What Is Project Xehanort, a Kingdom Hearts ‘Mobile Experience?’

Phone games get norted.

The short answer? Nobody knows. Well, that’s not strictly true. I’m sure there are plenty of people at Square Enix, the developer responsible for the Kingdom Hearts series, who know exactly what Project Xehanort is. But no one in the general public knows yet, and that’s what I’m getting at. Why are you being so pedantic? Are you still upset about what happened at dinner the other night? Can we please move past that already?

Anyway, Square Enix announced Project Xehanort via Twitter just a little while ago, and while it’s keeping the true nature of the game secret, it has divulged some ancillary details that provide some valuable context. We know that Project Xehanort is “a new mobile experience for Kingdom Hearts,” and that Project Xehanort is the game’s working title, not its final one. We also know that it’ll be available on iOS, Android, and Amazon mobile platforms when it comes out this spring, which is almost certainly PR talk for “after March but before July,” aka “Q1 fiscal 2020.”

There’s also, you know, the whole Xehanort thing. Xehanort is a key villain (haha) in the Kingdom Hearts universe, with Project Xehanort‘s official website asking, “Why did he become the seeker of darkness?” It’s probably safe to assume that Project Xehanort will endeavor to answer this question, though given how storytelling in Kingdom Hearts usually works, one should not necessarily hope for a clear, straightforward explanation.

So it’s a phone game about Xehanort, but what kind of phone game about Xehanort? What reason does Square Enix have to call it an “experience,” beyond mere pretension? Is it some kind of augmented reality thing? A visual novel? There’s already that other Kingdom Hearts phone game, Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross], which is one of those turn-based gacha RPGs like Fate/Grand Order or Epic Seven, though demonstrably less horny than either of those examples. Project Xehanort has to be different from that, right? Why also release it on Amazon’s app platform, which I honestly forgot existed until this announcement?

Friends, I fear that it may be some time before we learn truth behind Project Xehanort. This could be a collectible card game for all we know. Project Xehanort could be an auto chess, or an action rhythm game. It could be the single greatest achievement in the totality of human storytelling, despite there being no dialogue (spoken or written) for the breadth of its 300 runtime. Maybe it’s one of those hentai puzzle games like they got on Steam. Everybody knows about those. Really? Are you seriously accusing me of cheating on you with hentai puzzle games right now, at the end of an article about a Kingdom Hearts phone game? I told you that I deleted all that stuff when we got together, I don’t know what else I can do to convince you.

Look, I don’t think this is working out. I didn’t want to do this right now, especially not in public like this, but I think we should see other people. I’m sorry Goofy.

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Jordan Mallory

Jordan Mallory has spent more than a decade in the games industry and is now severely ill-equipped to work in other fields as a result. Right now he's eating generic Frosted Flakes out of a red party cup and wondering why he chose to rewrite his bio at 5:31 a.m.

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