Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts video game series has sold over 20 million units since the first chapter premiered in 2002. A collaboration with Disney Interactive, the series follows the antics of original character Sora and Disney favorites Goofy & Donald Duck as they travel across worlds familiar to fans of Disney franchises.
When the final chapter in the series, Kingdom Hearts III, was announced in 2013 by publisher Sqaure Enix, it set off an unrelenting wave of anticipation. You can imagine how excited fans were when (after a 5 year wait) a release date of January 2019 was finally announced, along with the news that characters and worlds from Pixar movies would also be a part of Kingdom Hearts III – a first for the franchise.
In the two-month lead-up to launch, Square Enix turned to GPJ to create a pop-up store in Disney Springs, Orlando; an attraction that needed to cater to core fans and also attract new ones. GPJ, Square Enix and Disney Parks all partnered together for the first time, bringing a new synergy to theefforts.
We immersed the fans into the many worlds of Kingdom Hearts III, in a space that was equal parts photo-op and exclusive game demo, where fans could play the game ahead of the worldwide release.
To pull in new fans, the design heavily focused on the new Kingdom Hearts III worlds including Toy Story, Frozen and Big Hero 6. Of course, mainstay heroes from the game, including Mickey, Donald and Goofy were featured prominently, along with Kingdom Hearts’ main hero, Sora.
We created stations featuring life-sized props from the game, exclusive merchandise, and of course, pre-order stations to reserve a copy of the game upon release.
Reservations for playing the demo were snatched up by mid-morning of each day, and within the first week of release, the game shipped 5mm units worldwide – a huge launch by any standards.
Collaboration, creativity and a deep understanding of Kingdom Hearts fans all came together for an amazing gaming experience that was also a hugely successful promotion for the game.