Square Enix announced a new Kingdom Hearts game today, although it’s unlike anything the series has ever seen before.?Melody of Memory is a rhythm game that is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch later this year. In fact, this will be the first entry in the franchise to make its way to Switch. You can watch the Japanese trailer above.
Most Kingdom Hearts games are action-RPGs. Melody of Memory is instead about hitting button commands in time with the music. The franchise has always had strong soundtracks, so the series should be a good fit for this kind of game. And while Kingdom Hearts does include some arrangements based on classic Disney songs, its best tracks are originals. The trailer has only shown off those original songs.
Square Enix has already given its Final Fantasy franchise the rhythm game treatment with the Theatrhythm games, so this move isn’t that surprising. But Melody of Memory still looks to have many of the Kingdom Hearts hallmarks, including visiting Disney worlds and having characters like Donald Duck and Hercules at your side. The rhythm genre isn’t what it used to be back when Guitar Hero and Rock Band were giant hits in the mid-to-late 2000s, but these games still have their fans. It’s also a relatively easy way for Square Enix to pump out a new Kingdom Hearts without creating another massive, triple-A action RPG.
The last Kingdom Hearts game, Kingdom Hearts III, released in January 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It became a big hit, selling over 5 million copies just two weeks after release. Melody of Memory’s story looks to be a sequel of sorts, with Kairi digging through Sora’s past. Exploring Sora’s memories is a popular trope for the franchise, as it allows new games to retell stories from past entries with new mechanics. We’ve seen this setup before with Chain of Memories and Coded.