This morning Square Enix celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Kingdom Hearts franchise by revealing the much anticipated Kingdom Hearts 4. I, like many other Kingdom Hearts fans, have watched the trailer multiple times and listened to other people’s thoughts on it. However with the fast speed which social media moves it’s easy to miss some people’s analysis of the trailer. Thus to make things simpler I am writing this analysis article. I will be documenting everything important I notice about the trailer as well as what others have noticed, as well as credited who discovered them. With all that said, let’s geek out!
Within the first half minute of the video we see a location unlike any of the others in the trailer, a forest-like area with several streams of water. At a glance there appears to be nothing special about this location but fans quickly noticed what appears to be the leg of an AT-ST Walker in the corner of the screen. Could this be a sign of a Star Wars world coming to Kingdom Hearts?
Quite possibly, and I won’t dismiss the theory; however, I would like to propose one of my own. What if this isn’t an AT-ST but rather Magitech Armor? Magitech has been appearing in more and more modern Square Enix games as of late, and Final Fantasy 6 has remained the 2D FF game that Kingdom Hearts pulls from the most. It would look different, sure, but all Final Fantasy stuff looks different in this series.
After leaving the forest, the trailer cuts to Sora waking up in a mysterious location and meeting a girl he hasn’t seen before. Many people on the internet didn’t recognize her, but players who have been following the entire Kingdom Hearts plot immediately knew she was Strelitzia from Kingdom Hearts Union Cross.
This character’s appearance is a shock because as she states in the trailer, she died last time we saw her. She goes on to explain how the world they are currently in: Quadratum can be seen as a form of afterlife for her and Sora.
The world of Quadratum is almost identical to the real world Tokyo, Japan, and the building Sora is in would be in Aoyama, one of the most expensive places to live. So all in all, despite being dead, Sora has a nice place to live.
Interestingly, despite Quadratum being heavily based on real life Tokyo, the writing on billboards and car plates in the trailer is not in Japanese but rather the fictional alphabet of the Kingdom Hearts universe which fans have dubbed ‘Scala Language’
After the city is introduced, a threat begins to emerge, darkness comes together and begins to form a Darkside enemy. However, this Darkside looks very different from the ones we have seen in previous Kingdom Hearts games. it has a much more menacing look with sharp wings and a pointed, almost demonic mouth. This classic enemy’s redesign makes it look like a threat for a Sora who should be much stronger by now.
Upon seeing the creature, Sora immediately charges into battle with Keyblade in hand to confront it. In a blink, and you’ll miss it moment, Sora swings around a pole in an animation that appears to suggest that Flowmotion from Dream Dream Distance and Kingdom Hearts 3 has returned.
This run also gives us a good look at Sora’s new design for this game, and as the internet has noticed, Sora now wears normal sized shoes. Rest in piece, clown shoes, you shall be missed.
During the fight against the Darkside, Sora is able to use the Keychain on his Keyblade to grapple up a streetlight and then further up onto a car. Will this mechanic just be for specific boss battles like this, or perhaps, will it be a new method for Sora to travel quickly like a new form of flowmotion?
Upon grappling into the air, Sora begins to run up a building and then through part of a destroyed building in midair. This appears to be a scripted sequence that is capped off with a Quick Time Effect where the player must press X to counter an attack from Darkside.
During this counter, Sora turns his keyblade into a drill and then into an even bigger drill made out of light to knock back the Darkside. Is this Drill just a one-time thing like many reaction commands from Kingdom Hearts 2? Or perhaps it’s a mechanic similar to the park attraction Situation Commands from Kingdom Hearts 3, and this is how it’s introduced in a tutorial?
One theory on what this drill was is related to a new command in the battle UI; the 4th command in the menu is called “build.” Perhaps this new build menu will allow Sora to transform his keyblade into various things? As of now, we have too little to go on to make a definitive statement.
As Sora fights the Darkside, he is watched by two mysterious figures in the iconic black coats this series is known for. One of these figures is likely the Master of Masters as he was seen in Quadratum; however, the identity of the other person remains a mystery.
The trailer ends with Donald and Goofy in an unknown location looking for someone to help them. They are soon questioned by a man what they’re doing there before fire appears and the two cower in fear. While this man’s identity is unconfirmed the presence of fire and people claiming the voice sounds like the Japanese voice actor of Hades from Disney’s Hercules it is likely the two are in the Underworld and this world shall be appearing in another Kingdom Hearts game.
And that’s all I have seen in the Kingdom Hearts 4 trailer; it’s entirely possibly that I’m missing something though as the trailer is super dense and full of content worth analyzing, a stark contrast to the original Kingdom Hearts 3 reveal which was just Sora picking up a keyblade. Kingdom Hearts 4 is one of my most anticipated games on the PS5, and I will be watching every trailer from here on religiously