When Square Enix revealed Kingdom Hearts IV in the weekend, it looked … different. Hero Sora so realistic emo with nervous kicks while hanging out in a Shibuya apartment that actually exists. But fans were quick to point out that there were probably reasons to explain the new graphic style, and now series creator Tetsuya Nomura has clarified what’s actually going on.
That Kingdom Hearts IV reveals the trailer takes place in a world called Quadratum, a place similar to our own reality that serves as a life after death for the series’ main character. “From Sora’s perspective, Quadratum is an underworld, a fictional world that is different from reality,” Nomura said in a new interview with Famitsu according to a translation of VGC. “But from the point of view of the inhabitants of the Quadratum side, the world of Quadratum is reality, and the world where Sora and the others were is the other side, the fictional world.”
That Kingdom hearts director goes on to explain that Goofy and Donald are currently looking for Sora, and that the keychain-swinging hero may appear as his old self again if he ever returns to his original reality. In other words, like the character himself, Sora’s clown shoes may not be gone forever either. Kingdom Hearts IV marks the beginning of a whole new saga after the end of the previous trilogy, so nothing is off the table.
Fans began diving into some of the mysteries surrounding Quadratum as soon as the new trailer dropped. While its modern highlights came out of the left field for spectators of the franchise, references to Quadratum have been spiced throughout latest postswho often characterizes it as an “unreality” that is beyond light and darkness. Kingdom Hearts III‘s secret ending even takes players straight to it, even though things still do not look quite as realistic as they do in the latest trailer.
Kingdom Hearts III was originally teased for PS4 back at E3 2013, the year the console came out, but only came out in 2018. Meanwhile, the development team switched from the Luminous engine to Unreal 4, and the delays and upheaval certainly showed up in the final product. Back then, it was easy to make mistakes Kingdom Hearts IV‘s more realistic look as just a result of new technology and hardware, but as fans assumed, and Nomura has now made it clear, it’s a design choice driven as much by lore as anything else.
Since the trailer came out, fans have been celebrating Square “glow-ups” by others Kingdom hearts grades, as well as make their own. Some are serious, others are memes. But the biggest question of all is what Goofy and Donald will look like if they ever get there and if any of us will ever be able to see it.