Kingdom Hearts 3’s reveal at E3 2013 has always been the most special moment in gaming for me. Whenever I’m feeling low, I’ll go watch other people reacting to the trailer for the first time, screaming, crying, and kicking down chairs as Sora looks into the distance of Destiny Island and confirms his journey isn’t over. Considering Kingdom Hearts 3 didn’t come out for another six years, it hadn’t even really started.
It’s a perfect reveal for a legendary series, made even better at how haphazardly Nomura chucks it in there as if he hadn’t just revealed Final Fantasy 15 moments before. Admittedly, it’s pretty easy to make me cry, but that trailer is so special that it gets me every single time. Well, damn it all if Sora in Smash hasn’t overtaken that moment.
I wish I could pretend otherwise, but the moment where Mario chucks the Kingdom Key through the air and it's revealed exactly what it is had me squealing like a pig. Seeing Sora glide through the sky as the orchestral version of Simple and Clean swells in the background was magical and left me shaking like I’d just fought Yozora on Critical.
I wasn’t the only one either - reactions to Sora have been spreading like wildfire across social media. All of them are just as extra as mine, capturing the energy of Kingdom Hearts 3 at E3 all those years ago. I’m sure all the screaming, jumping, and crying may seem a bit much to some, but as someone who reacted the exact same way, I can’t stop watching them and grinning like an idiot all over again.
That may seem dramatic, but for Kingdom Hearts fans, seeing Sora come to Smash has been a dream ever since third-party party characters started waltzing onto the battlefield. The ballot results tell us as much, but it always seemed incredibly unlikely. Sure, he wasn’t quite as out there as Goku or Shrek, but the logistical nightmare of who owns Sora made it seem near impossible. You only need to look at how Disney has been erased from Sora to see why it was always such an uncertain choice.
Beyond that, we’d already seen both Sephiroth, Cloud, and Dragon Quest’s Hero join the fight, so it seemed greedy to expect yet another Square Enix representative when there were so many characters who should have made an appearance - I’m looking at you, Rayman.
There’s also a feeling of prestige to Sora getting in like he has. Not only is he the most requested fighter, but he’s also the last one we’re going to see for quite some time, possibly ever. Smash and Sakurai will go on a break after all this, as they should, so capping it all off with Sora just makes the moment feel that much more special.
Even though Sora was who most fans were rooting for, one of the best parts of the reveal is how surprising it is. Anything or anyone could have been in that fire, with nothing specifically tying Sora to the reveal. If it had been a locked door, it would have less effect. Sure, now it’s pretty obvious that it’s trying to make a point about the fire of the Smash logo, but at the time it really seemed like the fighter would have something to do with flames. Dark Souls and Cinderace fans must be feeling a bit burnt.
Comparing that surprise to Kingdom Hearts 3’s reveal is really what makes it the greater reveal. As much as we all wanted Kingdom Hearts 3 back then, it was always an expected thing. Even if we hadn’t heard about it, we knew it was in the making. Sora in Smash, on the other hand, still feels like a fever dream.
Kingdom Hearts 3’s reveal will always be incredibly special to me, and one of my best gaming memories of all time, but the pure magic that is everyone’s reactions and the fact that Sora is capping off Ultimate makes it not only a great reveal, but one of the best gaming moments of all time.
Just ask me again when Kingdom Hearts 4 rolls around, eh?
A feat only a true Dovahkiin could pull off.