Kingdom(s) Come

Character Remediations and Polyperspectivity of the Final Fantasy franchise in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II


  • James McLean University of Hull


polyperspectivity, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy VII, Fan Studies, Tetsuya Nomura, Netnography, Media Mix, Worldview, Video games, franchises


Over twenty years since its original release, Final Fantasy VII (Square 1987) fans continue to debate the video game’s world and characters as they are mixed and remixed into new licensed products. This article explores the fan metanarrative that circulates the story, ludology, and industry discourses that bind Final Fantasy VII. It will demonstrate how fan practices operate within community spaces to locate, present, and police both knowledge and meanings about a fictional world that itself is continually being reshaped by the transmedia production milieu. This article explores the ongoing fan debates circulating characters Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith from Final Fantasy VII, and their respective remixing into the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Through a discourse analysis (Gee, 2007) of online Western fan bases, published above-the-line production interviews (Mayer et al. 2009), and self-reflexive experiences (Hills 2002), I seek to demonstrate the complexity of fan practices and how they attempt to locate (and generate) narrative coherency. I will argue that fans do not simply enjoy games for their variance in gameplay and story but seek a better understanding of a growing fictional world that is complex and is subject to sanctioned rewrites. Drawing on Eiji Ōtsuka’s theories on world and variation (2010), this article will demonstrate how fans can function as textual barristers in their attempts to untangle the media mix (Steinberg, 2012) of Final Fantasy VII through its ongoing reiterations, adaptations, and world-sharing with Kingdom Hearts.

Author Biography

James McLean, University of Hull

James is a lecturer in media production. His academic research is informed by over ten-years’ experience of media industry production. His work commonly explores how media producers make sense of the creative, commercial, and cultural forces that shape their practices and ongoing output. Research into production cultures has been analyzed through the lenses of adaptation, media franchises, transmedia, fandom, and genre theory.

James' PhD thesis argued for closer scrutiny of the uses, values, and meanings of genre in the creative practices of British factual television production. It applied an integrated methodology that combined semi-structured interviews with participant observation and industry-focused textual analysis.


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