Console Game: Kingdom Hearts
Crossing into the Disney Brand
SquareEnix worked with Disney to create Kingdom Hearts. SquareEnix gained popularity by creating unique characters and appealing to a teen audience. Although SquareEnix gained popularity for creating the Final Fantasy series, it received criticism over not creating games with sensible story lines. Disney, on the other hand, is known for creating touching story lines and cute kiddish characters. When these two companies collaborated, they created a game that took over the market for several years. Originally released in the early 2000s, Kingdom Hearts still has sequels that are being released. The original Kingdom Hearts made approximately 4.68 million dollars in revenue. It sold 3.45 million in US, 1.23 million in Japan, and shipped 5.9 million worldwide. Needless to say, it was a huge success.
The game uses cross overs to bring SquareEnix characters into contact with major Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck. This goes a step further when other Disney characters and worlds are introduced into the story and open for exploration such as the Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, and Tarzan. By using these common and famous Disney stories, the game offers a sense of familiarity for its players. The player knows that Ursula, the Red Queen, and the black panther are all antagonistic characters. The player is also familiar with the cunning nature of the Cheshire Cat and the loving nature of Jane and her father. This becomes an advantage for the player, because the player knows what to expect. All of the worlds follow in accordance with their original stories. SquareEnix just added a twist.
The Disney brand was essential to the success of this game, because without it there would be no Kingdom Hearts. Without it, the game would lose a ton of marketing especially towards younger kids who enjoy Disney. By slapping Mickey Mouse and other recognisable figures onto the cover, the game was able to reach a broader audience and sell out quickly.