Loading Journal Special Issue on Kingdom Hearts

deadline for submissions: 
August 14, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Dean Bowman, University of East Anglia

Dear All,

My Colleagues and I at the University of East Anglia are putting together a special edition of Loading… journal on the Kingdom Hearts franchise as a transmedia phenomenon. The issue is based on an expansion of papers we gave at a panel at the DiGRA conference at Ritsumeikan university in Kyoto last year. But we are looking for additional articles to complement those we already have in order to attempt to address as wide a group of topics as possible through the lens of this important franchise. Our ambition is that this could become an important repository of research and theorising on this game series and the topic of transmedia production and fandom.

I’ll paste the CFP below but the link is here also:



CFP: Loading Special Issue on Kingdom Hearts

The Kingdom Hearts franchise straddles worlds, falling between the realms of Disney and Square Enix, invoking myriad characters and franchises from both companies and finding fans not just in Japan and America, but all over the world. Despite the success of this franchise, which now extends to eight mainline instalments produced since 2002 (not to mention additional remasters and mobile game spin-offs) collectively selling 24 million units to date (Minotti, 2018), Kingdom Hearts has yet to be fully interrogated as a nexus point for game culture. As a remedy, this Special Issue of Loading seeks to investigate how Kingdom Hearts occupies a locus point between cultures, industries and fandoms. In Kingdom Hearts, we argue, games studies finds an exemplar of current debates and theories, including, but not limited to issues like:  Ludo-adaptation and narratology (Punday, 2019), representation, identity and diversity (Chess, 2017; Kocurek, 2015; Malkowski and Russworm, 2017; Ruberg and Shaw, 2017) and participatory culture and fan taste cultures (Consalvo and Paul, 2019; Sharp and Thomas, 2019). In particular, we seek to find the moments of tension, synergy and unexpected synchrony enabled by the blending of Square Enix and Disney’s characters, worlds and business cultures. In doing so, we aim to interrogate the impact such transnational, transcultural and transindustrial co-productions can have on wider games culture

This Special Issue will build on an existing project about Kingdom Hearts, but we are looking to expand its remit, especially in the areas outlined below. If these, or any other topics interest you, please do get in touch with us:

  • Transmedia storytelling
  • Ludology within Kingdom Hearts
  • Ancillary merchandising
  • Adaptation of Disney characters in Kingdom Hearts
  • Music and sound in Kingdom Hearts
  • Kingdom Hearts in the history of the Japanese Role-playing Game
  • How Kingdom Hearts relates to current key theoretical debates in Games Studies
  • Issues of representation, particularly anthropomorphism, ethnicity and sexuality
  • Fan creativity around Kingdom Hearts

If you would like to submit a proposal, please send a 300 word abstract by 14 August 2020, including full contact details, to the editors at: kingdomheartstransmediaproject@gmail.com

Kind regards,

Dean Bowman