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FEATURE: Not-So-Preferred Customer

by Wimberly Wilson

Well, folks, Kingdom Hearts 2.5 is just a few months away, and with a complete HD remix of Kingdom Hearts 2: Birth By Sleep, a Re: Coded movie, and a new special clip that might hint to Kingdom Hearts 3, the whole package seems to be worth $40, right?

Well, yes that might be true as far as the core value for this highly anticipated title, but fans of this beloved series disagree when the bonus for pre-ordering the game was announced. In Japan, the home country of SquareEnix, if you were to pre-order the game, not only will you get the main content, but you will also receive various packages that include Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5, a new soundtrack, a figurine of Sora, a poster, and an art book. And what will America get for pre-ordering this title?

A “collectors” Disney Pin that you can wear on your shirt. That’s right.

SquareEnix is infamous in the gaming community for being generous with content for their home country. Over the years, every time there has been an international release for a Kingdom Hearts game, Japan always received a completed version of the game with more cutscenes, story, and boss battles a few months later. To put it into perspective, it has taken over ten years for America to receive the completed version of Kingdom Hearts 1.

But why does it seem that Japan favors their local fanbase? Well according to a SquareEnix community manager: “...our brand managers from different regions have different policies to go by and different budgets.”

In other words, it’s simply cheaper and easier to maintain merchandise in Japan than it is internationally. But what seems to be the final straw for KH fans is that a few months before the bonus reveal, America had received the opportunity to take part in an online survey regarding KH3. Most of the questions revolved around what fans wanted to see in the highly anticipated game in terms of gameplay mechanics, plotlines for certain characters, and what kind of merchandise they would like to come to America. Most responses came through in support of nearly everything Japan has gotten in the past, along with new merchandise such as way-finder charms in the style of Birth By Sleep. Also before the “bonus” reveal, SquareEnix had stated that they would consider going international with their more exclusive content considering the overwhelming reaction to the Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer all around the world.

But even after receiving conformation from Square itself and taking part in a survey showing the creators what the fans wanted, all that we are going to get for such effort is a Disney pin that could probably be auctioned off on eBay for $5.


What do you think about SquareEnix’s international releases? Should they change their policies in order to allow easy access to Japan’s exclusive merchandise? Are you angered by their decision to only release a small pin? And what is the worst pre-order bonus you have ever received? Let us know in the comments below!