Kingdom Hearts is about to turn 20 years old. While that’s difficult to fathom for longtime fans, it is nonetheless true.
As such, Square Enix is going to be marking the event, celebrating this longtime collaborative series between their studio and Disney Interactive.
Tetsuya Nomura, one of the major creative minds behind the Kingdom Hearts series, confirmed that there will be a new title coming out in celebration of this important milestone.
“I’m working on the 20th anniversary,” Nomura said. “I’ve already thought about the next job, and the Kingdom Hearts team has started working on something new. Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory appeared just before we started work on the next title, so the core team was able to help. When we are ready to announce something in the future, I think it will be full of surprises, so look forward to it.”
Many are speculating that this could be Kingdom Hearts 4, the follow up to last year’s highly successful Kingdom Hearts 3.
However, history doesn’t support that theory.
Typically, when a major Kingdom Hearts title comes out, there are several side games, or interludes that come out before the next numbered installment.
After the original Kingdom Hearts came out in 2002, we got Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories for the Gameboy Advance (later re-released as Re: Chain of Memories for the PS2) before Kingdom Hearts 2 released in 2005.
Then, after Kingdom Hearts 2, we got a slew of interlude games, including 358/2 Days, Birth By Sleep, Dream Drop Distance, Re: Coded, and Union X. These games made up a massive 15 year period between Kingdom Hearts 2 and the release of Kingdom Hearts 3 in 2019.
It is likely that we’re going to be getting a number of interlude titles between Kingdom Hearts 3 and the inevitable Kingdom Hearts 4.
We’ve already received a piece of story driven DLC called Re:Mind. There has also been a mobile game called Kingdom Hearts Dark Road, which follows series antagonist Xehanort as a young keyblade apprentice. Then, in November, we’re getting a new title called Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. This is a rhythm based game that will take place after Kingdom Hearts 3 and furthers the story as we head into Kingdom Hearts 4.
Whatever game comes out in 2022 for the series’ 20th anniversary, whether it is Kingdom Hearts 4 or not, will have an impact on the series narrative. Every interlude title has serious ramifications on the major games. Playing Kingdom Hearts 3 without first experiencing the side games would lead to a whole world of confusion, as they are essential to the story.