Kingdom Hearts Began With Sora Wielding A Chainsaw

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Speaking with Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, Kingdom Hearts creator, Tetsuya Nomura, shared a few interesting facts about how the series came about. Nomura says that it all began with the possibility of Square and Disney working on a game together. Wanting to create an action game in the vein of Super Mario 64, and feeling like he could Disney’s popular cast of characters to give it a wider appeal, Nomura volunteered himself for the project.


Disney already had their own ideas for a game, but Nomura says he wanted to pitch his own vision to them, and so, he did. The fact that he didn’t understand English and couldn’t always tell what they were thinking helped immensely.


“In the first meeting, I showed them a design document with a picture of Sora, the main character from the game,” Nomura recalls. “I’d drawn him carrying a weapon that looked like an enormous chainsaw. ‘What on earth is this!?’ they said.” He continues: “When I told them it was a chainsaw, they looked really shocked—absolutely speechless. (laughs) They were looking at the design document, probably saying ‘This is terrible!’ and so on. It was all in English, though, so I didn’t understand a word.”


Ultimately, however, Disney and Square both got on the same page and Nomura was able to turn Kingdom Hearts into what it is today. Speaking to Kingdom Hearts 3D specifically, Nomura says he had two concepts he wanted to see in the game—the stylish action and the Dream Eaters.


Nomura says that the Dream Eaters came about because his family always had cats and dogs for pets when he was a child. He wanted to replicate the feeling of affection toward a pet in the game, which is why the Dream Eaters are able to fight by your side in Kingdom Hearts 3D. He was also influenced in part by Nintendogs.


Nintendogs made an impact on me as well—the way that game puts you in contact with your pets,” Nomura reveals. “I always had battles in mind, though. I wondered ‘Why can’t I make my Nintendogs fight?’ When you take your Nintendogs for a walk, and they meet other dogs via StreetPass… Imagine if they could have a battle!”

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.