It’s not as easy as tapping up all properties under the Disney umbrella.
Traipsing through a collection of Disney worlds has always been one of the biggest draws of Kingdom Hearts, and as Disney’s portfolios of properties has continued to grow with acquisitions of the likes of Marvel and Star Wars, the potential of Square Enix’s RPG series has grown as well. Kingdom Hearts 3, for instance, saw the debut of Pixar worlds in the series, something that director Tetsuya Nomura was dead set on having– but could the series potentially, at some point in the future, bring other Disney properties into the fold as well?
Speaking in an interview in the Ultimania book for Kingdom Hearts 3 (translated by KH13), Nomura talked about the possibility of the same. He talked about how contractual obligations regarding properties such as Star Wars and Marvel that Disney has with others might get in the way of that, likening the situation to how Square Enix had been allowed only very limited usage of Mickey Mouse in the first Kingdom Hearts title.
“In order to change those [properties] into a game, contracts must be made with each company separately, and there are cases where other game companies already have contracts, so although the Disney Group has indeed added those [properties], incorporating them into KH isn’t so simple,” said Nomura. “That’s also the reason Mickey is in only one scene in KH1. At the same time, another company was releasing a game that had to do with Mickey, so though we were denied his usage, we persisted and eventually got ‘as long as you only have one scene, from far away, as a silhouette, with him waving his hand or something’. Since we had to make the best of the biggest [and only] chance we had, that’s why that scene appears that way.”
As far as Star Wars is concerned, Disney currently has an exclusivity agreement with EA, while their Marvel properties are handed out to various developers and publishers on a game-by-game basis (with Square Enix itself being in charge of The Avengers). Including both in Kingdom Hearts would thus indeed be a complicated process- but one can always hope, right?