Shinji Hashimoto, the former Kingdom Hearts producer who recently retired from Square Enix after 27 years, has announced that he has become a senior advisor at Sony Music Entertainment and a board member at their subsidiary, Forward Works.
In a recent message he posted via his Twitter account, Hashimoto stated that he wants to continue pursuing the creation of entertainment and that "it might be a bit of time before [he] can share exactly what [he is] working on in these roles."
Good luck! We're rooting for you!
You can view Hashimoto's new message below:
BPNavi has revealed each of the prizes available for the Kingdom Hearts ~20th Anniversary~ Ichiban Kuji lottery. For more details regarding the lottery, such as participation and pricing, view our prior coverage.
You can view the newly univeled items via our gallery below:
Game Informer recently interviewed Tetsuya Nomura regarding Kingdom Hearts IV, the series' future, and other related aspects.
Firstly, Nomura states how some of his favorite fan reactions are to the original Kingdom Hearts' ending, primarily due to how players at the time weren't sure if the story would continue beyond the first entry. The Luxu reveal reactions in Kingdom Hearts III are another of his collective favorites simply because of its severe implications.
Regarding Kingdom Hearts IV, Nomura states that the story is focused more on Sora's disappearance and that there's uncertainty about whether the team will be able to include more of the original cast, notably the Birth by Sleep and Days crews. Still, he desires to explore them more at later points.
Interestingly, Nomura states how he was the one being picky about Sora's recent inclusion into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, not Disney. The latter party was actually quite eager, while Nomura thought it would clash with the "established lore in Kingdom Hearts and the Disney worlds." The end result ended up being qualitative, though.
Moving on to antagonists, Nomura says he's quite happy with their handling of Xehanort's character, citing it as a slow burn that tackled each facet of his character with genuine depth. So now, the Foretellers will be the following antagonists, and Back Cover has already shown the types of characters they are. Moreover, "there will be more new characters as well," though specifics have not been mentioned yet.
Sora is reiterated as the only possible main character for the franchise, to the extent that the numbered entries would conclude if he were to stop being the protagonist. Moreover, there will be a "few Disney worlds," so fans won't have to worry about them potentially being absent, even if their inclusion has "slightly" differed from previous entries.
Reaction Commands' return was reiterated due to fan demand after their removal in Kingdom Hearts III. They were initially taken out because Nomura didn't find the mechanic's debut reception in Kingdom Hearts II particularly positive.
Quadratum is reiterated as the game's initial base, with players returning there as the narrative progresses. Sora's daily life will be approached more, such as seeing him go in and out of his room. Realism is a challenging factor the team has been pursuing to see just how far they can take it.
Final Fantasy characters' lacking presence was discussed next, with Nomura stating that their inclusion is not at the core of Kingdom Hearts' identity. Their presence in the first game was a collective device for players to get to know the at-the-time limited original cast. Now, it's difficult to continually include Final Fantasy characters because of how vast the original cast is. There is no word on how Final Fantasy balance incorporation will work in Kingdom Hearts IV.
Finally, Kingdom Hearts Missing-Link is brought up as an entry fans should look forward to, as it sheds light on several mysteries throughout the series. It will even have hints and new information pertaining to Kingdom Hearts IV.
UPDATE: Notable quotes from Nomura; "As far as the graphic qualities ... since with each new title, the specs have been really increasing and there's so much more we can do in terms of graphics, it kind of limits the number of worlds that we can create in a sense."
"Also, some figures that appear in Missing-Link are tied to Kingdom Hearts IV."
You can read the full interview via Game Informer's website.
You can also read the full interview below:
View our Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary Recap & Breakdown article.
Square Enix Japan has revealed more celebratory Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary merchandise; a chic gray and black Monogram Icon Folding Umbrella housing iconic symbols from the series, including the 20th Anniversary logo.
You can view officially provided images of this product via our gallery below:
You can pre-order the Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary Folding Umbrella via Square Enix Japan's digital storefront for ¥3,860 ahead of its September 24th, 2022 shipment date.
Do you find yourself purchasing this stylish umbrella? It could potentially be in Quadratum fashion. Well, that'd be kind of weird now that I think about it.
Hikaru Utada's official website has announced that the singer's online concert, "Hikaru Utada Live Sessions from Air Studios," will be made available via Netflix worldwide on June 9th, 2022. This performance initially occurred on January 19th, 2022, with the physical release being made part of a bundle back on February 23rd, 2022.
Additionally, the concert's audio is also making its way to streaming services (Apple Music and the iTunes store are currently listed) on June 9th, 2022, including the Japanese version of "Face My Fears."
The complete track list for "Hikaru Utada Live Sessions from Air Studios" is provided below:
"One Last Kiss"
"Face My Fears" (English Version）
"Beautiful World" (Da Capo Version）
"Face My Fears" (Japanese Version) * for music streaming and download
Credit to prominent Kingdom Hearts community member Churro for sharing this notable news.
UPDATE (6/8/2022): The performance is now available on Netflix worldwide (56 minutes long) and several audio services (Amazon Music, Spotify, Youtube Music, Apple Music, and the iTunes Store).
Yoshitaka Suzuki, an additional composer for Kingdom Hearts III who composed the cutscene tracks for the confrontation with Davy Jones at the end of The Caribbean, shared a few comments on Twitter after a fan (@Titan_Trainer) highlighted the songs.
"Hearts of Courage," "The Victorious," and a track unavailable in the official soundtrack were all crafted with a unique motif correlating to Davy Jones since the original song from the film could not be used. Suzuki also noted how Hans Zimmer, a composer for the Pirates of the Caribbean films, including At World's End, was a vital source of inspiration for him as well as being one of his favorite composers.
Further, following a fan inquiry, Suzuki explained that while he received instruction from the music director, he essentially had compositional freedom. Tetsuya Nomura had no role in determining the track's production either.
You can view Yoshitaka Suzuki's initial tweet and replies elaborating upon his role with the tracks he composed for The Caribbean in Kingdom Hearts III below:
Additionally, the fan tweet that initiated Suzuki providing insight is viewable below:
I recently had the opportunity to speak to Kieron Sampson, the individual behind the Taco Bell Mexican Pizza advertisement rap that overtly mentioned Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series.
Throughout this interview, Kieron provided personal insight regarding his history with the franchise, the personal impact it has had on him, and how this unexpected reference came about. He also discussed the internet's reactions to his rap, noting how he did not expect it to blow in popularity like how it ended up doing.
You can view the full interview with Kieron Sampson via our Youtube channel below:
7-Elevens in Japan currently have a Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary promotion occurring via their printers. Until June 30th, 2022, fans can pay ¥200 to have special celebratory postcards depicting various illustrations printed.
You can view each of these illustrations via our galleries below:
You can view more information regarding this Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary promotion via the official 7-Eleven Japan website.
Former Kingdom Hearts Producer Shinji Hashimoto has retired from Square Enix after 27 years at the company. Hashimoto served as the producer for Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories as well as Executive Producer for every Kingdom Hearts game from 2009-2019 with the last game being Kingdom Hearts III. He also served as the Promotional Producer for the Final Fantasy series until May 2021 when he stepped down to become an Corportate Advisor for the company.
Hashimoto has also sent out a video message announcing his retirement. You can watch it below.
Hashimoto is an important figure within the development of the Kingdom Hearts video game series staring with a discussion with Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi in 1996. Shortly after, he had a chance meeting with an Disney Execeutive in a office elevator when the offices of Square Enix (known back then as Squaresoft) and Disney were in the same building.
Thank you Hashimoto-san for your vision, ideas, and hard work for the Kingdom Hearts series. Without you, this series may not have come into realization and we wouldn't be here as fans of this amazing series. Enjoy your retirement and May you Heart Be Your Guiding Key.
UPDATE (5/31/2022) : Each item is now available for pre-order until June 26th, 2022. We have updated our galleries with respective product images and have added hyperlinks to each store page. Additionally, shipments are expected to occur in early November 2022.
Following the announcement of Japanese luxury fashion brand Samantha Thavasa collaborating with Kingdom Hearts' 20th anniversary, the celebratory products have finally been unveiled. Each item is viewable via our galleries below alongside their respective price points and store links.
Aitai Kuji store links are listed in this article's conclusion.
The first wave of products, save for the strap depicting Sora's Station of Awakening, is themed around Sora and Riku.
Round Zip Long Wallet - ¥27,500
L-Zip Fold Wallet - ¥22,000
Round Zip Key Case - ¥15,400
Pouch - ¥12,100
Mini Shoulder Pouch - ¥12,100
Bag Charm - ¥6,050 each
The second wave of products is themed around Organization XIII.
Organization XIII Wallet (¥27,500) / Keychain (¥6,050)
Organization XIII Smartphone Shoulder Bag - ¥22,000
Organization XIII King Mickey Backpack - ¥27,500
Organization XIII Bag Charm - ¥4,400
The final wave of products comprises Keyblade charms, with all 7 making up an obtainable collection. However, each charm will also have its own dedicated store page. The individual charms cost ¥4,950, while the collection housing all of them costs ¥13,200.
Way to the Dawn
Kingdom Key D
KH1 Ultima Weapon
Thanks to @rote_punkt on Twitter for sharing the collective hub page revealing all of these products.
UPDATE (6/1/2022) : Aitai Kuji has now listed each of the aforementioned items on its digital storefront. These items' store links are provided below alongside their price points, which differ from Samantha Thavasa's. No estimated shipment times are available yet.
Round Zip Long Wallet - ¥28,000 ($220.47)
L-Zip Fold Wallet - ¥24,000 ($188.98)
Round Zip Key Case - ¥16,500 ($129.92)
Pouch - ¥13,500 ($106.30)
Mini Shoulder Pouch - ¥13,000 ($102.36)
Bag Charm - ¥6,500 ($51.18)
Organization XIII Wallet - ¥28,000 ($220.47)
Organization XIII Keychain - ¥7,000 ($55.12)
Organization XIII Smartphone Shoulder Bag - ¥24,000 ($188.98)
Organization XIII King Mickey Backpack - ¥28,000 ($220.47)
Organization XIII Bag Charm - ¥5,200 ($40.94)
Keyblade Charm Collection Case ONLY - ¥14,500 ($114.17)
Keyblade Charm Collection - ¥5,500 ($43.31)
Sony Japan has finally revealed the previously announced Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary walkman and specially designed earbuds.
The Walkman NW-A105 KH 20th Anniversary Limited Edition costs ¥36,000 and comes with "Hikari" (via a coupon) sung by Utada Hikaru, in "high-resolution" quality. Additionally, the 20th Anniversary branded Wireless Noise Cancellation Stereo Earbuds cost ¥34,000. Both products also have a 3-year warranty.
You can view images of these products via our gallery below:
These products are now available to purchase via Sony Japan's website.
Sony Japan also tweeted about the items' availability, viewable below:
Japanese retailer Blooming Nakanishi has announced that Kingdom Hearts-themed handkerchiefs and microfiber cloths will be available for pre-order via their digital storefront. Each microfiber cloth costs ¥1,100, and the handkerchiefs cost ¥2,200.
Additionally, pre-orders for these products begin on May 27th, 2022, at 12:00 JST and conclude on June 10th, 2022, at 03:00 JST. Shipments are expected to occur in August 2022.
You can view images of each microfiber cloth and handkerchief via our galleries below alongside respective store page links.
Kingdom Hearts II Microfiber Cloth
Sora Station of Awakening Microfiber Cloth
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded Microfiber Cloth
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts II Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Handkerchief
If you're interested in purchasing any or all of these products, be sure to check back on these store pages later this week!
Japanese publication Game Watch has announced that Kingdom Hearts merchandise will appear at a dedicated Animate Fair event to celebrate the franchise's 20th anniversary.
A summation of the provided information has been provided via our team's translator, Ryuji:
Of the products currently showcased, there are new stickers depicting each of the games, viewable via our gallery below:
In the latest of Kingdom Hearts references appearing in different media, this one could be the most random. In a recent ad for Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza on their official Facebook page, the rap includes the line "Key to my heart like Sora." You can watch and listen to the ad below.
So far in 2022, in addition to the 20th anniversary celebration of the franchise, Kingdom Hearts has been referenced and have cameos in a couple of Disney+ shows from The Wonderful Spring of Mickey Mouse, The Proud Family: Prouder and Louder, and very recently in Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers.
Fans have discovered an over 5-year old Twitter post of user TheDaguar sharing their discovery of the unused Alice Stained Glass platform within the files of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix.
While this platform artwork was viewable via the Kingdom Hearts Design Document, it being found in the game files themselves is a new, resurged development altogether. Further, it's also far clearer, and several facets of the Station of Awakening platform can be better viewed, including the Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, and more. The borders of the platform also house unique icons like the other Station of Awakening platforms, with Alice's containing playing card symbols indicative of Wonderland's motifs.
You can view the original Alice Stained Glass platform via our gallery below:
Thanks to Twitter user @DaniZayaa for sharing this news.
A post from the aforementioned user shared an image of how the platform looks in-game, though it isn't in particularly high-quality yet: