What if 'Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles' was on Wii U?
April 17, 2012, 1:36 pm
Editor's Note: In part two of our week-long Wii U feature, Katharine Byrne explores what Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles might be like if it were made for the Wii U and how might it take advantage of the system and its unique controller.
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles was one of those GameCube games which several people never really got to experience properly. I was certainly one of those people because I could never find three friends with GBAs and GameCube-GBA cables to play it with. Setting off into the thick miasma clouds to seek out small droplets of myrrh in your town’s caravan was just fine on your own, but the real adventure of Crystal Chronicles lay in its multiplayer. The same could be said for the rest of the series as well, but it’s arguable that none of its successors have really lived up to the charm or ingenuity of the original Crystal Chronicles. So as we continue GameXplain’s look into what the Wii U might bring to age old franchises, let’s see how it might give Crystal Chronicles the second wind it’s been searching for ever since it was first released eight years ago.
If you were one of those lucky few who managed to secure both the required manpower and technology to play Crystal Chronicles all in one place, then you’ll know that playing with multiple GBA screens offered different players different types of information. One had a map, another had a monster or treasure radar, and you had to work together in order to navigate the game’s numerous dungeons. Having your own GBA also allowed you to cast spells and scroll through your menu options without disrupting your fellow adventurers, so the most obvious use of the Wii U’s controller would be to simply mimic the role of the GBA and clear away all the onscreen information to each individual controller screen.
But one of the Wii U’s most hotly anticipated features is the Nintendo Network, a new online infrastructure that covers both the Wii U and 3DS, and it’s this which Crystal Chronicles could really use to its advantage – and, dare I say it, become the flagship franchise for Nintendo’s very own MMO arena. Yes, you heard me – an MMO Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.
While the Wii’s Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers didn’t exactly set many gamers’ hearts aflame, one thing I did really like about it was its vast and interconnected game world (even if the map was next to useless). A Crystal Chronicles MMO would feature an even larger one, bringing together all those locations we know and love like the Vale of Alfitaria, the Tipa Peninsula and the Fields of Fum, and filling them with an online population of players. An even better idea would be to finally put a face to all those dungeons you dispatched your warriors to in the WiiWare title, My Life as a King, like the Corrum Sih Highroad or Eorta Deepway. You could meet other adventurers along the road in their caravans, or join them fighting off monsters in the Ironmine Downs or Rebena Plains, and you could even write and send them letters straight from your controller. It would be a much more personal experience too, where you could pick your hometown and customise your character to a much greater degree than ever before.
Even if the series didn’t go full MMO, it would definitely be missing a trick if it didn’t include some kind of substantial online multiplayer mode like Monster Hunter Tri’s, where you could team up with other players to take down bosses or tackle entire dungeons together. Players could communicate with one another via the Wii U equivalent of Wii Speak as well, co-ordinating attacks and sharing the information they have on their individual controllers.
More importantly, no one would get stuck holding the Crystal Chalice all the time because each team would have their own moogle to carry it round for them, much like in the single player mode of the original Crystal Chronicles. But rather than follow an individual player, you would be able to draw a path for Mog to follow on your controller’s touch-screen, adding an element of strategy (or indeed chaos) to the mix. Magicite users could huddle under the chalice’s protective barrier while the warriors dash in and out of the bubble to distract the monsters and give their teammates time to cast their spells.
On the single player side of things, you could have a variety of options. Players could go it alone or enlist up to three AI-controlled companions to fight alongside them, perhaps taking a leaf out of some more modern JRPG books like Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story. If solo players found themselves in a bit of trouble though, Mog would be able to signal for help and enlist either an online player or another AI-controlled character to come to your rescue. It would be like the Crystal Chronicles version of Nintendo’s popular Super Guide, only this time with white or black mages to provide support. Once you had the situation under control again you could dismiss them or have them stick around until the end of the battle, but the longer you relied on them the less chance you’d have, say, of scoring a rare monster spoil – or maybe you’d have to sacrifice some cash for their help instead.
And speaking of treasure, players would be able to hold up their controllers to the TV screen at any time and enter a first person mode to scout for hidden chests in the undergrowth. Elsewhere in the game, shopkeepers could also “hand” you their weapons list so you can peruse their stock from your controller before returning it to them with your purchase choices.
Of course, these suggestions are but the dreams of one player who desperately wants a Crystal Chronicles game she can be proud of again, not the ideas of Square Enix. Still, I think Crystal Chronicles has real potential to be something great on Wii U, especially when it comes to multiplayer. Will Square Enix take the plunge and try an MMO? Only time will tell, but between you and me, I really hope they do.
Katharine Byrne is a staff writer at Nintendojo who spends far too much time playing JRPGs and has a slight addiction to Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. You also can find her blogging about games here.
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