Square Enix recently hosted their Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary event. To fans' surprise, the Japanese publisher also revealed the latest installment in the acclaimed series: Kingdom Hearts 4 (or KH4). For those unaware, it is a crossover game series between Square Enix's Final Fantasy and Disney's renowned fantasy worlds.
As expected, the end result is a wholly unique premise where a unique cast of Square Enix characters mingle with Disney characters. Their ultimate goal is to stop creatures called the Heartless and the antagonist Xehanort. As it is a mainline game, KH4 will follow the events of the previous 2019 numbered entry, which was released on PS4, XB1 and PC.
Is it time for Kingdom Hearts to arrive on the Switch?
Cutting to the chase, the franchise is pretty popular on Nintendo platforms, though the series only saw spin-off entries on Nintendo platforms like the DS and 3DS. Kingdom Hearts 3 (or KH3) did not see a Switch entry due to obvious technical limitations. However, Square Enix opted not to bring over the remasters of the previous franchise, citing storage limitations (of all excuses) as the main cause.
Instead, they brought over a Cloud Version of the Kingdom Hearts Trilogy which was quickly met with backlash from the community. This was to be expected, as after all, these are PS3 remasters of PS2 games, so it does not make sense for it to be cloud-based. However, fans have started to wonder if recent events could mean anything for the Nintendo Switch. Considering the situation, there's bad news and good news.
The bad news
Kingdom Hearts 4 will likely not be available for the Nintendo Switch. The in-engine footage revealed so far depicts a game that has improved upon KH3, which was already infeasible on the handheld console. The footage showed bigger and more vertical environments, higher fidelity character models, denser environmental detail, richer lighting, more realistic textures and much more. All of this might suggest it to be exclusive to the PS5/XSX|S and PC as a "next-gen" KH game.
While Square Enix can once again opt for a Cloud Version, the poor fan reception to the current catalog is clearly a negative indicator. But there is an alternative, as another new announcement during the event proved.
The good news
Square Enix also revealed Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link. It is a new smartphone-exclusive KH entry which surprisingly follows in the footsteps of the mainline saga, at least as far as the gameplay is concerned. The gameplay featured is a 3D hack-and-slash, while the previous mobile game Union X was 2D.
This does make one question Square Enix's priorities. It's odd how they seem to be putting effort towards a platform that doesn't appeal to the fanbase while ignoring another that does have demand. Essentially, the question is: why not a Switch-exclusive Kingdom Hearts game? This is especially important since it would be a great opportunity for the Final Fantasy makers to fall back into fans' good graces.
But giving Square Enix the benefit of the doubt, it may already be in the works. However, as of now, it just seems like a missed opportunity. Given how Square Enix has made some very questionable decisions lately, it's not too surprising. At the end of the day, Nintendo fans will just have to wait and watch. So far, there has been no release date or platforms announced for Kingdom Hearts 4. Missing Link, meanwhile, will have a beta later this year for Android and iOS.