Kingdom Hearts (キングダム ハーツ, Kingudamu Hātsu?) is a series of action role-playing video games developed and published by Square Enix (formerly Square). It is the result of a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios and is under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura, a longtime Square character designer. Kingdom Hearts is a crossover of various Disney settings based in a universe made specifically for the series. Also, it has an all-star voice cast which includes many of the Disney characters' official voice actors, and well-known voice actors such as Haley Joel Osment, David Gallagher, and Hayden Panettiere. The series' plot centers on the main character Sora's search for his friends and his encounters with Disney, Final Fantasy and The World Ends With You characters on their worlds. The series currently consists of seven games across multiple video game consoles, and future titles are already planned. Most of the games in the series have been both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, though each title has seen varying levels of success. As of March 2011, the Kingdom Hearts series has sold over 17 million copies worldwide. A wide variety of related merchandise has been released along with the games, including soundtracks, figurines, companion books, novels, and manga.
The three main games in the series were released in chronological order, with each new installment following the events of the previous installment. The one exception is the V CAST mobile game, which was developed independently of Square Enix's games. Kingdom Hearts is the first game in the series, released in Japan on March 28, 2002 for PlayStation 2. Tetsuya Nomura served as game director, his first time in this position. Kingdom Hearts introduced the main characters of the series and established the plot's framework, involving hearts and dark beings known as the Heartless. It also established the role of Disney characters in the series, with character cameos from the Final Fantasy series. Kingdom Hearts was released in North America on September 17, 2002, and featured additional content that was not in the original Japanese version. The game was later re-released exclusively in Japan as Kingdom Hearts Final Mix on December 26, 2002. Final Mix includes the content from the North American release and additional enemies, cutscenes, and weapons.
The gameplay system is a departure from the original, employing card game mechanics in real-time.
The Final Mix version was remastered on March 14, 2013 (Japan), and on September 10, 2013 (North America) known as Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX for the (PS3). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is a direct sequel to the first game. It was released on the Game Boy Advance in Japan on November 11, 2004. Chain of Memories was touted as a bridge between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, introducing and previewing plot elements that would be explored in the next game. The gameplay system is a departure from the original, employing card game mechanics in real-time. Players construct decks out of cards that correspond to different actions in battle, such as attacking or using magic. It was remade into a PlayStation 2 game titled Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, which contains polygon graphics instead of the sprites used in the original game. Kingdom Hearts II takes place one year after the events of Chain of Memories. It was released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan on December 22, 2005. The game further explores the "heart" concept by involving a new group of enemies, the Nobodies, which are the cast-off shells of the Heartless. The gameplay is similar to that of the first Kingdom Hearts game, with the addition of the Reaction Command, which performs context-sensitive actions in battle. Kingdom Hearts II was revised into Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, which contains more material than the original release, such as additional cutscenes and bosses. Japan on March 29, 2007. The Final Mix version was later remastered and re-released as part of Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was released for the Nintendo DS in Japan on May 30, 2009. It is primarily set between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, focusing on Roxas' time in Organization XIII and his motives for leaving. It is the first game in the series to feature cooperative gameplay in addition to the traditional use of AI-controlled partners. The gameplay is mission-based with optional objectives that yield additional rewards. The game also has a unique panel system that governs character improvement, special abilities, and equipped weapons. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a prequel to the series, released for the PlayStation Portable in Japan on January 9, 2010, and in North America on September 7, 2010 with additional content. The game is set ten years before the events of the first Kingdom Hearts game, revealing the origins of the villain, Xehanort. It consists of four scenarios, three of which focus on one of the game's three protagonists-Terra, Ventus, and Aqua-and the fourth unlocked upon completion of the first three. The game was re-released exclusively in Japan under the title Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix on January 20, 2011 with the content from the English versions as well as new features, such as an additional fifth scenario. The Final Mix version was later remastered and re-released as part of Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX. Kingdom Hearts coded is an episodic mobile phone game that picks up directly after Kingdom Hearts II.
The "preinstall" episode was released exclusively in Japan on November 18, 2008 and eight episodes were released between June 3, 2009 and January 28, 2010. The game was remade for the Nintendo DS as Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, and features updated gameplay combining that of two later titles in the series, 358/2 Days and Birth by Sleep. Unlike the original version, Re:coded was released internationally: October 7, 2010 in Japan; January 11, 2011 in North America; and January 14, 2011 in Europe. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance was released on March 29, 2012 in Japan for the Nintendo 3DS. The game focuses on Sora and Riku Mark of Mastery exam under Yen Sid in anticipation of Master Xehanort's return and their subsequent conflicts with enemies from their past. In addition to similar systems inherited from Birth by Sleep, this game features Dream Eaters which serve as both enemies and allies.
Players may collect and breed friendly Dream Eaters and train them to become more powerful. The English edition was released on July 20, 2012 in the United Kingdom and on July 31, 2012 in the United States. Kingdom Hearts III was released on January 25, 2019 in Japan for the Xbox one and the PS4. In Kingdom Hearts III, the series protagonist Sora is on the search for the "Key to Return Hearts" while Sora's friends, Riku and King Mickey, search for Keyblade wielders. This game featured new combat abilities and gameplay, with multiple features from previous titles. The game concluded the "Xehanort Saga", but it will not be the final game in the series. The English version was released in the United States on January 29, 2019. A PC Port and Nintendo Switch cloud-based port was later created and released on March 30, 2021 worldwide for the PC version and February 10, 2022 for the Nintendo Switch version which also included all the DLC from the original release. Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory was released on November 11, 2020 in Japan for the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The game take places after the events of ReMind where Kairi is the main focus.
The game will remove combat in favor of rhythm-style gameplay, making the player take control of four separate three-man teams that each represents a previous Kingdom Hearts title. Each Disney world will feature its own Disney character as the player's ally. The English version was released in the United States on November 13, 2020. A PC Port was later created and released on March 30, 2021 worldwide. A Kingdom Hearts game was developed exclusively for V CAST, Verizon Wireless's broadband service, and was released on October 1, 2004 in Japan and on February 4, 2005 in the United States. It was one of the launch games for the V CAST services. The game, developed by Superscape and published by Disney Mobile with no involvement from Square Enix, features gameplay akin to the first Kingdom Hearts game, modified for the input method of mobile phones. The game's storyline features Sora struggling to free himself from a nightmare induced by Maleficent's magic. Kingdom Hearts Mobile is a Kingdom Hearts-themed social game in which players can play mini-games together. Unlike Kingdom Hearts for the V CAST and Kingdom Hearts coded, this game does not have a storyline and focuses more on socializing. The service operates in conjunction with Kingdom Hearts coded-new avatar costumes become available after the player completes an episode of Kingdom Hearts coded. Kingdom Hearts-related media such as wallpapers, ringtones, graphics, and other items can be purchased and downloaded through the service for mobile phones.
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Kingdom Hearts Union, formerly known as Kingdom Hearts Unchained, is a rerelease and sequel to the Japanese exclusive Kingdom Hearts, an online browser game for PC. It was announced at the Square Enix E3 2015 press conference, releasing exclusively for iOS and Android mobile devices. The Kingdom Hearts series is the first in the Kingdom Hearts series to adopt a new artistic style for the series, by opting for a two dimensional, Chibi-like storybook visual as opposed to the standardized polygonal, cel-shaded Kingdom Hearts engine for console and handhelds. The story is based in the most distantly canonical past of the Kingdom Hearts timeline, during the age of the Keyblade War known as the "Age of Fairytales". You create a customized player character that has the option of choosing one of five factions (Unicornis, Anguis, Leopardos, Vulpeus, and Ursus) that are tasked to gather light (Lux) from various Disney worlds and protect these worlds from the darkness.
Kingdom Hearts Dark Road: Dark Road is a mobile game that was added to the Union app on June 22, 2020. Since the two games were added together, the app was rebranded as Kingdom Heart Union Dark Road to commemorate its release. It details Xehanort's life before he became a Master and what made him side with darkness. It also reveals mysteries about the worlds. Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 ReMIX was released for the PlayStation 3 in Japan on March 14, 2013. The collection includes a remastered version of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Re:Chain of Memories, which include gameplay enhancements and trophy supports. Also, a "Theater Mode" has been created, consisting of high definition cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX: During the closing credits of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, videos of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded are shown in HD, implying a second compilation. Nomura himself has admitted that it would be "pretty unnatural" for there not to be a 2.5 after 1.5. On October 14, 2013, the collection was announced to include the previously mentioned games, with Re:coded appearing as HD cinematics, similar to 358/2 Days in HD 1.5 Remix. Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue: The Last HD Collection to be released, after I.5 and II.5.