Even though KH3 was just released, details of the Kingdom Hearts 4 plot are already starting to be pieced together thanks to the game’s secret ending.
The secret ending for KH3 is titled “Yozora,” and it reveals just enough about the Kingdom Hearts 4 plot to give us a picture of what the game will be about. If you have yet to play KH3 and wish to remain unspoiled, back out of this article now.
Watch the secret ending for KH3 below.
In the trailer we see Sora and Riku waking up in the world of Verum Rex. This is the same world that Rex from the Toy Story level was obsessed with. The secret ending shows off more of the city, and feels a lot like the KH2 secret ending called “Deep Dive: Another Side, Another Story.” Although we do not yet know the Kingdom Hearts 4 release date, we at least now know that the game is in development, or at least in the pre-stages of getting started.
While there aren’t really any events that take place during the secret ending, it does end on two interesting figures. The first is of, surprise, an enigmatic character wearing a black coat and hood. There is some speculation as to who this character could be, but we’ll get to that in just a moment. The last shot is of the protagonist of Verum Rex himself, Yozora.
Diving deeper on Verum Rex
When I was playing through the Toy Story world, this was my immediate reaction to the Verum Rex trailer.
But also, if this is some sort if backdoor pilot for a real game called #VerumRex, I want to play it all the more now
— Mitchel Clow (@MitchClow) January 31, 2019
Even being completely unspoiled as to the significance of the Verum Rex trailer, I immediately felt like there was something else to unravel here. The trailer is too detailed to not be storyboarded out further than what we saw. To develop that level of detail for a one-shot trailer would have been a waste, and as it turns out, I was right.
The characters look a lot like those in the development of Final Fantasy XV before it was re-titled Final Fantasy XV. See, Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura was in charge of development of a game then known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which was meant to be set in the same timeline and universe as Lightning, Snow, Serah and the like.
However, Nomura parted ways halfway through development of Versus XIII, leading to the reworking of the WIP game into the long-delayed but still wonderful Final Fantasy XV that we know and love today.
So how does this all tie into the Verum Rex trailer? Well, the characters that accompany Yozora in his battles in the trailer look a lot like Ignis, Prompto, and Gladiolus, who are the friends that accompany protagonist Noctis in his battles in Final Fantasy XV. There is talk that Nomura included this trailer as both wish fulfillment had he stayed on the game, and spite toward the development team that they had chosen to go in a different direction with his project.
The world ends in Shibuya
There are more elements in this trailer that give away the location of the world Sora and Riku wake up in. The World Ends With You is a DS title developed by the same team behind the Kingdom Hearts games, and takes place in Shibuya. That very city square is evidently in this Kingdom Hearts 4 trailer.
The TWEWY characters were present in the 3DS title Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. In it, both Sora and Riku were tasked with finding the TWEWY characters their partners. Riku and Sora both failed, as they were in separate versions of Traverse Town, both of which contained a different half of the TWEWY cast.
It would make sense if this theme from Dream Drop Distance continued on with Sora and Riku once again running in parallel worlds, both trying to get to the same end goal, and meeting up at a final world to take down a Big Bad. With the mysterious cloaked figure and Yozora looking down on the two, chances are that the Master of Masters is somehow involved in these events.
These important events to the Kingdom Hearts 4 plot would flesh out the world of Kingdom Hearts further into the realm of Nomura’s work. There are already established relationships with the TWEWY characters, making the Kingdom Hearts 4 setting in Shibuya an easy transition.
Where were the ‘Final Fantasy’ characters in ‘KH3’?
If you’ve played through Kingdom Hearts 3, you probably realized by now that Leon, Yuffie, Aerith, Cid, Sephiroth, Yuna, Rikku, Payne, Tidus, Wakka, Selphie, Cloud, Zack, and Auron were nowhere to be seen. Matter of fact, the only mention of the last three was by Hades at the start of the Hercules world. So what gives?
While the characters in both Final Fantasy and KH1/KH2 were noticeably missing in KH3, it was all a bait and switch. Nomura has stated that the Final Fantasy characters present in past Kingdom Hearts games were no longer needed in KH3, as the original Kingdom Hearts characters had taken greater importance over the ones borrowed from other series.
But wait — didn’t the Kingdom Hearts series get its start by being pitched as a mix of both Disney and Final Fantasy universes? Without the latter, the heart of the series is missing, and for a game series that concentrates so much on hearts, you’d think that’d be noted.
It is, because for the first time, we could be axing all Disney worlds, and instead traveling between the original worlds of the Final Fantasy characters present in both the Kingdom Hearts series, or the ones that Nomura had his hands in.
If I had to take bets as to which Final Fantasy games would be included, I’d toss out X, XIII, VIII, maaaaybe XV, and most definitely VII. All but XV and XIII are represented in the Kingdom Hearts Final Fantasy characters, making their inclusion a natural next step for a series set to go in a more mature direction. If the Kingdom Hearts 4 plot included the missing Final Fantasy characters, fans of both that series and Kingdom Hearts would be excited to see their two favorite games combine once more.
Where/when does ‘KH4’ take place?
While there hasn’t been anything officially stated about the title Kingdom Hearts 4, the confirmation that Sora and Riku’s story will continue on via the secret trailer means that there are still things for them to do past the Xehanort trilogy.
Kingdom Hearts 3 removed the Final Fantasy characters, now, Kingdom Hearts 4 might take out the (majority of) the Disney ones.
The timeline has slowed down a bit ever since Kingdom Hearts 2, and from the looks of both Sora and Riku, it seems as if Kingdom Hearts 4 will be picking up right after the final events of KH3.
With Kairi resurrected and Sora apparently missing, there is a little bit of a cliffhanger in KH3 that needs to be resolved. However, even Sora stated that he knew that he, much like Xion said about Kairi, would end up okay.
The hooded figure may just be Xigbar, as it was revealed in the post-credits trailer that he’s been the one communicating with all of the Keyblade Wielders in the Union X game. Who is Xigbar really, and what business does he have with any of the Great Keyblade Wars? He mentioned that Master Xehanort was to bequeath the eyepatch-wearing sharpshooter a Keyblade, but Sora and friends didn’t give the Master the opportunity to do so.
Maybe the “Yozora” secret movie shows how Riku uses the Power of Waking to recover Sora’s body once more? Only time will tell, but as for now, I want to hear your theories about what the KH3 secret movie means. When the Kingdom Hearts 4 release date will be is up to the development cycle, which has seemingly been a temperamental process for the development team. Hopefully, we don’t have to wait near a decade and a half for the full Kingdom Hearts 4 plot to be revealed.