The Kingdom Hearts franchise has always been an odd pairing. Putting together classic and modern Disney characters with Square Enix characters, while also focusing on an original cast, it’s probably one of the most unique IPs in the gaming world. With a new generation of consoles, you naturally wonder when franchises will start rolling out for them. In the case of Kingdom Hearts, I wouldn’t hold your breath for anything coming too soon.
Speaking with Dengeki Online, Series Director Tetsuya Nomura was asked about the series coming to these new consoles. While he didn’t give any specifics, he seems to indicate that we shouldn’t be expecting anything on the systems anytime soon. Nomura indicates he wants to release a Kingdom Hearts game after other companies have released their big titles on next gen, though it’s unclear who is talking about specifically. It’s also not entirely clear if Nomura only means a mainline title, a Kingdom Hearts 4, or if any title in the franchise, period, including the numerous side titles it always gets (big thanks to Gematsu for translations).
“If we make a Kingdom Hearts game for next-gen consoles, it’s going to be released after many other companies have already released their titles, so I believe we’d have to make something that could compete. Of course, that’s only a hypothetical since we haven’t announced that there will be a new title for PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X”
While there was technically a 14 year gap between Kingdom Hearts 2 and Kingdom Heart 3 (2 released on the PS2 and 3 skipped the PS3 entirely to release on PS4 and Xbox One last year), the series has always been unique as its side games have included stories that continued the canon forward, such as the recently released Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. One could argue there is no such thing as a pure side game in the franchise since all of them have had some degree of importance to the overall plot.
What’s interesting is that we know that the Kingdom Hearts team is working on a title for the 20th anniversary in 2022, so one would think the likelihood of it being on next gen hardware is high, but as mentioned, the franchise is an odd one, so it wouldn’t be all that surprising for it to be a mobile title or only for current hardware. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.