Square Electronic Arts L.L.C. (Square Electronic Arts), the exclusive publisher of all SQUARESOFT(R) products in North America, and Disney Interactive have launched KINGDOM HEARTS, for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system. An action role-playing game, KINGDOM HEARTS is the first video game project between Square and Disney Interactive that not only features many classic Disney characters and worlds with new characters and worlds, but also introduces new characters and environments created in the renowned Square style. The unprecedented inclusion of original and new characters and worlds tells a new story and offers breakthrough creative content.
Featuring more than 100 Disney characters, KINGDOM HEARTS is debuting new Disney characters, Sora, Riku, Kairi and the Heartless, designed by Square’s Tetsuya Nomura, director and character designer of KINGDOM HEARTS. Nomura is best known for his creations in the top selling titles FINAL FANTASY(R) VII, VIII and X. The new Disney characters team up with classic favorites, as they’ve never been seen before, to embark on a magical adventure that takes them to familiar and newly created Disney worlds.
The North American version of KINGDOM HEARTS features an all-star voice cast that includes Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense,” “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”) as Sora, while David Gallagher (“7th Heaven”) and Hayden Panettiere (“Ally McBeal,” “Remember The Titans”) are the voices of Riku and Kairi, respectively. Other voice talents featured in the game include Sean Astin (“The Lord of the Rings,” “Rudy”), Lance Bass (member of *NSYNC), David Boreanaz (“Angel,” “Valentine”), Mandy Moore (“A Walk to Remember,” “The Princess Diaries”), Christy Romano (“Even Stevens,” “Kim Possible”), Steve Burton (“The Last Castle”) and Billy Zane (“Titanic”). In addition, many of the original star Disney voice actors are reprising their roles for this project.
Japanese pop sensation Utada Hikaru also lends her talent to KINGDOM HEARTS in her first song performance in a video game. The theme song titled “Simple And Clean,” the English version of its original Japanese release “Hikari” (meaning “light”) was written specially for KINGDOM HEARTS. Both the North American and Japanese versions of KINGDOM HEARTS feature the song.
“We are excited about the release of KINGDOM HEARTS in North America. Square’s expertise in game design and development and Disney’s historic legacy of rich characters and animation has resulted in one very unique product,” said Jun Iwasaki, president of Square Electronic Arts. “We expect this title to appeal not only to the existing fans of Square and Disney games, but to cultivate a new and broader audience for both companies.”
“KINGDOM HEARTS is completely original in its scope, scale and creativity,” said Jan Smith, president, Disney Interactive. “This title integrates the magic of Disney with Square’s design innovation and cutting edge technology. We are extremely proud of this incredible game.”
KINGDOM HEARTS is the story of Sora, a 14-year-old boy whose world is shattered when a violent storm hits his island-paradise home, and he is separated from his two closest friends, Riku, a 15-year-old boy, and Kairi, a 14-year-old girl. The storm scatters the three to different and unknown worlds. While searching for his friends in a strange and mysterious land, Sora meets Court Wizard Donald and Captain Goofy who are on a mission to find the King of the Disney Castle, who has also mysteriously disappeared. The three learn of ominous creatures known as the Heartless, who collaborate with Disney villains to realize their devious intentions. Sora, Donald and Goofy join forces to recover Sora’s friends, return the King to his rightful position and save the universe. In KINGDOM HEARTS, the player will journey into multiple Disney worlds and interact with their favorite Disney characters.
KINGDOM HEARTS features a real-time battle system that incorporates innovative new elements with traditional RPG elements found in other Square titles. The North American version of KINGDOM HEARTS features two modes, “Normal” and “Expert.” Players will be able to select the mode when first starting the game. The North American version also features additional bosses, including Sephiroth, Ice Titan and a boss that carries the name of the “Name In Game” sweepstakes winner held earlier this year on http://www.kingdomhearts.com. These new features bring additional challenges to the players and further enhance gameplay.
The launch of KINGDOM HEARTS is supported by a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, which includes advertisements across broadcast, print and online media. In addition, trailers of KINGDOM HEARTS will be featured on a variety of Buena Vista Home Entertainment video releases this year. KINGDOM HEARTS is being showcased at Innoventions, an attraction in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park in Southern California and Epcot at Walt Disney World in Florida. Theme park guests can demo the game and explore the various worlds of KINGDOM HEARTS.
The KINGDOM HEARTS video game will be released on DVD format and is compatible with the DUALSHOCK(R)2 analog controller. The game carries a suggested retail price of U.S. $50 and is rated “E” (Everyone). Additional information on the title can be found at http://www.kingdomhearts.com.
About Square Electronic Arts L.L.C. and Square Co., Ltd.
Square Co., Ltd. is the leading third-party developer and publisher of home video game console software in Japan with annual sales of more than U.S. $275 million consolidated base (based on exchange rate of 133.20 Japanese Yen per U.S. Dollar as of March 31, 2002) and 900 employees worldwide. Square Co., Ltd. became famous for its role-playing games, including its world-renowned FINAL FANTASY series, which has sold more than 40 million units to date, and now publishes other titles under the SQUARESOFT brand spanning all genres. Square Co., Ltd. is based in Tokyo, Japan, and maintains a branch office in Osaka.
Square Electronic Arts L.L.C. is the exclusive publisher of all SQUARESOFT products in North America. Square Co., Ltd. publishes its SQUARESOFT titles in North America through Square Electronic Arts L.L.C., located in Los Angeles, Calif. Square Electronic Arts L.L.C. is a Limited Liability Company established on May 1, 1998 by Square Soft, Inc. and Electronic Arts to manage the marketing and distribution of SQUARESOFT products in North America.
About Disney Interactive
Disney Interactive, Inc., a worldwide leader in the creation of innovative interactive entertainment, develops, markets and globally distributes a wide variety of interactive family-oriented entertainment, educational and sports CD-ROMs and video games. Disney Interactive is the multimedia arm of The Walt Disney Company’s Consumer Products business unit.