It’s crazy to see Sora from Kingdom Hearts officially joining Super Smash Bros. Not only did we find out he was the most requested character long before the current entry, Ultimate, ever released. the game’s director Masahiro Sakurai has always followed one strict rule when adding new fighters. They always originated from a video game. Sora surprisingly matches that bill, as he’s a Square-Enix character that enters Disney worlds. Yet, the fact he is part of this massive franchise is a bigger miracle than you might consider at first.
So, the bizarre aspect about Sora is the legal nightmare behind it. Yes, the game was produced by Square-Enix but in conjunction with Disney. As such, it technically belongs to both companies from a licensing perspective. If you noticed, there are no single Disney characters included or referenced in the preview. The only distinction is the Mickey Mouse symbol on his keyblade. Donald and Goofy didn’t even get to join Sora in his Final Smash. They’re also excluded from the Hollow Bastion stage, as they are normally present in the Dive to the Heart section. So, there were certainly cuts that had to be made throughout the process.
Sakurai also highlighted the difficulties of adding the character was only possible with help to make this a reality. Hell, they couldn’t even announce the most popular character due to fears of legal troubles. Supposedly, rumors are pointing to the rights having been completely taken over by Disney at some point with Square-Enix primarily acting as the game’s developer. Still, they’ll need a sign-off from both companies and their legal teams to include him in a third-party project. Our first hint at this complexity came to light in an interview with Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida. He offered some insight after interest rose due to the Nier tie-in event.
As for a Kingdom Hearts crossover, for this idea, one of the troubles is that we have to coordinate with Disney, and so I feel that there would be so many hurdles and challenges around working with them, so I try not to think about a crossover with Kingdom Hearts.Naoki Yoshida
If not even an in-house developed game like FFXIV won’t touch the franchise, it’s probably a legal nightmare for external developers to include him. There were many debates about who the final character might end up being and if it would be satisfying enough. Yet, the fact that the most popular voted character and one that seems like a statistical anomaly to ever find its way into another franchise like this is the perfect way to cap off the monolith. Plus, Mario being the one to bring him into the franchise is a beautifully poetic moment, as Kingdom Hearts came into existence the moment Square-Enix’s Shinji Hashimoto and Hironobu Sakaguchi discussed Super Mario 64.