The Kingdom Hearts universe is a sprawling amalgam of Square Enix property Final Fantasy and all things Disney. With so many big ideas being crammed in, deadlines, budgets, tech limitations, and various other reasons often mean developers must cut swathes of content. Most of the time it’s just a small area, but sometimes it’s more significant. All we can tell for certain is that sometimes enough code remains that you can still go exploring. We’ve uncovered some of the areas and characters that didn’t officially make the final cut of these Kingdom Hearts games but have left behind remnants of what they could have been.
The beta trailer of the first Kingdom Hearts game showed a playable version of Disney Castle; however, this world was removed in the actual release. Using various cheats and hacks, it is possible to enter areas of the world that were inserted before progress stopped. The world icon is also visible on the world map and is playable in Kingdom Hearts II.
The final boss battle in Kingdom Hearts is a corrupted version of the heroes’ Destiny Islands home. Dubbed the End of the World, it was actually a later revision of the stage. A previous iteration — known as Crumbling Island — also exists. It is another corrupted version of Destiny Islands but is less similar than the End of the World to Destiny Islands.
Earlier plans included a Pride Lands level for the first game. It was dropped as the software struggled with portraying quadrupedal movement and required another detection engine. Simba was instead added as a Summon, and the world would later be included in Kingdom Hearts II.
Developers also planned to add a summon for Final Fantasy’s Bahamut, but it was never fully implemented. Although an option can appear through the use of cheat codes, attempting to activate it will crash the game.
Kingdom Hearts II
Alternate Xemnas Forms
Xemnas is the chief villain of Kingdom Hearts II. In his last battle with Sora, he takes on several forms before finally being defeated. There were actually two other forms that ended up cut from the game.
King is a humanoid with a crown of Nobody sigils.
Kentauros is a centaur creature with a similar design scheme to King.
Director Tetsuya Nomura intended to let the players fight all the Organization XIII members in Coliseum Battles. This idea was cut due to time constraints but later implemented in Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix. Instead of Coliseum Fights, data battles were entered as optional boss fights in a new location called the Cavern of Remembrance.
Buzz and Woody
Kingdom Hearts II developers planned to include summons for Buzz Lightyear and Woody from the Toy Story films. The pair made it to the model stage and were included in the game data, but textures were not included.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
A Jungle Book world was almost implemented in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep but did not make the final cut. It is still accessible in the Japanese version of the game using cheat codes. You can access several areas, including Louie’s Throne Room.
Also known as the Kingdom Key D, this weapon is the opposite number to Sora’s iconic Keyblade. It was set to be usable by Ventus, but the idea was cut. It is still usable by entering cheat codes on the Japanese version of the game.
For a full list of Kingdom Hearts deleted scenes and other content that had to be removed from the games during development, check out this extremely informative page on the Kingdom Hearts wiki, The Keyhole.