- Kingdom Hearts 4 marks the beginning of the Lost Master Arc, introducing a new narrative direction for the series.
- The game should retain the familiar Kingdom Hearts elements of hearts, light, and darkness, ensuring that series’ fans will feel right at home.
- Party members, summons, and the Gummi Ship should continue to play important roles in Kingdom Hearts 4, enhancing both the gameplay and story experience.
Kingdom Hearts 4 will mark the beginning of the Lost Master Arc, the first big narrative switch-up the series has seen. Series protagonist Sora will be stuck in the alternate reality known as Quadratum, encountering familiar friends and enemies alongside a host of new ones as he searches for a way back home. Right now, Kingdom Hearts 4 is full of possibilities, enough that fans are hyped even with little more than its teaser trailer available.
Newness is a big part of Kingdom Hearts 4‘s appeal, but so is the chance for fans to immerse themselves in the familiar comforts of Kingdom Hearts once again. Despite being one of Square Enix’s younger long-running game franchises, with the original Kingdom Hearts being one of the PS2’s highlights, KH’s recurring characters, mechanics, and even writing quirks have become widely known. Because of how much room Kingdom Hearts 4 has to change things, some series traditions are best left untouched.
The Kingdom Hearts Franchise Silently Broke a Massive Tradition
Kingdom Hearts recently broke a massive and long-running tradition without much word as to why it’s being broken and what’s coming next.
Kingdom Hearts’ Obsession With Hearts, Light, and Darkness
Most fans are well-acquainted with Kingdom Hearts’ affinity for certain proper nouns. Concepts like hearts, light, and darkness, and how they factor into the relationships between people, come up time and time again. It wears thin sometimes, but with a Keyblade-wielding Sora leaping into battle with the latest Darkside equivalent in Kingdom Hearts 4’s teaser, fans can rest assured that the series’ charming mannerisms are likely intact.
Summons and Party Members Are Important
Speaking of relationships in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 4 should keep party members and summoned allies around. With Sora separated from Donald and Goofy, a new party will likely form in KH4. Summons and D-Links are more in question due to their typical slot on KH4‘s menu HUD being replaced by an unknown “Build” command. Even so, with the story and gameplay benefits offered by both a party and summons, Kingdom Hearts 4 would be remiss to lose either of them.
Building and Piloting the Gummi Ship
Compared to its occupants, the Gummi Ship tends not to be so popular. Still, the open-ended building process makes the Gummi Ship a potential time sink that greatly rewards players invested in it. Gummi Ship sections in different Kingdom Hearts titles have also shown improvements with each major shift in gameplay, so Kingdom Hearts 4 could work wonders with its own take on the Gummi Ship.
Visiting Disney Worlds Is An Integral Part of Kingdom Hearts
Of course, it wouldn’t be Kingdom Hearts without various Disney worlds. The only world shown for Kingdom Hearts 4 so far has been the Shibuya-like city of Quadratum, but other worlds could range from newer 3D Disney films like Raya and the Last Dragon and Wish, to worlds expanding into other Disney-owned properties like Marvel Comics and Star Wars. Wherever the series goes, crossovers should remain at the core of Kingdom Hearts.
Square Enix’s Influence Must Also Be Felt
Kingdom Hearts isn’t complete without both Disney and Square Enix, so the game developer’s properties can’t be left out. Moogle shopkeepers have become Kingdom Hearts icons, though whether they remain in Kingdom Hearts 4’s different reality is up in the air. Fortunately, that new reality also opens the door to not just The World Ends With You‘s return, but exploring other unrepresented Square Enix franchises like Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, and even Parasite Eve.
An Ensemble Cast of Villains
One final Kingdom Hearts staple that may fly under the radar nowadays is its shadowy councils of antagonists. Present since the first Kingdom Hearts as a collection of Disney villains, subsequent evil groups have included Organization 13, the True Organization 13, and potentially the Master of Masters and Foretellers in the Lost Master Arc. With the villains’ signature black coats already present in the Kingdom Hearts 4 debut trailer, it seems the series’ tradition of sinister onlookers and shadowy manipulators is alive and well.