Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix (formerly Square). It is the result of a collaboration between Square and Disney Interactive Studios. Kingdom Hearts is a crossover of various Disney settings based in a universe made specifically for the series. The series features a mixture of familiar Disney and Final Fantasy characters, as well as several new characters designed by Tetsuya Nomura. In addition, it has an all-star voice cast which includes many of the Disney characters' official voice actors.
The series centers around the main character Sora's search for his friends and his encounters with Disney and Final Fantasy characters on their worlds. Players primarily control Sora, though there are numerous characters who join Sora's party as computer controlled members. The majority of the characters were introduced in the first game, Kingdom Hearts. Several new characters were introduced in the sequel, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, which also features alternate versions of previous characters created from Sora's memories. The third game, Kingdom Hearts II, added more Disney and Final Fantasy characters, as well as introduced new antagonists.
Various types of merchandise modeled after the characters' likeness have been produced, including figurines and jewelry. The characters have garnered praise from several video game websites and magazines for the quality of their voice acting and visual style. Comments focused on the accurate presentation of Disney characters, the unique visual style of Square Enix characters, how well all the characters blended together, and the consistent quality performances from voice actors.
The Kingdom Hearts series is directed by Tetsuya Nomura, who also works as the character designer of the games. Nomura has stated that unlike working with Final Fantasy characters, keeping the main character Sora alive and interesting over multiple games is a challenge. He also stated that though many of the Disney characters are not normally dark and serious, there were not many challenges making them so for the story, and despite this, their personalities shine because they maintain their own characteristics. Though Disney gave Nomura freedom in the characters and worlds used for the games, he and his staff tried to stay within the established roles of characters and boundaries of the worlds.
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Official Site: Square-Enix
Links: Wikipedia Kingdom Hearts Wiki Giant Bomb