One of the most popular problems amongst the Kingdom Hearts franchise results in many gamers having no idea how the order of the series works. With prequels and sequels releasing out of order and bizarre titles with words like “Re:” and “Final Mix +”, it is no surprise that this series could use an explanation. This article is an update on one of Game&Comic’s first posts, but will also tie off a lot of loose ends:
First, we will highlight a major distinction. In the Kingdom Hearts Timeline diagram (above), we show the entire video game series in chronological order by storyline. However, since the first Kingdom Hearts games came out many years ago, some of the games are being remastered into HD graphics. This is where we get Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMix and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix:
Kingdom Hearts HD. 1.5 ReMix
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMix (North American Release 13 Sept 2013) is an HD collection of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, and the cutsenes from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the PS3:
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix (2014 release) is an HD collection of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and the cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded for the PS3:
Although the original timeline lists the games in chronological order, the events in the Kingdom Hearts series to overlap. The following chart shows how the different installments overlap:
Description of each game:
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (7 Sept 2010) was released for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). It is a prequel to Kingdom Hearts, taking place 10 years prior to Kingdom Hearts I and acting as the first game in the series. The story featres three characters, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus while they try to locate Master Xehanort and protect the world from the Unversed. A Japan-only exclusive entitled Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix (30 Jan 2011) was released and included additional cutscenes and enemies to fight.
Kingdom Hearts (29 Feb 2002) was the first release in the franchise and is the main first game in the storyline featuring Sora, Donald, and Goofy. The concept of Heartless was introduced and the team was on a quest to defeat Ansem. A re-release of this game occurred exclusively in Japan called Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (29 Dec 2007). Kingdom Hearts Final Mix was pretty much the same game, but had a few extra cutscenes and enemies to fight.
Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories seems to be a major area of confusion in the order of games. This game was released for Game Boy Advance (7 Dec 2008) and is the direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts. The main source of confusion is that this game was released again for PlayStation 2 (2 Dec 2008), but besides the difference in graphics, they are the exact same game. This installment in the series introduced the ‘card battle system’ and is a quest to retrieve the memories of Sora, Donald, and Goofy. This game also introduced members of the Organization.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was released for Nintendo DS (29 Sept 2009). Think of this game as an alternate timeline. The story in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days starts at the same time as the end of Kingdom Hearts I, through Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, and continues until the start of Kingdom Hearts II. But, remember, this game is an alternate timeline and its main character, Roxas, is created when Sora is turned into a heartless in Kingdom Hearts I. The storyline highlights Roxas and his time in Organization XIII.
Kingdom Hearts II
Next came Kingdom Hearts II on the PlayStation 2 (28 Feb 2006). This continues the story from where Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories left off. In this game, Sora battles Heartless, Nobodies, and Organization XIII, all while trying to save Riku and trying to discover how he is connected to Roxas and Naminé. Again, a Japan-exclusive remake called Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ was released (29 Feb 2007), which included additional cutscenes and enemies.
Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded
First, this is a remake of a Japan-only mobile phone game called Kingdom Hearts Coded (18 Nov 2008). However, Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded (11 Jan 2011) was released for the Nintendo DS and is a continuation of the story after Kingdom Hearts II. The storyline deals with a message in Jiminy Cricket’s journal, which has been corrupted. The objective is to fight through various worlds to help correct the corrupted data.
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
The most recent game of the series, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (31 July 2012) is the only game available for the Nintendo 3DS and takes place right after the events of Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded. This game feature both Sora and Riku’s Mark of Mystery exam, which involves them protecting parallel worlds in preparation for the return of Master Xehanort.
Kingdom Hearts III
One of the highest anticipated games for the PS4/Xbox One is undoubtedly Kingdom Hearts III. To avoid spoilers and rumors, I will simply post the trailer: