It was just announced that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, the awesome Gamecube classic, will be getting a remastered version for the Switch and PS4, and that is such exciting news.
The original game was great, but was also very flawed, and there is a lot of room for improvement. Here are the changes I hope to see in the remastered Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.
Both local and online multiplayer
FFCC has a strong focus on its multiplayer, but actually playing the multiplayer mode on the Gamecube version was nearly impossible. It required every player to have their own Game Boy Advance and a GBA-Gamecube link cable, as well as the obvious need for a Gamecube and a copy of the game. And also, you needed to have friends. If you could assemble the materials and the friends, it was a really fun time.
But in the modern era, the game’s multiplayer can be so much more accessible. Online play is an obvious solution that would fix the game’s biggest problems, but local play would be amazing as well, and I’m going to highlight how it could easily work.
In the original Gamecube version, the only reason that players needed a Game Boy Advance was so that they could open the menu on their GBA screen, without interrupting the gameplay. Other than that feature, it was just a controller. There was also a cute little Mario-Kart style racing minigame that you could only play in the multiplayer mode, but that was kind of forgettable.
So how could the remastered version of the game handle local multiplayer in a way that would make sense? Easy: just make the game split-screen when you open the menu. That way each player can see their own character’s items, spells, statistics, and equipment, without needing to have their own screen on their controller. It wouldn’t make sense for the main game to be split-screen, as the game’s camera angle is more akin to Gauntlet or Diablo. Yes, this means that the game would be paused when opening the menu, but it already did that in the single-player version of the game, which I imagine is how most people played, and it wasn’t a nuisance or anything.
This would be an extremely simple way to allow for 4-player couch co-op. I really hope they implement something like this, but I imagine they will be lazy about it and just make multiplayer online only. That would still be a big improvement, don’t get me wrong, but sitting with your friends and playing the game was the game’s original vision.
Especially when you consider the portable nature of the Switch, and how easy it is to hand your friend a Joy-con, Square Enix really ought to allow for local multiplayer in this new version.
Difficulty or ranking system
FFCC is only about 20-hours long, which is a pretty adequate length for an action game. But even though the gameplay is comparable to games like Phantasy Star Online or Monster Hunter, it does not have the delicious gameplay loop that those games feature. In FFCC, you’ll beat the game after about 20 hours, and you’ll have no reason to keep playing.
But in Phantasy Star Online, after you complete the main story, you get to do it again on a higher difficulty as the same character, and continue leveling up and finding cool new equipment.
And in Monster Hunter, you get a large number of new quests to do each time you increase in rank.
FFCC is absolutely capable of transforming from a 20-hour game, to a game that can be played for hundreds of hours, if Square Enix includes a similar feature. What if, after completing the game, you can start over as the same character, in a “hard mode,” with new artifacts to collect in each dungeon? (For the uninitiated, “artifacts” are the items you get in dungeons that permanently power up your character; no EXP or leveling up here).
And then what if that process repeats? Phantasy Star Online has 4 difficulty settings (Normal, Hard, Very Hard, and Ultimate) and I’m not the biggest Monster Hunter guy, but I believe the ranks in that game are categorized as “Low Rank, High Rank, and G-Rank.”
It would just be awesome if FFCC inherited the sweet gameplay loop of its peers. I would probably never stop playing it.
Mog will always be there, and will never get tired of holding the chalice
One of the quirkier and more divisive parts of FFCC is that characters can only stand and move around in a circular arena that is created by the “crystal chalice.” If you exit that protective circle, you’ll rapidly start to die. Also, the camera is always centered on the chalice and won’t follow the players if they try to move away from it. So in order to move around in dungeons, one character always has to be carrying the crystal chalice, thus moving the camera and preventing the players from dying. When you come across monsters, the player carrying the object will ideally drop the chalice somewhere in the center of the room and join in the fighting with their friends.
But while playing single-player, the classic Final Fantasy character Mog will carry the chalice for you! It’s really convenient. However, he will get tired every 10-15 minutes and make you carry the chalice for a few minutes, which is annoying because your character moves much more slowly while carrying it.
But what if Mog was there regardless of whether you were playing single player or multiplayer? And what if he never got tired? It would certainly make the game more convenient and playable.
I know Square Enix required the players to carry the chalice in order to create real bonding among friends by having them discuss whose turn it will be to carry the chalice, but that wouldn’t come through online, and honestly was more annoying than it was an interesting feature.
So there you go, Square Enix! All those ideas are free! Now please make this game into the masterpiece it deserves to be!