Super Smash Bros. Ultimate finally concluded its two waves of fighter DLC last October, ending with one of the most-demanded characters, Sora from Kingdom Hearts. Fans had been requesting his inclusion for years, and it had been presumed that Disney lawyers were the main reason why it had not already happened. But as it turns out, that apparently is not the case. In an interview with Game Informer, Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura revealed that he, not Disney, was a major reason why it took so long for Sora to join Super Smash Bros.
The relevant statement is below:
Obviously, I was very happy that we were able to have Sora make an appearance in Smash Bros. Ultimate. Most of the feedback when Sora was [announced] for Smash Bros. Ultimate was, ‘I can’t believe Disney okayed for him to be in this game.’ Behind the scenes, I was actually the one being very picky about his appearance in Smash Bros. Disney was the one that was like, ‘Go ahead! This is a great opportunity.’ I thought it would be tough to pull off because it might clash with the established lore in Kingdom Hearts and the Disney worlds, so it was an opportunity I had to consider very carefully. After seeing how happy everybody was in welcoming Sora to Smash Bros., I feel like the end result was really great.
It is surprising to hear that Tetsuya Nomura was more of a roadblock than Disney to getting Sora and Kingdom Hearts into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but at the same time, Disney was likely pickier than how Nomura describes it. After all, no Disney characters appear in Sora’s level in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In any case, Nomura is right that the inclusion of Sora in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate made a lot of people happy and was an effective way to end the development of an extremely successful Nintendo Switch title.
Sora will next appear in Kingdom Hearts IV, which Nomura also offered a few words for in the GI interview. He assured that, despite the new realistic art style, there will be a normal amount of Disney worlds to explore. The new city seen in the announcement trailer, Quadratum, will function as an “initial base,” sounding similar in function to Traverse Town in the original game. Nomura also clarified in a surprising way how significant Sora is to the Kingdom Hearts franchise: “I think if Sora is no longer the main character then I would also feel like that would indicate the end to the numbered titles. He’s that important to the series.”