Why Kingdom Hearts 3 should have Multiplayer
This article is in response to Luke Frazier of the Gamer Association. He states in his article, “Five Reasons to Keep Multiplayer Out of Kingdom Hearts III”, that Kingdom Hearts III should not have multiplayer because it would take away time from the development of the third game and that people would not want to play this mode for certain reasons. Kingdom Hearts is also my favorite franchise and like Luke Frazier, I grew up with it during my middle school years. I do think, despite our likenesses, that he is wrong.
Firstly, he states that having many Soras or several different characters from the game in a competitive area would be terrible. However, this idea can be stretched further. In Birth By Sleep, you were able to customize your own knight in different colors but what if players were able to create their own character? Kingdom Hearts has a very distinct art style and in Dragon Quest IX, they had a comprehensive character customization. Every character was unique in this Dragon Quest game and Square Enix have had multiplayer focused games before which have succeeded with flying colors. Kingdom Hearts 3 can do the same. Final Fantasy XIV, a so called travesty of a game, is not the only online game in their library. Birth By Sleep, in addition to co-op, also supplied a great competitive mode. In these arenas, there were moves you could pick up from several different areas in the map and fighting your rival in a duel with the keyblade was thrilling. What if this was stretched further into locking a keyhole and defending the person who is operating the task in a 4v4 setting? Many other third person action games are showing that this feature can be a fun experience such as War of the Roses and God of War: Ascension. Luke, if you want to be “wrapped up in [your] own beautiful world and [be left] alone”, that’s fine; it is optional to play a multiplayer section of the game. In addition to that, he states that “having a competitive multiplayer scenario would be stupid.” It would not be “stupid” at all. Kingdom Hearts III will revolve around Master Xehenort and the previous keyblade war which occurred before the events of Birth By Sleep. Perhaps the mode would be placed back in time or during a current keyblade war. No matter the timeframe, there will be two factions waging war against each other and I see no better moment than now to incorporate a competitive multiplayer mode in the Kingdom Hearts series.
His second point is that “no one wants to be Donald or Goofy” in a co-op setting. Granted, that is true but the third game is solely going to be focused on keyblade battles against Master Xehenort and his minions. Riku is training to become a master alongside Sora in Dream Drop Distance so the two protagonists are destined to fight Master Xehenort. Why else would they have Riku become a master along with Sora? Donald and Goofy will not be as important as Riku or King Mickey, who also has a keyblade and is extremely crucial to the story. How awesome would it be to control these keybladers in battle who are controlled by your friends and yourself?
Thirdly, the Gamer Association writer explains that multiplayer should only be in “batshit crazy” portable titles and that these side stories are so convoluted that it needs multiplayer missions to back it up. What reasoning is that? There are games such as Killzone 3, which supplement multiplayer well with its cutscene based Operations mode. Uncharted 3 also has a mode which incorporates story into its multiplayer modes and it is the Game of the Year for many journalist websites. There is no reasoning with this third critique and multiplayer can be used well in many cases.
The fourth reason for not including multiplayer in Kingdom Hearts 3, according to Frazier, is regarding Final Fantasy XIV’s terrible online play. He states that this game is the reason why Square Enix should not make online games. This shows only one instance when Square-Enix did not get online play correct but there have been many times in Square-Enix’s past which depicts a much different opinion in many gamers’ hearts.One is Final Fantasy XI, which is still up and running. In 2006, it had upwards of 300,000 people playing the game daily. Critically, the game received a metacritic score of 85, which is higher than many other multiplayer experiences such as TERA and it also has the same score as Star Wars: The Old Republic. One hiccup cannot depict the whole company and they have proved that they can create excellent multiplayer experiences with titles such as Dragon Quest IX and Final Fantasy XI.
The final reason he gives out is involving how multiplayer would delay Kingdom Hearts 3′s release. I do not believe this would be the case. There are two separate teams who have worked on the Kingdom Hearts games in the past. One is currently working on Final Fantasy Versus XIII and the other has just finished Dream Drop Distance for the 3DS. What if the original KH team developed the single player on Kingdom Hearts III and the portable developers worked on its multiplayer? Sure, both teams could work on the single player at the same time but would you want the team who created the “convoluted portable games” to help make the single player? Why not have them create its multiplayer component, which is arguably the best feature in these portable games?
In conclusion, Kingdom Hearts III should have Multiplayer because of the Keyblade War’s influence in the story, the possible inclusion of co-op with your keyblade pals, Riku and Mickey and Square-Enix’s excellent background of online gaming. There are many possibilities for multiplayer in Kingdom Hearts III and it should not be disregarded. Two forces are better than one. Right, Luke?