Just an aside, I mentioned Mario because it was a glaring example of something that is a spinoff, but is well regarded. Spinoffs can become well regarded series in their own rights, but don't have to.
The Wikipedia page is actually right. There are 4 games between Kingdom Hearts 2 and Kingdom Hearts 3. There's a 5th one, Chain of Memories, between KH1 and KH2. The article merely says "notably" between 2 and 3, presumably because the one game in between KH1 and KH2 is not as glaring an example of spinoffs as the 4 handhelds and 1 smartphone game between KH2 and KH3. But that's being nitpicky. The point is I agree with it's definition. A piece of media, including video games (which KH is), derived from an already existing work (which the handhelds are of the numbered games), that focus on more details and different aspects from the original work (which each handheld title does). And the article author does establish why they're spinoffs. He says they "expanded on the original thread of the story".
Sorry for the late reply.
This is a pretty long reply, so please excuse me if I reply in bold point by point within your quote to help me keep track of what I'm referring to.
Yeah, I understand what you were saying with the Mario example. But the reasons for why it may have a negative connotation depends on the context.
If I'm interested in a go kart experience and I look at Mario Kart, it would be of no concern.
But if I'm interested in an experience similar to what KH2 gave me in a story driven series, then BBS being labeled a spinoff could give me reasons to suspect it won't be dealing with the central conflict of the plot, or feature vastly different gameplay, etc.
Agreed, Mario Kart to Mario (or Mario to Donkey Kong) and Kingdom Hearts non-numbered to Kingdom Hearts numbered is comparing apples to oranges, my point in mentioning it was just that spinoff, as a word, does not inherently mean to me that a game is stupid or a waste of time, as a few people in the thread seemed to be implying.
And yeah, maybe that's what the Wiki page meant. I thought it was weird that it would leave out Chain of Memories without specifying why, but I digress.
Yeah, I believe the writer of the wiki page would consider CoM a spinoff, but didn't include it because they thought the best example within the series was the 4 game spinoff stretch in between 2 and 3.
When I said that the Wiki entry doesn't establish why those games are spinoffs, I was referring to how it uses vague terms with no examples.
"Expanded on the original thread of the story"' is a sentence I feel can apply to mainline sequels, both direct and indirect. I would not argue against someone saying that KH2 "expanded on the original thread of the story". Instead of Ansem's ambitions, it was now Xemnas. And an event that occurred in the first game (Sora losing his heart) expanded into a story about his Nobody, etc.
I mean you have a point that the terms in the definition are somewhat nebulous, but I would regard KH2 as the continuation of KH1, just another arc of Sora's story in the Xehanort Saga, with CoM being a "here's what happened in the time skip" arc. The other titles I refer to as spinoffs also do something like this, with a "here's what happened to Sora's Nobody" game in 358/2 Days, a "here's the background story to the lore of the game" with BBS, Unionχ, and 0.2BBS, Coded being essentially a filler arc that recaps the first arc and does a tiny bit of setup for the next, and DDD being another "here's what happened in the time skip" arc that also does a lot of setup for KH3. To me though, with video games, you can also have a spinoff through gameplay, and you get that with all the games I call spinoffs but not with the numbered games which are more like the same game with slight tweaks and innovations. In the definition I've been using, a spinoff is derivative of an original work but focuses on a different aspect. That aspect can be story elements like characters or plot threads, or it can be gameplay elements. CoM is a card game, 358/2 days is similar to the other games but with the skills and leveling completely reworked, Unionχ has that weird gacha card game gimmick, 0.2BBS is a demo-like episode of BBS, BBS is somewhat like the original but has the Command Deck, Command Board, and no MP, Coded is more of a puzzle game at times and has the Stat Matrix, and DDD has the drop system, Dive Mode, and Forecast. They're all wildly different from the 3 mainline games, which all have similar gameplay systems and features and rarely draw inspiration from the spinoff games for gameplay.
In fact, if we consider that Xehanort is the main antagonist and the origin of the central conflict, then the events of KH1, which focus on the ambitions of his Heartless, a character with little relevance to the overall plot because he has no understanding of what Xehanort wants, and on characters unrelated to Xehanort (Sora, Riku, Kairi), then it could be fair to say that KH1 is the game that focuses on a side story to the main plot thread.
Terra, Ventus and Aqua can be seen as the more relevant heroes of the story, since it was Terra's body that Xehanort stole in order to further his ambition. Ventus that he used to access the X-blade. And Aqua who put a wrench in his plans for 10+ years.
Sora and Riku only got involved because of Terra and Ventus. Terra chose Riku to inherit the power of the keyblade. And Ventus' heart made a connection with Sora's.
I've been carefully dodging mentioning story details in this thread in case I accidentally spoil something someone doesn't want spoiled, but no one's paying attention anymore, so screw it, it'll be easier to discuss this if I do. BBS I could potentially see as a prequel instead of a spinoff for the reasons you mentioned here. It is more continuous with the overall plot, and indeed you could almost say it is the overall plot. But that's more because, from the perspective of someone who played KH1 first like most of us did, it's more of a game set in the period that was, until that point, just part of the lore, that then set up the grander scale of the struggle Sora engages in later.
If BBS had been released first, and was simply named Kingdom Hearts, do you think KH1 (featuring Sora and Riku) should have been called Kingdom Hearts: Destiny Island, or something like that instead of KH2?
So then this is one reason why I regard even BBS as a spinoff. The numbered games I see as being connected by the common struggles of Sora and Riku against some major antagonist connected to Xehanort, while again, from the perspective of Sora, BBS is explaining the grander events of the lore that the little guy from Destiny Islands has gotten caught up in.
|HylianSwordsman said: The original story of the numbered games focuses on Sora and friends and their battle against the main antagonist of the series. The handheld games tell about events outside of that or focus on different characters, while the numbered games continue that main story thread. Yes, the main story thread references details from those other threads, but they are still other threads, not the main story thread. In other words, In between each numbered game, there have been many games, and I like them, but I was always looking forward to the continuation of the main story thread.
There are quite a few examples of direct sequels or mainline games that feature different characters. It's all about the context. If they make a KH cooking game, would it be more or less of a spinoff if it starred Saix instead of Sora? Probably not, because it's mainly the cooking aspect that matters in that case.
Likewise, Metal Gear Solid 3 is no less of a mainline entry because it stars different characters. The first few Resident Evil games switched protagonists. Castlevania, Persona, Final Fantasy, etc.
So now what matters to you for a spinoff is the gameplay? Well then there you have it, as I explained above, the spinoffs are spinoffs in gameplay as well.
So what is the focus of Birth By Sleep? It's the central conflict of the entire series. Everything that happened in the previous games, as well as the subsequent games, is because of Xehanort and his run in with Terra and co.
And everything that happens in all of the Zelda games only happens because of something that happens in a comic in Hyrule Historia. That doesn't mean that the comic is somehow a mainline Zelda game. It's a comic. And yes, spinoffs can certainly take the form of entirely different media. There are other Zelda spinoff comics that are non-canon retellings of the games, for example. Birth By Sleep is just the lore of the mainline games made flesh into a game of its own.
The gameplay is the same as always, with some variations/experimentations as usual. The characters are all relevant and important. And as someone pointed out, the secret ending of KH2 previewed BBS. As if saying; here's the continuation of the main story.
In order to continue the story we had to step back a few years. Because the main antagonist's motivations began long before the events of KH1. Which is something that was always apparent from the start. Because we were never told of 'Ansem' or Xemnas origins.
You've got to be kidding me? The gameplay is the same? The gameplay is the same between 1, 2, and 3, but not with any of the spinoffs. If we can't agree on such a basic premise, I don't think there's any point in discussing this further. We'll just have to agree to disagree.
BBS is very similar to Metal Gear Solid 3. They both go back a few years in order to develop the central conflict and the main antagonist through the point of view of different, but relevant and important characters.
I think the reason MGS3 received a number in the title and not BBS is due to marketing reasons. BBS was put on a different type of system. So putting a number on the cover of the game could be intimidating for newcomers to the series, while at the same time more frustrating fans of the series that don't own the handhelds.
SE gave Final Fantasy 11 a number instead of calling it FF Online, so I'm pretty sure marketing reasons can take priority for them.
You think the reason the non-numbered games are non-numbered is because of their being on a different system...yeah, I don't think this discussion is worth continuing much further. Come on man, they didn't have to be on different systems...this just gets more to my point that the story presentation of this series was poorly done...
But if someone was mainly looking for a continuation of Sora/Solid Snake's stories, then I can see why they might be disappointed in those games.
And that's why this discussion about what term to refer to them by misses my main, original point. Are they spinoffs? Maybe, maybe not, I really don't care at this point. That is the word I choose to call them by, and no one will change my mind on that, but if you'd rather not call them that because you have a different understanding of what a spinoff is, that's your call. My point has nothing to do with them being spinoffs. My original statement was:"It did take them 13 years to make the next mainline game. Spinoffs don't count. I love Kingdom Hearts, but SE really dragged this whole saga out way too long, and I'm still mad at them for it. And I don't hate the spinoffs either. 358/2 Days holds a special place for me. But damn, KH2->KH3 13 years? Come on SE. Not cool."
People were very upset that I called the non-numbered games spinoffs. But that's not the point. The sentence after that is the point: "SE really dragged this whole saga out way too long, and I'm still mad at them for it."
Personally I feel like people can call them whatever they want, as long as they acknowledge/understand what they are about.
|HylianSwordsman said: the focus of those games is on things that are interesting, but not the same focus as the numbered series, and the focus of the numbered series is the plot thread I wanted to finish, and that I waited 13 years for.TL;DR the point isn't what you call the non-numbered games or whether their stories are skippable, it's that the focus of the numbered games was on a particular plot
But would you not say that the focus of BBS's plot is on the exact same as the numbered games? Just through the perspective of a different cast?
Specifically, the ambitions of 'the seeker of darkness' to access Kingdom Hearts. It went from 'Ansem', to Xemnas, to Xehanort.
As I said before, BBS is the easiest one for me to call a prequel instead of a spinoff as the story does connect very directly and the gameplay is the most similar of the spinoffs. I still feel there's enough of a distinction for me personally to call it a spinoff, but I could easily concede that BBS is effectively Kingdom Hearts 0 and that it just isn't called that because that would be a dumb name.
It is interesting that you didn't think BBS gave you a continuation of the story though. Or DDD which dealt with the next phase of Xehanort's plan, while Sora and Riku prepare for it by taking the Mark of Mastery.
Can't really say much about that if that's how you feel.
Right, I see what you mean, but this brings up another important point I've been trying to make, and that's the presentation of the story is deeply flawed and overly drawn out in my opinion. Yes, BBS does continue the story, but it has a different focus that to me, that of a background story to Sora's story. It made things so unnecessarily complicated and Kingdom Hearts as a whole would be easier to understand if they were to somehow write the story so that you didn't need to play it first and just explain Xehanort and all the background story at the beginning of or throughout KH3, then revisit the events later. In other words, make KH3 first, giving you all the necessary details in that game, then make BBS later as a "here's how it all began" story.
DDD also has tons of details about Xehanort, but again, if they just did the writing differently, that could have been an opening chapter of KH3 instead of a second game, with a brief summary saying basically "so in the time since KH2 Sora and Riku completed the Mark of Mastery" and then came back later with DDD as a fun little aside, like "here's what the Mark of Mastery was like, for those who wanted a game set in that." You gotta understand, I come from the perspective of someone who is first and foremost a Zelda fan, who also has an absurdly complicated timeline to deal with, and often talk with other fans about how I hope the next game happens in such-and-such a time period, or covers the events of such-and-such within Hyrule's history, or a game from so-and-so's perspective. But as complicated as the overall story is, the mainline games in that series can all be understood on their own, even when they have consequences for later games. And yes, Zelda isn't as plot driven, but I still feel Kingdom Hearts could manage this too without losing its story-driven nature.
Kingdom Hearts could be the same way. They could have made KH1, the story of Sora finding his friends and defeating Xehanort's Heartless and discovering the other worlds. Then they could make KH2, with a bit more to the beginning chapters to explain what little you need to know about the events of CoM, which would basically just be an introduction of Organization XIII and KH2's antagonist, Xemnas, and the rest of the game would be about destroying Organization XIII and Xemnas. Then they could make KH3, with the details of Xehanort explained at the beginning, perhaps from some extra chapters of gameplay that would have fleshed out KH3 a little more to the people who complained of lack of content. During the development, fans would inevitably create all sorts of fan theories about what really happened at various points in the timeline, what other characters were doing while Sora was doing his thing, and what glossed over events looked like, and would yearn for games to be set during those events or focused on those characters. And at various points throughout the main series development, the spinoffs could have been made to provide more detail about and a greater focus on those characters and events. What's that KH fans? You want to know what the Mark of Mastery looked like? Here's a game all about that! What's that? You want to know what happened before the Keyblade War? Here's a game about that! What's that? You want to know about Roxas' days at Organization XIII? Here's a game about that! Want a game from Aqua, Terra, and Ventus' perspectives and to know more about Xehanort's origins? Here you go! And so on.
Had they done things this way, and preferably also not released the games on so many different systems, more casual fans would play the mainline games and the fanbase would be bigger, and hardcore fans would still play all the spinoffs. If anything, I'd find the spinoffs more rewarding if they were done this way, as further secrets of the lore revealed to dedicated fans rather then absolutely necessary plot points. Perhaps most importantly, I'd get to play KH3 while I was still an angsty teenager that wouldn't roll his eyes at all the mentions of light and darkness and all the teenage edginess the game exudes. I'd still play the entire series either way, but I'd enjoy it more, and more people would try the mainline games, which would lead to more fans to talk about the series with, and I wouldn't get made fun of for liking the series in spite of its convoluted story. It just would overall be a better experience for everyone, I think. I'm not mad that they made the games I refer to as spinoffs, I love 358/2 Days probably more than any other game except maybe 2, and the characters in BBS are great, especially Aqua, so I'm glad they exist and all. I just think it could have been executed better.
Regarding the "you didn't play the games" that someone brought up, I wouldn't accuse you of that. But I can also see why it may come off that way to someone if you say that DDD isn't the main story.
Again, I'm not saying it isn't the main story, just that the gameplay is different, and rather than just getting on with it and making a game about fighting Xehanort, they make this extra chapter about passing a test and fighting a younger version of him from an alternate timeline, and sure there's a bunch of important detail in there, but the game still just feels like an "extra" to me, like the important parts of it really could have just been in KH3 told through prologue chapters, expository flashbacks and cutscenes, and explanations from characters. Then it could have been made later as a separate game that offered an optional fun extra chapter of the story. Or they could have incorporated the Mark of Mastery into KH3 at the beginning without needing a whole game devoted to it, and that would have added quite a few worlds to the game, which would also serve to pad out KH3's length a bit more. Granted, that would require an overhaul to how the Mark of Mastery worked to prevent there from being a jarring change in gameplay a few worlds into the game, but there's just more evidence that it's a spinoff.
Basically this whole argument in this thread started because I said that I had to wait 13 years between Kingdom Hearts 2 and 3, and people were offended that I didn't find all the games I refer to as spinoffs good enough to hold me over, when really there was just a story I was looking forward to that I really wish I had gotten to enjoy when the emotions from playing the first two games were still fresh in my emotional teen heart, not my jaded, post-college with a dead end career heart.
I think had I been series director, I'd have made 1, then 2 (in 2004), then CoM (circa 2006, in its RE:CoM form, but with a PS3 release so that character assets would be on PS3 to speed up 3's development), then 358/2 Days (for PS3, circa early 2008, again helping 3's development), then 3 (circa holiday 2009, on PS3, a mere 5 years after the second), then BBS (early-mid 2011, also on PS3, marketed as KH0: Birth By Sleep, and make it play even more like 1-3), then DDD (unless I decided to make it a part of 3), then Unionχ without gacha elements and as a more fleshed out game, 0.2BBS as free DLC to BBS, and have the first game in the next Kingdom Hearts saga as a launch title or launch window title for PS4, or at least have it be out by now. And of course in the process, the story would have to be done very differently so you can go straight from 1 to 2 without CoM and straight from 2 to 3 without 0:BBS or 3D. And I'd just forget about Coded, because no one wanted that thing.
One last thing, I wanted to see if it really is just me calling these things spinoffs, and it turns out it isn't. I thought I was losing my mind for a bit. Here's an example of a site that agrees with me on exactly which ones are spinoffs (the non-numbered ones). The first sentence calls them spinoffs and in the same sentence says that they on the surface seem to hold something crucial to understanding the main plot. Here's a KH fansite complaining about DDD being "yet another spinoff" though admittedly it's before the game's release and he's at least happy it moves the plot forward, but still seems to call it a spinoff and is tired of waiting for 3. Here's an article quoting Nomura himself, who says there will be another KH title before KH4, and the article calls it a spinoff. And here's a KH fan forum asking if people want another spinoff. There are plenty of people who think like you do on that forum, that all the games matter so it doesn't matter what they're called, but there's also plenty of people like me who feel that they're side stories or spinoffs. So don't tell me I'm not a real fan just because I think they're spinoffs.