When Kingdom Hearts Dark Road released worldwide, Square Enix released an official Q&A that it conducted with series director Tetsuya Nomura.
The end of this Q&A session revealed a new piece of artwork by Tetsuya Nomura depicting young Xehanort, the protagonist of dark road and the main antagonist of the franchise until the end of Kingdom Hearts 3.
This new illustration of Young Xehanort can be seen below:
So, shortly after the unveiling of this art, some Japanese Twitter users identified seemingly apparent similarities to an actual location in Shibuya, Miyashita Park. For those who don’t know, one of the new locales of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, Quadratum, is strongly reminiscent of our reality, especially Shibuya.
To be honest, I find this image comparison overdone, but several people are pretty adamant about the similarities. The only real main point of comparison I see fans making are the archways in Miyashita Park, potentially matching the vaguely drawn lines in the artwork. Yet even then it’s hard to really say they’re match for match. Then again, I don’t live there, so I can’t really say it’s out of the realm of possibility.
— らぁぐ (@Laaaaaaaagu) August 26, 2022
However, there are two pieces of circumstantial evidence that could lead to young Xehanort appearing in Quadratum. The first comes from the same Q&A in which this new art debuted. The last question contains the following exchange:
issue 13. Finally, will Xehanort appear in future titles?
nomura: Just because the “Dark Seeker’s Saga” is now over doesn’t mean that Xehanort will never appear again in future titles. If the opportunity arises, then…
While Xehanort making other appearances isn’t exactly new information since he had a role in memory melodya post-Dark Seekers saga, this answer from Nomura not-so-subtly indicates that he has even more plans in store for this former main antagonist.
The second piece of evidence comes from the recent dark road updated, so it’s technically a spoiler. Still, that doesn’t say anything specifically noteworthy about the stand-alone story, and is instead an overarching series of points.
At the start of episode 7, young Xehanort and young Eraqus are seen conversing while playing chess, one of their shared hobbies. Midway through their conversation, the shortness of life is brought up, leading young Xehanort to discuss how many lives he would like to have to cement his dreams and ambitions. That sharp line in the screenshot above no doubt refers to her taking over Terra’s body in the future.
Anyway, he finally says 13 lives, which besides being “haha, funny heart of the kingdoms number”, it is because, according to him, “this is what it will take to rebuild the world”. Of course, this directly parallels his eventual plans to create Organization XIII, sowing the seeds for the 13 Seekers of Darkness that should be part of Keyblade War.
However, Young Xehanort adds an addendum to this earlier statement, saying that 14 lives would be ideal. He thinks that this extra life would allow him to “explore the new world”. Now, while this may be a nod to Organization XIII having a fourteenth member, Xion, the context of this conversation seems to be more about the Seekers of Darkness, who specifically required 13 members for the war itself. Xehanort was looking for a balanced world, and Quadratum, a world supposedly devoid of light or dark, might suit him well.
It’s possible that somehow Xehanort could appear in Quadratum in the future. He “plans for every eventuality”, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that he would plan for failure. Anyway, this is all just speculation, but it’s pretty exciting. The future of Kingdom Hearts is brighter than ever, and I can’t wait to see what narrative and character elements Missing link brings to the table.
In Kingdom Hearts IVSora is in Quadratum with Strelitzia, an important character from Kingdom Hearts Union χ. This setting is a beyond for the two characters following their tragic destinies. Also, this new saga has been titled Lost Master Arc. Additionally, combat footage was shown, with Sora performing Keyblade transformations against a giant entity that appears to be a Heartless? We don’t know for sure.
“The heart resides in the soul, which in turn is guided by fate to its rightful place” is a crucial phrase used at the start of this trailer for the next main game.