‘Kingdom Hearts IV’ gameplay and storyline updates

Who’s ready to hit the sticks?

words by: Kayla Carmicheal
Apr 23, 2022

About a week after the initial trailer release, we have some updates on Kingdom Hearts IV from Tetsuya Nomura, the guy who’s running the show. He recently did an interview with Famitsu, a Japanese entertainment publication. Thankfully, today’s technology allows those who aren’t familiar with Japanese kanji to read the article in their native language (and it’s very interesting, to say the least).


Here’s what we know so far.


The Quadratum is a home base

You remember the apartment Sora woke up in when the trailer begins? This is going to be his base for early portions of the game. This is huge for two reasons.


First, this means that Sora will be spending some time in the Quadratrum,  the strange “afterworld” city. This isn’t a new thing. In KHI, Sora’s on his homeland, Destiny Islands, where he and his friends build a raft to escape. Things go south, and Sora finds himself alone in Traverse Town, where Donald and Goofy join him. Then, the game continues in its world-completion method.


In the second game, we don’t even start as Sora at all. Instead, we’re Roxas, Sora’s nobody (It’s a long story. Convoluted plot, remember?) in Twilight Town. An abandoned mansion and a nobody named Namine later, we are back as Sora, and off we go with our pals.


If I had to guess, players will spend between 2-6 playing hours in the Quadratum, as the the plot get going, we get a skippable tutorial, and become familiar with the controls. Or, it’ll get the Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden treatment and get a facelift midway through the game. It could also just disappear, like Twilight Town. Regardless, the apartment (interior not finalized) will be where we can save our progress and equip ourselves.


Kingdom Hearts keyblades | Pocket Tactics


Second, it means Sora will leave the Quadratum and somehow reunite with Donald and Goofy. This is interesting because their character design is different than Sora’s humanlike one, telling us that they stayed behind while Sora died. So, will Sora go back to looking like his regular self? Time will tell.


We’ve seen it before

On the subject of Quadratum, Shibuya is a part of it. IRL, Shibuya City in Japan is known as a hub for youth culture and trendsetters. In the game, it was introduced in KHIII. As Ansem the Wise notes, it’s a city that isn’t light or dark, but fiction. It exists on the “other side,” like Strelitzia says in the trailer. So we now have confirmation that we’ve seen the city before, which many fans pointed out.


☆オードリーAudrey☆ on Twitter: "So if NEO TWEWY and KH3 are not connected according to Nomura, then which Shibuya is Sora even in?? Quadratum Shibuya?? Some other world's Shibuya?🤔 https://t.co/kfJkX7DT7Y" / Twitter


The return of the Reaction command

Fans rejoice. The drill action in the trailer is an updated version of the Reaction command from KHII, much to my chagrin. A lot of new battle options were introduced in the second game, most notably Reaction and Drive.


In short, when you’re fighting a specific boss, at some points you’ll be prompted to press Triangle to perform a move specific to that boss, delivering huge blows, like with Captain Barbossa, within TRON, on Olympus, Organization XIII, and more. This time, we see it prompted on a Heartless.


ToonRami on Twitter: "KH4 really did the Gurren Lagann Giga Drill Break! And I fully support it! 🔥🔥🔥 #KingdomHearts #KingdomHearts20THanniversary https://t.co/hdeURTsrsE" / Twitter


Why is Reaction back? Because fans missed it in KHIII. I am not one of them. The Triangle prompt is really bombastic and distracting in II, so hopefully that’s different. I would love to not die or miss my cue because of a big green triangle taking up the screen suddenly.


But overall, I’m excited to see how gameplay will be upgraded and different in the new iteration. We also got word on a “scrap & build” concept, but we’ll receive more on that later. And if you missed the initial announcement, catch up and watch the trailer.


Photos via Disney/Square Enix