The immersion of this world is still impressive 20 years later
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday and I love going all in on my costumes. Part of the reason why I love the Halloween Town world in the Kingdom Hearts games is because Square Enix and Disney went all in on this world.
I explained it above in this clip from my Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary video, but it’s honestly crazy how cool they made a Nightmare Before Christmas world in Kingdom Hearts.
Not only does Sora, the main character, take on a Halloween Town appearance, but two of the most iconic characters in the history of visual media also take on these scary forms. Donald and Goofy having mummy and Frankenstein’s monster variants are just so cool.
On top of that, scoring the world is an instrumental version of the famed “This is Halloween” from the movie. The soundtrack continues to loop as you play through the world and it simply doesn’t get old.
While this is the general world theme, the battle theme goes even harder. Yoko Shimomura, the composer for the Kingdom Hearts series, is known for the series’ beautiful melodies and world themes. But the Halloween Town battle music “Spooks of Halloween Town” is absolutely top-tier stuff.
When you’re playing video games, sometimes consistently beating up the small-fry enemies on your way to a level’s boss battle can be annoying. Not when this theme keeps interrupting “This is Halloween.” This is an absolute BANGER. Certified fresh.
I’m an advocate for saving Christmas music until Black Friday every year. I know this is my Halloween blog, but part of the theme of the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas is the Christmas part.
In Kingdom Hearts, they didn’t do the Christmas part of the world. But in Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, the immersion went even further.
*Play the music*
Christmas Town in Kingdom Hearts II got its own theme, its own battle music, and its own versions of Sora, Donald, and Goofy as well. Square Enix and Disney went that hard AGAIN!
Santa Sora, Reindeer Goofy, and Snowman Donald just provides that extra immersion that makes the magical gaming adventures through Disney films in attempts to defeat the darkness that much better.
The best part about the Christmas Town battle theme from Kingdom Hearts II is that you could score it over your upcoming Christmas shopping and it will provide all the stress. Listen below:
While the main characters of the Kingdom Hearts series taking on forms of the Disney films they visit is now a main staple:
The OG world to begin this trend was Halloween Town in the original game over two decades ago. While Toy Story may be my favorite Disney movie and a five year old me back in 2002 would’ve preferred a Toy Story world over a Nightmare Before Christmas world in the first Kingdom Hearts, there wouldn’t have been a Toy Story world in Kingdom Hearts III if it weren’t for the amazing visuals, soundtracks, and character costumes from Halloween Town.
Returning to ramble about whatever, most specifically, recent video game leaks
It’s truly been a long time since I’ve blogged here.
My YouTube channel has remained steadily active with gaming updates and Lightsaber unboxings over the last few years and those have always been my personal escapes to content.
But when I realized that something sort of felt off about my life in the moment, I evaluated and realized that I hadn’t written anything creatively from my own voice in a while! Seriously, in between my last written blog and now might be the longest stretch of not writing something creative since before high school like 12 years ago.
So, I’m going to begin writing here again whenever I feel like it! I just feel like I need somewhere to put my brain out on paper and my Twitter timeline can’t be my complete, 100% honest self.
But to keep in theme with things that I care about: my blogs will be about food, video games, sports, etc. Always like they have been, but when my thoughts need more fleshing out, I’ll head here!
So, something big happened in the gaming world over the weekend and it’s sprouted into possibly the largest leak in the history of gaming.
Grand Theft Auto VI is Rockstar’s highly anticipated sequel to 2013’s GTA V, which for nearly 10 years now, has received online lobby support/updates and has been released on three different console generations.
In the early morning of 9/18, #GTA6Leaks started trending on Twitter and it was discovered that over an hour of pre-alpha footage of GTA VI had been stolen and published online.
It wasn’t just this one page that was posting the leaks, but this account has 8000+ followers and was one of the premier pages for the leaks yesterday. Thankfully, a lot of the images and videos from this page now look like this:
Rockstar released the below message earlier on 9/19, not only confirming the leaks but also saying that despite this, development is ongoing.
What an absolute gut punch for Rockstar and the development team. Nobody ever wants their creation to leak early, but it almost always seems to happen. Even to the biggest movies in the world:
But now this has happened, a REALLY STUPID debate has broken out online. Now that people have seen the leaked footage of GTA VI, they’re being extremely harsh about the gameplay.
For anyone that doesn’t understand how stupid the above three tweets are, let me explain it plainly.
When game footage gets leaked in a pre-alpha stage, that means it’s not even close to being done with development. When the leaker got ahold of this gameplay, they released things that haven’t been polished or fully coded yet.
So when somebody says it looks “ass” or “like shit” or “unfinished,” it’s because it’s fucking supposed to! What it’s not supposed to be is commented on at this stage by any of us because the developer didn’t intend for this footage to be seen yet!
Rockstar has always kept their cards close to their chest when it comes to video game announcements/releases. When they were developing Red Dead Redemption II, they didn’t announce the game until Oct. 2016 and only released two trailers in between its Oct. 2018 release.
Want to know their reward from that? The sprawling Old West open-world adventure game is revered as one of the greatest visual gaming experiences of all-time and new things are still being discovered about the game.
What will happen to GTA VI when someone doesn’t like something about a gameplay element from these leaks that makes it to the final game? They’ll say “OH, IT LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE THAT IN THE LEAKS! BAD GAME!”
This hits home for me as someone who’s heavily invested in the video game/movie/tv show/pop culture world. I don’t want to experience things before the developer intends for me to experience their creation.
Gameplay elements, story elements, character arcs, etc. are all meant to be revealed to us in a relatively equal manner. There’s a reason why release dates and everything like them exist. It’s so everyone is given an equal opportunity to experience a developer’s project at the same time and allow a proper cycle of criticism or reverence.
Like so ^
Two highly anticipated games from Marvel, now being snared at by people to get leaked. One of the biggest problems with the GTA VI leak is now this: people will want it for whatever game they’re anticipating.
This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about this. But see below how I felt when Kingdom Hearts III got stolen and leaked about a month before its release date:
It’s crazy it’s been almost four years since that video, however, my feelings remain the same.
We can’t have this shit.
Let’s put it into terms that I love the most, as I just did above: Kingdom Hearts.
Look at the original Beta build of Sora from the first Kingdom Hearts:
Compared to the final:
I mean, a million times better, right? And that’s from the Beta stage to the final! The GTA VI leaks are from a pre-alpha build of the game. Which comes before alpha and well before Beta.
How about Kingdom Hearts III, which went from absolutely ZERO new trailers and information between its first three years of developments to this trailer at Jump Festa 2016.
Sora’s upgrade between the original trailer to the final game is staggering:
Isn’t it crazy what just a few years of development will do for a video game? Wait, you mean, it’s not crazy at all? BINGO!!!!!
You’re damn right it’s not crazy at all! GTA VI will be no different when it comes to this. When you give companies enough time to finish and polish their product, the better it will look in the end!
I can’t believe this even has to be said, but today’s world is becoming less surprising with how people react to things off the cuff.
So I’m pouring one out for the Rockstar and GTA VI development team because what happened really sucks. But, within the next couple of years, GTA VI will be out and regardless of these leaks, I’m sure a lot of people (myself included), will be bought in for another 10-year, 3-console generation saga with Grand Theft Auto.
Leaking things hurts everybody. It hurts the creator, it hurts the audience and it hurts the final experience of the product. Don’t do it and don’t buy into it. Waiting for something makes the experience of it ten times better. I hope we’re all looking forward to the official GTA VI or Spider-Man 2 or Kingdom Hearts IV trailers when they arrive.
I know I am, and you’ll find me talking about them right here!
Kingdom Hearts Union X is ending, Kingdom Hearts Dark Road is almost here, the Kingdom Hearts 3 soundtrack is coming out in the Fall and Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory is REAL and it’s a sequel to Kingdom Hearts 3! Here’s my reaction!