Los Angeles -- (May 17, 2001) Disney Interactive and Square Co., Ltd. (Square) usher in a new era in interactive entertainment with the announcement of Kingdom Hearts, a 3D epic adventure and role-playing game for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system that will feature both existing and newly created Disney characters, as well as multiple Disney and Square-designed worlds --- all coexisting in one unique game.
Making their debut in Kingdom Hearts, the new Disney characters --- Sora, Riku, Kairi and the Heartless --- are designed by director and character designer Tetsuya Nomura, best known for his creations in Square’s breakthrough titles Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. These characters team up with renowned Disney characters, but as they’ve never been seen before, to embark on a dark, magical adventure that takes them to familiar and newly created Disney worlds, interacting with characters indigenous to those realms.
Scheduled for release in winter 2001 in Japan, and fall 2002 in North America and Europe, Kingdom Hearts immerses players in an adventure of fantasy and non-stop action, delivering a unique interactive gaming experience that melds the Disney and Square entertainment legacies of animation, design, story-telling and character development.
"Kingdom Hearts is a unique undertaking and opportunity for Disney Interactive on so many levels: we’re working in alliance with one of the world’s leading interactive entertainment companies; we’re launching new characters for The Walt Disney Company; and we’re creating breakthrough creative content on an advanced platform that allows us to push the boundaries of 3D animation and design, and tell a new story with unprecedented fusion of Disney characters and movie worlds," said Jan Smith, president, Disney Interactive. "This game represents the most recent expansion of Disney Interactive content into categories of entertainment products and genres that broaden our reach to new and older audiences throughout the world."
"Kingdom Hearts has allowed Square to work with Disney Interactive in an unprecedented way, with both companies contributing their highest levels of creative talent and teamwork. The result is a game completely original in its scope, scale and creativity --- a breakthrough title for our industry," said Hisashi Suzuki, president of Square Co., Ltd. "Square’s expertise in game design and action-based RPG’s combined with Disney’s historic legacy of rich characters, animation and story development will allow us to bring a unique product to established gamers who already expect the best from Square, while at the same time introducing new players to this genre of interactive entertainment."
Kingdom Hearts represents the first time Disney Interactive and Square have worked together. The title is Disney Interactive’s most expansive effort at integrating different Disney film content in one interactive product. Under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura, the game takes full advantage of the power and advanced technology of the PlayStation 2, incorporating beautifully crafted 3D and CG worlds that allow for flexibility and customization of gameplay.
The Story of Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts is an epic story of adventure, heroism, teamwork and life’s most important lessons. It is the story of Sora, a 15-year-old boy whose world is turned upside-down when a violent storm crashes into his idyllic island-paradise home, and he is separated from those closest to him: his best friend Riku --- a 16-year-old boy --- and a young girl named Kairi. The storm’s force scatters the friends to three different and unknown worlds.
At the same time, there’s turmoil in the world of the Disney Castle. King Mickey is missing and protectors Court Wizard Donald and Captain Goofy set out on a mission to find him. On their travels they meet Sora, who is on his own mission to search for his lost friends. The three are told of dark, ominous creatures known as the Heartless, beings without hearts derived from an unknown dimension and, as it turns out, the ones responsible for the devastating tornado. Imbued with the ability to morph and change their form, the Heartless’ ultimate goal is to recruit the Disney Villains to help them steal the pure hearts and souls of others.
Upon learning of the link between the Heartless, the storm and the disappearance of King Mickey, Sora, Donald and Goofy decide to join forces to recover Sora’s friends, return the King to his rightful position and save the universe from the Heartless. On their adventures, they journey through a fantasy Disney Universe, where each land is its own unique world. The heroes visit many different worlds, including those of Disney’s Aladdin, Disney’s Tarzan, Disney’s Peter Pan and many more Disney and new, original worlds, where they interact with the characters of those worlds and battle their way across dimensions.
More than two years in development, Kingdom Hearts has a production team of more than 100 people, representing the best creative talent from both Disney Interactive and Square.