toxic child running around the city, as well as random attacks by shadow monsters. Both of these events have paralyzed the city in fear. They learn that they could find the solution to their problems at Monsters Inc, a company dedicated to turning the screams of children into energy. There, Sora meets Mike and Sulley, where they learn that they have befriended the toxic child, which they have named Boo. Boo and the Heartless are somehow connected, and the answer lies within Monsters Inc. Sora teams up with Sulley and Mike to put an end to this.

Why I think it should be in Kingdom Hearts III: I'll just come out and say it; it is high time we got a Pixar based world in a Kingdom Hearts game. But first, some history. Back when the first Kingdom Hearts was released in 2002, Pixar was still an independent studio whose films were still being distributed and marketed by Disney. Yes, Pixar had seen growing popularity on the Disney fandom thanks to films that felt like classic Disney, but done in an amazing, modern way. This would explain why Kingdom Hearts had yet to feature a world based on any Pixar film. Since then, though, Pixar has become part of the Disney family. Out of that, we have a brand new Disney Princess (Merida from Brave), increased Pixar presence at the theme parks (complete with a brand spanking new land at Disney California Adventure called Carsland), and Pixar mogul John Lasseter has executive produced many of Disney's modern hits.

In addition, fan demand for a Pixar world in a Kingdom Hearts game is fairly high, and with Kingdom Hearts III being the first console game in years, it would make for a momentous occasion for Disney and Pixar. Regardless, the way worlds are chosen at Square Enix is if Disney agrees to a world being created, and if the developers at Square Enix can create a clever concept for the world as well as tie it to the main storyline. What I am saying is that in the end, the decision rests on Square Enix and Disney's hands.

Now, I would love to see ANY of the Pixar films be represented in the game. The Toy Story series has a higher chance of appearing since it is Pixar's first and most successful series. But me? I want to see Monstropolis come to life in a Kingdom Hearts game. I want to see Sulley be Sora's partner in battle, and have the world end on a giant Heartless battle on top of the moving doors. I just want more Monsters Inc, period.

Mary Poppins
Jolly Holiday (Mary Poppins, 1964)

The Story: In one of the original worlds Sora gets to visit, he encounters a magical sidewalk chalk drawing portraying several colorful worlds. Unfortunately, the Heartless have erased a lot of the drawing, leaving Sora to just enter one basic world. As he jumps into the drawing, he meets Bert, and learns that his friend Mary Poppins is somewhere in the unfinished drawing. After completing a task, Sora draws in part of the scenery where we finally get to meet Mary Poppins.

Why I think it should be in Kingdom Hearts III: In almost every Kingdom Hearts game, there is a world that is not battle or story heavy. That is, the world mainly exists to provide a fun diversion away from the battles and the melodrama of the story. In the first Kingdom Hearts, the 100 Acre Wood, where Winnie the Pooh and friends live, served as the world that hosted mini-games. In Kingdom Hearts II, Atlantica (The Little Mermaid), was presented as a musical world where players partook on rhythm challenges set on top of music from the film as well as original compositions. So if Kingdom Hearts III were to follow that tradition, then a world based on the colorful animated segments of Mary Poppins would be fantastic.

Mary Poppins is a story that doesn't lend itself well to a battle heavy concept, so making it into a mini-game world would be great. You could dance with the penguins, participate in a rhythm game with the Pearly band, race in a horse derby, and just have a jolly holiday away from the Heartless. Not to mention that Kingdom Hearts III will be implementing a new graphics engine called Kingdom Shader, which makes the characters blend into the environment, as well as giving them a rich animated look. With the chalk drawing world and its characters being so colorful, Jolly Holiday could be a really beautiful world to look at.

All of the worlds I mentioned have one thing in common: they are worlds that take place within an animated universe. Oh sure, I know Mary Poppins was a live action film, but the world I picked takes place within an animated universe. As I stated at the start of this article, Kingdom Hearts II broke new ground in Kingdom Hearts mythology by allowing worlds based on Disney's live action films be part of its collection of worlds.

Tune in next time when I talk about the worlds I want to see based on the live action film library!


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