Kingdom Hearts 101


It's a well-known fact that amongst Kingdom Hearts fans that the series is notoriously complex. It rivals games like Metal Gear Solid in its narrative and parody mocking how complicated it is. Kingdom Hearts lore has been subject to extensive wikis being written on the topics, and fans for years (including myself!) trying to piece all the jigsaw pieces Tetsuya Nomura created into something sane. There is plenty of this franchise that remains a mystery, which has kept people talking about it during the 12 year gulf between Kingdom Hearts 2 and the soon to be released Kingdom Hearts 3.

You don't need a crash course in Kingdom Hearts lore to understand what is going to happen in this new game, but a lot of smaller elements of the game will make a lot more sense if you have some idea of what happened up to this point. But it's not as simple as "just play the first and second game" this time. Kingdom Hearts spans multiple platforms, multiple console generations within those platforms, and a long-running mobile game that has itself been entirely rebranded along the way. It suffers from complications in telling a cohesive story, first of which is that the games were not released in chronological order. In this article, I will be explaining the lore of Kingdom Hearts in the games chronological order as it is the easiest way for newcomers to understand the plot.

It's important to keep in mind that this guide is not going to be an effort to explain every single thing that happens in all of the games, but more the abridged version containing key elements and themes throughout.

Before we do anything else, here's a visual guide for how all of the Kingdom Hearts games fit in the overall timeline leading up to Kingdom Hearts 3.

Kingdom Hearts Unchained Chi (key) / Kingdom Hearts Union Cross
(Kingdom Hearts Unchained Chi (key) / Kingdom Hearts Union Cross

Kingdom Hearts Union Cross tells us the story of the Master of Masters, the Fortellers, and the first Keyblade War. It starts with the Master of Masters telling his apprentices known as the Fortellers that the end of their world is coming soon. He wrote a Book of Prophecy and gave them all unique roles. The Master is tremendously powerful, as all people in Daybreak Town can use keyblades in order to gain lux but he has also created beings called Chirithy who protect players against Nightmares and guide them throughout their journeys.

There are three things of note in this; the Master of Masters reveals to his apprentices that there is a traitor in their mix that ends up causing the end of the world. One of the Foretellers is tasked with creating a group called the Dandelions, and finally that there is the last apprentice called Luxu who is tasked with taking the Masters Keyblade No Name and passing it down to Luxu's next apprentice along with a Box that he is tasked to never opening or revealing its contents. However, being heavily quizzed by Luxu the Master whispers the contents to Luxu and all we know is that Luxu looks shocked and perplexed.

The rest of the game goes about as the Master intended. The worlds get consumed by darkness due to the first keyblade war, and the Dandelions succeed in escaping to a new world where they can start again. This is in a digital world in order to forget the trauma of the first keyblade war.

The player awakes in a digital version Enchanted Dominion where Maleficent is present. She is actively trying to undo the actions of her first defeat here (see Sleeping Beauty), and it is heavily implied that she has acquired a Book of Prophecy. However, she is informed by an unknown figure in black that she is unable to undo her first defeat as she is in a Data Simulation. We are told this is due to the lack of power that the Book of Prophecy has due to the lack of a Master or Foretellers. In order to stop her doing more damage in this timeline, the mysterious figure teaches her how to move forward through time. This game is an ongoing mobile game, and at the time of writing these are the key points that Union Cross has to offer.

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

We move forward significantly in time when we come to three Keyblade wielders: Aqua, Terra, and Ventus. Aqua & Terra are in the process of completing their Mark of Mastery exam, which is overseen by their Master, Eraqus and joined by Master Xehanort. Aqua passes her Mark of Mastery and Terra does not due to Xehanort manipulating the darkness and Terra momentarily loses control to the darkness.

Aqua, now a keyblade master, is tasked with keeping an eye on Terra as well as dealing with the situation of the unversed who are terrorizing other worlds.

Terra after acknowledging that there is some darkness in him, does not accept this fact and goes to tackle the Unversed in an attempt to prove himself to Master Eraqus. Xehanort spends time talking to Terra about the darkness and that Master Eraqus fears the darkness so much that he would go to extreme lengths to make sure the darkness doesn't surface. Little does Terra realize that Xehanort is making him lean into the darkness so that he could eventually use Terra as a vessel. Meanwhile, Ventus is taunted by a boy in a mask called Vanitas that Terra will outgrow him and leave him behind. Ventus, spurred by this, flees Land of Departure in search of Terra even though Master Eraqus forbid him from leaving.
(terra.riku, aqua.kairi and ven.sora here)

The three friends continue to go around the worlds dealing with the Unversed but some shocking developments transpire. Aqua meets a young girl called Kairi on her adventures and accidentally performs a bequeathing ceremony when Kairi grabs Aqua's keyblade in fear. Terra, when visiting a world called Destiny Islands, meets a boy called Riku and performs the bequeathing ceremony on him so that when the time comes he'll have the strength to protect his friends. Ventus learns that he is a part of something known as the X blade a keyblade that has the ability to unlock Kingdom Hearts. It's when he is united with Vanitas that the X blade can be forged.

In desperation, an inconsolable Master Eraqus attempts to kill Ventus in order for the X blade to never be forged. Terra sees the attempt on Ventus life and is so enraged by their Masters actions that he unleashes the darkness and kills Master Eraqus. In his last moments, Master Eraqus laments how blind he has been to Xehanort's plans to turn Terra against him and how he failed to see that everywhere there was unversed there was also Xehanort.

Xehanort, after seeing what Terra has done, taunts him into coming to the Keyblade Graveyard where the first keyblade war took place, and Terra goes and meets with Aqua & Ventus. Aqua has been to other worlds seeing what the unversed has done, and attributes the damage to Terra. Upon hearing the word that Terra had killed their master and had headed towards the Keyblade Graveyard, she goes to join him to hear it first hand herself. Ventus after being told by Master Eraqus that he is apart of the X blade journeys to the keyblade graveyard to confront Vanitas and to put an end to Xehanort's schemes.

The three friends reunite together briefly to confirm what they've all realized, which is they were all being manipulated into continuing this plan of Xehanort's to forge the X blade and open Kingdom Hearts. The three of them fight against Xehanort and Vanitas; Terra fighting against Xehanort and Aqua & Ventus fighting against Vanitas.

Terra loses to Xehanort, and ends up becoming Terra-Xehanort. However, Xehanort doesn't completely succeed, as Terra causes Terra-Xehanort to lose his memory of what has transpired. Terra-Xehanort lands in Radiant Garden, where a man called Ansem the Wise, finds him and becomes his apprentice in a research lab learning about the heart.

It is said that when Terra returns to the Realm of Light he goes on to repossess his own armor and takes the name of Lingering Will.

Ventus and Vanitas manage to forge the X blade, only to be defeated by Aqua & King Mickey (who is Yen Sid's apprentice, and came sensing something was amiss) but the shattering of the X blade caused Ventus' heart to shatter also. This leaves Ventus in a comatose state, and there is no sign of Terra or Xehanort. Aqua awakes in Yen Sid's tower after King Mickey saves Aqua & Ventus from the battlefield and brings them to Yen Sid.

Aqua then travels from Yen Sid's Tower to the Land of Departure where she places Ventus on an empty throne. Using Master Eraqus Keyblade, she locks the world of Land of Departure and it turns into Castle Oblivion. She manages to track down Terra-Xehanort to Radiant Garden and confronts him about everything that's transpired.

Aqua is unable to bring Terra back to his senses and after defeating Xehanort who possesses him, Xehanort stabs himself with his own Keyblade in an attempt to lock Terra out of his body entirely, much to the horror of Aqua. As Terra falls through a portal to the Realm of Darkness and Aqua dives straight after him.

Realizing she is unable to save them both, she uses her armor that protects her from the darkness and uses it to bring Terra back to the Realm of Light. Even though it dooms Aqua to roam through the Realm of Darkness for many years to come. It is said that when Terra returns to the Realm of Light he goes on to repossess his own armor and takes the name of Lingering Will.

Kingdom Hearts 1

Approximately 10 years later, we meet three friends in a world called Destiny Islands Sora, Riku, and Kairi. The three friends are preparing a raft to sail to other worlds, but while gathering materials Sora meets a mysterious figure telling him that the door will open soon and that he understands nothing. The night before they're due to leave, a tremendous storm hits Destiny Islands and the three friends brave the storm to rescue their raft.

Sora finds Riku on an isolated part of the beach where he nonsensically tells Sora that the door is open and that they have to go now if they want to go at all. Riku tells Sora he is not afraid of the dark, and the two friends are surrounded by darkness and the two friends attempted to grab each other's hands. They fail, and a sharp light surrounds Sora and in his hands, he holds a Keyblade. With this, he fights his way through the Island and finds a nearly unconscious Kairi that reaches out for him before she disappears and Sora is swept away by a great breeze to another world.

Sora awakes in Traverse Town, a world where people without a world gather. Riku wakes up in Hollow Bastion. Kairi's whereabouts remain unknown. Sora eventually meets with Donald and Goofy, King Mickey's Captain and head mage as they are tasked with finding a key. The three decide to work together to find Sora's missing friends and King Mickey, and travel around closing the hearts to all the worlds to stop the invading of the heartless that are swarming.

Maleficent resides in Hollow Bastion where she manipulates Riku into thinking that Sora has forgotten all about him and Kairi and cannot be trusted to protect either of them. This causes a rift between Sora and Riku for the rest of the game. As they both want to restore Kairi's heart back to her body when they separated after she disappeared from Sora at Destiny Islands.

Sora travels through all the worlds sealing the keyholes and learns that there is a plot to open the door to darkness by using the seven princesses of heart. His journey takes him to Hollow Bastion where he is confronted by Riku who takes the power of the Keyblade away from Sora due to the bequeathing ceremony that Terra gave Riku all those years ago.

Undeterred by this, Sora ventures into the Hollow Bastion to find his friends even though he has no means to defend himself. He is accompanied by Beast (from Beauty & the Beast)) as he is searching for Belle who turns out to be a princess of heart. The pair ventures further and further until Sora is again challenged by Riku for continuing on unarmed and powerless.

Riku then attacks Sora only to protected by Goofy who refuses to betray Sora and Sora realizes that his true strength was never in the Keyblade but in the strength of his heart. With the Keyblade acknowledging this, it returns to Sora and with the help of Donald and Goofy they defeat Riku. He then flees further into the castle and Beast remarks that it was ultimately Sora's heart that won that battle.

Riku seeps further into the darkness and as Sora and the gang catch up with him and Maleficent. Riku stabs Maleficent releasing the darkness in her heart causing her to turn into a fearful dragon. Sora and his friends defeat Maleficent and pursue Riku to where Sora finds Kairi's lifeless body on the ground. A now twisted Riku, under the possession of darkness (Ansem the Seeker of Darkness), tells Sora that Kairi is also a Princess of Heart and that Kairi's heart is within Sora. After a struggle between the pair Sora emerges victorious, and in order to return Kairi's heart to her Sora uses the keyblade on himself in order to release Kairi's heart.

This action briefly turns Sora into a Heartless but he is saved by Kairi's power of being a princess of heart and this reverts Sora back to his normal self.

The group returns back to Traverse Town, where Sora, Donald and Goofy decide they must pursue Ansem the Seeker of Darkness in order to rescue Riku and restore the world's order. The trio journey to the End of the World in order to confront Ansem the Seeker of Darkness and ultimately succeed in defeating him at the door to Kingdom Hearts. His defeat means that Riku was able to return to his normal form. With the help of King Mickey, Riku is able to close the door from the realm of darkness while Sora, Donald and Goofy are able to lock it from their side.

The closing of the doors means that all of the worlds will be restored to how they were before. Riku's last words to Sora is that he is to take care of Kairi, and in the restoration of the world Sora meets Kairi before she is sent back to Destiny Islands and Sora promises her that he will return to Destiny Islands.

The game ends with Sora, Donald, and Goofy in search of Riku and King Mickey.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep a Fragmentary Passage (Aqua Gameplay)

This isn't a standalone game, but additional content first seen in the Kingdom Hearts 2 re-release on PlayStation 4, called HD 2.8 Final Prologue.

The easiest way to tell the story of 0.2 Birth by Sleep a Fragmentary Passage is to break it down into the bits that happen in the right chronological order. Which means all of Aqua's journey in Fragmentary Passage is first on the list.

We find an increasingly weary Aqua musing on how much time has passed as she has roamed the realm of Darkness. She finds distorted versions of worlds that she has been to previously and sets about trying to figure out how these bits of the worlds have managed to get into the realm of darkness. Her worry increases as she continues further on.

Aqua is having to grapple with her own darkness and regularly has to battle apparitions of herself in darkness. She also sees apparitions of Ventus and Terra whom she thinks are guiding her towards something. Terra's apparition, that is really Xehanort in Terra's guise, nearly tricks Aqua into revealing to him Ventus' hiding place in Castle Oblivion. The real Terra manages to fight Xehanort again for possession. As Aqua looks on she is caught off guard by a darksider (boss level heartless) and passes out. As Aqua floats deeper into the darkness she is rescued by King Mickey who explains that it's been some time since they last met at the keyblade graveyard.

The two journey forward to find Riku trying to close the Door to Darkness but unbeknownst to him is about to get swarmed by Darksiders. Aqua buys the pair time for King Mickey to grab a special keyblade that closes the door to darkness from their side and for Riku to help pull the door shut.

Aqua succeeds in this and as she drifts into the darkness once more she sees a droplet of light falling confirming that Kingdom Hearts was secured once more.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days

A boy named Roxas awakens outside a large mansion in a world called Twilight Town. Unable to remember his name, he is gifted the name Roxas by a man in a black coat who calls himself Xemnas. With nothing else to do and in hopes of finding answers, he joins Xemnas and his group called Organization 13 and is given the number 13.

Roxas is trained by number 8 Axel and the two of them become fast friends, even taking time together to go to the clock tower and eat some sea salt ice cream. Roxas is then trained by other members of the organization to gain more experience with his keyblade so he can best serve the organization. Meanwhile, Axel is sent to Castle Oblivion to help with overthrowing Marluxia's plans to overthrow Organization 13 and ensnare Sora.

Meanwhile, another member joins the organization by the name of Xion, and Roxas is tasked with teaching her the ropes. While initially, their relationship is cold, Xion opens up to Roxas sharing that she too can use a Keyblade. Soon enough, the three friends become inseparable.

However, tragedy strikes the group of friends when Roxas suddenly becomes comatose after the events of Chain of Memories. When Roxas awakens the events causes Xion and Roxas to question the reasons why they are in Organization 13 and what their purpose is. Overwhelmed by the questions that she cannot find answers to, Xion becomes the first member to defect from Organization 13.

Roxas attempts to defect later on to find more answers for himself but Axel attempts to stop him, telling him that the Organization will hunt him down and destroy him. Roxas replies to this with "Nobody would miss me." Axel screams at him that this isn't true, he would.

It's a short time later when Roxas stumbles across Xion who has since discovered the truth about her origins. That she is apart of Sora and is a replica of Xenmas' creation. Xion understands that herself and Roxas cannot co-exist and that she needs to return to Sora in order for him to wake up from the sleep that Naminé puts him in in Chain of Memories.

Xion tricks Roxas into killing her, and tells him the truth about their origins. That they are Nobodies and that Roxas cannot allow Xemnas to complete Kingdom Hearts. This solidifies Roxas' resolve to find Sora and returns to The World that Never Was to ensure Xion's dying wishes are fulfilled. However, upon returning to Memory Skyscraper in The World that Never Was Roxas is ambushed by Neo-Shadows, and after defeating several of them understands that he is outmatched.

Thankfully, Riku watches from the top of the skyscraper and aids Roxas in defeating the Neo-Shadows. After they defeat them, the pair immediately turns on each other. It is only after Riku releases the darkness in his heart and takes the physical form of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, that he can subdue Roxas and take him to see DiZ (whose true identity is revealed in Kingdom Hearts 2) who places Roxas in a digital world of Twilight Town.

This Roxas knows nothing of previous events or his connections to Organization 13 and wakes up the last week of his summer holidays, which is where Kingdom Hearts 2 begins.

Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories

The beginning of Chain of Memories starts at the very end of Kingdom Hearts 1 where Sora, Donald, and Goofy are searching for Riku, and King Mickey. Pluto has a note with the King's Seal on a letter and leads them towards a cross road which is very similar to the keyblade graveyard. There, a hooded figure in black tells that to continue he must be willing to lose what he has gained so far.

The trio continues on until they find a bizarre looking castle. Upon entry into the castle they are greeted again by a hooded figure who tells them that this castle is called Castle Oblivion. In Castle Oblivion to lose is to find, so if they are going to continue looking for their friends they must be willing to give up what they already know. In the pursuit of answers the trio venture forward.

On their journey, the group starts to forget key things. Sora forgets the existence of Kairi and meets a version of Riku now known as Riku-Replica who was created by Vexen, one of the other members of Organization 13. Riku-Replica and Sora fight over Naminé both becoming obsessed with her. So much so that Sora becomes antagonistic to his friends and anything else that threatens to come between himself and Naminé.

Sora's journey in Chain of Memories ends when he defeats Marluxia (a member of the Organization who is trying to overthrow Xemnas by taking Sora hostage). Naminé reveals to Sora that she has been manipulating his memories and that she can put them back together given time. Sora agrees to this, and is placed in a pod to restore his memories.

Following Sora's story we continue Chain of Memories with Riku who finds himself transported from the Realm of Darkness after Kingdom Hearts 1 to the basement of Castle Oblivion. He is tasked to do battle with Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness who is still trying to possess Riku's body, his own personal battles with the darkness, and three Organization 13 members. Vexen fights Riku where he manages to get a sample of his heart in order to create Riku-Replica. There are plenty of attempts of disposing of Riku at this stage. Ansem, seeker of Darkness regularly challenges Riku for his body only to be held back by the power of King Mickey.

As they progress through the castle Riku defeats Lexaeus and he is dragged to the Realm of Darkness only to be saved by King Mickey. Zexion, another minion of the organization, attempts to defeat Riku by showering him in a brilliant light. Once again, Riku is miraculously saved by Naminé who is in the guise of Kairi helping him to control his darkness once more. This allows Riku to defeat Zexion, after this a figure calling himself DiZ appears to Riku who has seemingly been watching Riku's adventures in Castle Oblivion tells Riku to go find Naminé.

As Riku searches for Naminé, he is confronted by Riku-Replica as he is convinced that the only way he can have a purpose and a reason to exist is to eliminate Riku. Riku with his renewed strength in finding the balance between the darkness and light easily defeats Riku-Replica. Upon finding Naminé she informs him that Ansem, Seeker of Darkness lives inside of his heart still and she offers to use her powers to lock Ansem, Seeker of Darkness away for good. Riku declines, wanting to defeat him himself in order to completely master the rest of the darkness that lurks in his heart. DiZ grants Riku this opportunity and Riku ultimately defeats Ansem, Seeker of Darkness.

Riku and King Mickey leave together after Mickey says he would like to see where this road takes Riku. When DiZ questions him about what way he wants to walk towards the Light or the Darkness. Riku simply states that he walks his own road. The Road to Dawn.

Kingdom Hearts 2

At the start of Kingdom Hearts 2, we join Roxas back in a Digital Version of Twilight Town where he is spending his last week of summer vacation with his friends Hayner, Pence, and Olette. Instead of sitting around eating sea salt ice cream all day, Olette reminds them they have an assignment to do before the end of summer vacation. In the meantime, a lot of odd things start happening in Twilight Town in relation to Roxas. Every night Roxas dreams of an event that has happened in previous Kingdom Hearts games and they always center around Sora. He also sees glimpses of a mysterious blonde girl who calls out to him, but who is always out of reach.

Photos start to go missing that have Roxas picture in them, as well as people's ability to say the word 'photo'. This is because Organization 13 are trying to track Roxas down and the nobodies that are hunting them, called Husks, cannot tell the difference between real Roxas and the ones that are photos.

In this time Roxas is able to use a Keyblade to get rid of the husks and return the photos. However, during the annual fighting competition that happens in town that Roxas and his friends take part in, Axel appears to freeze time and challenge Roxas. He has no recollection of Axel and fighting him does not cause Roxas to remember him. DiZ appears to Roxas and tells him not to believe what Axel is saying. Roxas becomes so distressed he shouts for his friends.

The last day of Roxas' summer holidays arrives, and once again Axel attempts to challenge Roxas to make him remember. DiZ freezes time and orders Roxas to come to a mansion where he will find answers. While fighting his way through Twilight Town, the city is overrun with Husks until Roxas appears at the mansion and uses the Keyblade to open the gate and ventures inside.

After making his way through the mansion, Roxas stumbles upon the white room where Naminé resides. She begins to tell him the truth about how Roxas is a Nobody, that he is Axel's best friend from Organization 13, and is the other half of Sora. Before she reveals too much DiZ, and someone in a black hooded coat, swoops in to take Naminé away but before she does, she promises that they will see each other again they may just not recognize each other immediately.

Roxas begins to get angry at this point and ventures further into the mansion where he gets to a computer that proves his existence has been a lie, and everything has been synthesized. He remembers everything that's gone before about Organization 13 and in his last confrontation with Axel he acknowledges him but has to defeat him in other to move forward.

At the very basement of the mansion, Roxas stumbles upon Sora's pod and as the pod opens Roxas laments about how his summer vacation is over, and with that, he joins with Sora.

Sora awakens to the voices of Donald, and Goofy and they recall what they'd completed in Kingdom Hearts 1, but strangely there is a note in Jiminy's Journal that simply says, "thank Naminé". The trio venture through Twilight Town and after briefly meeting Hayner, Pence, and Olette they get attacked by some Husks. Still tired from waking the trio are quickly overwhelmed, only to be saved by King Mickey. He simply hands them a pouch with money, and tells them there is a train waiting for them in the station and that it knows the way.

The train takes them to Yen Sid's tower where Sora is introduced to King Mickey's Master. Yen Sid tells them the state of the world that they are now returning too after being asleep. That Heartless still exist, but that Nobodies are now present. There is a new threat to the worlds in the form of Organization 13, but what their aims are at this stage is still unclear.

So the trio ventures out to continue doing what they do best, helping out worlds in trouble along with their friends, and searching for Riku and King Mickey. This takes them to a great war that breaks out in Hollow Bastion where there is a massive Heartless and Nobody wave that threatens to destroy the world. The trio fight valiantly until they reach the end of a great ravine where Xemnas reveals his great plan. To force Sora to defeat Heartless in order for him to create a version of Kingdom Hearts, so that all Nobodies can regain hearts.

This puts Sora in a quandary where if he continues to use the Keyblade it will feed this fake Kingdom Hearts but if he doesn't use it, the world's will become overrun with darkness. Sora and co. have this moral crisis at an inconvenient time, as Maleficent comes to their aid sending them to the realm of darkness for them to escape unscathed.

Trapped in the Realm of Darkness Sora and co. wander aimlessly for a while until a person in a black coat appears and leaves a box for them. Sora and co open the box they see a photo of Roxas, Hayner, Pence and Olette and a stick of sea salt ice cream. This gives them the light that enables them to escape the Realm of Darkness and returns them back to the gummi ship.

Meanwhile, Kairi has sent a message in a bottle out to the ocean to someone whose name she can't entirely remember. A few weeks later, while remembering Sora's name she gets approached by Axel about how he can take her to see Sora. Kairi, who is obviously hesitant about going with someone who appeared out of a dark portal, resists him. At that very moment Pluto appears out of a portal and barks at Axel putting some space between him and Kairi. Kairi rushes towards the portal and ends up in Twilight Town where she briefly meets Hayner, Pence, and Olette. Shortly afterwards Axel reappears and completes his kidnapping of Kairi. When Hayner, Pence and Olette try to fight Axel they are quickly outmatched. Axel successfully takes Kairi to Organization 13 stronghold which resides in the World that Never Was.

Our trio return to Twilight Town to look for Hayner, Pence, and Olette only for them to tell Sora and co. that Kairi had been kidnapped. However, they are convinced that there is an alternative twilight town that centers around this mansion. So they all explore the mansion along with King Mickey who is checking in to see why they're all at the mansion. It's at this stage that King Mickey reveals that he knows where Ansem the Wise has gone and that he has gone to the invade the enemy's territory.

Our crew manages to find a portal that brings them to the World that Never Was and they proceed to storm the castle. King Mickey goes on ahead to find his friend Ansem the Wise, who is revealed to be DiZ and that he has a machine that encodes the data of worlds to destroy the fake Kingdom Hearts. Meanwhile, Sora, Donald and Goofy get ambushed by a load of heartless but get rescued by Kairi (who was able to escape with the help of Naminé) and a hooded figure in black.

When the battle ceases the hooded figure attempts to flee, but Kairi calls out to the figure and asks Riku to stay. Not understanding this, Kairi asks Sora to trust her and to join her hands with the hooded figure and to close his eyes. By Sora closing his eyes, he sees that the person in the hood is actually Riku. Sora falls to his knees and cries in relief at being reunited with his friend once more. Riku explains that he took the physical appearance of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness when he had to release his darkness when fighting Roxas and it never reverted. Riku simply tells Sora that he didn't want to be found.

Our heroes venture through the castle only to find King Mickey and Ansem the Wise being confronted by Xemnas who has challenged them about the use of the machine. The machine then self destructs sending blinding light throughout the world. The fake Kingdom Hearts is destroyed, leaking the hearts that were gathered for it, and attracting the attention of the Heartless and Nobodies. Riku manages to revert back to his normal self after being restored by the light and our heroes go to challenge Xemnas to finish this once and for all.

The world now completely overrun by Heartless and Nobodies and help arrived in its most unusual form by way of Maleficent. She is confident in her ability to wield the darkness and either control or destroy the Heartless and Nobodies that approach, giving our hero's time to escape to pursue a fleeing Xemnas.

Our heroes eventually meet up with Xemnas and after a brief altercation seemingly succeed in subduing him. A portal opens thanks to Naminé and Roxas and Naminé reunite once more, fulfilling their promise of meeting again. Everyone makes it through the portal bar Riku and Sora who are forced to face Xemnas one last time.

The pair successfully defeat Xemnas and afterwards the pair is left roaming the Realm of Darkness. After sitting at the edge of the sea, Riku notices a floating bottle with a message in it for Sora. It's a note from Kairi that opens a Door to Light that lets the boys finally return home, victorious, to Destiny Island. They are warmly greeted by King Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Kairi who welcomes them home.

Sometime later, after their adventures, Kairi rushes over to Sora and Riku as she has found a bottle with the King's Seal, this bottle details the adventure of the next game and summons them to Yen Sid's Tower in order for them to take their Mark of Mastery.

Kingdom Hearts RE: Coded

A short time after King Mickey returns home to Disney Castle, Jiminy and co. go through his journals and notices there is a line that he does not remember writing "The hurting will be mended when you return to end it." King Mickey digitizes the journal with the events of Kingdom Hearts 1 in hope to figure out what's going on. He sends a digital version of Sora now called Data-Sora and guides him through the datascape that he now finds himself in. Data-Sora sees large blocks in the worlds he finds himself in and King Mickey tells him these are bugs that he needs to destroy them in order to debug the journal.

While all this is going on, our heroes don't realize that they have been transported into a digital world by a digital version of Riku at this point called Data-Riku (as opposed to Riku-Replica from Chain of Memories). Our heroes find out that Maleficent and her lackeys are also in the datascape in her latest attempt to conquer any worlds she lays her hand on.

Just as Data-Sora and Data-Riku are making good progress debugging the journal. Maleficent manages to destroy Data-Sora's keyblade and kidnaps Data-Riku. Data-Sora manage to continue through with the help of Donald and Goofy until he is able to regain the ability to use a Keyblade.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Data-Riku who gets infected by one of Maleficent's lackeys who is forced to fight Data-Sora. Data-Sora only really has two options at this stage, let the datascape get completely corrupted, or attempt to debug Data-Riku. Data-Sora chooses to debug Data-Riku in an attempt to save both him and the datascape.

This debugging however causes everything to reset but King Mickey and co. manage to get back to their world before the reset happens. This reset would cause Data-Sora and Data-Riku's memories to be erased. But in the process reveals the culprit of the corrupting data which is Sora's heartless. Data-Sora manages to defeat the heartless and the journals are finally debugged for good.

With the journals fully debugged, Data-Riku manages to find an extra bit of data, and with King Mickey's guidance, sends Data-Sora to investigate. This takes Data-Sora to Castle Oblivion where he is challenged by Data-Roxas who wants to make Data-Sora suffer the pain of forgetting his friends. Data-Sora ultimately defeats Data-Roxas, and unlocks the deepest part of the data.

With the assistance of King Mickey, Data-Sora meets Data-Naminé who reveals that the real Naminé was the one who left the messages in the journal as she found some memories tied to Sora's heart. These people are Naminé, Terra, Aqua, Ventus, Roxas, Axel, and Xion.

Before Data-Naminé disappears she explains that Sora is the one who needs to save these people, and afterwards when King Mickey goes to Yen Sid's tower Yen Sid explains that all of the pieces are now in place for Xehanort's revival and it is time for Sora, and Riku to take the Mark of Mastery in order to be prepared for the upcoming threat. It is this story that King Mickey relays in the message in a bottle that Sora, Riku and Kairi read at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance

Sora and Riku arrive at Yen Sid's tower where he tasks the boys with the Mark of Mastery exam. This exam is to bestow the pair with the abilities necessary to save their missing friends and oppose Xehanort. For the exam they are to unlock seven keyholes in order to restore sleeping worlds back to the Realm of Light. Yen Sid advises Sora and Riku to make Dream Eaters which are benevolent spirits to help defeat the Nightmares that threatens the worlds.

Sora and Riku are separated for their exam and while they complete their exam they regularly meet a grey-haired youth who accompanies Xemnas and Ansem. When the boys complete their exam they're transported to The World that Never Was instead of back home to Yen Sid's tower. Ansem and co. reveal to Sora that he had fallen into their trap, and the youth puts Sora into a deep sleep where Sora is forced to defeat Xemnas in his own dreams. Even though Sora defeats Xemnas in his own dreams, Sora loses his heart to the darkness but is protected by Ventus' armor.

Meanwhile, Ansem reveals to Riku that he has spent his test traveling through Sora's dreams as a Dream Eater. Riku defeats Ansem but the youth confronts him after. The grey-haired youth reveals himself to be a younger version of Xehanort who is recruiting thirteen vessels across different times to resurrect the real Xehanort.

A revived Xehanort reveals that he intends to use Sora as his thirteenth vessel. This is so there is thirteen seekers of darkness to fight against the seven seekers of light that is meant to fulfill the prophecy of creating the X Blade. Xehanort is foiled in this attempt by being rescued by Riku, King Mickey, and Lea who is the restored version of Axel. Xehanort and his other counterparts fade back to their original timelines, with Xehanort promising that this is just a minor setback and that the two sides will ultimately clash.

With everyone returning to Yen Sid's Tower, Riku dives once more into Sora's dreams to rescue a sleeping Sora from the corrupted armor of Ventus. Riku successfully saves Sora but somehow winds up back at Destiny Island instead of Yen Sid's Tower. It's there he meets a digital version of Ansem the Wise who tells Riku he left some data in Sora's heart and that it will help him in restoring his connections to the others.

With this Riku, can return to Yen Sid's Tower where Sora and co are celebrating the end of the exam. Yen Sid commends the two's bravery in taking the exam, but since Sora fell to the darkness only Riku can be considered a Master.

Sora congratulates Riku and leaves Yen Sid's tower to go to Traverse Town where he goes to thank all of the Dream Eaters who helped him on his journey so far!

King Mickey and Yen Sid sit and discuss the next steps in Xehanort's plan and how they must gather seven seekers of light for Xehanort to not go after the seven princesses to open Kingdom Hearts. Riku appears in with Kairi as she is to be trained to be a keyblade master.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep a Fragmentary Passage (Yen Sid Cutscenes)

When King Mickey finishes telling Aqua's story in the gameplay of 0.2 Birth by Sleep a Fragmentary Passage Riku lashes out at him for not telling him about Aqua and all the sacrifices she made to save him at the end of Kingdom Hearts 1. Riku berates King Mickey for leaving her there for so long for all of these years.

Yen Sid interrupts Riku's rant, explaining that there was never a safe way to get that far into the Realm of Darkness to save Aqua and even if there were a safe way to do so neither King Mickey or Riku would have had the power to save her. However, now that Riku and King Mickey are both Keyblade Masters they now have the power to go save her.

Kairi asks what she can do to assist the pair and Yen Sid tells her she has her own role to play, she will embark on training with Lea who is also going to be trained to use a Keyblade. The two leave to go and be trained by the three good fairies and a wizard named Merlin who will help speed up their training.

King Mickey invites Riku to assist him in rescuing Aqua and with the two being given protective garments by Yen Sid the pair venture to the Realm of Darkness.

Yen Sid then summon Sora, Donald, and Goofy to talk them through Sora's next steps to regain the power he's lost in the events of Dream Drop Distance. Yen Sid reminds the group that their heart is their guiding key, and the group is reminded of a hero who lost his power and that reminds them of their friend Hercules who is in Olympus.

Kingdom Hearts 3

The story opens with the final scenes of Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, and serves as a conclusion of the "Dark Seeker/Xehanort Saga" that occurs in most preceding games.[15][44] Most of the worlds featured in the game inspired by Disney properties are new to the series,[45][46] including the Kingdom of Corona (based on Tangled),[47][48] Arendelle (Frozen),[49][50] San Fransokyo (Big Hero 6),[51][52] and the Pixar-based worlds Toy Box (Toy Story) and Monstropolis (Monsters, Inc.).[53][54][38][55] Two new original worlds created specifically for the game also appear: a limbo for dying hearts called the "Final World";[56] and Scala ad Caelum, a "seat of power" for past Keyblade wielders, where the game's final battle takes place.[57][14] Returning Disney worlds include tutorial stage Olympus (Hercules),[52][34][6] the Caribbean (Pirates of the Caribbean),[37][50] the 100 Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh),[43] while original worlds include Twilight Town,[58] the Dark World,[59] the Land of Departure,[60] and the Keyblade Graveyard.[61] Worlds such as Yen Sid's Mysterious Tower,[62] Radiant Garden,[63] Disney Castle,[64] and the Destiny Islands[65] appear exclusively via cutscenes. The "Classic Kingdom" mini-games are inspired by classic Walt Disney Productions Mickey Mouse cartoons, including Giantland, The Karnival Kid, Musical Farmer, The Barnyard Battle,[42] The Klondike Kid, and Mickey's Mechanical Man.[66]

The Toy Story, Monster's Inc., and Big Hero 6 worlds feature original stories, with the former set between the events of Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, and the latter two set after the events of their respective films.[67][51] This is different from previous worlds in the series, which have often loosely followed plot lines from the films on which they were based,[68] including the Tangled, Frozen, and Pirates of the Caribbean worlds.[41] On the amount of worlds featured in the game, Nomura noted the development team focused on creating "rich gameplay in an individual world... designed so players can take their time and enjoy the gameplay that's available" opposed to having "multiple different little worlds".[68]

The main protagonist and playable character of the game is Sora,[46] a 15-year-old boy who uses a key-shaped weapon called the Keyblade to battle the forces of darkness. Sora is accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy,[46] the royal magician and knight captain of Disney Castle, respectively. The three are supported by other Keyblade wielders, several of whom they must rescue in preparation for their final confrontation with Master Xehanort,[46] the series' primary antagonist, as "guardians of light": Mickey Mouse,[46] an experienced Keyblade Master who is Donald and Goofy's king; Riku,[46] a Master and Sora's best friend; Kairi,[26] another of Sora's friends, a Princess of Heart, and a novice wielder; Aqua, a Master trapped in the realm of darkness; Ventus, a comatose boy whose heart has merged with Sora's; Terra,[69] a young man who was possessed by Xehanort; Axel/Lea,[26] a former member of Organization XIII and fellow novice with Kairi; Roxas,[70] Sora's Nobody, who merged his existence with Sora's; and Xion, a replica member of the Organization whose existence was erased from her friends' memories. With the exception of Terra, the guardians of light serve as temporary party members during the late portions of the game, with Riku and Aqua being playable during other portions; in the downloadable "Re Mind" scenario, Roxas and Kairi are playable as well.

Organization XIII returns as the game's antagonists, led by Master Xehanort, with different members from previous games as established in Dream Drop Distance. Several members are time-travelling incarnations and associates of Xehanort from the past: Young Xehanort,[33] his adolescent self; Terra-Xehanort,[69] a fusion of Xehanort's heart and Terra's body; Ansem and Xemnas,[71] Xehanort's Heartless and Nobody, respectively; Vanitas,[38] the embodiment of Ventus's darkness; and "Dark Riku", a version of the Riku Replica. The others—Xigbar,[72] Vexen,[70] Saïx,[14] Demyx,[70] Luxord,[73] Marluxia,[38] and Larxene[74]—are revived members of the original Organization who have elected to become Nobodies again for varying reasons. Returning Disney villains Maleficent and Pete also appear together in minor roles.[12]

Other returning original characters are Naminé, Kairi's Nobody, who appears as a disembodied heart in an optional cutscene, and later as a restored person in the ending; the original Riku Replica,[75] who appears to Riku in spirit; Ansem the Wise,[14] who became trapped in the realm of darkness during the events of Kingdom Hearts II; Ansem's apprentices Ienzo,[46] Aeleus, and Dilan, former Organization members who assist Sora's allies; Hayner, Pence, and Olette,[76] three teenage friends who live in Twilight Town; Master Eraqus,[23] who appears in flashbacks to his youth with Xehanort, and as a spirit towards the end of the game; a Chirithy Dream Eater that appears in the Final World;[69] Ephemer, who makes a cameo at the Keyblade Graveyard; four of the five Foretellers—Ira, Invi, Aced, and Gula—who appear in the game's epilogue; and the Master of Masters, who appears in the game's unlockable secret ending. Kingdom Hearts III also introduces a new original character named Yozora, who features prominently in an in-universe video game commercial in the Toy Story world, and later in the secret ending.

As with previous games in the series, a multitude of Disney characters appear in worlds based on their respective films and properties. Disney characters who serve as members of Sora's party include the returning Hercules and Jack Sparrow;[12][77] new to the series are Woody and Buzz Lightyear,[53] Sulley and Mike Wazowski,[38] Rapunzel and Flynn Rider,[78] Marshmallow,[79] and Baymax.[80] Characters that appear as summon "Links" for Sora include Dream Eaters such as the "Meow Wow" from Dream Drop Distance, Wreck-It Ralph from the film of the same name,[21] Simba from The Lion King,[81] Ariel from The Little Mermaid,[78] and Stitch from Lilo & Stitch.[64] Disney Princess characters Rapunzel, Elsa, and Anna also feature in the game's story as new Princesses of Heart, separate from those featured in previous games.[49] Other Disney characters return in supporting roles unique to the series, such as Jiminy Cricket, who maintains Sora's Gummiphone in place of his usual journal; Yen Sid, King Mickey's teacher who mentors the guardians of light; Chip 'n' Dale, who manage the Gummi Ship; and Scrooge McDuck, who runs a bistro in Twilight Town.[64] Remy from Ratatouille appears in one of the game's mini-games at the bistro.[40]

The Final Fantasy Moogle character returns as the item shopkeeper.[22] Most other Final Fantasy characters were excluded from the initial game release as Tetsuya Nomura felt that they would detract from the story,[82] and that the Kingdom Hearts characters needed less support than they did before.[83] However, the characters Squall Leonhart, Aerith Gainsborough, Yuffie Kisaragi, and Cid Highwind are included in the downloadable Re Mind expansion.[84]

Following Master Xehanort's return, Yen Sid begins preparing for seven Keyblade wielders to counteract Xehanort's plan to forge the χ-blade using a reconstituted Organization XIII. Sora, who was nearly taken over by Xehanort,[c] discovers that he has lost much of his own strength as a result. Accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy, Sora resumes his travels across other worlds to regain his "power of waking", the ability to restore lost hearts. Meanwhile, Riku and King Mickey search the realm of darkness for Aqua, while Kairi and Lea train as Keyblade wielders.

During their travels, Sora and Riku are contacted by Ienzo, who discovers via Ansem the Wise's research data that Sora's body contains the hearts of Roxas and two others, later identified as Ventus and Xion. Riku surmises that the Organization's members from the past are using artificial human replicas created by Vexen as vessels that allow them to exist in the present, which inspires Sora to transfer Roxas's heart into a replica body to restore him. Meanwhile, the Heartless Ansem enters the realm of darkness and kidnaps Ansem the Wise, corrupting Aqua's heart in the process. Vexen rescues Ansem the Wise, revealing himself to be a double agent within the Organization, and sends Demyx to deliver a spare replica to Ienzo for Roxas to inhabit.

Riku and Mickey eventually locate and battle the corrupted Aqua in the realm of darkness. At the same time, Sora discovers Master Eraqus's Keyblade on the Destiny Islands and uses it to enter the dark realm, where he purges the darkness from Aqua and returns her to the realm of light. Sora, Donald, and Goofy then follow Aqua to Castle Oblivion, which she transforms back into the Land of Departure to awaken Ventus. When she is attacked by Vanitas, Sora rediscovers his power of waking and returns Ventus's heart, who awakens and fends Vanitas off.

The seven Keyblade wielders depart for the Keyblade Graveyard to battle the Organization, only to be consumed by a swarm of Heartless summoned by the possessed Terra. Sora awakens in a limbo realm called the Final World, where his heart is sustained by Kairi's power, while a Chirithy guides him in restoring his fragmented body. He then uses the power of waking to revive his friends and travel back in time to the moment before their initial defeat, which is averted by the intervention of Terra's lingering will. The guardians of light successfully destroy the Organization's members until Master Xehanort remains; in the process, Terra regains control of his body and reunites with Aqua and Ventus, while Lea reunites with Xion, who regains her memories from Sora's heart, and Roxas, who regains his own heart to protect Lea and Xion.

Xehanort provokes Sora into attacking him by destroying Kairi's body, allowing Xehanort to acquire the χ-blade and summon Kingdom Hearts. Using Xehanort's power of time travel against him, Sora, Donald, and Goofy transport him to his boyhood training grounds of Scala ad Caelum, where they defeat replicas of Xehanort and, eventually, Xehanort himself. After the other Keyblade wielders rejoin them, Eraqus emerges from Terra as a spirit and convinces Xehanort to surrender. Xehanort dies shortly after and ascends to the afterlife together with Eraqus, while Sora and his friends use the χ-blade to close Kingdom Hearts and return to the Keyblade Graveyard. Sora decides to use the power of waking to save Kairi; despite warnings that his repeated misuse of this power could result in him vanishing from the realm of light, Sora promises to return. Afterwards, Sora's friends gather at the Destiny Islands for a celebration, where a revived Kairi stays beside Sora before he fades away.

In a post-credits scene, Xigbar, who survived the battle, retrieves Xehanort's Keyblade and summons four of the five Foretellers, revealing himself to be an incarnation of their fellow Keyblade apprentice, Luxu. He begins to recount his actions to the Foretellers, with Maleficent and Pete watching from afar. In a flashback to their youth, Eraqus and Xehanort begin a new game of chess that predicts a battle between Sora, Luxu, and the Foretellers.

Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind
Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind is a downloadable expansion set during and after the climax of the game. It is divided into three separate scenarios—"Re Mind", the "Limitcut Episode", and the "Secret Episode"—which are unlocked in sequential order after the original game is cleared.

The titular scenario centers around Sora's rescue effort of Kairi. Assuming an incorporeal form, Sora travels back in time to the battle between the guardians of light and the Organization, traveling through the guardians' hearts to reach Kairi. After passing through the hearts of Ventus, Aqua, Terra, and Roxas, Sora enters his past self's heart and tries to avert Kairi's fate, but fails. However, Mickey reveals to Sora that Xehanort has hidden the crystal fragments of Kairi's heart as a last resort. Sora finds five fragments in Scala ad Caelum before his past self's final battle with Xehanort, and then traces the remaining two through Riku and Mickey's hearts during the guardians' battle against Xehanort's replicas, restoring Kairi. After defeating Xehanort's merged replicas, Sora and Kairi travel to the Final World to meet Chirithy, whom Sora persuades to return to the realm of light. Sora and Kairi then visit their friends' worlds—reuniting Chirithy with its owner, Ventus, and restoring Naminé's heart—before returning to the Destiny Islands, where Sora vanishes.

The "Limitcut Episode" is set one year after Sora's disappearance; his allies have since lead an ongoing search for him, while Kairi has entered stasis after volunteering as Ansem the Wise's test subject to help Sora. During a visit to Radiant Garden, Riku analyzes digital copies of Sora and the Organization's members programmed into Cid Highwind's computer, hoping to uncover clues to Sora's whereabouts through their battles. After the analysis proves inconclusive, Riku is approached by the Fairy Godmother to meet Yen Sid, who suspects that they may find Sora through Riku's connection to his dreams.

The "Secret Episode" focuses on Sora, who has become trapped in the Final World since his disappearance. There, Sora encounters Yozora, who claims that he has been requested to save Sora, but questions his identity and battles him in Shibuya. If Sora wins, Yozora fades away before Sora returns to the Final World; if Sora loses, Yozora crystallizes him and goes to the Final World instead. Afterward, regardless of who wins, Yozora awakens in a car while a closing narration ensues in his and Sora's voices, with the battle's victor saying, "None of this makes sense to me."



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