Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts is an action role-playing game developed by and collaborated between Square Enix and the Walt Disney Company. It was released on March 28, 2002 for PlayStation 2. Kingdom Hearts includes characters and settings from both Disney and Final Fantasy. Its main characters are Sora, Donald Duck, Goofy, Kairi, Riku, and the Heartless. Sora is a 14-year-old boy with an upbeat attitude and has a strong sense of justice. He can excel in strength, defense, or magic depending on what the gamer chooses, and he has the Keyblade, which is a large key-like weapon. Donald Duck is the feisty but impatient court wizard, and he is also King Mickey Mouse’s loyal servant. He excels in magic. Goofy is the easygoing but clumsy captain of the royal knights, and he is also a soldier who does not like weapons. He excels in defense. Kairi is a delicate but strong 14-year-old girl. Riku is a cool and collected 15-year-old boy with a curiosity for the unknown. Both Kairi and Riku are Sora’s friends. The Heartless are mysterious beings that hunt Sora, and there are many types of Heartless. The Heartless is controlled by Ansem, the seeker of darkness. Kingdom Hearts is basically about Sora who must battle against the Heartless with the help of Donald Duck, Goofy, and even other Disney characters that he will meet on his journey. They travel to the different worlds (i.e., Olympus Coliseum, Agrabah) on the Gummi Ship to seal each keyhole so that the Heartless does not destroy the world. Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy must also look for King Mickey Mouse, Kairi, and Riku. The gamer controls Sora, and the computer controls all the other characters.

By 2009, 12 million copies of Kingdom Hearts were sold worldwide. During the first two months of its North American release, it was one of the top three highest-selling video games. At the end of April 2003, Square Enix announced that Kingdom Hearts had sold its millionth copy in the United States. Kingdom Hearts was followed by several sequels, which includes Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded.

The Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack was released on March 27, 2002. It contains two CDs with 41 tracks on one and 35 tracks on the other.

Yoko Shimomura (pictured above) helped compose and arrange the music of Kingdom Hearts. At first, she was afraid to score this kind of demanding project. She had no idea what music would be right for a Square Enix and Disney collaboration. She did a lot of trial and error. She eventually created stage, battle, and boss themes to fit every world based on the scripts and illustrations. Yoko Shimomura is a Japanese video game composer. She is known as the most famous female video game music composer in the world. She has been working in the video game music industry since 1988. In 2002, she wrote the score for Kingdom Hearts, which she says is her most special soundtrack and a turning point in her career. The soundtrack sold more than four million copies worldwide. It is ranked as the fourth-best role-playing game title track of all time. Shimomura also composed music for other Kingdom Hearts games in the series. Even piano sheet music from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II has been published as music books by Yamaha Music Media. Shimomura’s favorite track that she composed is “Dearly Beloved” from Kingdom Hearts (featured in the video below).

Hikaru Utada (pictured above) also helped compose and arrange the music of Kingdom Hearts. She also helped perform the music. She actually made two theme song contributions to the Kingdom Hearts series. This is the first time Hikaru Utada had produced a song for a video game. She composed, arranged, and performed “Simple and Clean” for Kingdom Hearts (featured in the video below) and “Sanctuary” for Kingdom Hearts II. She sings both the English and Japanese versions of both songs. Hikaru Utada is actually a famous Japanese American singer, songwriter, arranger, and producer. She was born in Manhattan, New York.

The Kingdom Hearts soundtrack basically features music from Disney films and Final Fantasy. Most of the music is orchestrated, but there are some vocal songs such as Hikaru Utada’s “Simple and Clean.” Like all video games and their music, the music of Kingdom Hearts helps set all the action making music an important part of the video game.


Written by Camille Garcia

Categories: Camille Garcia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Kingdom Hearts

  1. Ace

    I think music is very important in video games and anime. It draws fans emotionally, and many of songs are catchy. It’s been a decade since I played FFX, but I can still remember some of the music in the game. It’s awesome to see that music composers are dedicated to their work.

  2. Francesca

    I’ve always loved the music in Kingdom Hearts but never researched how it was created. Thanks for writing this great blog entry. I’m looking forward to your future posts!

  3. Matthew

    Part of the video game and anime experience is the music. As someone who indulges in both activities, I especially appreciate this entry on Kingdom Hearts. KH was fun to play through, and had some really great music and art put into it.

  4. Carlvin

    I’ve never played a Kingdom Hearts game before but after hearing “Dearly Beloved” I’d imagine that the game has a very strong musical score.

  5. Anonymous

    I agree with several of the comments posted here. The sales of the games shows the breakthrough of character use (Disney characters out of the norm). Music is highly overlooked by many but can make or break the illusion of being in the game.

    The influence of music does not only assist in providing an ambiance in moving the plot forward but helps in the character development as he/she progresses. Not only is there lots of work put into the music behind the scenes, but if done correctly, the soundtrack may outlive the game. Though these games become “classics”, there comes a time when the games are no longer playable. The music though, will allow the listener, if they played the game, to immerse him/herself in the nostalgia feeling they once had when they were younger.

    *Utada Hikaru is fairly good at creating calming music but can invoke other emotions.

  6. Jen

    Ive played some kingdom hearts games and ITS AWESOME! This post is really interesting since ive never really looked into the music of the game. The music is a great way to keep players entertained even after playing the game. Usually after playing, it gets stuck in my head haha. Great post! 🙂

  7. Anthony

    Hi 😉

  8. Athena

    As someone who isn’t an avid video game player, one thing that appealed to me from Kingdom Hearts was the music. The music set the backdrop and the tone to everything that is to happen with the the main character and/or in the game. Despite the features of well known characters from Final Fantasy and Disney, the music helped Kingdom Hearts stand on it’s own. Play “Simple and Clean” and it’s automatically associated with the game.

  9. Mike

    I’ve only played the first two games, Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. I never knew there were many more. I need some catching up to do!

    • You haven’t played the first 2 games. Chronologicly, You’ve played the 2nd and 4th. But all in all, You’ve played 1st and 3rd. To help you out, Here is the chronological order:
      Birth by Sleep-KH1-Chain of Memories-358/2 days-KH2-KH3D(out in NA July 31!)-KH3
      Hope this helped!

  10. Everything about KH is aesome! Music, Gameplay, storyline, characters, etc.
    Great post!

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