Character Structure, Creative Writing, Disney, JRPG, Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, Narrative Structure, Plot Structure, PS4, Sequels, Square-Enix, Uncategorized, Video Games, Xbox One

Kingdom Hearts: What’s After KH3? ~ Thoughts, Predictions and Theories

KH3 Secret Ending 1

Kingdom Hearts 3: A 14-year long experience that has been crafted for the fans has long since been delivered on its release date of January 29 in 2019; that is until an inevitable final mix comes out – fixing and/or adding things to such a prominent entree for the franchise. In completing the game, collecting most of the lucky emblems and various other misadventures, you’ll be rewarded with a secret ending that has promoted fans to go in the direction of the most simplistic conclusions to absolutely bizarre theories in regards to the future of the series. In this article, I’ll be going over seven thoughts, predictions and/or theories which could influence the future of KH games and the filler titles leading to KH4. And to get this out of the way – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR THE GAME – so if you haven’t finished your experience that is KH3, then I suggest you save this article for a future read.


  1. The World of Broken Dreams and The Afterlife ~ (Verum Rex and Cut Content)KH3 Secret Ending
    One thing that the secret ending does to most, if not all, Kingdom Heart fans is amaze and confuse the player as to what will happen next. Now, while this ending showcases a future adventure for Riku and Sora, effectively bringing an answer to a rather vague – if not wandering – question, where does this take the game and our unsuspecting protagonists towards? My theory is that through the Power of Waking, a power that was explicitly told isn’t supposed to be used for “traversing worlds”, possibly has a price in regards to how it’s being used. Sora had used it in order to retrieve the hearts of his fallen comrades after their first encounter with Terra-Xehanort and an army of Heartless, to which Young Xehanort remarks “There’s no saving you” and leaving the player in confusion – even after his  final defeat, stating that “Your time in this world is…” which otherwise would’ve seemed like smoke, given his disappearance, but with Sora’s disappearance at the end – watched amongst the other hopefuls of the story – it’s entirely possible that the next game could solve that very mystery. The setup for this scene puts both Sora and Riku in two different worlds. In Sora’s case, it’s highly believed that it’s Shibuya from the popular series “The World Ends With You” which has already made a stapled intro as one of Tetsuya Nomura’s creations during Dream Drop Distance, a game which also invokes the power of waking, as both Sora and Riku traverse the sleeping worlds. One particular quote uttered by the cast of TWEWY is “See you in Shibuya” which fans have suspected might’ve lead to the inclusion of a TWEWY world, now shows promise that in Sora’s involvement with the story on a much grander scale.See you in ShibuyaOn the other hand, Riku’s destination seems to be a little bit more of a mystery. It appears that his world is connected to the video game world of Verum Rex from the Toy Box World. Now, if that were the case, it would result in two different methods:1. It’s possible that Riku had visited the Toy Box world, which in itself is already a copy of the world to which Toy Story originates from, entering through the same screen Sora had entered, leading to the events of being within said game world.Or2. Riku, as a Keyblade Master, is taught by Yen Sid in how to properly use the Power of Waking which leads to a world that is sleeping and that’s also awake. Verum Rex’s appearance within that world is an amalgamation of Final Fantasy Versus XIII (A game in which Nomura was the director for before its change in direction with gameplay and story), with the main characters being alternates of other characters (Which would make for a shoe-in for future Final Fantasy references/appearances down the line) and the concept that the world Riku is visiting is a world that also houses other incomplete ideas, good and bad, that were never made into final products.If the second mini-theory within this theory is what made you say “Hmmmm…it’s possible” than the next one will be all the more interesting and, hopefully, a decision that can be reached quickly with Disney’s allowance.
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  2. Oswald’s Return and Epic Mickey’s Representation (Forgotten Classics)Epic Mickey - Epic
    The introduction and reclaiming of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in Disney’s favor, re-introduced for the masses whose only seen his appearance in vintage cartoons and Epic Mickey (A game which went over well with the masses and was a primary source for Oswald’s appreciation as a precursor to Mickey Mouse), would be a great addition and a fantastic concept to follow upon within a world that’s based on incomplete, or forgotten, ideas. Oswald’s appearance would not only be unique and very Disney (Given that he was created by Walt Disney) but his character’s history, in a world that seemingly has forgotten about him, would not only match with his modus operandi from Epic Mickey, but it would also be credited to his comeback as a character. Riku as the protagonist would be the perfect example in showcasing what it means to be in darkness and then to be within the light, walking the road to dawn (Alongside wielding a keyblade named after it) to show that there’s a connection; also given the amount of time Riku and Mickey have spent together, alongside Mickey’s emotional state in being unable to save Aqua – something to which could be shared with the loss of his brother in Oswald – it isn’t impossible to believe that Mickey would’ve talked about an “older brother” at some point; which is just as relevant as Goofy talking about his son, Max, or Donald’s revelation in learning magic when he was apart of The Three Caballeros. Hire me, Square-Enix, I’m a gold mine waiting to happen.Epic Mickey - Height
    The dynamic of introducing Oswald as a living, breathing Disney character, rather than re-introducing him in the Classic Kingdom as a character that Sora, Donald, and Goofy just happened to miss, creates a base for Oswald’s character; in addition to adding lore to the character that Disney created and just seemingly forgot about. While Mickey is the king of Disney Castle, a world in which houses most of the main Disney affiliates around Mickey Mouse cartoons, it’s not impossible to believe that Oswald’s role in Epic Mickey as the leader of “The Wasteland” couldn’t be attributed as a world; maybe even as a phenomenon – if the concept is about “forgotten” or “incomplete” ideas. On the other hand, Oswald’s reception to audiences since 2006 have been received well and fleshing out his character, in addition to Epic Mickey’s conflict which makes Oswald relatable and somewhat sympathetic, would be a perfect metaphor for the possible conflicts that come with forgetting others; instilling the principle of trust and honesty for friendships in addition to the theme of light and darkness.Epic Mickey - Despair
    Overall, Oswald’s addition to the KH crew of Disney characters would be a welcomed addition. With an attitude that’s more gritty than Mickey’s hopeful optimism, a theme that is just dark enough for Nomura to craft around – in addition to the storyline established from the game that re-introduced the character, Oswald could be the potentially epic cross between Nomura’s Final Fantasy Formula and Disney’s Family-Friendly outlines.
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  3. A Keyblade Warrior That’s Not Sora. {A New Light Appears}KH Union-3
    I may be in the minority when I say this but…Kingdom Hearts Union X [Cross] was the most derailing bit of backstory that I’ve ever seen for Kingdom Hearts. Did it give us answers about the Keyblade War and the formation of the Keyblade Graveyard, in addition to multiple backstories for some characters and the most confusing game of “Why is this a thing?!” in morbid detail – yes. It’s because of this long backstory, alongside the confusing notion of kids seemingly inheriting the light to become Keyblade wielders, that the expansion of other Keyblade users in this shared universe can be announced. While the series has already given us older keyblade users in the form of Terra and Aqua, in addition to Mickey and Yen Sid (Don’t let their looks fool you, I’m sure there pretty old by this point), I believe that we are at the perfect moment to introduce a new wielder of light for future chronicles. Whether Tetsuya Nomura continues with our MC Sora or decides to go in a different direction, here are some interesting points to make note of when constructing a new keyblade wielding protagonist.KH World
    1. Heartless: Yes, those things that seem to appear to devour people’s hearts but aren’t, or are, controlled by Disney villains, Organization Members, The Nort Squad or anyone tinkering on the verge of darkness is a continuing incentive for a new protagonist taking up arms against them. While Nobodies could return, I say with reluctance, Heartless are still the main force that seemingly can lead a world to destruction, countless lives being lost and the constant loom that a keyblade wielder can, or is, nearby. In addition, the Heartless’s true origins have yet to be revealed; given the amount of info that’s been divulged, it’s entirely possible that there’s a bigger story to these heartless beings. While Nobodies can be linked to somebody and the Unversed are connected to Vanitas, it’s not as black and yellow for the Heartless; unless they want to bring back Dream Eaters.


    2. Keyblades: Before you scroll past this obvious fact, I want you to take a moment to ask yourself something: How did Riku get his newest keyblade, Braveheart, from Yen Sid? It’s shown that there are multiple types of keyblades – ones linked with prophecies like the Kingdom Key and Kingdom Key D – so whose to say that another Keyblade with properties of light and darkness doesn’t exist in the same way that ‘A Way to the Dawn’ does? Passing the Kingdom Key around like a discount Excalibur seems, in my opinion, lackluster to the importance of other keyblades whose origins have yet to be told. With a new protagonist comes a new direction for Keyblades, a formula that hasn’t been wrong since its introduction.


    3. World Interactions: KH3 introduced a few new things to the expansive world. Gummiphones, Lucky Emblems, Businesses in various hub world (Sea Salt Ice Cream, Bistros, Popsicles, etc.) was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of innovations for this entree. While Gummi Ships were inherently discovered by Mickey, seemingly used by him and various others, this continued discussion of “exploration” could be seen and shown in a different light for our future protagonist. KH3’s ending emphasizes that Hayner, Pence, and Olette were FINALLY able to go the beach…..except this is on Destiny Islands. “Order” could be ignored for this situation, however, another addition to Gummi Ships could be in the exploration of “Spirit Tracks” (Not be confused with the Zelda title of the same name). In KH2, the group finds themselves at Yen Sid’s tower without a Gummi Ship. Exploration by train, disguised by magic, appearing in Disney worlds of some kind just seems like another unique take on exploration.


    4. Final Fantasy/Square-Enix/Tetsuya Nomura Characters: In this stew of Disney lies another ingredient that fans seemingly have had the pleasure of experiencing since its introduction – Square-Enix Cameos. In Sora’s introduction, we’re surprised to find that a young Selphie (FF8), Wakka, and Tidus (Both from FFX) reside on Destiny Islands, whereas other Final Fantasy characters like Cloud, Squall (Leon), Aerith and others, are seemingly the same counterparts that were featured within their original game appearances. Since it appears that Final Fantasy characters are un-obligated to obey Order (Zack, Cloud, Auron), alongside Nomura’s own creations, the idea of throwing in characters to promote intrigue for exploration, getting stronger and essentially doing what’s right could be an added motivation for our new protagonist


    5. A Better Purpose: Whether the boat in the first game was a metaphor for life, or a really bad joke, a crucial piece to a new characters development is through finding a purpose and fulfilling that role. Sora’s beginning journey alongside Riku and Kairi was filled with child-like wonder in which the three, despite not knowing the outside world-world, would voyage upon. In Roxas’s story for KH2, it was all about getting to the beach, which was never there, as Roxas slowly came to the conclusion that he was apart of Sora and that he, in turn, needed to return to him. If there’s to be a new purpose that isn’t logically flawed, it could be the start of something new and potentially a driving force in which the newest protagonist strives towards.


  4. The Seven Princesses of Hearts and ‘World Order’ (World Representation)HonorableTidyKitten-size_restricted
    Princesses, am I right… that they play a rather big part in the construction of worlds and the conquest of many a diabolical plan? No? Well, if KH3 hasn’t already stated it, the future evolution of princesses could be taking steps in the right direction in the future. Ever since the beginning, rules have been put into place for the game; in-game wise and throughout its development. The Disney worlds had to be shown in a respectable manner that wouldn’t slander the properties involved and that didn’t break the mold in which Disney had formulated their existing characters. This rule by Disney is also the inside joke, or lore, that “World Order” is to be kept when visiting other worlds; so telling Rapunzel that she will find herself in another world – even if its Arendelle – is a big no-no for Sora and the gang. However, through Marluxia and Larxene’s interactions in The Kingdom of Corona and Arendelle, it’s stated that The New Seven Princesses of Hearts would be a fall-back plan to the gathering Warriors of Light. While this plan isn’t fulfilled and the only known princesses are revealed to be Anna, Elsa and Rapunzel (With Kairi as a possible candidate from the 1st game) it does bring interest to an old idea that had been executed in the first Kingdom Hearts game and hasn’t been touched upon since then.original
    Ever since their original appearance, Disney has continued to add princesses from modern fairy tales, created new ones for different minorities (A trend that has subtly been adapted in various forms of Disney media) and instilled them with a sense of identity and opinions that align with feminism; forming a stronger image towards women and how they are portrayed with the times; in turn changing the status quo of a ‘weak princess’. If that’s the case, future princesses that will be introduced/added into the series will have a lot to show in regards to their representing this image of a new princess, however, it also might mean that they, too, will have to take up arms in defense against the next impending foe that hopes to use them. While Rapunzel’s hair is currently not golden and Elsa/Anna haven’t discovered the mysteries of what’s impending in Frozen 2, the steps to bringing about four princesses, three if you’re excluding Kairi, to be socially and competitively ready for darkness, is an exciting venture.


    The Kingdom of DunBroch ( Merida), Sugar Rush (Vanellope von Schweetz) and The Bayou, or Jazz Age (Tiana) are a few worlds that could come to mind for certain princesses, showcasing their resolve and their ability to defend themselves. Merida’s archery would surely give the archer Heartless a run for their money, while Tiana (In frog form) could hop, kick and show her skills in froggy combat, while Vanellope’s control over her glitchy moments would ring her in for a unique combatant. Revisiting old worlds and seeing the progression made by other princesses would be another inspiring venture that only builds the reputation of Disney Princesses and their progression. Visiting Atlantica to see that Ariel is married and with a child would be a surreal experience, however, it would also be another example in showing how much she’s grown from the young woman we saw in KH1 to the woman she’s become in the future; having a child, being a parent, and caring for another life that isn’t your own. Fundamental lessons on life, while still being Disney, is something that can be visualized in KH games. If love can be shown in an intimate setting like it was for Rapunzel and Eugene, familiarized with a family with Anna and Elsa, the same can be said for the rest of the princesses.
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  5. Final Fantasy’s Connection (If it ain’t Disney, then Square it)
    TiredDearArthropods
    It’s no secret that Final Fantasy’s appearances within KH3 was incredibly minimal; unless you count the organization and some of our keyblade wielders. While Nomura states that the inclusion of characters from the previous two games wasn’t necessary for the ending to the Seekers of Darkness Saga, a sentiment that brought mixed reviews from multiple players, I for one thought that it was necessary given the “lore” between Xehanort and Keyblade Wielders. Its conclusion with the Warriors of Light and The Seekers of Darkness seemed right in the end; otherwise, it would’ve been an insult to see Leon, Tifa, or even Cloud being outdone by Xehanort – forget the Keyblade War, the Final Fantasy War would start the moment a FF character was knocked out.


    With that tangent out of the way, Final Fantasy characters are, as a whole, an unexplained character in the KH series. For gamers and fans of the series, their appearance within the game was a staple that attracted them to the series. Cloud’s alternate design had fans wanting more and knowing the story behind such a drastic change in his appearance; looking a bit more fit for a final fantasy than his initial Final Fantasy outfit. However, in most cases, the characters of the Final Fantasy games are treated more like cameos to the expanding verse of Kingdom Hearts. Whether it’s because Disney has more of a claim in having most of their ideas being put forth than anything Square-related, or it’s a creative choice by Nomura, it still shows that there’s a lack of evidence for some characters and the conclusion to their stories.


  6. Wreck-It-Ralph’s Meta (A World without ‘Order’)
    ralph-breaks-the-internet-wreck-it-ralph-2-chinese-poster-zm-2880x1800While Ralph made it in as a summon, rather than as a full-blown world and character, there’s a distinct possibility that the reason for his exclusion is due to the ‘lore’ and established meta found within Kingdom Hearts currently. As Ralph is a video game character, established as a character within Disney, set within a world that is seemingly the present-day Earth, there’s a possibility that Nomura might have, or not, seen how meta breaking the game itself would’ve been to the third installment; to imagine that the princesses are aware of Sora’s adventures, alongside the fanbase, might’ve derailed the story and would’ve given Nomura the perfect excuse to confuse the masses and theorists for the franchise going forward.gcc_interior_revised_webWreck-It-Ralph’s world, on its own, adds a unique spin on the order of ‘Order’ in regards to worlds. This element of meta would be seen as a breathtaking reverse of the tropes that have been implemented in most of the Disney Worlds – that the bad guy is always the bad guy and nothing else. A reverse of this trope, alongside the exploration of two or three worlds (Fix-it Felix Jr., Hero’s Duty, and Sugar Rush) would add into the element that there’s a world that has multiple worlds and those worlds, in itself, is a world that can easily be lost by another force that isn’t just that of the Heartless; of course, Heartless are just the natural glitches to the series.HwBt
    But even in a world where ‘Order’ is questionable, the enforcement of some kind can be reminded in Ralph’s actions in becoming something that he isn’t – a hero. Further enforcement could appear in Vanellope’s plight as a supposed glitch, Turbo’s underlining plan as an actual glitch, amongst many other things which adds to this wonderfully intricate meta, of meta, for the world. The playful interpretations that Nomura could execute within this world would be, if nothing else, entertaining to the rules set in place by the game. Future interpretations of the world, such as adding the internet, would further play with the idea that this world isn’t at all like the others; a world without order. However, until it’s eventual creation, the idea for such a concept seems closer to fruition with KH3’s resolve and the beginning trek for KH4.
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  7. Disney’s Lore in Connection To The Nexus’s of Worlds (If it ain’t Square, Dis-ney to happen)
    WorldsTo say that the worlds are fragments of different continuities, memories or even Walt Disney’s manipulation of the characters themselves would be, or could be, the actual state of the Kingdom Hearts Conspiracy Theory Circle at the current moment. In the future, hopefully, I believe it would be beneficial to learn more about the Disney Lore that exists within the KH universe in order to build branching understandings of the worlds that are ‘aware’ and those that aren’t. This popular topic was touched upon briefly from the very first game in the series, Kingdom Hearts, where King Triton reminds our heroes in regards to “meddling with other worlds” and even acknowledges the knowledge of keyblade wielders. While you could argue that this has been tossed under the rug for less development, it’s possible that the idea and the lore that encompasses the rest of the main Disney cast, amongst others, is selectively told and/or known by Disney characters. Here are three categories of lore to which the game could expand upon, reinvigorating the idea that Disney holds a special charge within the games:


    1. House of M (Disney Castle/Known Characters)
    HouseofMouse_RichBIf you remember the popular Disney show “House of Mouse” it was a show that brought the entire continuity of established Disney characters, from their earliest renditions to the most present newcomers, in a 30 minute romp filled with a couple of classic Disney cartoons and in house, quite literally, antics from the main cast. I use this example an example to showcase the cast of characters who have, or will, play future roles in the continuation of Disney and Square’s unique adventure. In BBS, it’s shown that Horace (Fruit Ball), The Triplets, Scrooge McDuck, and even Pete are aware of the worlds and the expansion of the said universe. While Pete and Scrooge expanded their horizons to different worlds in their own way, there’s still a healthy amount of characters that could still be introduced to the KH universe. Mortimer Mouse could be the second antagonistic force to Mickey who could be working in the castle, setting up for his takeover of the magical kingdom, or perhaps Ludwig Von Duck (The Duck-ish version of Merlin but with an emphasis on magic) could pose more interesting theories which may, or may not, have complete validity towards the situation at hand; though his necessity would be a fun way for Nomura to use fan theories and the like.

    CD12N - Male Idea

    Other known characters to this group would include characters that share in the same background with already established characters. For example, characters that have been associated with Donald and Goofy like Max (Goofy’s Son) from the Goofy Movies and The Three Caballeros (Panchito and Jose) would be a welcome addition to the cast alongside adding character moments with the established cast. Max, depending on the version we get, could be proud of his dad and wishes to be something in the world but that doesn’t revolve around being what Goofy is (In servitude to the king, being a goof like his dad, etc.) and could play itself out to the two Goofy Movies that have been released (at the time of this article being written); outlining Goofy’s dedication to Mickey and his lack of acceptance to Max’s ideals. On the other hand, Donald’s journey of magic and how he came to know of it, at the very least, could be outlined by the appearance of the other two Caballeros in that of Panchito and Jose, showcasing where Donald had been before the three of them united together.

    disney_castle_kingdom_hearts_family_and_friends_ii_by_9029561_d7iiyps-fullview

    With the re-appearance of the Three Caballeros, reviving a prominently known trio outside of MDG, it would continually add lore to that of the Disney characters we are already aware of within the game’s universe. This not only would add more content in the use of Disney but would also establish a core group of characters that are privy to the knowledge of other worlds and how that can be managed for future games. Whether this leads to a Ducktales spinoff world or a bigger expansion of Disney Castle, the inclusion of more characters within this grouping would not only establish Disney in a productive way but includes the association of other known characters and giving them a time to shine in their own way.

    2. Villains and Gods (Order’s Guardians and Rebels)
    disneyvillains

    There was a unique initiative that had been introduced in the first Kingdom Hearts and was re-iterated in Birth by Sleep: Conscious awareness of other worlds for Disney Villains; at least a good portion of them. It’s shown that Maleficent gathered the group of villains to execute the “Seven Princesses of Hearts” plan for their own malevolence, however, this category seems to have decreased in recent installments. Kingdom Hearts 3 and their villains’ awareness to other worlds was, in a word, absent. While I agree that, for the given situation, throwing another situation in which villains had gained awareness of other worlds – all while Xehanort is causing mass pandemonium – probably would not have been the smartest decision in regards to the story’s pacing; which is for another article. The importance of having villains that are meta to their own meta adds a sort of tongue and cheek to their goals being stopped by the protagonists of their respective worlds; Hades was the best representation of this rule due to his status as a villain and furthermore, the status of being a god leads him to have more knowledge than your normal villain.

    Speaking of gods, Zeus’s title as “King of the Gods” could be a nice little nod towards the same established title that King Triton has, aware that there are other worlds besides his own and could’ve imparted some sort of knowledge to Sora and the gang after their victory over Hades; given that Final Fantasy characters, Heartless, Nobodies and Titans have just been ignoring this whole ‘Order’ stick; unless you count Zack who, more or less, had some common sense as a kid to disguise himself. Zeus’s testament as a god, while unspoken of in regards to knowing about other worlds, was still established in a photo mission by the moogles; acknowledging his presence and stature could mean that he’s a known figure to the ever universally thrifty moogles. On the other hand, those with power – such as Merlin – exhibits this trait to which he, more or less, is seeming with power and uses it however he pleases. Merlin has popped up in Traverse Town to set up shop in an abandoned building alongside the Fairy Godmother in Kingdom Hearts, assisted the Resistance in regards to the heartless that were taking over Radiant Garden (in addition to keeping “The 100 Acre Wood” safe) and is even capable of summoning Kairi and Lea into a place where “time doesn’t matter” sounds like a unique clause in regards to those who have such power. In addition to this and Yen Sid, two wizards with extraordinary power and knowledge, their essentially The Watchers of the KH universe; Marvel references aside, that is.

    3. Otherworldly Spirits (The World; as itself)
    The Sea
    With the exception of Monstro, which is a whale of a tale in and of itself, the idea of a world being aware of its place in the KH universe has never really been explored in recent games. The 100 Acre Wood is a fair example of a world that’s unaware of its place in the world, however, a great example of a world that’s aware of its own presence would be that of a Moana World. Her world would not only have a representation of a spirit (The Sea) but it would also share in the former group’s involvement with the inclusion of Maui (Demigod) and his rebellion against Te Fiti (A God), Tamatoa (Villain) and the monsters urge in getting the Heart of Te Fiti, and Te Ka (A God but also a villain) who is seemingly cursing the world for Maui’s negligence.

    Te-Ka-moana-41048367-540-220

    While Calypso, a sea goddess, cryptically gave advice to Sora in regards to what he had to do in order to gain her power there was never a moment in time to which the confrontation of doing such a task and the task actually being acknowledged by the keyblade warrior was fulfilled. Moana’s entire goal for this movie is in returning the Heart of Te Fiti, thus the World’s acknowledgment of darkness, while using the lore of a Heartless God that commands the Heartless, could be a unique and interesting concept that could be implemented in the future of world-building other worlds.

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Thank you for taking the time to read my article and give me a like, share it out or give me a comment and tell me what you think about it. You can continue to follow me and my articles on J.Arthur’s Roundabout on Facebook, where I will be posting updates and links to new articles on varying game ideas, concepts and the games themselves. Until then, good day and happy gaming!

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