Kingdom Hearts is one of those series that sound ridiculous but have nonetheless managed to withstand the test of time. For proof, look no further than the fact that the series started up in 2002 but is expecting two separate releases in 2020, with one being Kingdom Hearts: Dark Road and the other being Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. On top of this, it should be mentioned that these two releases are following in the footsteps of Kingdom Hearts III from 2019, which served to conclude the story arc introduced by the very first Kingdom Hearts gaming title.
How Did Kingdom Hearts Come Into Existence?
For those who are curious, the Kingdom Hearts series came into existence because of a conversation between two important Square figures Hashimoto Shinji and Sakaguchi Hironobu. As the story goes, they wanted to make something comparable to Super Mario 64. However, they lamented that they would need the popularity of Disney characters to compete with the well-established influence of the Mario franchise. Fortunately, Square and Disney's Japanese operations were situated in the same office building at that point in time, with the result that Hashimoto was able to make a successful pitch to a Disney executive when they met in the elevator by coincidence. As for the series director Nomura Tetsuya, he volunteered to lead the project when he overheard Hashimoto and Sakaguchi's conversation.
Initially, the plan was to focus on the playability of the game while pairing it with a simpler story aimed at Disney's target audience. However, Sakaguchi eventually told Nomura that its story would need to be on the same level as that of the Final Fantasy series, thus resulting in more resources being spent on this particular part. Namewise, Kingdom Hearts came from two sources of inspiration. First, Nomura came up with the name Kingdom by thinking about Disney's Animal Kingdom. Second, Kingdom wasn't enough for the title, which is why he proceeded to add Hearts to create Kingdom Hearts when "heart" became an important concept in the story.
On the whole, the Kingdom Hearts series has fared much better than what most interested individuals would have expected. For instance, while there was a huge gap between Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III, it is important to note that one was the third installment in the series while the other was the twelfth installment in the series. Furthermore, Disney's success means that new possibilities have opened up for the crossover. So far, Pixar properties have managed to make their way in to stand alongside their Disney counterparts. However, there is a reason that people have been speculating about Marvel properties as well as Lucasfilm properties in the times to come. It would be an exaggeration to say that everything has proceeded perfectly smoothly for the Kingdom Hearts series, but at the same time, it would be an even greater exaggeration to say that it has floundered.
How Has the Kingdom Hearts Logo Changed Over Time?
Each of the Kingdom Hearts titles have had their own particular version of the Kingdom Hearts logo. However, they have remained the same in most respects, meaning that there has been remarkable consistency over time. For starters, the Kingdom Hearts logo features the brands of the two companies in small letters on top. The left side is occupied by Disney, while the right side was occupied by Squaresoft for the first title and then Square Enix for the subsequent titles. Between them, there is a key with the cuts facing rightwards. Beneath it, there is a crown with three tines that point outwards. However, these elements tend to be overshadowed by two things. First, there is the "Kingdom Hearts" in huge, stylized letters, which is positioned over the subtitle whenever the title has one. Second, there is the heart, which is drawn using lines that don't join at the top but instead curves inwards.
In any case, the heart is a symbol that has been used since prehistoric times. However, the version that we are most familiar with is something that seems to have been created in late medieval Europe. No one knows how this happened because there isn't enough surviving evidence for interested individuals to trace the connections, but that hasn't stopped them from coming up with a wide range of speculative theories. For example, one line of thought is that the heart was based on the fruit of silphium, which is an extinct plant that was used in classical times as everything from a condiment to a medicine. In particular, silphium was used for both abortion and contraception, thus causing it to become linked with sexuality. Meanwhile, another line of thought is that heart doesn't actually represent a heart but rather a part of a woman's body, with candidates ranging from the breasts to the buttocks.
Moving on, hearts have an even more important meaning in the Kingdom Hearts series. For those who are curious, the heart isn't the literal heart. Instead, it is a kind of animating force that makes up a being in the setting along with the body as well as the soul. It isn't quite clear what the heart does, but it seems quite important, seeing as how there are indications that it could be responsible for everything from emotions to memories. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is a huge plot point in the series's story arc, so much so that it can be considered central. As for Kingdom Hearts, it is worth mentioning that this isn't just the series name but also a location situated within the series setting. In short, it is supposed to be the heart of every single world, thus making it a source of not just power but also wisdom.
For the most part, the differences between the various Kingdom Hearts logos are minor. For example, there have been various color combinations, though silver is something of a constant. Likewise, it is interesting to mention that some of the logos feature both a "K" and "S" with a lengthened stroke that extends much further towards the center. It isn't clear what this means, but there is a line of speculation that the lengthened stroke shows up in titles in which the main character Sora isn't playable. Finally, both Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III have their respective number included in the logo in Roman numerals, which are situated behind the series title but before the heart. The titles that are not included under them lack these Roman numerals.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
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