Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition Preview
Square Enix gave RPGamer the opportunity to get some additional information for the upcoming Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition. The details cover the basics of the game as well as many of the new additions for the remaster. In addition, Square Enix did an interview with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition’s director Ryoma Araki discussing the game and the creation of the remaster, which can be found below along with a new set of screenshots.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is an action RPG where a groups of adventurers called Crystal Caravans search for myrrh, which is needed to maintain the crystals protecting the world from deadly miasma. Players join forces with up to three others in online co-operative multiplayer. Players begin by creating a new character, selecting which one of four Tribes they belong to — the well-rounded Clavats, the warrior Lilties, the magic-specialising Yukes, and the speedy Selkies — as well as their appearance, voice, and family job, with the last one affecting what shops may appear in the player’s home town. The Remastered Edition includes eight new appearance variations for each Tribe, along with new character voice-overs. Players can also take on the appearance of another character in the game using the new mimic mode.
The game features a year-based cycle where the Caravan sets out to fill its Crystal Chalice with myrrh before returning to conduct the watering festival to replenish their home town’s crystal. Various events occur as players traverse the world map on their way to the dungeons, all while carrying the Chalice to protect them against the poisonous miasma permeating the world. At the end of each dungeon lies a boss, with players obtaining the precious drops of myrrh when it is vanquished. In single-player mode, players are joined by Mog the moogle, who will carry the Chalice and cast some magic to help, but the party will need to carry the Chalice themselves in multiplayer.
Combat features four main actions. In addition to basic attacks, each weapon type has its own charged Focus Attacks. Players can also defend, with the method of defence based on their character’s Tribe. For example, Clavats will simply raise their shield, while Selkies will backflip away. Meanwhile, magic is used by setting magicite obtained from enemies to players’ command lists. Upon leaving a dungeon, players lose all magicite, so they will need to find new magic again once they enter or revisit a dungeon. The game’s magic fusion system lets players cast move powerful spells by working to release their spells together. In single-player mode, players can fuse spells by combining magicite. Multiple types of spells can be fused together, and the order is important as well; for example, fusing Raise then Fire casts Slow, while fusing Fire then Raise casts Holy.
During dungeons, players will come across items called artifacts. These provide immediate boosts to players, such as increasing stats, command slots, or health. Like magicite, artifacts picked up will disappear after leaving a dungeon, but when a dungeon is cleared, players are given the option to take an artifact with them. This artifact is a permanent reward, and better rewards can be obtained by following the bonus objectives given for each dungeon, such as defeating enemies using spells. In multiplayer, the available artifacts to select are shared across the party, with the member getting the highest score choosing first.
The Remastered Edition makes a couple of additions to the dungeon-crawling portion of the game. A mini-map is now always visible in the top-right of the screen, while a new quick chat feature gives players the ability to perform some basic communication during gameplay. The remaster also features new music from original composer Kumi Tanioka and new recordings of the songs “Sound of the Wind” and “Starry Moonlit Night”.
In towns, there are a number of different store players can visit to buy helpful things. Each store has its own inventory, selling things like food, consumable items, crafting materials, and recipes. Blacksmiths can craft new equipment provided players have the required money, materials, and recipe. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has its own diary system, which records players’ exploits and any towns or encounters with other Caravans, with the Remastered Edition now letting players replay any previous event scenes. Players will also receive letters from their family while adventuring and are able to reply to them and send back items, which may affect the content of future letters.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition will launch for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android on August 27, 2020. A free Lite Edition will also launch on that date for the same platforms. The Lite Edition will give players access to the game’s first three dungeons in both single-player and cross-platform online multiplayer modes, with progress transferable to the full game. Meanwhile, owners of the full game will be able to host a party of four players through up to thirteen dungeons using just a single copy of the game between them.
Square Enix: What was the reason you decided to remaster Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles?
Ryoma Araki: The original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was released in the same year that I joined Square Enix. At the time I was making GameCube games at another developer and I was very impressed by the craftsmanship and ability of the team that made it. It was actually the game that originally led me to come knocking at Square Enix, so it has strong significance for me personally. In addition, I have been working on online games for around 10 years now, so it also fit with a personal theme of mine to create games that people can all come together and enjoy. Those factors led me to raise my hand and take on this remaster.
SE: What feature in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition do you think will be most-exciting for players who played the original?
RA: Various features make it easier to invite a friend along to play, such as the introduction of online play, cross-play and the Lite version. In addition to that, the new high difficulty dungeons provide great end-game content that adds even greater depth to the multiplayer experience.
We put a lot of emphasis on cross-platform play for this game to ensure as many players as possible were able to team up and enjoy the adventure together, regardless of which platform they play on, or even if they’re using the free Lite version of the game.
We understand that offline co-operative play was a feature in the original game many fans look back at fondly, so we hope both returning and new fans alike will be able to enjoy the game again by teaming up together across different consoles and smartphones and create new memories as they adventure together again.
SE: Can you explain more about how Lite works?
RA: When a player with the full game is the host and other players join as guests using the Lite edition, everyone will be able to play up to 13 different dungeons together. The number of dungeons on the original GameCube version was 14, so you can play pretty much all of them. This lets owners of the full game easily invite a friend along when they want to enjoy multiplayer. You can also carry over your progress from the Lite version when you buy the full game, so won’t need to go through building up your character from scratch again when you decide to dive in to the story and end-game content (such as the new high-level dungeons).
SE: What other new features are there in the game?
RA: There are so many, I’m not sure I can list them all!
As this is a remaster rather than a remake, everything is based on the original game, but there are many exciting new additions and changes, such as:
- Online multiplayer and cross-play
- Voice overs
- The ability to reminisce by re-watching cut-scenes
- The addition of the “mimic” system
- High-level dungeons
- New weapons, armor, recipes, items and artefacts
- UI and other cosmetic changes…
We have made numerous tweaks and additions to make sure that this version of the game stands up as a new title and meets the expectations of today’s gamers. I have said in various places that there are no new additions to the story, but we have actually added in one new cut-scene. You are going to have to play and find it for yourselves though!
SE: How did you approach the design of the new battle mechanics like magic blast, spell fusion, and the magic timer?
RA: I designed these systems so that even people playing online can experience the same fun and satisfaction of timing their spellcasts together. Speaking more technically, I decided on the overall policy for the algorithms in the internal synchronization processing that we use for these systems. We adjusted the difficulty level for the input timing needed to carry out Magic Blast with the Magic Timer, so it is easier to do than it was in the original version of the game.
SE: What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition but didn’t play the original?
RA: The game has been set up to be as enjoyable as possible to play casually, both as an action game and a co-op game. I would suggest starting off with the Lite version (available for free when the full game launches on 27th August) to experience the charming world of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles!
SE: What sets Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition apart from other Final Fantasy games?
RA: These days, Final Fantasy is seen as a more modern or sci-fi themed RPG, but Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is actually closer to the series’ roots, with a classic medieval fantasy setting and atmosphere.
I hope players can have a lot of fun adventuring in this charming storybook fantasy world.
SE: Can you explain more about the end-game dungeons and new items?
RA: We have created 13 high-level end-game dungeons. To sum up, these are divided across three difficulty levels, with the hardest dungeons providing a real challenge, even if you have levelled your characters up and collected some powerful equipment. The new recipes and items added to the game are also comparatively easier to find in these harder dungeons. I recommend that you craft the new weapons and armor added for this edition to take on the hardest dungeon of them all (it might also be fun to just jump in with what you have and see if you can pull-through with skill alone though!).
SE: Why was it important for the team to include cross-platform support?
RA: In the current era, lots of people enjoy playing games, but there are also a huge variety of play styles and different platforms that people play their games on. I wanted to make it so that players could easily invite their friends, family or partners along to play Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and create some good memories together, even if they owned different gaming platforms, so cross-platform compatibility was a must.
SE: What should every cooperative caravan group know before they play together?
RA: You don’t have to be a veteran action game player to enjoy Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and can easily jump in once you understand the basic controls. As long as you listen to what the moogle Stiltzskin has to say, you should be fine!
You can combine magic of the same type together to create higher level magic. However, you can also mix magic of different types to create something different again. I would suggest trying out lots of different combinations, as you never know when you will create an unexpected new spell!
SE: How does the Mimic feature work and how did the team decide to create it?
RA: Mimic is a system that allows you to become the characters who appear in the story. After certain events, there are characters who no longer appear for certain reasons or whose continued presence might be a little odd and being able to use those as playable characters themselves might break immersion in the story. However, we wanted to make it possible to control various different characters as an added bonus, and so we implemented the “Mimic” system where your characters can dress up and become other characters.
We had such a great opportunity with the remaster that we added in all the little extras that we thought would be cool, but at the same time made sure that they did not damage the setting or story. The result of that approach was the Mimic system.
SE: Why was it important to include English voiceover for the game for the first time?
RA: Voiceovers are an important element for creating an even deeper connection to the world, so incorporating them was a must for the remaster. The Japanese version has Japanese voices, but the other versions have English.
For example, the pronunciations of the magic spell names differ between Japanese and English (E.g. in English it is “Firaga” but the Japanese is slightly shorter as “Figa”), and only having Japanese voices would feel odd here, so adding an English voiceover was essential.
Incidentally, we cast popular anime voice actors for the Japanese voiceover and they created some incredibly distinctive characters, so if you have the chance then I would recommend listening to the Japanese voices, too.
SE: Why did you want to remaster the music for the game? Do you have a favourite song from the soundtrack?
RA: We initially thought we would just have the original soundtrack in the remaster, but the sound team staff was so passionate about the project that we decided to remaster the music too. I personally really like the track “どこまでも蒼く” (Dokomademo Aoku), or “Thoroughly Blue” in English, which plays on the game’s main menu. It always gives me the feeling of heading out on a new adventure.
SE: What is your favorite dungeon in the game and why?
RA: Probably River Belle Path. This is the dungeon we created when testing things to develop the game, so I have played it more times than I can count. I could probably play it with my eyes closed (haha)! In terms of overall atmosphere, I would also recommend the high-level dungeon Frozen Sluice.
SE: If you could belong to one of the four tribes in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, which would you choose and why?
RA: Probably the Yuke. They are good at magic, too, but Amidatty and all the characters from the Shella caravan are just really funny. I recommend playing with voices on when you mimic them.