Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers Not Flying Off Store Shelves

By Ishaan . November 15, 2009 . 12:42pm

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We reported that Final Fantasy Gaiden: 4 Warriors of Light had seemingly exceeded sales expectations in Japan, having racked up around 150,000 units so far. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, which sold about 26,000 units in its first day on shelves, according to Japanese retail blog Sinobi.

 

26,000 is 34% of the game’s first shipment, which comes to below 75,000 units. It seems Square Enix and/or retailers aren’t expecting much from the game, which, in all fairness, is a western-focused installment in a typically Japanese-centric franchise. Here are first-day numbers for other recent Crystal Chronicles games:

 

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Ring of Fates (DS): 123,000
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Echoes of Time (DS): 62,000
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Echoes of Time (Wii): 14,000

 

Comparing Crystal Bearers to the DS games isn’t quite fair though. Those probably sold more units by virtue of having a multiplayer focus and requiring multiple copies, whereas Crystal Bearers is a singleplayer experience in a sub-franchise known for multiplayer games. With the odds against it, it isn’t surprising the game received a fairly low shipment. As one would suspect, Square probably expect the majority of the game’s sales to come from the West.



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  • MisterNiwa

    What? Are Japanese blind!? This truely is a stellar game!

    In my opinion.

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      Famitsu didn’t give it a great review. Not to mention, it is a major breakaway from previous FF games, so the Japanese are probably all throwing a riot.

      It’s sad, considering how the game does seem to have lots of merit.

      • MisterNiwa

        Well.. from what i’ve played, the game really is fun.

        I like the story and the characters, its a fresh wind to the Crystal Chronicles Series. :[

        • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

          Haha, truthfully, I never really looked at the CC series before this game came up. This one really perked my interest (partially because a friend of mine is so pumped up for it), so it was going to be my … entrance into the CC series XD And then, of course, all these random bad reviews pop up.Funny thing is, they all exalt it for its chara and story. Love it. Except in the entire review, they dedicate only one sentence to that, and the rest of the review is talking about how there’s too many “go fetch this” parts in the story and how there’s no map. *grumble*

          • Aoshi00

            Actually it’s the characters and the story that I’m interested in as well, since FFCC has always been about multiplayer before. I alrdy pre-ordered it, but I’m actually kind of worry if the game would be fun or not w/ its sand boxy gameplay. Fetch quest is also kind of pointless in most games and just make the game seem longer than it has to be.. From what I gather, the remote control seems to be a hassle as well… Now I’m not sure if the calendar is worth it… there’s just so many games coming out in the same period you know.

    • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

      but this have a male character as the MC how japanese gamers would like it?

  • Ereek

    I don’t think it will do too well over here, either. SE should stick to what they’re good at making and appeal to that audience. It was “western gamers” that fell in love with games like Final Fantasy VI and VII – among others, of course – and SE wasn’t catering to the west when those were made. SE, you aren’t going to win any points from the 15 year-old males who think they’re “too good” for Japanese games with “pretty” characters. Stick with the audience you know will support you and build out from there instead of trying to target one audience or the other.

    For something like Dragon Quest where “tradition” is so bound into the series, I can see how changing some basic mechanics might be useful for the western marketplace. But Final Fantasy, not so much.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      I think Crystal Bearers will do reasonably well in the West. It’s got the Final Fantasy brand, and it’s a familiar name on the most mainstream console on the market. It’ll do well enough, just like Call of Duty and Resident Evil sell great on Wii.

      I actually REALLY appreciate what they’re doing with CB though. I like the Crystal Chronicles games a lot, but as fun as they are, there wasn’t really much evolution of the world CC (GCN) through Echoes of Time (DS). Crystal Bearers at least indicates that they tend to do something meaningful with the series instead of just pumping the same kind of games out with minor tweaks.

      • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

        but do you think that if there were some customizable chara it would sold better?
        I think that it would be nice if the scenario were made for you to follow the steps of the hero as one of his fans that want to be like him so you could customize your chara fully… but this is a game about playing the hero, not wanting to be one as it were marketed in japan =.=

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          That’s a great point, but I think Layle’s personality is intended to be one of the main draws of the game, and judging from what the development team has said, his looks — the messy hair, the goggles — are part of what makes up his overall image. It’s kind of like saying you want a customizable Leon Kennedy. ;)

      • Ereek

        Oh, I’m not trying to imply the game will be bad. I just think that SE is taking the wrong approach in trying to “westernize” their games. I’m glad they’re trying something new and I hope it does succeed. The last few games that SE did as an “experiment” weren’t entirely successful, Last Remnant and Blood of Bahamut come to mind, but it’s good to see them trying to make changes.

        The people who love Final Fantasy enjoy the series for what it is and don’t want it drastically changed to fit the majority “taste.” I don’t think fans would be too happy if FFXV came out and played like a pure WRPG, they enjoy the series as it is. While I don’t think SE is going to win over many new fans with Crystal Bearers, they may get some of the “older” fans back who the newer-style FF games have alienated. Unfortunately, Crystal Bearers doesn’t have the traits to win over the WRPG market, either.

        On a somewhat similar note, when SE publishes western titles, like Order of War, they simply fail to do any marketing on them. In fact, after the first Order of War announcement, I didn’t see any coverage of the game at all, on any site I visit. Hopefully this will change a bit with the recent creation of SEE, though.

    • http://twitter.com/contextfree contextfree

      Actually, they were. FFVII and VIII were made with the western market in mind. That’s part of the reason they ditched super-deformed characters in VIII, for example.

      • Aoshi00

        But they’re still character and story driven and the characters were anime-like, rather than WRPGs w/ open world and only a very basic narrative, and IX went back to SD as well just like I-VI. XII attempted that and it was generally more well received in the West than in Jpn (despite Famitsu’s 40/40). Also SD was more of a result of hardware limitation even though it is a design choice.

  • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

    can someone tell if this was a big or medium budget game?

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      No one can say for sure because obviously we don’t have insight into Square Enix’s production pipeline. However, it is a known fact that Crystal Bearers was originally going to be more along the lines of the first CC game, and after nearly being canceled, was given a complete overhaul that led to what it looks like now.

      It’s safe to assume Square spent more time and resources on it than they originally intended to, but whether the project was rebooted during pre-production or actual production is unknown. I’d say medium budget by virtue of being on the Wii, simply because “high-budget” has a whole new definition this gen. Relative to most other third-party Wii games, I’d say it had a pretty decent budget.

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    this is a prove that rings of fates was superior to Echoes of Time (at least storywise) though the internet games in echoes of times were so laggy…, really, rings of fate’s story made me beat it, ive had echoes of times since it was released and i still havent beated it, and dont feel like it -.-.

    But is unexpected to see crystal bearers so low O_O, so far ive liked everything ive seen, maybe the japanese ppl got their salary cut

  • http://www.liquid-crystal.biz/ kryptonics

    Nothing to see here… now let’s return to our grinds, collect-a-thons, and other cliches.

    I’m still hoping this game pulls off a miracle. Hopefully word of mouth steadily increases interest in this daring experience.

  • http://twitter.com/contextfree contextfree

  • Tokyo Guy

    Yeah, no one here seems remotely interested in it. And I seem to recall a few Bayonetta-sized giant billboard ads in the train stations as well.

    Perhaps the issue that the core Wii gaming audience here in Japan has no interest in this type of game. Don’t forget that Mario Galaxy didn’t sell too well here either.

    • Tokyo Guy

      Also, IMHO the Crystal Chronicles series has basically been a huge commercial failure. Both of the recent DS games sold terribly, and were in bargin bins just weeks after release (at some stores, even earlier) at less than half the price.Square intended it to be a “Nintendo-friendly” game (i.e. for the users) but they are all so radically different than the traditional FF games.Also, though many people won’t like this comment, I am glad that the Crystal Chronicles series has consistently sold poorly. Maybe Square will finally wake up and realize that putting Final Fantasy on a product is not enough to sell it. Note that does NOT mean I think the games are all terrible, just that they haven’t sold well.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Wasn’t part of the problem with Mario Galaxy that it was prone to giving Japanese people motion sickness? I could be wrong but I always assumed that was one reason 3D platformers aren’t that big in Japan.

      • Tokyo Guy

        Oh it certainly could be, they sure don’t sell as well here as they do overseas. Many of my Japanese friends do indeed get motion sickness when playing certain types of games. But then again I seem to have developed motion sickness with FPS all of a sudden; I couldn’t even stomach Mirror’s Edge.

    • jarrodand

      Mario Galaxy sold nearly a million units in Japan.

      • Tokyo Guy

        Was that the final number? Even so, it was in the end, not in the beginning. In the first month of release or so, I seem to recall the number being around 600,000. Anyway my point was that the game didn’t perform as well as many had thought it would, yet overseas it was more successful.

        Now compare that to Nintendogs selling a million copies in a much shorter time (heck, just Nintendogs selling a million copies period) and combine that with other recent smash hits from Nintendo- Tomodachi Collection, Wii Fit, Wii Sports (etc) and it’s quite clear that games aren’t what is popular anymore, but rather “activities”.

        Now keep in mind that I bought Nintendogs and had it for a short time, and I have Tomodachi Collection. I’m not saying they are bad, just that they are not “games” in the traditional sense, and that if this is what is now the “top product” for the Wii/DS audience, then should it be any surprise that a game like Crystal Bearers isn’t doing well?

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Well, Monster Hunter and Tales both seem to have done pretty well, so it’s a question of leveraging established IP to tap into that audience. I doubt Crystal Bearers would do much better on any other system, given the nature of the game and the fact that they’re rolling it out alongside their colossal marketing push for FFXIII.

          I hope the game performs in the West. I wouldn’t like to see the team discouraged from trying this sort of thing again in the future.

        • jarrodand

          I get what you’re saying, and while there’s some truth to that I still think more “traditional” games are still doing quite well on Wii/DS. New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart DS & Wii, Monster Hunter 3, Dragon Quest IX, Rhythm Tengoku, Tetris DS, etc, etc. Even Mario Galaxy, it sold 960k in the end.

          In context, Crystal Bearers is a spinoff of a spinoff series, it’s a 12 hour action game and it’s releasing within weeks of FFXIII. It has a host of fundamental problems working against it outside any percieved “DS/Wii userbase trend”, and I agree with Ishaan that it probably would’ve tanked just as hard on any platform currently.

          • Tokyo Guy

            Oh I definitely agree with you. The proximity to Final Fantasy XIII is quite a foolish move with this economy and as a whole so it’s a shame Square didn’t release the game back in September or even early October.And I agree with the platform comment as well: it would have tanked anywhere. Still, I plan to buy this game in a few weeks when it’s dropped in price.

            And although no one said it, just to reiterate, I am NOT opposed to FFCC, nor do I think the games are bad per se. My dislike is more for Square’s inability to use original IP rather than putting the name FF in everything in hopes of selling. (Heck, I’m still lost as to why we didn’t get a real Final Fantasy XI and had “Final Fantasy Online” on the side.)

  • cowcow

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with this game. I had no interest at all with the previous Crystal Chronicles series but this one plays nothing like them. This game looks beautiful, is well presented, and is like a breath of fresh air on the Wii. Japanese are just weird buyers man…they dont know what the Hell they want half the time. Some of the sales numbers you see on some games dont even make any sense. That said I hope the game does well here when it comes out, but Wii audience I dunno…they are often full of fail too when it comes to buying third party games..

    • Tokyo Guy

      I can certainly attest to that. The way you see dozens and dozens of people lining up for Gundam games or just to see some no-name voice actress or girl in a maid costume. Let me tell you; the foreign media only capitalizes on the lines for big name things, yet people line up here for endless amounts of time for ramen.

      As for the game in particular, I have yet to play it but as it looks to have more of a story than previous FFCC games, may end up enjoying it.

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