Kingdom Hearts IV will have “a good balance” of Final Fantasy characters, says director Tetsuya Nomura

Light and dark meet in the middle.

Screenshot by DoubleXP

Kingdom Hearts IV was officially announced a few months ago, and fans have been wondering exactly what the next mainline game will offer — especially in terms of characters. Kingdom Hearts III didn’t include many Final Fantasy cameos, especially when compared to previous games. There are plenty that we’d like to see in the next one, but don’t expect it to be loaded with guest stars. Director Tetsuya Nomura is aiming to find a middle ground.

In an interview with GameInformer, Nomura was asked about more Final Fantasy friends potentially appearing in Kingdom Hearts IV. “One thing I want to clear up is that a lot of fans are saying that Kingdom Hearts is this collaboration between Disney and Final Fantasy characters,” the director began. “That’s not exactly what Kingdom Hearts is.” That makes sense: original characters like Sora, Riku, and Kairi were created as vehicles for the player to explore various Disney-themed worlds.

In fact, that’s exactly why the first game in particular had so many cameos. “I felt nobody really knew these new characters, so it was harder for them to stand their ground just yet,” Nomura continued. “And so, we had a lot of Final Fantasy characters involved to lend a hand for everyone to get to know these [original] characters better.” Now that Sora and his pals are firmly established, the developers don’t have to rely on fan service so much.

“We’re trying to find a good balance for that,” Nomura concluded. “I know that some fans wanted to see more Final Fantasy characters. That’s something we definitely are thinking about. But just with the sheer number of original characters that we have now, it’s hard to say what the exact balance is going to be and how it will play out in Kingdom Hearts IV.” Clearly, it’s not so simple to just shoehorn in Final Fantasy staples like Terra or Noctis, and Nomura’s team is actively thinking about how to please fans without going overboard. Balancing the roster is one of many lessons Kingdom Hearts IV can learn.

As for when the game will launch, the release date is very much up in the air. Platforms haven’t been confirmed yet either, although current-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles feel like a given. There are lots of Disney worlds we’d love to see whenever the game does get around to releasing.