Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games as part of a collaboration between Square and Disney. The games are developed and published by Square Enix (formerly Square) and co-published by Disney Interactive Studios. The series is set in an unnamed fictional universe consisting of many self-contained worlds mostly based on Disney films though they do contain original worlds which were created specially for the franchise. The series centers around the main character Sora's search for his friends and his encounters with Disney and Final Fantasy characters in their respective worlds. The first game, Kingdom Hearts, takes him through each world to lock their keyholes and prevent the Heartless from destroying them while in the sequel Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories he visits memory-based simulations of many of these worlds that are generated on-the-fly as he travels through them. In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora helps the residents of these worlds again in search of his friend Riku. The Kingdom Hearts games have been both critically acclaimed and commercially successful and the design of the worlds has been praised for its faithfulness to the source material.
- 1 Creation
- 2 Disney Worlds
- 2.1 Disney Castle
- 2.2 Dwarf Woodlands
- 2.3 Monstro
- 2.4 Mysterious Tower
- 2.5 Castle of Dreams
- 2.6 Wonderland
- 2.7 Neverland
- 2.8 Enchanted Dominion
- 2.9 100 Acre Wood
- 2.10 Space Paranoids
- 2.11 Atlantica
- 2.12 Beast's Castle
- 2.13 Agrabah
- 2.14 Halloween Town
- 2.15 Pride Lands
- 2.16 Olympus Coliseum
- 2.17 The Land of Dragons
- 2.18 Deep Jungle
- 2.19 Deep Space
- 2.20 Port Royal
- 3 Original Worlds
- 4 Reception
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Creation[edit | edit source]
In the various Kingdom Hearts games, each game has a wide variety of levels which are referred to as "worlds". These worlds each have their own unique designs and appearances which vary depending on the Disney setting on which they are based on. Each of these worlds bear their own art style which originates from the Disney film in which they are from and these worlds are also inhabited by the characters from their respective films; for example Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Rabbit from the 100 Acre Wood from Disney's Winnie the Pooh Franchise and Hercules and Philoctetes appear in Olympus Coliseum from Hercules. The worlds in the game consists of interconnected areas where battles and plot-related events usually occur. Players can travel from one world to another through various methods such as via a Gummi Ship in the first and second game, travelling through Corridors of Darkness in 358/2 Days and riding a keyblade instead in Birth by Sleep. Apart from Disney worlds, there are also numerous original worlds created for the series by Square Enix and these worlds predominantly feature characters from Final Fantasy games and original characters.
Director Tetsuya Nomura had been given the freedom to choose which characters and worlds he would like to use in the games by Disney. However, he and his staff decided to stay within the established roles of the characters and their worlds. Though this led to him finding that managing and keeping consistent multiple worlds to be rather problematic. In order to decide which worlds should be used in games, Nomura started by determining the number of worlds in each game and then picking which worlds he felt would fit into the series' story line. The list was then evaluated by his team followed by the Disney representatives. Nomura attempted to maintain an equal number of worlds in each game in the series and put in an effort to minimize any overlapping conflicts in the look and feel of each world. This was done thtough categorizing the various Disney worlds by their appearance and setting. For example, a world based on The Jungle Book was considered for the first game, but was omitted due to its similarity to Deep Jungle from Tarzan. Nomura also tried to take into account worlds which had interesting Disney characters and appearances. For example, Nomura chose to include a Mulan world for its unique atmosphere. The Tron world's design was meant to emulate an old computer game. Nomura got the idea to include this world after seeing a Disney employee making a Tron game. He hoped that the fact that it was so different from the other worlds would make it enjoyable to players.
Disney Worlds[edit | edit source]
The majority of worlds that appear in the games are based on animated—as well as live-action—Disney films. These include:
Disney Castle[edit | edit source]
Disney Castle is the home to many classic Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy. It is featured in both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, though it is not accessible in the first game. The castle is ruled by King Mickey and Queen Minnie. The King has been absent for more than a year, having left without warning at the outset of the first wave of the Heartless. The world is protected by the Cornerstone of Light, a magical artifact that prevents darkness and the Heartless from entering the world. In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, a portal was added in this world which leads to the Keyblade Graveyard, where the Lingering Sentiment can be fought. Disney Castle was originally meant to be a playable world in Kingdom Hearts, though the world never made it to the final game outside of cutscenes.
Disney Town[edit | edit source]
Surrounding Disney Castle is Disney Town, which is featured in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. The town holds a festival known as the Dream Festival annually where people from all over the kingdom, including royalty, come to gather, and contains a wide variety mini-games.
Timeless River[edit | edit source]
Based on "Steamboat Willie" and other early Disney cartoons of that era, Timeless River is the "past" of Disney Castle, shortly before it was built. This world is accessed via the door Merlin created in the Hall of the Cornerstone chamber in the castle. The world is portrayed in black and white. Nomura had intended it to be this way from the beginning of development. The world has many throwback effects including intentionally poor sound quality to imitate old cartoons. In this grayscale world, Sora's character model is simplified to the style of early cartoons, while Goofy and Donald Duck revert to their original designs from when they first appeared in Disney cartoons. Past versions of many Disney characters also appear including Pete and King Mickey, whom Pete refers to as the "boat-boy king", a reference to his previous employment on Pete's steamboat. Timeless River also contains reenactments of some popular Mickey Mouse cartoons with locations such as Lilliput and a blazing building known as the "scene of the fire".
Dwarf Woodlands[edit | edit source]
Dwarf Woodlands is a forest surrounding a castle and is home to the Seven Dwarves, introduced in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and based on the one that started it all, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Dwarf Woodlands showcases the dwarfs' Cottage, the Evil Queen's castle, the mines where the dwarfs work, the haunted forest and meadows from the original film, as well as introducing the world within the Magic Mirror.
Monstro[edit | edit source]
Monstro is an enormous whale from Pinocchio and is featured in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Monstro is not a world unto himself and thus has no keyhole. Rather, his belly is large enough to serve as a substitute world, filled with luminescent acid, blubber, and Heartless. Monstro swims through the dimensional rift between worlds as if it were water, attacking and swallowing any vessel that passes his way. Monstro escaped from the world of Geppetto and Pinocchio just before it was destroyed by the Heartless. Geppetto finds himself inside Monstro's belly while searching for his "son", Pinocchio. Monstro's anatomically disoriented insides consist of two major parts. His enormous mouth contains many of the ships he has swallowed over the years, including Geppetto's. His throat leads to his Heartless-filled intestines, which are a sickly purple color with vessels and valves separating the body cavities.
Mysterious Tower[edit | edit source]
The Mysterious Tower (不思議な塔 Fushigi na Tō ), also known as Yen Sid's Tower, is home to Yen Sid and based on Fantasia. It is first seen as part of Twilight Town in Kingdom Hearts II, and serves as its own world in Birth by Sleep. Because of this, it is unknown if the tower shifted to Twilight Town after the events of Birth by Sleep, or if the world is actually within the same world as Twilight Town, or if it is a completely separate world entirely.
Castle of Dreams[edit | edit source]
Castle of Dreams, introduced in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, is a chateau based on the castle from the film, Cinderella. It mainly features the castle during the Royal Ball, as well as Lady Tremaine's estate, as playable areas.
Wonderland[edit | edit source]
Wonderland, based on Alice in Wonderland, is featured in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days as one of the first worlds Sora visited on. As such, it does not appear to be Alice's imaginary world like its film counterparts. Its colorful inhabitants seem to speak in riddles and code. Wonderland is ruled by the despotic Queen of Hearts. The most dominant feature of Wonderland's entrance is a bizarre room in which many of the items here can be pushed flat into the walls and strange potions here can change Sora's size. The next area is the Queen's castle where most of her courtly functions are carried out; a verdant hedge maze surrounds this area. Connected to the courtyard is the Lotus Forest, which leads to a garden used for tea parties. Throughout the world are hidden entrances to the bizarre room which have effects on the direction of its gravity.
Neverland[edit | edit source]
Neverland is a world featured in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. It is based on locations from Peter Pan and author J. M. Barrie's fictional island. Although the world is officially called "Neverland", there are no signs of the island itself. Instead, it primarily consists of Captain Hook's ship, the cabins and decks therein. Also accessible is a large clock tower which Wendy refers to as "Big Ben". Peter Pan sneaks aboard Captain Hook's ship in order to save his friend, Wendy, whom Captain Hook had captured, believing her to be a Princess of Heart. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, the world consists of various Neverland islets around Captain Hook's Ship. However, the mainland is not featured until Birth by Sleep.
Enchanted Dominion[edit | edit source]
Enchanted Dominion, introduced in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, is based on Sleeping Beauty. Aurora, Maleficent,Prince Phillip and the three good fairies appear in this world, with Phillip acting as a temporary party member aiding Aqua against Maleficent. In the original Kingdom Hearts, it is stated that Maleficent was responsible for allowing the Heartless to overrun and destroy her world. Presumably, it is restored following the first game's conclusion, though Maleficent does not seem to return there in the second game.
100 Acre Wood[edit | edit source]
The 100 Acre Wood is an optional world based on the fictional locale of author A. A. Milne and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The world takes the form of a magical book located in Merlin's house. As Sora collects the book's torn pages scattered throughout the worlds, new areas of the 100 Acre Wood become available as the story is retold. When Sora "enters the book", he lands on a version of the flat map of the 100 Acre Wood featured in many Pooh books. Classic locations such as Pooh's and Piglet's houses appear as well as the Muddy Path and Spooky Cave. Each location usually contains a minigame with prizes which help Sora on his journey. It is the only world in the series that contains no enemies whatsoever. The Attack command on the menu is changed to Hit.
The book is first given to Sora by Cid near the beginning of Kingdom Hearts and he collects pages torn from the book throughout the game until he finds and seals the 100 Acre Wood's keyhole, which is the diary-style lock on the front of the book. Along the way, he makes friends with each of the Wood's inhabitants, particularly Winnie the Pooh, with whom he plays a Christopher Robin-like role. 100 Acre Wood appears again as a recreated world in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. In Kingdom Hearts II, the book is damaged by the Heartless, causing Pooh to suffer severe amnesia, unable to remember him or anyone who happened to be on the pages that were again torn out, though each recovered page restores Pooh's memory. The 100 Acre Wood appears in Birth by Sleep not as a playable world, but as a Command Board.
Space Paranoids[edit | edit source]
Space Paranoids is a world based on Tron. Sora, Donald, and Goofy travel into a computer world to find clues regarding the past of Hollow Bastion and a caption they found behind Xehanort's portrait in Ansem's Study saying Door To Darkness a.k.a. D.T.D. They fight alongside Tron to defeat the evil MCP and its equally villainous majordomo, Sark. There is also a Light Cycle mini-game that strongly deviates from the original film. Nomura included this mini-game because he knew people associated the Light Cycles with Tron.
Space Paranoids is only playable in Kingdom Hearts II. Tron at one point mentions that Space Paranoids was copied from an existing world designed by ENCOM, the company from the original film. The term "Space Paranoids" comes from one of the games Kevin Flynn created in Tron. The overall feel of the world was meant to emulate an old computer game. Nomura got the idea to include this world after seeing a Disney employee making a Tron game. Because it was so different from the other worlds, he hoped that it would be enjoyable to players.
Atlantica[edit | edit source]
Atlantica, based on The Little Mermaid, is an underwater kingdom featured in all three of the main Kingdom Hearts games. It is the only Disney level in the original game of Kingdom Hearts to be the home world of a female member of Sora's party. Ruled by King Triton and his powerful magic trident, its inhabitants are mermaids and sea creatures. While here, Donald uses his magic to transform the main characters in order blend into the environment. Sora's legs become a dolphin's tail, Donald's legs become octopus tentacles and Goofy's body becomes that of a sea turtle. In Kingdom Hearts II, there is no battling in Atlantica and it featured minimal exploration. The main form of gameplay was an interactive rhythm game.
The main city of Atlantica is the only "constructed" area, made of what appears to be coral and other underwater vegetation. King Triton's chamber can be found here. Outside the city is a gorge which serves as a hub to other areas. Here can be found Ariel's grotto, a secret place where Princess Ariel stores her human artifacts. Also, a path from here leads to a rotting sunken ship that has become the home to many sea creatures. A more sinister area of the sea can be accessed from here: the Den of Tides and the sea witch Ursula's lair.
Beast's Castle[edit | edit source]
Beast's Castle is an ornate chateau based on the castle of Beauty and the Beast, first appearing in Kingdom Hearts II. Despite its large size, the castle is inhabited only by the Beast himself, Belle and the servants who have been turned into objects suited to their names, jobs, and personalities by an enchantress's spell. Appearing in 358/2 Days, the castle is under siege by Heartless as Beast fights them off and causing a friction between him and Belle. During Kingdom Hearts II, taking advantage of their unstable relationship, Xaldin manipulates Beast to drive off Belle and accept his fate to remain in his current state.
Agrabah[edit | edit source]
Agrabah is an arid desert city featured in all three of the main Kingdom Hearts games, based on the fictional city of Aladdin. Agrabah's hot climate disguises a world of intrigue, both magical and political, as an evil sorcerer schemes to usurp the throne from the Sultan of the realm. Little is as it seems in this world as it gets turned upside down through the antics of a certain genie. The city of Agrabah is primarily made of adobe buildings though the palace appears to be carved from marble. In the first game, there are only two small blocks for the marketplace, but the city area was expanded in Kingdom Hearts II due to the rebuilding of the city after being plagued by Heartless-induced sandstorms in the events of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Just outside the city walls is the desert, leading to the Cave of Wonders and the ruins of an ancient civilization.
Halloween Town[edit | edit source]
Halloween Town is an eternally dark village featured in four of the six main Kingdom Hearts games. It is based on The Nightmare Before Christmas. The residents of Halloween Town are obsessed with their eponymous holiday and, each year, seek to outdo the last year's celebration. Though it has a mayor, the de facto leader of Halloween Town is the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington. Sora, Donald and Goofy disguise themselves as spooky characters to blend in with the Halloween Town folk.
Halloween Town's nexus is Guillotine Square, which has entrances to Dr. Finklestein's lab, Jack Skellington's house, and the graveyard. The graveyard is overrun by Halloween-themed Heartless and leads to the Moonlight Hill. A secret switch in Moonlight Hill allows access to Oogie Boogie's Manor. The back of the graveyard also houses a forest called the Hinterlands. Here, several trees with strange symbols lead to other holiday-themed towns. The most prominent is Christmas Town, where Santa Claus lives and has his workshop. In the Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts II, Sora's Halloween outfit is replaced by an outfit with a mixture of both Christmas and Halloween themes. Donald and Goofy also receive new Christmas outfits.
Pride Lands[edit | edit source]
The Pride Lands is a savannah world based on The Lion King. It is featured in Kingdom Hearts II. The in-game graphic for the name displays the name as "Pride Land". However, it is referred to as the "Pride Lands" in the English dialog from Kingdom Hearts II as well as in content from the guide. While in the Pride Lands, Sora is transformed into a lion cub, Donald becomes a hornbill bird and Goofy takes the body of a tortoise. They transformed into animals because Nomura felt that since The Lion King film lacked any humans, it would appear odd to have Sora and the others interact in their standard forms. It was originally considered for inclusion in Kingdom Hearts but the game's engine could not correctly handle a quadrupedal animal as the player without an additional program. It was later added into Kingdom Hearts II.
After the death of the previous king, Mufasa, his deceitful brother Scar took the throne. Since then, the Pride Lands have seen a steady decline in living conditions, due to his poor rule. The Pride Lands are dominated by a large central savannah area which branches off in three directions. To the north is Pride Rock, home of the lions and the seat of the world's political power. The area southwest of the savanna is where outcasts from Pride Rock, such as the hyenas, live. The skeletons of several large elephants earns this area its nickname, the Elephant Graveyard. Southeast of the savanna are the arid wastelands containing little life. Beyond the wastelands, however, is a lush oasis.
Olympus Coliseum[edit | edit source]
Olympus Coliseum is featured in all six of the main Kingdom Hearts games, based on Hercules. The Coliseum is the first world entered by Sora, Donald, and Goofy to be the home world of a member of Maleficent's council of villains, and is protected by Hercules and antagonized by Hades. Sora is able to train here and can compete in various tournaments. Olympus Coliseum is one of the smallest worlds in the first Kingdom Hearts, consisting of only the main entrance, a lobby and the coliseum itself. Because of the popularity of Hades, the Underworld was added to the sequel. In Kingdom Hearts II, Hades opens a portal to the Underworld near the exit of the Coliseum. The Underworld consists of its own "lobby" which is one boat ride across the river Styx to the Underdrome, the Underworld's equivalent to the Coliseum, the "Lost Road" to an alcove containing a lock used to seal the Underdrome, and the Cave of the Dead which leads to Hades' temple. All of these Underworld areas are infested with Heartless, as well as mysterious white puffs of smoke which can be souls of people who died. In Birth by Sleep, a portion of the town below the Olympus Coliseum can be explored. Olympus Coliseum is the only world that appears in all six Kingdom Hearts games.
The Land of Dragons[edit | edit source]
The Land of Dragons is an imperial kingdom, based on ancient China, featured in Kingdom Hearts II and based on Mulan. The Land of Dragons has an Asian atmosphere, characterized by harmony with nature. Nomura chose it for its unique atmosphere, and had already wanted to use it for while. After a border skirmish heralds the impending invasion by the Huns, the country rapidly prepares for war, conscripting young men from every family. Unfortunately, the dark heart of the leader of the Huns, Shan-Yu, has allowed him to take control of the Heartless and lead them in his invasion. There is an encampment that serves as the center of military activity in the area. A nearby checkpoint leads to both the Imperial City and a mountain village. The summit of the snow-capped mountain is the entryway for invading armies.
Deep Jungle[edit | edit source]
Deep Jungle is a lush tropical forest of diverse animals and exotic plants based on the jungle in Tarzan, and is only featured in the original Kingdom Hearts. The primary inhabitants of this world are gorillas, who live in the secretive corners of the jungle and resist intrusion. An exploratory party has arrived to study them, but its guide, Clayton, has other plans. The jungle is also home to hippos and other jungle creatures, including the Heartless' mimicry of the local animals. Traveling in this world is done by climbing up trees and jumping onto vines. Much of the world is covered with dense jungle but some areas have signs of civilized inhabitants. There is an abandoned treehouse near the canopy that contains the remains of a previous visitor to the world. Also, the camp set up by Clayton contains many conveniences including stoves and slide projectors. The bamboo thicket near the camp leads to the waterfalls, which conceal a cave with the world's keyhole.
Deep Space[edit | edit source]
Deep Space is a world which takes place on a spaceship in outer space, introduced in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, is based on Lilo & Stitch. Deep Space takes place slightly before the events of the original film, though the story presumably continues on to the starting scenes of the movie such as Experiment 626's highjacking of the ship. Hawaii, however, does not make an appearance.
Port Royal[edit | edit source]
Port Royal is a port with surrounding waters, based on the live action Pirates of the Caribbean film series, and is only featured in Kingdom Hearts II. The inclusion of this world was aided by technology that generated the character models from live-action pictures. A local legend tells of a fearsome pirate ship called the Black Pearl with a crew of undead pirates led by Captain Barbossa. Another legend is of a grand Aztec treasure hoard of eight-hundred and eighty-two pieces which curses those who disturb it with eternal un-life. Port Royal, named after the eponymous town in real life, is a well-defended port city in the Caribbean. The mystical island where the Aztec treasure is kept, Isla de Muerta, cannot be found except by those who already know its location and by those who use Jack's magic compass.
Original Worlds[edit | edit source]
In addition to Disney worlds, that are also a number of original worlds which serve as major plot locations in the game. These include:
Destiny Islands[edit | edit source]
The Destiny Islands are featured in all six of the main Kingdom Hearts games, though playable only in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts coded. They form an original world created for the Kingdom Hearts series. Some of the main characters of the series originate here, including Sora, Riku, and Kairi. Other characters include younger variations of the Final Fantasy characters Tidus, Wakka, and Selphie. The world is consumed in darkness in the beginning of Kingdom Hearts, but is restored after the sealing of the door to Kingdom Hearts at the end of that game.
The islands are an archipelago that consists of several land masses. Close enough to the main islands to be reached by small boats is an island that several of the characters visit for recreation. The keyhole of the islands is located here in a small cave which Riku discovered as a boy. The main island is a regular town with a school. A superstition of the island is the power of the paopu fruit which is said to bind together the destinies of any two people who share one.
Traverse Town[edit | edit source]
Traverse Town is an original world that is featured in Kingdom Hearts,Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts coded. It acts as a hub of sorts for Sora during his journey. Its architecture is reminiscent of the High Victorian style popular in England during the 19th century. It serves as a home for people who manage to escape the destruction of their own worlds by unknowingly drifting through "corridors of darkness". However, since the reduction of the Heartless population at the end of Kingdom Hearts, Traverse Town has not been seen.
Traverse Town is separated into three major districts. The First District is generally devoid of Heartless and houses various shops. The Second District contains the bell tower, a gizmo shop, and a small hotel. The world's keyhole is located in the fountain in this district. The Dalmatians' house is also accessible here. The Third District is a plaza that has been overrun with Heartless. This district leads to a guarded alcove where Merlin lives. It is also the location of Leon and his allies' secret hideout. Aside from these areas, Traverse Town also has a sewer system where Leon practices his swordplay and a back alley behind the hotel.
Radiant Garden/Hollow Bastion[edit | edit source]
Radiant Garden, temporarily known as Hollow Bastion, is an original world created for the Kingdom Hearts series which serves as the home to many Final Fantasy characters in the series. It is featured in all of the main Kingdom Hearts games excluding Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, appearing as Hollow Bastion in the first game and serving as the hub world of Kingdom Hearts II, similar to the role of Traverse Town in the first. The gathering of the various Final Fantasy characters and the overall look of Hollow Bastion was changed for the third installment in order to help with the progression of the story.
Radiant Garden was once a peaceful kingdom ruled by Ansem the Wise until the events of Birth by Sleep, when Xehanort appeared and became Ansem's apprentice. Ansem and his six apprentices began to study the darkness in people's hearts, but abruptly put an end to his research once he realized it would endanger his people as well as the balance of multiple worlds. Unbeknownst to Ansem, however, Xehanort led his fellow apprentices to continue Ansem's research under his master's name. As a result, masses of Heartless were produced and overwhelmed the world in darkness. In the chain of events that followed, Ansem the Wise went into exile, Xehanort split into two beings (the Heartless Ansem and the Nobody Xemnas), and Organization XIII was established. Empty, the castle was later renamed Hollow Bastion and adopted by Maleficent as her headquarters. The world was eventually reclaimed by its original residents after the events of Kingdom Hearts with the help of Sora. Throughout Kingdom Hearts II, the residents of Radiant Garden began the process of restoration on the world in hopes of returning it to its former glorious self.
Radiant Garden is dominated by Ansem's castle which is now derelict with the surrounding town covered in ice. A combination of clockwork mechanisms and magic operate lifts, which are used to traverse the castle. Underneath the castle entrance are the dungeons and a series of waterways which provide plumbing throughout the castle. A library upstairs contains knowledge collected by the castle's former scientists. A previously unknown entrance here leads to Ansem's study and his computer room. In the deepest part of the castle is a factory where Heartless were once manufactured, also serving as an secret entrance to the Chamber of Repose where Aqua's armor and Keyblade are located (having left alongside Xehanort by the Keyblade master herself when he was found). Aside from the castle itself while in repairs, the restored town at its foot serves as the base of operations for the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee in Kingdom Hearts II.
End of the World[edit | edit source]
The End of the World is the final world in the first Kingdom Hearts game. This world is made out of the remnants of worlds that lost their hearts to the Heartless. It is also the home of Chernabog, the huge winged demon from the Fantasia segment "Night on Bald Mountain". Director Tetsuya Nomura has called it the "Heartless" of worlds. The World Terminus is also located here, which gives the Heartless access to the corridors of darkness leading to other worlds.
Land of Departure/Castle Oblivion[edit | edit source]
Castle Oblivion (忘却の城 Bōkyaku no Shiro ) was first introduced in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories.The castle is decorated with a rose motif and has twenty five levels; thirteen floors and twelve basements. Within its walls is the Chamber of Wakening where Ven rests. In Chain of Memories, Castle Oblivion serves as Organization XIII's secondary base under Marluxia.
Castle Oblivion is dominated by the use of cards. When entering the castle, one's memories and abilities are quantified into cards. Castle Oblivion's floors can be transmuted into different forms and layouts through the use of "world cards" derived from one's memories, as well as "map cards" which determine the properties of individual rooms. World cards based on Traverse Town, Wonderland, Olympus Coliseum, Agrabah, Halloween Town, Monstro, Atlantica, Never Land, Hollow Bastion, 100 Acre Wood, Twilight Town, and Destiny Islands have been created from Sora's memories. After losing its members, the Organization abandoned Castle Oblivion, though Axel was sent to it in order to find the entrance to the Chamber of Wakening.
In Kingdom hearts Birth by sleep, it was revealed that the world was once a world known as The Land of Departure (旅立ちの地 Tabidachi no Chi ). Land of Departure is a castle built high up on a grassy mountain and is surrounded by flowing water. The castle is a golden building decorated with stained glass windows with tall spires protruding from the roof. It is the home-world of Master Eraqus, a Keyblade master who the three main protagonists of Birth by Sleep—Ventus, Terra and Aqua—train under. Terra and Aqua also take their Master Qualification Exam here, supervised by Master Eraqus and Master Xehanort. It serves as the hub world of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, similar to the role of Traverse Town in the first Kingdom Hearts game.
After the world was consumed in darkness, only the castle ruins remain on a plane somewhere in between the realms of light and dark, likely closer to the latter. Arriving to the ruins with Ventus, Aqua used her powers to reform the building into Castle Oblivion (忘却の城 Bōkyaku no Shiro ) and creates the Chamber of Wakening where Ventus' Body resides.
Twilight Town[edit | edit source]
Twilight Town was introduced in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, in which Sora explored the memories of the other side of his heart. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts II, it is a major part in the story as Roxas's birthplace and where both he and Sora met Hayner, Pence, and Olette. After Roxas is captured, DiZ creates a simulation of the town and its people to keep Roxas trapped and away from Organization XIII until Sora's restoration was complete.
Twilight Town is split into two parts, the shopping district and the residential district, with a train and underground tunnel system that connects the two. There are plenty of stores here, including an accessory shop, as well as lots of houses lined up. Twilight Town is among other worlds to be found between light and darkness, being a perfect balance between the two realms.
The World That Never Was[edit | edit source]
The World That Never Was (存在しなかった世界 Sonzaishinakatta Sekai ), introduced in Kingdom Hearts II as the final world, is situated next to the realm of darkness in an in-between realm. It also houses the headquarters of Organization XIII, the Castle That Never Was, which is portrayed as a huge white castle decorated with the emblem of the Nobodies, in addition to Dark City, a deserted metropolis of skyscrapers. It served as the hub world of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, similar to the role of Traverse Town in the first.
The most distinct feature of this world of perpetual night is a large, heart-shaped moon—Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts was designed to appear as the heart-shaped moon from the cover of the first Kingdom Hearts game. When the scenario writer, Kazushige Nojima, created the scenario, he described it as a moon floating in the World That Never Was. Upon reading that, Nomura thought of using the visuals from the first game to create a connection.
Keyblade Graveyard[edit | edit source]
The Keyblade Graveyard (キーブレード墓場 Kīburēdo Hakaba ), introduced in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, is a vast wasteland littered with Keyblades, which serve as the remains of the legendary Keyblade War that occurred in the distant past. Little is known about the war, except that it was waged between the forces of light and darkness.
Reception[edit | edit source]
The series' setting had initially garnered a mixed reception from critics due to publications questioning the first game's viability shortly after the initial announcement of Kingdom Hearts. Andrew Reiner of Game Informer stated that despite the extreme differences between Final Fantasy and Disney properties, they blend well together along with the new content created for the series. A second Game Informer reviewer, Matt Miller, described the concept as a "hard sell", describing the combination of the two properties as "ridiculous". Though in stark contrast, he stated that the franchise's formula was successful. The graphical appearances of the worlds in the games have received generous praise, especially focusing on their similarity to the source material. IGN stated that the "worlds look very much like their filmed counterparts" while GameSpot referred to the worlds as "wonderfully rich familiar environments". Japanese gaming site, Gpara.com also praised the look of the worlds.GamePro described the worlds as "spot-on with the original movies."
Skepticism towards the series wore away upon the release of the first game, in which the Disney settings were well-received by critics. Allgame's Scott Marriott stated the Disney settings are the most attractive feature of the game and considered some of the world choices a surprise. He praised the level designs, commenting that a good amount of familiar elements from the Disney films were integrated into them. Marriott further stated that though the stages were small, interacting with beloved characters and exploring familiar settings were enjoyable aspects. Maura Sutton of Computer and Video Games attributed the Disney elements as a major factor in creating the game's "astounding worlds". She summarized her review by calling Kingdom Hearts a "delightful mixture of two enchanted worlds". Video game critics of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories expressed disappointment at the limited number of new worlds to explore in the game. 1UP.com's Bryan Intihar lauded Kingdom Hearts II's environment, calling it appealing and stating it was an improvement over the first title's. He described the level designs as "impeccable", citing the presentation of Timeless River stage's atmosphere. Intihar further commented that the expansions and changes to previous worlds made them "feel fresh". In contrast, Reiner described the Disney elements in Kingdom Hearts II as "tacked on".
References[edit | edit source]
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- Sora: Hmm... We should start by talking to Simba some more. Let's head back to the Pride Lands. Template:Cite video game
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[edit | edit source]
- Official Kingdom Hearts site
- Official international Kingdom Hearts site
- 10 Disney Worlds We'd Like To See in the Next Kingdom Hearts Game
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