Like most video game franchises, Kingdom Hearts has an extremely fragmented timeline. Even if a game gets released in a particular chronological order doesn't mean that it will follow an in-game chronology, which is why the timeline for Kingdom Hearts can be a bit confusing. A close look at each game in the series can begin to unravel the often elusive Kingdom Hearts plot summary. Contrary to popular belief, the Kingdom Hearts timeline can be explained.
Simply aligning each game in the series according to its place in the timeline isn't enough to fully understand the complex history of this engrossing franchise. To better understand how the franchise has come together since the first game's 2002 launch, a plot summary for each game is in order. With this list, people new to the franchise - as well as veterans who have played since the beginning - can read up on the series in the proper order to better understand this creative and magical property.
Release Date: 2016
Platform: Web browser, Android, and iOS
Timeline Details: Kingdom Hearts Union χ serves as a prequel to the series as a whole. The game is set several centuries before the Keyblade War, which established the structure of the entire Kingdom Hearts universe.
Plot: The title of the game refers to a device called the χ-blade, which has importance to the events of the franchise. Within the plot, the player takes control of a Keyblade-wielder who follows the Keyblade Masters - rulers who hold dominion over five separate factions. The goal of the game is to fight for control of the limited light still existing in the world.
Release Date: 2010
Timeline Details: Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep serves as a series prequel and takes place 10 years prior to the events of the first Kingdom Hearts game.
Plot: The gameplay centers around Terra, Aqua, and Ventus as they embark on a quest to find the missing Master Xehanort. Their goal is to protect the many worlds of the Kingdom Hearts universe from a group of nefarious creatures known as the Unversed. The player is able to embody all three characters across their varied scenarios throughout the game.
Release Date: 2002
Platform: PlayStation 2
Timeline Details: Kingdom Hearts is the first game in the series. It established the base timeline for the franchise, while the previous two games in this list serve as prequels. All of the games that follow exist in the timeline after this first game.
Plot: Kingdom Hearts established the baseline plot of the series. In this title, the player takes on the role of Sora, a young teenager who joins forces with the many characters of the Disney universe to defend against the forces of darkness. He wields a mysterious device known as a Keyblade.
Release Date: 2009
Platform: Nintendo DS
Timeline Details: The events of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days fall within and just after the events of the original Kingdom Hearts game.
Plot: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days follows the adventures of Roxas and his activities within Organization XIII. It also follows his relationship with Axel, another member of the organization, and introduces Xion, a friend of the two who becomes the 14th member of the group.