Kingdom hearts, its story, and its characters have had a major impact on my life and creativity since I was young, and I look for any and all opportunities to play new entries in the series on any device I can. With that being said, Kingdom Hearts Missing Link is coming to Android in the future, and although it tries to take the popularity of Geolocation games like Pokemon Go and place a Square Enix spin on them, it could be the perfect candidate for a high-quality Chromebook game.
In an interview with Famitsu, director and creative genius Tetsuya Nomura gave a handful of additional details after the trailer for Missing Link dropped online, including where the story takes place, the fact that the player will be an entirely original character of their own creation (Basically, Kingdom Hearts online?), that the game will feature 6 player battle support, and even that the story will connect all of the mysteries up to now.
A beta for the game will launch on Android and iOS this Fall, and what I found to be the most interesting was the fact that Nomura himself is not a fan of AR games, even though he’s making one. For this reason, he explicitly stated that the game will feature two modes – one where you walk around the world like in Pokemon Go and interact using augmented reality, and another which is focused on the story and that can be played in the comfort of your own home!
As fans can imagine, Nomura doesn’t particularly like AR games. He doesn’t want to walk, so he made it possible to play the game in the comfort of your own home without having to use the walking mode.KHInsider
Pair this with the landscape mode that Missing Link will also ship with, as well as the action-packed, console-quality combat and graphics, and the creative direction of making it feel like a mainline game (per the interview), and we have a recipe for something quite exciting for larger screen devices like Chromebooks! (Here’s to hoping there are no micro-transactions or other mobile practices)
AAA Kingdom Hearts would then only need one more thing to be worthy of our Google-powered laptops, and that’s proper gamepad support. Now, I’m not holding my breath on this one, but it seems I’m not alone in hoping for this feature. One of my favorite YouTubers, Cynical from TheGamersJoint below also stated this in the clip I’ve linked to.
Imagine with me for a moment, if you will, that you have Kingdom Hearts Missing Link on your phone and spend hours walking around the real world and collecting keyblades, defeating heartless, and more, and then you sit down to your Chrome OS device – also powered by Android apps, and pick up right where you left off.
No, no, I’m not talking about sitting down to a phone display Pokemon Go-style Kingdom Hearts gameplay on your horizontal laptop screen like we’ve had to do in the past. I’m talking about continuing your gameplay using a different input method – a controller instead of touch, a different screen orientation – landscape instead of portrait, and a different gameplay loop – action combat and exploration instead of pedometer-driven.
If Tetsuya Nomura can bridge the gap between home console or laptop gameplay and geolocation phone gameplay in a way that doesn’t feel disjointed and awkward, then he and Square Enix will be the first to successfully do so. Chromebooks are a modern device for a modern computing experience, and we’ve yet to see a game properly take full advantage of the “missing link” between your phone and laptop. As both are incredibly close in the way they operate and how they share data thanks to Google’s cloud and ecosystem, I believe that this is an opportunity for such a dream to finally come true.
My hope is that “phone” games continue to become less about the phone and more about the games. We’re beginning to blur the line between input methods, screen sizes, and more, and it matters much less which device you play on and more that the game is engaging (and profitable, I suppose). If developers continue to create incredible experiences that take better advantage of landscape mode, mouse and keyboard or controller support, and more, especially in wake of the new Google Play Games for Desktop launch (something, I really hope replaces the Android app layout on Chrome OS), then I can see the future of these titles that have squandered so much of their potential by being trapped in mobile phones for so long finally being unlocked.