Kingdom Hearts is a straight-up miracle that we still can't believe ever happened. That said, a lot of the ideas were left on the cutting room floor so this series could have turned out completely different.
While there are some revelations about that in this article, there are also just some fun facts, Easter Eggs, and other tidbits that should prove interesting for fans.
10 The Main Star Was Almost…
There were two ideas for who the star should be for Kingdom Hearts. Tetsuya Nomura, the director, wanted to create a 3D platformer akin to Super Mario 64. He knew he needed a star on the level of Mario so who better than two of Disney’s finest? One side wanted Donald and the other wanted Mickey, but Sora was eventually settled as a compromise. Besides Sora being the new main, he too went through changes. He began as a lion boy wielding a chainsaw sword instead of the Keyblade.
9 The Trio Of Names
Speaking of Sora, let’s talk about his name. In Japanese Sora means sky. His two island buddies, Riku and Kairi, also have relevant translations. Kairi is the ocean whereas Riku is the land. Together they form one heck of a trip. Nomura kind of has a habit for naming characters after elemental, or terrestrial things like Cloud, Squall, Lightning, and the list goes on.
8 The Princesses Of Heart
At one point during development Ariel, from The Little Mermaid, was going to be one of the Seven Princesses of Heart. This would make sense since she is a princess after all. It was later decided she was too strong and independent to be a victim of the Heartless so she instead was turned into a party member. Alice then, from Alice in Wonderland, was her replacement. Even though she isn’t a princess she was still pure of heart so in a way that makes some sense.
7 Foreshadow Hearts
The drawings on the cave walls on Destiny Island foreshadow events in game. For example, they predicted Sora competing and winning in the Hercules Coliseum and there are also references to Tarzan.
Time travel was introduced in Dream Drop Distance so was this cave already hinting at that as well? That is to say, Sora could have come back at some point to draw those for a younger Sora to see. Time travel is never an easy subject to wrap the mind around.
6 The King Of Dragons
Every Summon that appears in Kingdom Hearts is based on a Disney property from Simba to Bambi. There were plans to extend the Final Fantasy references into battle as well. The king of dragons, and one of the coolest Summons in the franchise's history, Bahamut, was planned to be in the game. Hacking the game's code will reveal the name can be implemented into the magic menu. However, using the Bahamut command will crash the game so it appears not much other than the name was programmed.
5 Cut Disney Worlds
On the subject of Disney heavy media, there were actually a lot of cut worlds. To bring up Simba again, Nomura wanted The Lion King to be in it. Toy Story got as far as a planet, but no levels were actually designed. The team tried again to get Toy Story into the sequel in some form via a Summon, but that idea too was scrapped. Lastly, the Disney Castle, or Mickey's home, was going to be used more than in just cutscenes. The whole place was programmed into the game but never utilized.
4 More Final Fantasy
Besides Disney, Nomura also wanted to include a lot more Final Fantasy characters. Tifa was going to be another optional boss in the Coliseum just like Sephiroth. Instead of Yuffie, her role was going to be taken by Rikku, but since Riku was in the game, it was decided it would be too confusing to have them both. There were also plans to add Vincent in as well, but it is not known how. Instead, his design informed Cloud's. He never made it in officially, but Tifa and Rikku did in Kingdom Hearts II.
3 Enhancing The Game
Kingdom Hearts has been re-released and revised more times than most know. It launched first in Japan, then released in the West with new enhancements. It then re-released in Japan under the guise of the Final Mix version, which put in all of the Western additions plus a few more.
We eventually got that content years later with the PS3 HD port of the game. One thing that technically never came over was faster load times. See the game used the HDD on the PS2 to make loads faster, which not many games did with the peripheral.
2 The Origin Of Kurt Zisa
Kurt Zisa was the giant sand boss players could fight at the end of the game in Agrabah. This was a new addition for the aforementioned Western release of the game. Why the name Kurt Zisa? Prior to the game's release, Squaresoft and Disney held a contest for one lucky fan to get immortalized into the game somehow. Need we say more? Kurt didn't get to design anything, but having a full name in a game despite that is still pretty cool, right?
1 Victory Stances
Let's end this article properly by talking about Sora's victory animations in the Coliseum. He has three and each one is a reference to a Final Fantasy character. Sora swings his Keyblade before places it on his back like Cloud. He taps his Keyblade on his shoulder like Squall. And finally, he pumps his fist in the air like Zell. This may seem like an odd choice considering the other two characters are main protagonists. Why not go with Zidane or some other main character?