Fans of the Kingdom Hearts series had to wait over a decade for the release of Kingdom Hearts 3, but they might have had to wait a lot longer if Pixar had been unwilling to work with Square Enix.
Tetsuya Nomura revealed in an interview with Edge (via. Newsweek) that he would not have made Kingdom Hearts 3 if he wasn’t allowed to use any Pixar worlds, with Toy Story being chief among them. Nomura felt that the worldwide appreciation of the Pixar movies was vital to the success of Kingdom Hearts 3 and he wouldn’t have made the game if he couldn’t use a Monsters, Inc. or Toy Story world.
Pixar was purchased by Disney in 2006, so it’s unsure what would have happened if the people associated with Monsters, Inc./Toy Story had refused to allow the properties to be used in a Kingdom Hearts game. It’s possible that Disney could have tried to force the issue if Square Enix had pushed to include Pixar properties in Kingdom Hearts 3, but Tetsuya Nomura gives the impression in the interview that he would have rather canned the project (or passed it along to someone else) rather than have enthusiastic support from the people at Pixar.
It was fortunate for Tetsuya Nomura and the fans of the Kingdom Hearts franchise that the people at Pixar gave their blessing to Square Enix and helped in the creative process of Kingdom Hearts 3, even if that meant changing creature designs in the Monsters, Inc. part of the game, as Nomura altered certain monsters based on notes he received from Pixar.
Tetsuya Nomura isn’t the first person at Square Enix to insist on using specific characters in order to make a game, as Mitsunori Takahashi once said in an interview that he would have refused to make Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy if he hadn’t been allowed to include Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy VII as a playable character.
It’s hard to believe that Tetsuya Nomura would have abandoned the Kingdom Hearts franchise if he hadn’t been allowed to use Pixar properties, as he has made it clear in interviews that he considers Sora to be one of his children. Would he really have disappointed fans all across the world by canceling Kingdom Hearts 3 or by allowing another creator to make the game? It’s hard to say, but we’re glad that he was able to make Kingdom Hearts 3 in the way that he had envisioned.