A few months ago, Square Enix let the cat out of the bag and told everybody that they were getting ready to reveal yet another MMO. An official announcement will be made before the end of this fiscal year (March 2012). Around the world you could hear thousands of gamers and fan boys alike saying “Wut?”. It’s no secret that Final Fantasy XIV has failed to meet expectations in more ways than one and Square Enix is currently putting all their efforts into saving their latest MMO. I’m not sure what comes as the bigger surprise here. That Square Enix has seemingly been working on two MMO projects at once? Or that they’re still struggling with FFXIV and announcing that they have another online title planned?
Either way, just as we all did those years ago when Rapture was announced, the speculation wheel has begun to spin and we have no idea what will come out when it finally stops. Judging from a recent financial meeting, it doesn’t appear that the game will be an entry to the Saga or Mana franchises. We know that Square Enix does plan to introduce a number of new IPs in the coming year. The question is, whether or not this new MMO will bear a familiar name or will it be something new?
After the disastrous tale of Final Fantasy XIV’s launch I would say it’s a safe bet that we won’t be hearing about Final Fantasy XV between now and March, but what about other games Square Enix has stashed away? What about Kingdom Hearts? Tetsuya Nomura has hinted that he’ll be announcing a new title in a future issue of Famitsu which could very well be the MMO title Square Enix has been working on.
Read on for my thoughts!
The opinions in this article are my own. There may be possible spoilers in the text below.
What makes up an MMO? The answer can be different for everybody. Some people value story and lore based content while others just want to have fun killing monsters. I’m going to highlight what I feel are important areas of the genre and explain why I feel Kingdom Hearts would be a good fit.
While some games may make use of this element more than others, every MMO has some type of story whether its a paragraph on the back of the box explaining why you’re playing, or detailed cut scene driven quests in the game. From what we’ve seen in Kingdom Hearts so far, all of the stories have some kind of connection to another. There isn’t anything that takes place a million years before or after certain events. One game leads to another leads to another etc. To make it a little simpler, let’s say that you could take the current library of entries and bunch them together in an almost Star Wars like fashion.
Obviously it would be… interesting to say the least to think about how a large scale multiplayer game would work during the events of one of the games. But what about things that happen after? I think it’s safe to say that whatever the true sequel to Kingdom Hearts II is, that it will answer that. However there’s a big event that happens before everything we’ve seen- the Keyblade War.
The Keyblade War had two sides to it, light and dark. Eventually an ultimate keyblade would be made that had the power to control Kingdom Hearts.
Already we have the possibility of two factions and a setting which, unlike the games we currently know, has the possibility of having one large world instead of several spread amongst the stars.
Of course we could go the other way as well and make it take place after the current storyline we’ve seen in the games and have the ability to travel between different worlds. It could end up being the ultimate fan service, allowing you to visit chunks of your favorite locations and take on quests from some of your favorite characters. “Damn, this escort quest Abu gave me is hard as hell!”
One of the greatest parts of Kingdom Hearts is that it has successfully combined characters from both Disney and Square Enix. Who would have thought a game could have both Donald Duck and Sephiroth in it? Square Enix could pull in more fan favorites from their games and even more classic Disney characters could be added. Heck, they could even add new worlds, NPCS or quests based on upcoming Disney movies (or Square Enix titles for that matter) to help promote them while at the same time giving players new content.
This year at E3 we saw three MMOs: Vindictus, Dragon’s Nest and TERA. All three of these were action based MMO titles. It was clear to us that this was a direction the MMO genre is moving in, giving players the large world of an MMO while letting them play it more like a console action game. Although some changes would be necessary, the original battle system from Kingdom Hearts could be somewhat retained for an online entry for the series.
Perhaps we’re a bit biased, but it’s been said that Final Fantasy XI has one of the best communities of any MMO currently on the market. I think that an online Kingdom Hearts title would have the ability to surpass that. When you think about Kingdom Hearts, you have the younger players that love the game for its characters, you have your action RPG fans, and then you have your die-hard Kingdom Hearts fans. Anyway you look at it, if someone is playing a KH title, it’s because they love something about the game.
There are always going to be exceptions to certain things, but for me I find it hard to believe that some 20+ year old would chew out a 13 year old and go around bragging about how he’s the most 1337 asshole player in the whole world… in Kingdom Hearts Online. Or at least not on the level that some MMO players currently do. If people are truly playing the game because the enjoy it, I think we could see a new level of community interaction with a wider range of age groups thrown into the mix.
So there you have it, my thoughts on why a Kingdom Hearts MMO could actually work. I’m sure there are those of you reading this that agree with me, and those that are thinking I’m crazy. Let us know what your thoughts are, why it would or wouldn’t work and why in our forums.
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