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Keys to the Kingdom.note 
"There are many worlds,
but they share the same sky—
one sky, one destiny."
Kairi's Letter/Opening Credits
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For the game in the series titled Kingdom Hearts, see Kingdom Hearts.

So, a Square Enix developer and a Disney executive walk into an elevator...

Kingdom Hearts is a series of fantasy Action JRPG games, co-produced by Squaresoft (now Square Enix) and Disney, directed by Final Fantasy character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and starring characters from both companies. It's basically the darkness-lightingly popular Final Fantasy series meets Disney (along with some other Square Enix properties later on). The series is well-known for its incredibly bizarre premise and increasingly complicated plot, not to mention its increasingly absurd sequel subtitles.

Sora is a young boy living a peaceful but boring life on an island with his best friends Riku and Kairi. This is until the day his world is engulfed by The Heartless, an eldritch species that feed on the hearts of innocent people and literally consume entire worlds. Sora is sucked through a portal and winds up in Traverse Town, a crossroads world that has become the refuge of those who have lost their worlds to the Heartless. As he begins to search for his missing friends, Sora is granted the mysterious Keyblade: the only thing capable of closing the gaps that the Heartless are using to invade the worlds.

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With the aid of Donald Duck and Goofy, two royal knights searching for their missing king, Sora must travel to all of the different worlds and use the Keyblade to lock them safely away from the Heartless and those who plot to use the Heartless to further their own ends. Meanwhile Riku, having ended up in another world, becomes obsessed with rescuing Kairi at all costs and is tempted by the same power of darkness that Sora is trying to seal, setting up the two best friends for a fateful confrontation.

As Sora and Riku grapple with their newfound powers and responsibilities, an ever-expanding mythology begins to unfold around the legendary Kingdom Hearts: the source of all hearts and the goal of many an antagonist.

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    Phase One: The Dark Seeker Saga 
The first phase of games detail Sora and friends' struggle against a man known as Xehanort, who wishes to unlock the secrets of Kingdom Hearts and use it for his own nefarious purposes. Detailed below is the order the games are released in, and should be played in.

The first three games, released from 2002-2005, tell a trilogy in which Sora discovers his ability to wield the Keyblade and searches for his missing friends, battling the forces of darkness and exploring the Disney worlds along the way. It would not be until the third game, Kingdom Hearts II, that it was made clear the source of the evils plaguing the worlds was Xehanort, a dark Keyblade Master who was eventually established as the Big Bad of the Dark Seeker Saga.

The next three games, released between 2008 and 2010, would see the series branch out into handheld consoles as it primarily focused on other characters besides Sora who could wield the Keyblade, and eventually had Sora learn of his connection to these new characters. The origins of Xehanort would also be detailed in this handheld trilogy.

The final set of games in the Dark Seeker Saga, released between 2012 and 2019, gradually returned to consoles as it saw Sora, Riku, and their friends learn of the true scope of Xehanort's ambitions for Kingdom Hearts, and thus the heroes prepared for a climactic final battle foretold in ancient times as they mustered any hero of light they could against Xehanort and his XIII Seekers of Darkness. This final set of games also gave players a deep dive into the ancient lore of the Kingdom Hearts universe as it planted seeds for the future of the series.
  • Kingdom Hearts (2002, PlayStation 2): The first game in the series, following Sora, Donald and Goofy as they search for their missing friends and fight off the darkness invading the worlds.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (2004, Game Boy Advance): A direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts. Unbeknownst to each other, Sora and Riku separately arrive at the mysterious Castle Oblivion and come into conflict with an Organization of hostile, black-hooded figures.
  • Kingdom Hearts II (2005, PlayStation 2): The third game in the series, set roughly a year after Chain of Memories. Sora, Donald and Goofy once again travel the worlds in search of Riku and King Mickey while fending off a new threat, but find themselves waylaid by the remaining members of Organization XIII and the mysteries behind a boy named Roxas.
  • Kingdom Hearts coded (2008-2010, mobile phones): A mobile phone game taking place immediately after II, following King Mickey as he attempts to decode a mysterious message left in Jiminy Cricket's journal.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (2009, Nintendo DS): An Interquel set between I and II about Roxas, his friends Axel and Xion, and their bittersweet experiences as members of Organization XIII.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (2010, PlayStation Portable): A prequel set ten years before the first game. Follows three Keyblade wielders, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua, as they contend with the first schemes of series antagonist Xehanort.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] (2012, Nintendo 3DS): A sequel to Kingdom Hearts II. Sora and Riku undergo a trial to become Keyblade Masters in time for the final battle as sinister forces attempt to undermine their efforts.
  • Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- (2017, PlayStation 4 and 2020, Xbox One): A shorter installment included in the Kingdom Hearts II.8 Final Chapter Prologue compilation. This sequel to Birth By Sleep explores the decade Aqua spends in the realm of darkness leading up to I.
  • Kingdom Hearts III (2019, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One; 2021, PC; 2022, Nintendo Switch (Cloud version)): The Grand Finale of the Dark Seeker Saga. Sora, Donald, Goofy, Riku, and Mickey explore the worlds to assemble a team of Keyblade wielders and end Xehanort's schemes once and for all.
    • Kingdom Hearts III: Re Mind (2020, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One): An expansion pack containing three stories set during and after the climax of III. Sora tries to undo some of the tragic events of the Keyblade War and learns the consequences of changing fate.

    Phase Two: The Lost Master Arc 
The second phase of games of the series began in 2020. After the events of III, the heroes pick up the pieces and search for answers about the questions they've been left with as the schemes of an ancient master with a mysterious agenda come to light.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory (2020, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch and 2021, PC): A rhythm game in which Kairi searches through the memories of her and her friends’ past looking for clues to the future.
  • Kingdom Hearts IV (TBD): The fourth numbered game of the series, Sora continues to fight against the darkness while both he and his friends attempt to find a way to get him out of the mysterious realm of Quadratum.

     χ series 
A series of games release for mobile phone (and PC for the original KHχ), that act as a prequel for the franchise as a whole and are not considered part of neither of the two major arcs, though elements of them start to become relevant in the transition between the two arcs.
  • Kingdom Hearts χ [chi] (2013-2016, PC and 2015-2021, mobile phones): A Web Game set during the era of the Foretellers, the original Keyblade Masters, and the Keyblade War that ended it. The game follows a player-created Virtual Paper Doll Keyblade wielder—a series first—experiencing the consequences of the Foretellers' attempts to follow the cryptic instructions left by their vanished leader.
    • Kingdom Hearts Union χ [cross] (2017): The "second season" of Unchained χ [chi], the mobile version of the game, following a new generation of Keyblade Masters attempting to pick up the pieces after the Keyblade War.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Dark Road (2020): A sub-game in Union χ that explores Xehanort's Start of Darkness. Though a story about Xehanort released after the end of the Dark Seeker Saga, it is not considered a part of said saga since it does not feature him as an antagonistic force being battled by the heroes of the series.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Missing-Link (2022 (closed beta), mobile phones): A new fully-3D game set between the events of Union χ and Dark Road revolving around Scala ad Caelum.

    Remakes and re-releases 
Several games of the series have received updated releases including additional content, and as the series has gone on and across several different platforms, the 2010's saw cohesive efforts to bring all of the games together into organized collections.

  • Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (2002, PlayStation 2): The first game's Updated Re-release, featuring rebalanced gameplay and a host of new content on top of what had already been added to the initial international release. Only released in Japan.
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories (2007, PlayStation 2): A 3D remake of the Gameboy Advance game Chain of Memories. Released as part of the Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ bundle in Japan and as a standalone title in North America in 2008. Features little new content other than the 3D overhaul, although the Japanese version can give/receive minor Old Save Bonuses to/from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
  • Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (2007, PlayStation 2): An Updated Re-release of II. Similarly to I Final Mix, rebalances gameplay and adds new content, along with a new difficulty level. Only released in Japan. This game and Re:Chain of Memories were also released as the Japan-only bundle Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+.
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (2010, Nintendo DS): A remake of coded, created for international audiences. Uses a new battle system based on the Deck Command system of Birth by Sleep.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix (2011, PlayStation Portable): An Updated Re-release of Birth by Sleep, containing new content along with what had been added to the international release. Only released in Japan.
  • Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 ReMIX (2013, PlayStation 3): A bundle containing Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Re:Chain of Memories, and a movie using cutscenes from 358/2 Days, all remastered in HD. Released in all territories.
  • Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX (2014, PlayStation 3): A bundle containing HD remasters of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and a movie using cutscenes from Re:coded. Released in all territories.
  • Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ [chi] (2015, mobile phones): A tweaked mobile port of χ [chi], retelling its story for international audiences.
  • Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue (2017, PlayStation 4; 2020, Xbox One; 2021, PC; 2022, Nintendo Switchnote ): A bundle containing an Updated Re-release of 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the new 0.2 Birth By Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-, and Kingdom Hearts χ [chi] Back Cover, an original movie following the plot of χ [chi] from the Foretellers' perspective.
  • Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 + II.5 ReMIX (2017, PlayStation 4; 2020, Xbox One; 2021, PC; 2022, Nintendo Switch note ): A bundle containing all the remasters previously released on the PlayStation 3 with further technical improvements.
  • Kingdom Hearts - The Story So Far - (2018, PlayStation 4): A bundle combining the contents of I.5 + II.5 ReMix and II.8.
  • Kingdom Hearts: All In One (2020, PlayStation 4): A bundle containing the contents of The Story So Far and III. Does not include the Re:MIND DLC.
  • Kingdom Hearts Integrum Masterpiece (2022, Nintendo Switchnote ): A bundle containing the contents of The Story So Far and III, including the Re:MIND DLC.

    Adaptations 
The franchise has had several manga and novels published.

The first four games and Kingdom Hearts III have been adapted to manga by Shiro Amano. While the manga itself does have some dramatic moments, it is mainly an abridged adaptation of the games with a lot of humor, typical of Japanese comedy in other manga.

The novel adaptations are written by Tomoco Kanemaki, with illustrations by Amano. They were translated and licensed for release and by Yen Press.

In 2019, Games Workshop released Kingdom Hearts themed version of their board game Talisman.

The series contains appearances by characters and locations from the following games, films and franchises.

    Disney 

Featured

  • 101 Dalmatiansnote 
  • Aladdinnote 
  • Alice in Wonderlandnote 
  • Bambinote 
  • Beauty and the Beastnote 
  • Big Hero 6note 
  • Chicken Littlenote 
  • Cinderellanote 
  • Classic Disney Shortsnote 
  • Disney Theme Parksnote 
  • DuckTalesnote 
  • Dumbonote 
  • Fantasianote 
  • Frozennote 
  • Herculesnote 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Damenote 
  • Lilo & Stitchnote 
  • The Lion King (1994)note 
  • The Little Mermaid (1989)note 
  • Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeersnote 
  • Monsters, Inc.note 
  • Mulannote 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmasnote 
  • Peter Pannote 
  • Pinocchionote 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearlnote 
  • Ratatouillenote 
  • Sleeping Beautynote 
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfsnote 
  • The Sword in the Stonenote 
  • Tanglednote 
  • Tarzannote 
  • Toy Storynote 
    • Toy Story 2note 
    • Toy Story That Time Forgotnote 
  • TRONnote 
    • TRON 2.0note 
    • TRON: Legacynote 
  • Winnie the Poohnote 
  • Wreck-It Ralph note 

Cameos only

  • The Aristocatsnote 
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017)note 
  • Coconote 
  • Disney Fairiesnote 
  • Disney Tsum Tsumnote 
  • DuckTales (2017) note 
  • Incredibles 2note 
  • The Jungle Book (1967)note 
  • Lady and the Trampnote 
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Seriesnote 
  • Luxo Jr.note 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Talesnote 
  • Moananote 
  • Onwardnote 
  • The Rescuersnote 
  • Two Chips and a Missnote 
  • Soulnote 
  • Zootopianote 

    Square-Enix 
  • The Bouncernote 
  • Bravely Defaultnote 
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy (2015)note 
  • Einhändernote 
  • Final Fantasynote 
  • Final Fantasy VInote 
  • Final Fantasy VIInote 
    • Crisis Corenote 
    • Final Fantasy VII Remakenote 
  • Final Fantasy VIIInote 
  • Final Fantasy IXnote 
  • Final Fantasy Xnote 
    • Final Fantasy X-2note 
  • Final Fantasy Record Keepernote 
  • Imaginary Rangenote 
  • The World Ends with Younote 
  • World of Final Fantasynote 

Due to lengthy periods between releases and the prevalence of Late Arrival Spoilers, spoilers from installments before 2010 are unmarked. Read at your own risk.


Kingdom Hearts as a whole provides examples of:

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    Tropes # 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
    • The Final Form transformation in Kingdom Hearts II. Granted, it's available for a while before the final boss, but it's hard to unlock quickly. It's really, really broken too, seeing as how it automatically attacks with every movement, including flying or drinking potions.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Aqua gets the game's best Keyblade in the Final Episode, the semi-hidden true conclusion to the game's storyline. It also forces you to use it in the secret episode added in the final mix version.
    • Plus, for the final battle of the prologue section of Kingdom Hearts II, Roxas gets to dual wield keyblades for the final showdown with Axel. It plays like Sora's drive version, except there isn't a gauge, so it's basically unlimited.
    • Upon entering the final world in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora is given an ability called "Trinity Limit" which gives you the ability to decimate any enemies on the screen provided you obtain one Goofy and Donald card during the battle.
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Roxas gains the ability to dual wield the Oathkeeper and Oblivion Keyblades during the first part of Day 358 (the last mission). His attacking speed and power increase dramatically, letting him quickly kill the Neoshadows that spawn with only one or two hits.
  • 13 Is Unlucky:
    • Organization XIII consists of thirteen members who like to walk around in Black Cloaks and do nasty things, which is ambiguously justifiable in that they lost their hearts and are trying to reclaim them. The means of trying to reclaim their hearts, however, involves the distortion of the heart of all worlds. Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] reveals that the Organization's true purpose is to serve as vessels to Xehanort, who seeks to reforge the χ-blade by pitting thirteen darknesses against seven lights (the Princesses of Heart). But with Sora foiling his goals, Xehanort is trying again with a second Organization.
    • Sora is described in the Grid as Combatant 13, Foreshadowing Xehanort's plan to use him as his thirteenth vessel.
    • Castle Oblivion, which is used as a base by members of the aforementioned Organization, has thirteen floors.

—But don't be afraid.
You hold the mightiest weapon of all.
So don't forget:
You are the one who will open the door.
 
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Video Example(s):

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Kingdom Hearts II

Every game in the Kingdom Hearts franchise has a results screen appear after the credits showing you what you accomplished throughout the game. II's screen in particular shows you how much of Jiminy's Journal you completed, how many times Mickey bailed you out and which Summon you used the most, among other things.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / EndGameResultsScreen

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