By Quentin H. / April 26th, 2018
When I bought my ticket to attend the first ever KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting, I had never been to the House of Blues in Anaheim, California before and I had only been playing KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] for about three weeks. And to be honest, when I got there, I was a bit underwhelmed. The security line into the House of Blues was extremely long, and I wound up waiting for about half an hour to get in.
Luckily, that was the last time for the entire KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting that I would be unhappy.Once I was finally inside, I was greeted by tons of KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] artwork. It covered the walls and the stairs, and it even was framed in the bathrooms. It was fascinating to see so much artwork that spanned from concept art to hand-drawn sketches to stand up marquees (I’ll be scattering photographs of them throughout the rest of this piece). It really added a flavor to the Dandelion Meeting and set the tone that this is not so much a general KINGDOM HEARTS event as much as it is a event dedicated to the fans (old and new) who have fallen in love with KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross].
When you entered the House of Blues, these walls were the first thing you saw at the KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting. (Images taken by me):
Once I got onto the main show floor, that was where I felt that the meet-up truly began. During the event, we were all handed stampcards and told that when we complete five out of the seven ‘attractions’, we would get a special gift.
Signing a KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting wall (my signature is in there somewhere!):
Also present was the latest announcement for KINGDOM HEARTS III: Classic Kingdom. Classic Kingdom is comprised of Game & Watch-esque minigames that are inspired by classic Mickey Mouse cartoons. They are played by Sora in KINGDOM HEARTS III on a handheld device, and they will also be playable in KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross]. The four games in Classic Kingdom that were revealed at KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting were:
One of the attractions that you could also get a stamp for was to try out one of the four Classic Kingdom games, which were set up on touch tablets:
I myself got to try (after a winding line) The Barnyard Battle. Honestly, it is definitely a reflex-based game that did indeed fit the category of games from ‘yesteryear’ and was fairly amusing for the five minutes that I was given to play it. The goal was simple: hit the action direction for Sora and Mickey as an enemy descends down one of the two sides that they are on. Hit it too early or miss one, and you lose a life. As you get deeper into the game, the enemies come faster and faster.
If the rest of the Classic Kingdom games are anything like The Barnyard Battle, is clear that these games are meant to be a diversion in KINGDOM HEARTS III and in KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross]. Also, because they were on touch tablets, I would not be surprised to see them released for iOS and Android platforms as well at some point in the future. That said, they also set up life-sized version of The Barnyard Battle for people to play as well:
Before I go on, here is some more art that was covering the KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting:
First, there were the opening ceremonies where the Classic Kingdom was announced. I unfortunately don’t have photos from it, due to SQUARE-ENIX explicitly telling us to not take any during any of the panels. However, a trailer for the Classic Kingdom was shown:
After a short bit to let people chat and do some of the activities, the first of two panels, the Art & Design panel, was held. Present was Art Director Tatsuya Kando, Main Designer Mayumi Okamoto, Character and Avatar Designs Designer Miko Yamashita, Heartless Artist Sara Shimokobe, Art Designer for KINGDOM HEARTS III and KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Diago Tsukada, Background Designer Aki Igarashi, and Cutscene Lead Megumi Yamamoto. The panel was actually pretty amazing, as we got a glimpse into the upcoming Enchanted Dominion storyline and they answered questions from the fan community about the art and design of KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross].
After a short break, the main stage changed:
It turned out that everyone who attended the KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting had been entered to win a two-person trip to Walt Disney World to attend the grand opening of Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They announced the winner and brought her on stage:
Producer Hironori Okayama announced that KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] would have a global exclusive event with Toy Story Land for the North American players of KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross]. The audience absolutely ROARED at this announcement. As a side note: they also showed a trailer for Toy Story Land…that didn’t actually show any of the actual park.
I then finished up my attractions, filling out my card, and turned it in to get some stickers:
Finally, the main event, the KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Developer Panel, happened. Up on stage was Art Director Tatsuya Kando, Producer Hironori Okayama, and KINGDOM HEARTS franchise director Tetsuya Nomura. They talked about upcoming content and changes to KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] that included a new PVP mode and about newly announced upcoming 7-star medals. The developers also answered questions from the community that were previously posed in a reddit thread.
One of the biggest announcements, however, was the Make Your Mark event within KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross]. In this event, three-hundred players of KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] will get their Player Name included in KINGDOM HEARTS III. Though there are three ways to enter, they only talked about one at the event, which is the High Score Challenge.
You can find more details about Make Your Mark and how to enter here.
The staff also announced that while we were playing the Classic Kingdom games during the event, the staff was keeping a record of the high scores in each of the four games. They announced the winners during the event and gave them prizes. I was lucky enough to grab a photo of the scoreboard afterwards. I’ll go ahead and say that I got nowhere near this score on The Barnyard Battle:
Afterwards, the event wrapped up, and we all got a parting gift. It was a KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross]-themed tote bag that contained patches from the five main unions, postcards, and a special lanyard:
Before I give my final thoughts on the event, I am going to share just a bit more artwork that was everywhere:
So what did I think of the first-even KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting?
Honestly, I LOVED it. It was awesome to get to interact with fellow-players of the game and to see so much concept art everywhere. The panels were actually informative and you could tell that the community team present wanted to make sure that everyone had both a good time and that relevant questions were answered about the future of KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross]. The energy when the developers took the stage for the final panel was something that reminded me of a huge music concert, and it is something that is honestly hard to put into words. It was, in other words, worth it to attend and find out more about this game.
That being said, my biggest issue was that I wish that security to get into the KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting was better organized and that there were more security stations, as it took well over a half-hour for me to get in. This, in-turn, delayed the opening ceremonies as a result. It was not a big deal ultimately, as we were free to come and leave the House of Blues as we wanted during the event, and after the big initial rush of people, it was not hard to get back in. Second, I wish that there was some exclusive KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Event merchandise to purchase there at the event. Everything that was available to buy looked like it was also available on the SQUARE-ENIX Store.
Overall, these are two minor complaints. If you look on the faces of everywhere who attended, you can tell one clear thing:
Everyone here had an amazing time, and it is not hard to say that I personally felt like I belonged to the KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] community. I will be attending the next event (this seems like it will be a yearly event) as a result, and I cannot wait to see what SQUARE-ENIX has in store for us next.
With all that said…Anguis represent!
What Union do you belong to? Do you want to attend the next KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting?
Let us know in the comments below!
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