Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition’s producer Ryoma Araki, character designer Toshiyuki Itahana, and composer Hidenori Iwasaki had an interview earlier this month at TGS 2019, where they talked about new art and rearranged music, as well as why remaster instead of remake, and more. [Thanks, 4Gamer!]
Here are the highlights:
- Producer Ryoma Araki originally played Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles as a regular consumer, as he was a game designer working at a different studio on another GameCube game, and he remembers being flabbergasted at how the game really used the specs behind the console.
- Designer Toshiyuki Itahana mentions that the reason why the characters of Crystal Chronicles look a bit generic is because of the multiplayer and character creation aspects of the game. Essentially, it wasn’t a game about detailing the individual heroes, as would be in a mainline game. While he considered whether to redo the designs for the remaster, some staff mentioned they’d like to recreate the designs they used in the original game, so instead one new male and one new female design have been added to each race respectively.
- Regarding music, composer Hidenori Iwasaki mentions that the remaster wasn’t originally going to have rearranged tracks, but they went for it when Iwasaki called Araki out one day and said, “Hey, I have this on hand.” The original game is known for its music, but as there were hardware limitations, there were some tracks that couldn’t be added in, which will be added in in the remaster.
- Dungeons originally in Crystal Chronicles will keep the old music, while new dungeons have newly composed tracks for them.
- Iwasaki jokes that during the planning phases for the original game, a planner suggested to go with a techno music direction, but was promptly ignored.
- One of the big additions to Remastered Edition is the inclusion of cross-platform online play, which wasn’t possible back then. Itahana mentions that they still get photos from overseas fans showing that they managed to assemble the 4-player setup of connecting multiple Game Boy Advances.
- The console and smartphone versions will have different UI. For multiplayer, you don’t need to wait in a lobby, as players will show up when they join naturally as you advance. They also reiterated that cross-platform saves are a feature for the Remastered Edition.
- Extra difficult “alternate” dungeons have been added as well, which change up the atmosphere and appearing enemies in existing dungeons. It’s meant for endgame multiplayer content after beating the main game’s dungeons, and is balanced as such, although it’s not impossible to do it solo. The new dungeons will drop new weapon recipes for newly designed weapons by Itahana. Over 10 new tracks have been composed for the new dungeons.
- Why not remake the game? Araki mentions that this was an option, but he felt it had to be a remaster for Crystal Chronicles, in order to show to the fans (including himself) that Crystal Chronicles was truly back. Because he played it as a regular player back then, Araki has made sure to change the game in areas that needed updating to modern standards.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition will come to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and mobile devices on January 23, 2020. Square Enix also noted that these features that involve going online could eventually be discontinued sometime in the future. You can read more about crossplay and cross-saves here.