How Kingdom Hearts Happened

With the long-awaited arrival of “Kingdom Hearts III,” Square Enix has finally unleashed the hugely hyped cap to the classic “Kingdom Hearts” trilogy. During the decade-long wait following the game’s sequel, we were fiending for any information about it we could find — and all the while Tetsuya Nomura was hard at work on the making of the third installment. Throughout the making of “Kingdom Hearts,” Nomura and Square had the unlikely task of melding Disney Pixar characters like Donald, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse with the world of Final Fantasy and new characters like Sora, Riku, Kairi, and the saga of the keyblade.

“Kingdom Hearts’” history began with a chance meeting between Square and Disney executives, and exploded into a sprawling saga that goes far beyond the “KH1,” “KH2,” and “KH3” games. It’s one of the most beloved and confusing franchises in all of gaming, but our retrospective will hopefully leave the game explained, as far as its origin and history. As we awaited the first trailer with bated breath, we worried if “Kingdom Hearts 3” would ever actually materialize, but now, in 2019, it has arrived at long last, and has lived up to our expectations and then some.

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