E3 Interview

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers Interview


Emanuel Merino

A Sample of the Varied Gameplay Mr. Kawazu spoke of

RPGamer had a chance to sit down with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers producer Akitoshi Kawazu and he shared some details about the upcoming game. Being a big fan of the Crystal Chronicles series, it was exciting to meet one of the men behind the game, but more than that, who better to answer my questions on the radical new direction that the series has taken with Crystal Bearers. Rather than starting off as a player-created character that you slowly level up over time, instead you start off as a super hero-esque clavat named Layle with very few limits in terms of power.

When we asked Mr. Kawazu about the new direction, he said that with this new entry into the series they wanted the player to be a powerful hero from the beginning and to enjoy flashy action right from the start. Since the character, Layle, has the power to control gravity, his abilities really lend themselves to varied types of gameplay. Kawazu pointed out that the player is never doing one thing for very long in this game as the player jumps from one gameplay type to another. He said that to make the game feel fresh and exciting, they mixed several mini-games into the brunt of the gameplay. For example, one moment the player might be fending off monsters attacking his ship in a shooting minigame, then playing pranks and chatting with citizens in a town square. Layle's power over gravity also shows off the game's physics-based combat, another aspect of the game Kawazu's team did their best to add variety to.In fact, because of the varied types of gameplay, The Crystal Bearers naturally evolved over the course of its development to use the the Wii's motion-based controls even though this was not planned at the beginning of production..

Layle's power to control gravity gives him the ability to pick up and throw his enemies, combine different types of enemies for various effects, and use different enemy AI types against each other. During the interview, Kawazu seemed especially pleased with the enemy AI his team developed for this title. Since this isn't a traditional level-based RPG, they decided to use more advanced AI types to ramp up the challenge later in the game. Not to worry though, there is a deep item and equipment crafting system in the game to level the playing field. In fact,item synthesis is probably one of the main RPG elements in the game, aside from Square Enix's trademark story telling. As you go about defeating enemies on the field, you will acquire items for synthesis. So even if you and a friend are playing the game at the same time, both of your Layles will be unique to you.

Layle Putting His Power Over Gravity to Action.

Being a long time fan of the series, I also took this rare opportunity to ask him some very specific questions concerning the continuity of the Crystal Chronicles series. I asked him a little bit about the background of this new title, and he said right off the bat that this is a brand new time period, so you won't be seeing faces from previous games, except for Stiltzkin of course. This fan favorite moogle character has appeared in every Crystal Chronicles so far. You also might note that the four main races look a lot different than they did in the previous titles. According to Kawazu, they were able to take advantage of the Wii's increased power over the DS and GameCube to update and enhance the designs to complement the platform and at the same time, make the characters look cooler.

Finally, here are a few quick questions that RPGamer asked him for all us hardcore fans out there:

What role do Moogles play in this adventure considering how integral they were in previous games?
Akitoshi Kawazu:Moogles are mainly in the game for assisting the character, so they will be performing familiar functions like carrying mail for characters.

All previous games in the Crystal Chronicles series tried to emphasize a theme, for example the Ring of Fates on the DS had a theme of Fraternal Love. What is this game's primary theme?
Kawazu:(After a slight pause) Super Heroics with refreshing gameplay.

Have you decided who will handle the main theme yet?
Kawazu: No big plans at this moment, to be decided.

Is there any connectivity with the previous Crystal Chronicles games on the DS?
Kawazu: There is no connectivity to previous DS Crystal Chronicles games.

Are there any extra little side games?
Kawazu: Yeah, you can go fishing using the Wii-mote.

With this latest game, you have developed this really fleshed out super hero character. Similar to other super heroes, is this the first of many adventures? Will he return in the future to save the day?
Kawazu: (laughing) If you like him he will return...

I really enjoyed my brief chat with Akitoshi Kawazu and many thanks to his skilled translator. After this chat with Mr. Kawazu, I'm a lot more interested to see what the final product will look like. Old fans of the Crystal Chronicles series should also keep a close eye on this game even though it's a significant departure from previous games. After all, as Mr. Kawazu points out, when the game's main theme is "Super Heroics with Refreshing Gameplay," how can you go wrong?

Much thanks to Sabin and Green_Nu for their help putting getting this story together.

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