SQUARE ENIX AND DISNEYâS BUENA VISTA GAMES UNVEIL ALL-STAR VOICE CAST FOR KINGDOM HEARTS II
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (February 8, 2006) â Square Enix, Inc. (Square Enix), the publisher of Square EnixÂ interactive entertainment products in North America, and Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG), the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced today the all-star voice cast and North American release date for KINGDOM HEARTSÂ® II, the highly-anticipated action role-playing game (RPG) exclusively for the PlayStationÂ®2 computer entertainment system. KINGDOM HEARTS II is the sequel to KINGDOM HEARTS, one of the top 10 best-selling PlayStation 2 titles of all time in North America (Source: The NPD Group, Dec. 2005).
The all-star ensemble voice cast is led by Haley Joel Osment (âThe Sixth Sense,â âA.I. Artificial Intelligenceâ) as the main character Sora and is joined by David Gallagher (â7th Heavenâ) as Riku, and Hayden Panettiere (âRacing Stripes,â âRaising Helenâ) as Kairi. KINGDOM HEARTS II will also feature the voice talents of Jesse McCartney (âSummerland,â Recording artist, âBeautiful Soulâ CD) as the mysterious boy Roxas, Brittany Snow (âThe Pacifier,â âAmerican Dreamsâ) as Namine, Christopher Lee (âCharlie and the Chocolate Factory,â âLord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ringâ) as Diz; Steve Burton (âThe Last Castle,â âTakenâ) as Cloud, Rachael Leigh Cook (âSheâs All That,â âJosie And The Pussycatsâ) as Tifa and Mena Suvari (âAmerican Beauty,â âRumor Has Itâ) as Aerith, all characters from FINAL FANTASYÂ® VII; and Hedy Buress (âBoston Common,â âIf These Walls Could Talkâ), Tara Strong (âFairly OddParents : Shadow Showdown,â âTeen Titansâ) , Gwendoline Yeo (âDesperate Housewives,â â24â) as the popular female-trio Yuna, Rikku, Paine from FINAL FANTASY X-2. In addition, many of the original Disney film star voice actors are reprising their role for this project, including Ming-Na (âER,â âFinal Fantasy: The Spirits Withinâ) as Mulan, James Woods (âBe Coolâ), returning as the villain Hades and Zach Braff (âScrubsâ) as Chicken Little.
KINGDOM HEARTS II will ship to North American retailers on March 28, 2006. Since its release in September 2002, the original KINGDOM HEARTS for the PlayStation 2 has shipped more than 2.6 million units in North America. Bridging the gap between the original and the sequel, KINGDOM HEARTS: CHAIN OF MEMORIESÂ® followed in December 2004 for the NintendoÂ® Game Boy AdvanceÂ® system. With the release of the Japanese version of KINGDOM HEARTS II in December 2005 (1 million units shipped during only three days after the release date), the series has shipped in excess of 7.5 million units worldwide.
The world of KINGDOM HEARTS joins classic Disney characters and worlds together with a new story filled with new characters and environments created in the renowned Square Enix style. The result was one remarkable, innovative, original property that captured the attention of both gamers and critics alike. In KINGDOM HEARTS II, players will travel through the worlds of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Mulan, Pirates of the Caribbean, Steamboat Willie and Tron as well as revisit worlds from the original, including Aladdin, Disney Castle, Hercules, The Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh and Tim Burtonâs The Nightmare Before Christmas. The game features more than 100 Disney characters, and also introduces new, original characters such as Roxas, members of Organization XIII and the Nobodies, all designed by Square Enixâs Tetsuya Nomura, director and character designer of the KINGDOM HEARTS series. Nomura is best known for his creations in the top selling titles FINAL FANTASY VII, VIII, X and X-2. New Disney additions to the sequel include Chicken Little and Stitch from Disneyâs Lilo and Stitch as summons as well as one of Disneyâs favorite villains, Pete.
âWe have enjoyed success with the Japanese release of KINGDOM HEARTS II this past December and cannot wait to roll out this title in March in North America â North America is where KINGDOM HEARTS all began,â said Tetsuya Nomura. âThe entire team has been working day and night to perfect the North American version and we hope the gamers will find it even more exciting than the original.â
âKINGDOM HEARTS is the perfect creative example of how BVG is growing and developing the Disney brand and relevance in video games worldwide,â said Graham Hopper, senior vice president and general manager, Buena Vista Games. âOur excellent relationship with Square Enix has once again resulted in a game that sets the artistic benchmark in developing video games based on popular entertainment intellectual properties.â
âThe KINGDOM HEARTS series has given us the opportunity to showcase Square Enixâs expertise in game design and development together with Disneyâs memorable worlds and characters. This collaborative project is a situation most can only dream of and we are fortunate to have had this opportunity,â said Shinji Hashimoto, producer, Square Enix. âKINGDOM HEARTS II is packed with even more excitement and amazing adventures and we cannot wait for gamers to experience it for themselves.â
KINGDOM HEARTS II follows Sora, Donald, and Goofy on their continuing quest, after the events of KINGDOM HEARTS. Sora is looking for his lost friend Riku, while Donald and Goofy are searching for their missing king. The story begins in Twilight Town, a quiet burg nestled between night and day. Sora and friends are joined by a vibrant new cast of characters, including the king himself. Together, they will encounter countless dangers in worlds both familiar and brand-new.
KINGDOM HEARTS II features a new and improved real-time battle system which provides an increased selection of commands, such as performing special attacks and cooperative attacks with members of your party, adding strategy to the gameplay. Players can also perform the âDriveâ to transform main character Sora into his various forms, altering his skills and abilities. Examples include the Brave Form, where Sora absorbs the power of Goofy allowing him to use two Keyblades; the Wisdom Form, where Sora absorbs the power of Donald allowing him to increase his magic power; and the Master Form, where Sora absorbs the power of both Donald and Goofy and increases both his attack and magic powers. These new features bring additional challenges and excitement to the players and further enhance gameplay.
Japanese pop artist Utada Hikaru returns to sing the theme song for KINGDOM HEARTS II. The song titled âSanctuary,â the English version of its original Japanese release âPassion,â was written specifically for KINGDOM HEARTS II. More information on the artist can be found at http://www.utada.com
KINGDOM HEARTS II will be available at North American retailers for a suggested retail price of $49.99 (USD). Additional information can be found at http://www.kingdomhearts.com