Crystal Bearers Touches Upon Themes Of Racism

By Ishaan . July 23, 2009 . 1:20pm


The cover feature for this month’s Nintendo Power is on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, and it provides a fair bit of background information on the game’s theme and setting.

In a previous feature on Crystal Bearers, I pondered if Square would elaborate on the political and social standing of each race, now that the technologically-driven Lilties were the dominant race in the world. Considering they were aiming to tell a slightly more mature story than previous Crystal Chronicles games, one would hope they wouldn’t shy away from the idea of political conflict and racism. Thankfully, they aren’t.

In an event known as the Great War, the Lilties destroyed the Yuke Crystal, apparently wiping the Yukes from existence. The Lilties enjoyed newfound prosperity, became the world’s dominant race, and ushered in a new age of science and reason. Lower on the social ladder are the Clavats, who mostly live as peaceful farmers or servants, and the Selkies, who have become a class of carefree outlaws who tend to rebel against Lilty rule. Though the world is now more or less at peace, there are underlying themes of racial oppression and genocide—not exactly lighthearted stuff.

The feature goes on to confirm some things we already know, such as the fact that Layle is quite the rambunctious badass. Oh, and he’s 21. Hooray for non-teenage protagonists. The hot female Selkie everyone’s up in arms over is named Belle and has a knack for getting into trouble. Naturally, Belle + Layle = Fun For Everyone.

Crystal Bearers continues to play with my hopes. I’m cautiously optimistic because so far, the game has hit all the right notes on my personal measuring scale. On the other hand, it’s a little depressing to be well aware that a lot of these elements will likely not be fleshed out, since Itahana and Co. are obviously trying to remain within the boundaries of a T-rated game and not explore real-world issues on some deeper level like, say, Versus XIII.

On another note, Nintendo Power seem to think Amidatellion is male for some odd reason.

  • badfish

    Oh…great. More political correctness to deal with. I think it is already in every day life, why video games?

    Keep the political bulls#@t out of it!

    • badfishsenior

      LoL; you’re a cry-baby.

  • Asura

    Lol, keep it out? So the story can be what, an evil man uses the power of darkness to rule the land and you go collect elements that in the end allow you to beat him and everyone is happy?

    You know what I call those games? Bullshit. It stopped being original in the 16pixel era.

    • Saturnus

      Because the outcast race from society and underlying themes of racism in video games is SO original. The story for CB is pretty cliche RPG already.

  • You guys are nuts. The game looks fantastic, storyline included.

  • jj984jj

    “obviously trying to remain within the boundaries of a T-rated game and not explore real-world issues on some deeper level like, say, Versus XIII.”

    I’d be really surprised if vXIII ends up a M-rated game.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Uh, since when do we know that Versus XIII will “explore real-world issues on some deeper level” anyway? It’s Final Fantasy, for crying out loud.

      • Go look up every interview Nomura has done on the game. You’ll get the idea.

    • You don’t think it will? I was thinking that Square would welcome the opportunity to venture into the M-rated realm with the game, since it has Final Fantasy in the title and is guaranteed to sell regardless.

      There’s a fair bit of blood from what we’ve seen of the trailers and Nomura has emphasized on multiple occasions how it’s going to be much more of a serious affair than your average FF.

      • The thing is, I find it hard to take Tetsuya Nomura seriously at all.

        Maybe he’ll prove me wrong and Versus XIII will end up a story full of genuine substance, but he comes off a lot more like the typical executive — throwing around buzzwords like “hip”, “mature” and “edgy” while anyone who knows better rolls their eyes.

        • Yea, Versus XIII will certainly be an indication of how seriously one ought to take Nomura…provided they ever finish making the game.

          I like that Itahana and his team are experimenting with the Crystal Chronicles world, though. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t think the CC games are “kiddy” by any means. Sure, they’re not “mature,” but they aren’t childish either.

          I think when we see a Wii HD or something along those lines, we’ll probably see the Crystal Chronicles team being a little more ambitious in terms of narrative. It’s like, after the PS2, people stopped caring about stories altogether. Hopefully by the time all the HD consoles have aged nicely, people will remember why RPGs are popular in the first place.

        • Heiae

          I have a similar opinion of Nomura. The only “substance” he knows is the metal in those zippers he loves so much.

  • Suzero

    I’d be optimistic about this game, except I was optimistic about Dawn of Mana (which this looks to ape) and look where that got us.

    also about the only RPG series I can think of that ever intelligently dealt with racism was the one that probably did it first, Ultima (VI and VII)

  • Chris

    “Themes of racism” is only culturally deep if it’s soft racism. The sort of racism you see in Tales games like “You’re an anthropromorphic puma creature, that means I hate you!” comes off like a Michael Scott office meeting.

    The sort of racism you get now in America is the more subtle type like “I will accept you into my social club, but only if you work twice as hard to prove yourself, and by the way I will hold all the superficial trappings of your culture as evidence you don’t belong there and kick you out if you make any small mistake.”

  • Josh

    Should be a good game nonetheless, though.

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