Kingdom Hearts Unchained X could finally bring exclusive Kingdom Hearts III plot points overseas
For almost two years now, Western Kingdom Hearts fans have enviously watched Japanese players enjoy Kingdom Hearts χ[chi], an online browser game set during the Keyblade War, a cataclysmic chunk of KH history that the main series only mentions. With the recently announced remake Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ (pronounced Kingdom Hearts Unchained Key) for iOS and Android smartphones, this crucial link to Kingdom Hearts III could be closer than ever to a global release.
iOS/Android『キングダムハーツ アンチェインドキー』2015年配信予定、基本プレイ無料(アイテム課金) 「PCブラウザゲー「キングダムハーツ キー」のシステムをスマホ向けに一新し、ストーリーにも仕掛けを用意したシリーズ最新作。」（@htmk73）
— aibo (@aibo_ac7) May 12, 2015
English Translation by Goldpanner: 'Kingdom Hearts Unchained Key' for iOS/Android, scheduled to release 2015, free to play (with in-app purchasable items), the gameplay of 'Kingdom Hearts Key' remade for smartphones, setup for the plot has also been prepared for this newest title in the series. (@htmk73)
This news comes from a six-page spread in Famitsu Weekly (translation provided by KHInsider, Goldpanner, Zephyr, and Kazr10). KH13 user SkyKeybladeHero recently translated one of the featured interviews, in which director Tetsuya Nomura addresses the decision to adapt χ[chi]’s battle system, swapping the cards for medals:
“Since we are considering developing this game overseas, we have adjusted it accordingly. When our testing team in America had Smartphone users play it, if they saw cards as they appeared in [KHX], they tended to think of it as the so called ‘card games.’ Although after having they play it for a while we had good reactions, the first impression of the game wasn't good. Since the first impression of a game is very important, we tried something other than cards.”
So not only is a global release planned, but Square Enix is already conducting tests in North America. Nomura goes on to discuss plans to add language-specific servers and reaffirms χ[chi]’s plot-relevance to the highly-anticipated Kingdom Hearts III.
χ[chi]'s importance to Kingdom Hearts III
Early in its development, it was difficult to connect χ[chi] to the main series. It looked a little like a rehash of the short-lived and entirely pointless cutefest that was Kingdom Hearts Mobile. Now the game is dripping with potential tie-ins to the Dark Seeker Saga. Here’s the top three most important connections:
(Contains χ[chi] spoilers. Read at your own risk!)
- The Foretellers: The five mysterious leaders of the Unions fighting the darkness all bear a mysterious resemblance to five prominent characters in the main series. Additionally, each of their Keyblades bears an “Eye of Darkness,” as seen throughout the series on weapons such as Soul Eater, Way to Dawn, Void Gear, and, of course, Master Xehanort’s Keyblade. There is also a sixth Foreteller whose appearance and motives remain obscured. It’s been speculated that the Unknown’s Keyblade follows the “Eye of Darkness” trend and is actually Master Xehanort’s own Keyblade, which is described as “the most ancient” of those passed down throughout the generations. This would connect the Foretellers directly to a recent Kingdom Hearts III teaser.
- The Book of Prophecies: The tome bestowed on the five Foretellers of the Unions not only alludes to Master Xehanort’s plan to restart the Keyblade War, but is specifically brought up by Maleficent in a scene exclusive to the Re:coded movie, foreshadowing its continued importance. Its ability to transcribe future events and even conjure entire worlds sets up the Book of Prophecies as a major plot point of Kingdom Hearts III.
- Illusionary worlds: In χ[chi], Ephemera claims that the Lux you’re collecting belongs to Daybreak Town and that all the other “fairytale worlds” are just illusions stemming from the Book of Prophecies. Later, Chirithy is revealed to be a Spirit Dream Eater, a class of creatures once exclusive to Dream Drop Distance. This means Daybreak Town might not just exist thousands of years in the past, but could very well exist in the main series’ present, trapped in the Realm of Sleep. With so much of Kingdom Hearts III’s plot revolving around saving those lost to the darkness and the “Key to Return Hearts,” Daybreak Town could easily make a reappearance.
With each update, χ[chi] becomes increasingly relevant to Kingdom Hearts III, to the point that it may become just as critical to the main plot as the other so-called “side games.” Unchained χ could be the answer to the long-standing Twitter campaign to bring #ChiToTheWest and to smartphones everywhere.