This week, Square Enix and Disney released the much-anticipated video game Kingdom Hearts III, the 13-years-in-the-making follow-up to, you guessed it, Kingdom Hearts II. If you own the game, the first 30 minutes of it basically amount to an extensive and immersive series of cut-scenes, washing you in a wave of nostalgia (or just gobsmacking confusion) about what happened in Kingdom Hearts (2002) and Kingdom Hearts II (2006). True to form, the game boasts an excellent score and opens with an emotional and sweeping theme song in Hikaru Utada and Skrillex’s “Face My Fears.” Now, as gamers get to dive into the bizarre but often resonant world of Kingdom Hearts, Skrillex and Utada have dropped the song’s official video.
The visual is entirely comprised of clips from Kingdom Hearts III, taking a whirlwind tour of the eight Disney worlds featured in the game like San Fransokyo ( Big Hero 6), Mount Olympus ( Hercules), 100 Acre Wood ( Winnie the Pooh), The Caribbean ( Pirates of the Caribbean), and many more. The song, which also cracked the Billboard Hot 100 and is featured on Utada’s Face My Fears EP, is also good, combining the bombast of Skrillex’s best choruses with Utada’s inviting croon. That’s all fine, and you can watch the clip above, but more pressingly can I need someone to explain to me what the hell is going on in this game.
No, seriously. Can anyone help me out here? I remember playing Kingdom Hearts II 13 years ago but I don’t think I retained any information other than the games had my favorite Final Fantasy characters and some Disney characters and these cloudy little fuckers called the Heartless. And now there’s like—a bunch of prequels that you can only play on like, PSP? Obviously I missed out on a lot. Before I downloaded the game, I watched a 35-minute recap video on YouTube—one of many that attempt to unpack this series’ totally incomprehensible lore—but three minutes in my eyes glazed over after they said, “Years later, when the events of the Keyblade War were only known as legend. A young man on the Destiny Islands named Xehanort was paid a visit by a mysterious cloaked figure. As it turns out, this figure was a being named Ansem, form of Xehanort’s future self traveled back in time.” Excuse me, what?
Our friends over at Waypoint have started trying to understand it themselves—without actually playing any of those weird in-between games with fractions in the title—in the form of a podcast they’re calling Lore Reasons. But it’s like, long, so if you could listen to that and then explain it to me it’ll make playing this game a lot easier. Ok thanks.