The Chosen One is a hard sell.
Well, to be frank, so is everything upon which it is based.
The Chosen One is, in a strange way, a fan–fiction from a fan–fiction of a fan–fiction of a fan–fiction.
Actually, it could be more confusingly said to be a fan–fiction from a sequel of a fan–fiction of a sequel of a fan–fiction of a sequel of a fan–fiction.
In any case, let’s start at the highest identifiable point—Kingdom Hearts—and work our way down.
If you’re here, the chances that you know Kingdom Hearts are somewhere in the ballpark of one–to–one. I find it hard to imagine that somebody who found this blog didn’t find it by Google–Searching Kingdom Hearts. However, it is a necessary first step on the journey.
At the dawn of the millennium, Disney and Squaresoft (now SQUARE ENIX) occupied the same office building. This prompted them to also occupy a collaborative video game project that entered the world as Kingdom Hearts—a crossover of Disney’s various film properties tied together with a framework comprised of Nomura Tetsuya’s unadulterated fannish glee, and a battle system that took inspiration and characters from Final Fantasy.
Despite how strange that sounds, Kingdom Hearts not only became critically successful, but also spawned an intense following. It is the second–largest Games section on FanFiction–Dot–Net, where we doth lay our next scene.
Kingdom Hearts was transformed into a full–blown franchise by its sequels, the most popular of which has always been Kingdom Hearts II (which, for several reasons, is not the second Kingdom Hearts game, neither is it second in the overall series timeline.) Kingdom Hearts II’s considerably more nebulous plot and morally ambiguous factions, as well as much more shounen–inspired action, inspired its own wealth of fan–fiction that continues to this day.
In 2006, Newbiespud (henceforth shortened to Spud) posted a story to FanFiction–Dot–Net entitled The Interference, a tale with a very simple, typical set–up: a teenage self–insert by the same of Alex Karsath (henceforth shortened to Karsath) finds himself inside Kingdom Hearts II, whereupon he receives two things:
- the Lockshield, an original weapon mirroring the Keyblade;
- the rarely–employed privilege of interfering in events in order to change their outcome for better or for worse.
The fic gained some notoriety for simply playing the scenario straight with a modicum of skill, unusual in a space that generally vacillates between misguided cliché and biting parody. A large amount of credit for this goes to Spud’s rendering of himself. Karsath does not replace Sora, but never fades into the background. He is never infallible or pure of heart, but he never gives reason to demonise him.
The Interference also found itself in the way of sequels, using the rules of Kingdom Hearts as a framework to annex further fictional worlds. After the first sequel, which established the presence of a second so–called Interference, Spud’s fan–fiction had amassed its own regular readership. The natural next step was expansion; in this case, a web forum.
The Interference: Legends no longer exists. It was the first incarnation of the community and managed to last roughly five to six years. The main meat of the site was a play–by–post roleplaying game set in a version of The Interference where Karsath was suddenly not the only one of his kind. It carried on for a fair while, garnering a sizeable membership who to this day still gather and explore their little self–insert fantasies.
That version came to an end after some complications that aren’t worth a stage on this blog, and the second version The Interference: Multiverse was born in late 2012. Resetting the timeline to after the original fic instead of after its sequel, the community was also reshuffled slightly, which led to the creative environment as it was the following spring.
It is during that time that the short–lived but fruitful considerations of “the AU [Alternate Universe] Project” began. It was a joke document that spawned from a considered set of Pokémon teams for different characters; not long after, multiple other brief pitches for AUs were written. These spanned the gamut from ‘Karsath never Interfered but his game came to life anyway’ to ‘everybody has a nice butt’.
And then, on the 28th of May, I added the following:
CHOSEN ONE AU
Sora never woke up.
Karsath is now the Keyblade Master.
This was the original two–sentence prompt of The Chosen One.