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Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Future of Kingdom Hearts: Square Characters

After looking at the Disney side of the Kingdom Hearts story, I've decided I'd better balance things out with an article detailing one of the most exciting aspects of the franchise - the Square Enix characters. We've seen a few in the past, but this is my list of possible appearances in a future Kingdom Hearts game.

Firstly, though, there are some issues I must address. This isn't necessarily a list of characters I'd like to see - though I would like to see them. It is, more accurately, a collection of the characters who have reason to be in Kingdom Hearts III, or a future title. Nomura dislikes working with characters that aren't his own - the only non-Disney character to date that he hasn't designed in the series has been Vivi (who was included after being pressured by staff.) Most of this list will consist of Nomura's designs for that reason, but there will be exceptions.

Rinoa (Final Fantasy VIII)
Loved by some, disliked by many. Personally, I think she was a great character in her original title, and she hasn't appeared in many other Square games since. There is a very subtle reference to her during the credit epilogue sequence in Kingdom Hearts II - possibly an allusion to a future appearance?

Seymour (Final Fantasy X)
Sephiroth remains the only Final Fantasy villain to date to appear in the KH series (unless you count Seifer.) Seymour is one of my favourite characters and there has been a distinct lack of him in the other crossover franchises. He was excluded from Dissidia, and while one of his forms made an appearance in Theatrhythm, it was only brief. He also has an epic battle theme - which would be nice to see accompany him in a similar fashion to One Winged Angel & Sephiroth.
Seymour (Child version)

Bartz & Boko (Final Fantasy V)
Bartz is one of my favourite Final Fantasy characters. He is super awesome. While designed by Amano, there is a possibility of him appearing in Kingdom Hearts as Vivi did - especially now that Nomura has done designs for Dissidia. His personality would also mesh with Sora's, and it would be nice to see at least one of Amano's characters in the series. (Setzer was in FFVI, but was designed by Nomura.)

And, if Bartz is around, it would be an added bonus to see Bartz's best friend Boko in three dimensions. There's been a lack of chocobos in Kingdom Hearts as well - Boko can remedy that.

Burtz's render version in Dissidia Duodecim.

Gilgamesh (Final Fantasy V)
Yes, this is another of Amano's characters, but Gilgamesh is unique in appearing in multiple Final Fantasy games. Nomura has done multiple designs of him, and, being the dimensional-world-jumper that he is, would fit perfectly into the Kingdom Hearts universe.

Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII)
Lightning is the lead protagonist in Final Fantasy XIII and Lightning Returns: FFXIII. She has also appeared in just about every single Square crossover game since FFXIII - but I still think she should be in Kingdom Hearts - ideally as a party member. There has been a lack of female party members, and Lightning already has a distinct fighting style and moveset. Ideally, her inclusion would be similar to Auron's in KHII - and would also continue the tradition of a new Final Fantasy character at Olympus Coliseum for each numbered title.

Neku (The World Ends With You)
In 3D, Joshua mentioned the world of Shibuya. The TWEWY gang got a lot of screen time in 3D, but i was disappointed that we never had any of them as party members. One thing I was looking forward to most was using a Fusion Limit attack with Neku, and seeing a KH-style version of the special attacks in Neku's original game. Alas, it didn't happen, but there were references to their original world - a world that hopefully we'll see in the future, with the main characters and, possibly, antagonists. (But really, what I want most is Neku in my party.)
Neku's render in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance.

Laguna (Final Fantasy VIII)
We were supposed to see Laguna in Birth By Sleep, as the head of the Mirage Arena. Unfortunately, this role got dropped, and he was instead included in Dissidia Duodecim. Still...doesn't mean it can't happen! Whatever console KHIII ends up on will have online functionality that the PS2 lacked. Perhaps we'll see the Mirage Arena again, as an online feature, and Laguna's scrapped role may finally come to be.
Dissidia Duodecim version.

Yuna, Rikku, & Paine (Final Fantasy X-2)
I want to see these guys again. They didn't have as big a role in KHII as I'd hoped. And, as shown in the credits epilogue of KHII, they're still running amok in Radiant Garden. I think the chances of them making an appearance is likely. Fingers crossed!
Yuna, Rikku and Panie's version in Kingdom Heats II.

Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
...just kidding.

Ultimecia (Final Fantasy VIII)
As I mentioned earlier, I'd like to see more Final Fantasy villains in Kingdom Hearts. I can see Ultimecia as possibly a bonus boss, maybe for post-game or simply as a secret tournament in Olympus Coliseum. Bonus points if she junctions Griever.

Squall (Final Fantasy VIII)
It's pretty much given that we'll see Squall again. Hopefully he has a bit more character development this time, and everyone starts calling him Squall instead of Leon.
Kingdom Hearts version.

Kingdom Hearts II version.

So, what do you think? Agree with my list? Any others you want to add? Anyone you definitely DON'T want to see? Think Zidane should be on the list? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Stay tuned for my next article!

- Chad
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