Highlights Kingdom Hearts 4’s teaser introduces Quadratum, an original location inspired by Shibuya. Sora’s travels may find him in new Disney worlds, which could take inspiration from more graphically realistic Disney properties that align with the “fictional” qualities of Quadratum. The inclusion of Disney worlds in Kingdom Hearts 4 will likely prioritize recent releases and popular properties, potentially featuring worlds based on Star Wars and Marvel due to Disney’s acquisitions, while also considering the popularity of films like Encanto.
Kingdom Hearts 4 has yet to officially unveil its Disney properties, though that hasn’t stopped speculation over which worlds it might include. The game’s teaser focuses heavily on Quadratum, serving as a new and original location for the series inspired by the likes of Japan’s Shibuya. While it seems that this location will signal the beginning of Sora’s journey, it’s evident that his travels will take him across other exciting locales, many of which are sure to be Disney inspired. Given the title’s focus on a new story arc, it feels like a turn toward more recent Disney properties is in order.
It’s unclear how much of Kingdom Hearts 4’s story will backtrack to previous Disney worlds, at least from Sora’s perspective.
Though its trailer shows Donald and Goofy visiting what looks to be Hades’ Underworld, it could be that their search for solutions takes place entirely through the game’s cutscenes; as such, the Disney worlds that are actually explorable could exclude those seen in past entries, at least while the trio is separated. With the seriousness of KH4’s narrative conceit and the mysterious qualities of Quadratum, this might be the right direction to head in, especially when considering the breadth of new Disney properties available.Kingdom Hearts 4 Could Usher in its New Story Arc By Diverging from The Classics
Kingdom Hearts 3 featured a number of new Disney worlds for the series, including the likes of Arendelle, Monstropolis, and San Fransokyo. The additions were trending around the time of KH3’s development, with Frozen and Big Hero 6’s respective releases in 2013 and 2014 lining up with the game’s first teaser.
Monsters, Inc. was more in tune with the Disney classics given its 2001 release, though the property had a new film around the time of Frozen, further cementing its relevance. It’s safe to assume that these worlds were chosen to showcase the most recent Disney properties at the time of KH3’s reveal, while building on the immense popularity of others, like Tangled, which had debuted three years prior.
With Kingdom Hearts 4’s debut last year, it’s likely the game will follow in its predecessor’s path, opening up a new realm of possibility for Sora’s adventures. In turn, this could help to amplify the new story focus of the series and the “fictional” qualities of Quadratum brought up by Strelitzia. With a heightened focus on graphical realism, this could mean the debut of worlds based on Star Wars or Marvel superheroes, given the company’s acquisition of Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm.
Sora’s separation from his friends and his place in Quadratum as an “afterworld” could give a logical reason as to why he might not be able to visit the classical Disney worlds from previous entries. However, it’s unclear whether all the Disney worlds he visits will follow suit in Quadratum’s approach to realism. It would be hard to imagine the game without Disney worlds based on animated properties, though there would be no shortage of options available if some were to be included, considering the popularity of films like Encanto in recent years.
As KH4 continues its development, it might be wise to look at the Disney releases of 2022 to predict the title’s approach to its worlds. With the pattern set by KH3, it’s likely that the game will focus on both popularity and relevance for its Disney inclusions, which could help to accentuate its plot surrounding “fictional” versus “real” worlds, should that be a recurring theme. With a number of properties to consider, the Disney worlds of Kingdom Hearts 4 could be just what the series needs to usher in its new story arc, helping to supplement the original locations and characters that it will undoubtedly feature.
Kingdom Hearts 4 is currently in development.