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Kingdom Hearts Director Tetsuya Nomura talks about Sora's inclusion in Smash

sora smash article.jpg

Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura recently had an interview with Game Informer in which he answered questions about the beloved series. The questions ranged from what to expect in the future (such as with the recently revealed Kingdom Hearts IV) as well various aspects of past entries. During the interview, Game Informer asked Nomura about how he felt about Sora's inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. You can read the question and his full response below:

Game Informer: Another area where we saw Kingdom Hearts’ popularity surge was seeing Sora in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Can you talk about your feelings on having Sora involved?

Nomura: Obviously, I was very happy that we were able to have Sora make an appearance in Smash Bros. Ultimate. Most of the feedback when Sora was [announced] for Smash Bros. Ultimate was, ‘I can’t believe Disney okayed for him to be in this game.’ Behind the scenes, I was actually the one being very picky about his appearance in Smash Bros. Disney was the one that was like, ‘Go ahead! This is a great opportunity.’ I thought it would be tough to pull off because it might clash with the established lore in Kingdom Hearts and the Disney worlds, so it was an opportunity I had to consider very carefully. After seeing how happy everybody was in welcoming Sora to Smash Bros., I feel like the end result was really great.
There is a lot to take away from this answer alone, such as Disney being more supportive of Sora in Smash than some may have originally believed as well as Nomura being concerned with how Sora in Smash could mess with Kingdom Hearts' lore. Only time will tell if we learn even more about the behind the scenes of Ultimate's newcomer inclusions.


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Writing/Editing: Sari Sari
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Social Media: @Zerp
Special Thanks:
Game Informer
 
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Comments

All companies are different so this is probably reading way too much into this but I feel like if disney were to be this fine with sora in smash, other companies like sony for example might be a lot more willing than people anticipate. It’s free advertising and smash is a really trusted brand so I don’t know why companies would be so against it in the first place.
 
All companies are different so this is probably reading way too much into this but I feel like if disney were to be this fine with sora in smash, other companies like sony for example might be a lot more willing than people anticipate. It’s free advertising and smash is a really trusted brand so I don’t know why companies would be so against it in the first place.
Yeah I think Sony probably wouldn't say no if Nintendo came up to them asking for a character in Smash. The question there, however, is why Nintendo themselves would want a Sony/Playstation character in Smash.
 
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Yeah I think Sony probably wouldn't say no if Nintendo came up to them asking for a character in Smash. The question there, however, is why Nintendo themselves would want a Sony/Playstation character in Smash.
They may when they run out of big hitters to advertise Smash.
 
The validation feels incredible. After digging way farther into the subject than I'd ever care to admit, I'm glad to know that I had a clear 100% read on the company's reaction to an invite for Sora long before his reveal. This confirmation even comes with the hope that Sora could potentially make a grand return in a follow-up Smash game. All-in-all, this is great news.

************ actually thought about fitting his smash appearance in canon.
Who's to say he didn't actually didn't do it? After reading the notes left for Sakurai's team when they were making the reveal trailer, on top of Kirby being unable to use it in-game, we could have all the hints and set-up needed to confirm that Sora's gonna remember his time here.
 
The validation feels incredible. After digging way farther into the subject than I'd ever care to admit, I'm glad to know that I had a clear 100% read on the company's reaction to an invite for Sora long before his reveal. This confirmation even comes with the hope that Sora could potentially make a grand return in a follow-up Smash game. All-in-all, this is great news.


Who's to say he didn't actually didn't do it? After reading the notes left for Sakurai's team when they were making the reveal trailer, on top of Kirby being unable to use it in-game, we could have all the hints and set-up needed to confirm that Sora's gonna remember his time here.
Problem with that is Smash is still a Nintendo IP and KHIV has no signs of being on a Nintendo console for a long time. Not to mention all the other versions. They'd have to get permission to do anything more than a vague nudge, nudge, wink, wink thing. Something that seems unlikely. Besides that, it's been well established that the fighters in Smash are not "real" but rather just trophies (plushies for 64). Saying Sora gets special privileges is almost insulting to the others.
They may when they run out of big hitters to advertise Smash.
And that's why basing your franchise on a hype machine isn't a good thing. Eventually the bar gets raised too high, and the hype is unsustainable. Look at what it's already done to the series where normal additions like Pyra and Mythra or Min Min are met so unenthusiastically if not downright hostilely.

That said, this news actually may raise my estimations that Sora could return in a future game. Then again, he may still have the lowest odds of any third party. Or perhaps he's always stuck as DLC to cover licensing costs.
 
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Plus, despite what some may seem to think, they are not made of infinite money. This may not make much of a dent, but it's still money.
 
Problem with that is Smash is still a Nintendo IP and KHIV has no signs of being on a Nintendo console for a long time. Not to mention all the other versions. They'd have to get permission to do anything more than a vague nudge, nudge, wink, wink thing. Something that seems unlikely. Besides that, it's been well established that the fighters in Smash are not "real" but rather just trophies (plushies for 64). Saying Sora gets special privileges is almost insulting to the others.
Kingdom Hearts 4 not coming to a Nintendo console doesn't mean anything. Even if it did, we still have the KH collection being available for streaming on the Switch (which Nintendo advertised themselves, so the quality doesn't matter in this case.) as well as KH MoM having a port for the Switch. And that's not even getting into the fact that we have several characters like Kazuya, Terry, and Sephiroth who are in the game with no signs of their current games coming onto the Switch who made it into Ultimate's roster. It's as irrelevant a problem as irrelevant gets.
That aside, Nintendo was going to have to renegotiate with Disney anyway, and there is no longer any argument that shows that any of the involved parties would reject the offer.

Also, Sora's been a clump of data and an actual toy. How is Smash being canon to his series insulting in any way shape or form when his own series has precedence that allows for it?
 
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Problem with that is Smash is still a Nintendo IP and KHIV has no signs of being on a Nintendo console for a long time. Not to mention all the other versions. They'd have to get permission to do anything more than a vague nudge, nudge, wink, wink thing. Something that seems unlikely. Besides that, it's been well established that the fighters in Smash are not "real" but rather just trophies (plushies for 64). Saying Sora gets special privileges is almost insulting to the others.

And that's why basing your franchise on a hype machine isn't a good thing. Eventually the bar gets raised too high, and the hype is unsustainable. Look at what it's already done to the series where normal additions like Pyra and Mythra or Min Min are met so unenthusiastically if not downright hostilely.

That said, this news actually may raise my estimations that Sora could return in a future game. Then again, he may still have the lowest odds of any third party. Or perhaps he's always stuck as DLC to cover licensing costs.
Regarding :ultpyra::ultmythra::ultminmin:ultbyleth: I wouldn’t call them as “normal addition” these characters falls under the category of “we need to advertise our new game” there are many Nintendo characters that people want such as Isaac, Waluigi, Bandana Dee, Skull Kid and despite the long time big demands Nintendo just wanted to push new game advertisement for Nintendo reps DLC
 
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Regarding :ultpyra::ultmythra::ultminmin:ultbyleth: I wouldn’t call them as “normal addition” these characters falls under the category of “we need to advertise our new game” there are many Nintendo characters that people want such as Isaac, Waluigi, Bandana Dee, Skull Kid and despite the long time big demands Nintendo just wanted to push new game advertisement for Nintendo reps DLC
yes a four year old game and a five year old game both count as new

those four characters got in from a combination of the success of their games and sakurai bias
 
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yes a four year old game and a five year old game both count as new

those four characters got in from a combination of the success of their games and sakurai bias
They were planned already for the base roster before the DLC back in 2018 in other words they were planned originally when their games were almost 1 year old so they would still be counted as new
 
They were planned already for the base roster before the DLC back in 2018 in other words they were planned originally when their games were almost 1 year old so they would still be counted as new
no what sakurai said is he would have included them if he could that’s not the same thing. The fact that they were part of the second pass backs that up
 
Kingdom Hearts 4 not coming to a Nintendo console doesn't mean anything. Even if it did, we still have the KH collection being available for streaming on the Switch (which Nintendo advertised themselves, so the quality doesn't matter in this case.) as well as KH MoM having a port for the Switch. And that's not even getting into the fact that we have several characters like Kazuya, Terry, and Sephiroth who are in the game with no signs of their current games coming onto the Switch who made it into Ultimate's roster. It's as irrelevant a problem as irrelevant gets.
That aside, Nintendo was going to have to renegotiate with Disney anyway, and there is no longer any argument that shows that any of the involved parties would reject the offer.

Also, Sora's been a clump of data and an actual toy. How is Smash being canon to his series insulting in any way shape or form when his own series has precedence that allows for it?
I mean, if the game isn't on their consoles at all, you really think they're going to let them use Smash? One of their golden gooses? You seem to have fundamentally misunderstood my point. It wasn't that no KHIV makes his return unlikely (even if I think Nintendo should pick more relevant to them picks), I even stated I think this news makes it sound more likely he might come back; just that they were probably still pretty low or he may keep being DLC to cover costs. I was referring to the fact that it seems really unlikely they'll let Square use Smash. Nintendo would have to sign off on making Smash canon to KH, and that seems very, very unlikely. Smash, by its nature is an uncanon game.

And because Sora would still be Sora. That isn't Mario. That isn't Link. It's a toy of them. Not them turned into a toy. To say Sora is special in that he's the real one is giving him special privileges he shouldn't get.

Also, correction, Sephiroth actually in on Switch since they ported FFVII.
Regarding :ultpyra::ultmythra::ultminmin:ultbyleth: I wouldn’t call them as “normal addition” these characters falls under the category of “we need to advertise our new game” there are many Nintendo characters that people want such as Isaac, Waluigi, Bandana Dee, Skull Kid and despite the long time big demands Nintendo just wanted to push new game advertisement for Nintendo reps DLC
They are normal in that they are the type of stuff you would have gotten prior to DLC in Smash 4. Also, remember Roy? Besides, it doesn't hurt to get some new blood in along with the Nintendo classics. It's not like Pyra, Mythra, and Three Houses are unpopular either. XC2 in particular had a push due to being oddly absent in the base roster.

Either way, they all would have passed as pretty standard fare prior to Smash 4's DLC.
yes a four year old game and a five year old game both count as new

those four characters got in from a combination of the success of their games and sakurai bias
Didn't Nintendo pick most if not all of these though? Or at least provided general guidelines. Again, in which case, I wish they'd pick fewer third parties or at least ones relevant to Nintendo, but...hype. Though to this day, Snake may be the most egregious addition being essentially a personal favor.


Though as for cutting, people should probably brace for a third party purge, not because they are returning to form, but because of licensing fees. There's probably a reason or two most of them started as DLC. Now, they may come back, at least some of them, but don't get too attached. We really don't know how this will go without an "Everyone is Here" to keep them. Only reference we have is a 50% loss from Brawl to 4.
 
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I mean, if the game isn't on their consoles at all, you really think they're going to let them use Smash? One of their golden gooses? You seem to have fundamentally misunderstood my point. It wasn't that no KHIV makes his return unlikely (even if I think Nintendo should pick more relevant to them picks), I even stated I think this news increases his odds of coming back; just that they were probably still pretty low or he may keep being DLC to cover costs. I was referring to the fact that it seems really unlikely they'll let Square use Smash. Nintendo would have to sign off on making Smash canon to KH, and that seems very, very unlikely. Smash, by its nature is an uncanon game.

And because Sora would still be Sora. That isn't Mario. That isn't Link. It's a toy of them. Not them turned into a toy. To say Sora is special in that he's the real one is giving him special privileges he shouldn't get.

Also, correction, Sephiroth actually in on Switch since they ported FFVII.

They are normal in that they are the type of stuff you would have gotten prior to DLC in Smash 4. Also, remember Roy? Besides, it doesn't hurt to get some new blood in along with the Nintendo classics. It's not like Pyra, Mythra, and Three Houses are unpopular either. XC2 in particular had a push due to being oddly absent in the base roster.

Either way, they all would have passed as pretty standard fare prior to Smash 4's DLC.

Didn't Nintendo pick most if not all of these though? Or at least provided general guidelines. Again, in which case, I wish they'd pick fewer third parties or at least ones relevant to Nintendo, but...hype. Though to this day, Snake may be the most egregious addition being essentially a personal favor.
based off b the stories sakurai said I think Nintendo were suggesting games rather than characters
 
based off b the stories sakurai said I think Nintendo were suggesting games rather than characters
Yeah, hence why I changed it to guidelines as they at least considered Rex. Wish they would have stuck with him myself. Though, not sure entirely. Some though were pretty obvious if you were given that game you know who you'll pick.
 
Yeah, hence why I changed it to guidelines as they at least considered Rex. Wish they would have stuck with him myself. Though, not sure entirely. Some though were pretty obvious if you were given that game you know who you'll pick.
I certainly wish they went with Rex too
 
I mean, if the game isn't on their consoles at all, you really think they're going to let them use Smash? One of their golden gooses? You seem to have fundamentally misunderstood my point. It wasn't that no KHIV makes his return unlikely (even if I think Nintendo should pick more relevant to them picks), I even stated I think this news makes it sound more likely he might come back; just that they were probably still pretty low or he may keep being DLC to cover costs. I was referring to the fact that it seems really unlikely they'll let Square use Smash. Nintendo would have to sign off on making Smash canon to KH, and that seems very, very unlikely. Smash, by its nature is an uncanon game.

And because Sora would still be Sora. That isn't Mario. That isn't Link. It's a toy of them. Not them turned into a toy. To say Sora is special in that he's the real one is giving him special privileges he shouldn't get.
The only way i could see this hypothetically making sense is if they use the same explanation as stuff like Jimmy and Tron in Kingdom hearts 3D, or the Twilight town copies from KH2.
Like if Sora goes to the Wreck it ralph world and sees Ryu and acts like he's met Ryu before, even if the "Real" versions of these characters never met the encounter is etched into their souls so they feel like theyve met before, Kingdom hearts doesn't explain this sort of thing very well lol
 
The only way i could see this hypothetically making sense is if they use the same explanation as stuff like Jimmy and Tron in Kingdom hearts 3D, or the Twilight town copies from KH2.
Like if Sora goes to the Wreck it ralph world and sees Ryu and acts like he's met Ryu before, even if the "Real" versions of these characters never met the encounter is etched into their souls so they feel like theyve met before, Kingdom hearts doesn't explain this sort of thing very well lol
That theoretically could work as a work around without Nintendo's blessing, but we already got the fake Cloud and stuff, let's not add to it. Best they do what the others do (outside that one amiibo thing from Fates) and just lest Smash be non canon. As much as it may pain Nomura, he probably doesn't have a choice here. Dude really needs to learn to just let some things be for fun. Not everything must be for the lore.
 
I mean, if the game isn't on their consoles at all, you really think they're going to let them use Smash? One of their golden gooses? You seem to have fundamentally misunderstood my point. It wasn't that no KHIV makes his return unlikely (even if I think Nintendo should pick more relevant to them picks), I even stated I think this news makes it sound more likely he might come back; just that they were probably still pretty low or he may keep being DLC to cover costs. I was referring to the fact that it seems really unlikely they'll let Square use Smash. Nintendo would have to sign off on making Smash canon to KH, and that seems very, very unlikely. Smash, by its nature is an uncanon game.

And because Sora would still be Sora. That isn't Mario. That isn't Link. It's a toy of them. Not them turned into a toy. To say Sora is special in that he's the real one is giving him special privileges he shouldn't get.

Also, correction, Sephiroth actually in on Switch since they ported FFVII.
If you're only referring to my second point, then it's still very much a non-issue. All they'd really need to do is have Sora confirm the events in a vague or non-specific way. Kind of like how Persona 5 did it with "Super Bash Bros." Or how Joker can play with a bootleg variant of a SNES in his spare time in a game that still hasn't made it to a Nintendo console. Stuff like that either doesn't need Nintendo's permission to be used or shows that Nintendo is completely fine with it. Either way, it's not much of a hurdle.

It's not a special privilege, especially when, again, his mythos gives him a clear alibi to use for that reason. Even the trailer and game strictly follow the lore surrounding the keyblade despite there being no real reason to do so. Leaving Sora as the sole wielder and characters(or statues in this case) like Mario and Kirby being forced to stick with substitutes.

I was pretty sure you were trying to focus on relevant/newer games when I was under the wrong impression of your argument. Just covering my bases with newer titles and strong representation as opposed to focusing on an old game that was ported over, y'know?
 
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If you're only referring to my second point, then it's still very much a non-issue. All they'd really need to do is have Sora confirm the events in a vague or non-specific way. Kind of like how Persona 5 did it with "Super Bash Bros." Or how Joker can play with a bootleg variant of a SNES in his spare time in a game that still hasn't made it to a Nintendo console. Stuff like that either doesn't need Nintendo's permission to be used or shows that Nintendo is completely fine with it. Either way, it's not much of a hurdle.

It's not a special privilege, especially when, again, his mythos gives him a clear alibi to use for that reason. Even the trailer and game strictly follow the lore surrounding the keyblade despite there being no real reason to do so. Leaving Sora as the sole wielder and characters( or statues in this case) like Mario and Kirby being forced to stick with substitutes.

I was pretty sure you were trying to focus on relevant/newer games when I was under the wrong impression of your argument. Just covering my bases with newer titles and strong representation as opposed to focusing on an old game that was ported over, y'know?
 
If you're only referring to my second point, then it's still very much a non-issue. All they'd really need to do is have Sora confirm the events in a vague or non-specific way. Kind of like how Persona 5 did it with "Super Bash Bros." Or how Joker can play with a bootleg variant of a SNES in his spare time in a game that still hasn't made it to a Nintendo console. Stuff like that either doesn't need Nintendo's permission to be used or shows that Nintendo is completely fine with it. Either way, it's not much of a hurdle.

It's not a special privilege, especially when, again, his mythos gives him a clear alibi to use for that reason. Even the trailer and game strictly follow the lore surrounding the keyblade despite there being no real reason to do so. Leaving Sora as the sole wielder and characters(or statues in this case) like Mario and Kirby being forced to stick with substitutes.

I was pretty sure you were trying to focus on relevant/newer games when I was under the wrong impression of your argument. Just covering my bases with newer titles and strong representation as opposed to focusing on an old game that was ported over, y'know?
It would have to be skirted, so it can't really be Smash Brothers. As I said, it must be a nudge, nudge, wink, wink thing, and at that point, why do it? It's faux canon at best.

As for the keyblade thing, that seems more ego fueled than anything. Pretty sure Kirby could copy it. He has no problem copying other picky weapons. Granted, a keyblade might be a downgrade for him, but point still stands. He should be able to, but Nomura is that anal about it.

Trailer would have been much cooler if Mario used it too. Granted, he still held it. It's appearance in the trailer alone doesn't really work with "canon" so doesn't fit with him really being there anyway.

As for having an excuse, some Fire Emblem characters can travel worlds too, but they aren't real. So...why should Sora be special among the entire cast? He shouldn't.
 
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Now you guys should feel dumb!
DoNaLd AnD gOoFy ArEnT In BeCaUsE oF DiSnEy! Now we know they arent in because they are Not from Videogames!
 
It would have to be skirted, so it can't really be Smash Brothers. As I said, it must be a nudge, nudge, wink, wink thing, and at that point, why do it? It's faux canon at best.

As for the keyblade thing, that seems more ego fueled than anything. Pretty sure Kirby could copy it. He has no problem copying other picky weapons. Granted, a keyblade might be a downgrade for him, but point still stands. He should be able to, but Nomura is that anal about it.

Trailer would have been much cooler if Mario used it too. Granted, he still held it. It's appearance in the trailer alone doesn't really work with "canon" so doesn't fit with him really being there anyway.

As for having an excuse, some Fire Emblem characters can travel worlds too, but they aren't real. So...why should Sora be special among the entire cast? He shouldn't.
Fire Emblem has it's own multi-verse, and they also had one of their Amiibo figures (I believe it was Robin) reference their time in Smash in one of their games, so Sora actually wouldn't be the first one to make such a reference. I could've sworn you or somebody brought it up earlier.

Bringing up Persona 5 wasn't an example of making up a fake product for a faux canon. It was meant to show how easy it is to reference a real product while avoiding the hoops needed to gain permission. In other words, "Sora vaguely recollecting his time in Smash Bros to confirm that he was there is fair game".

Ego fuel or not, if we're arguing the finer points of Smash lore as a bar of entry for using the game as canon material, then we should also consider the lore of KH and how it's implemented in the game. Mario and Kirby can't hold the Keyblade in its true form despite it being fake. Sora's lore allows for him to fit in with these fake characters, to begin with, and it wouldn't be strange for him to be the only real one among them seeing how it isn't his first time in that sort of scenario. The point still stands.
 
We still got Sora so I have a hard time figuring out just how some people managed to be offended by Nomura going "yeah, I wanted to figure out how this fits the lore", seeing that KH is famous for tying up everything into one large narrative.
 
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