When rumors of Kingdom Hearts 2.9 first surfaced many gamers were intrigued by the prospect of re-playing, or playing for the first time, the prior chapters in KH’s Dark Seeker trilogy. Despite the franchise’s enormous fan base, there are still likely many gamers that missed out on Kingdom Hearts the first time around, while others simply want to refresh their memory before Kingdom Hearts 3 hits some time before the turn of the century.
However, when Square Enix did finally announce Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 (technically the title is Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue), many were surprised to hear it was not a KH 1 and 2 HD collection. Rather, HD 2.8 collects the 3DS release, Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, and puts it together with Unchained χ and Birth by Sleep.
So then the question becomes, why the confusing title? Well, according to Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura, easily one of the most popular developers in Square Enix’s stable, the 2.8 designation comes from Dream Drop Distance, Unchained, and Birth by Sleep’s place in the Kingdom Hearts timeline. Basically, he believes DDD to be 2.6 in the order of things, considers Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep to be .2, and considers Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ as 0.0 in the timeline because of its absence of Sora. So, 2.6, plus .2, plus 0 is 2.8. Makes sense? Probably not.
Obviously, Nomura’s explanation isn’t the clearest cut, but neither is the Kingdom Hearts series. Since the release of Kingdom Hearts 2 there have been numerous spin-off games and secondary titles, many of which carry random, almost purposefully obtuse, titles. Who can forget Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days?
Nevertheless, if players are hoping to get the full Kingdom Hearts story heading into the release of Kingdom Hearts 3, then they will likely want to pick up Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Square Enix hasn’t said it yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the release included some new teasers/scenes that prepare players for the story in Kingdom Hearts 3, much like the developer did with Kingdom Hearts Final Mix.
Despite Nomura’s confusing explanation for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue’s title, the good news is the franchise is about to come back in a big way. As we’ve mentioned before, it has been close to ten years since the last proper (read: main line) entry in the Kingdom Hearts franchise released, and for many that has been too long. In fact, some would argue that Kingdom Hearts 3 was up there with Half-Life 3 and The Last Guardian as one of the most-requested sequels around. There’s a reason Sony drew several standing ovations during their E3 2014 Press Conference, and Kingdom Hearts was responsible for one of them.
Are you interested in playing Kingdom Hears HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue? Do you understand Nomura’s logic behind the name?
Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue is set to release for PS4 in 2016.