Nintendo used to be the home for all things Final Fantasy, until the time of the original Playstation and Final Fantasy VII, that is. While all of the numerical entries in the main series have released for systems other than the current Nintendo ones, Square Enix did create a spinoff entirely for GameCube owners back in 2003 (in Japan, anyways; the series debuted in 2004 in North America and the other regions), titled Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.
This was an action-RPG, based on the Final Fantasy universe, but using the more childlike-sprites and animations once found on the classic Nintendo consoles rather than the look of realism the main Final Fantasy series had strived for on later generations of hardware. It was cute, and it was charming, but there were some drawbacks. For one, in order to experience everything the game had to offer, you needed friends who were both willing to play a multiplayer RPG and also had access to a Game Boy Advance.
The GameCube acted as the central hub for the game, and also displayed what was going on in fights and in towns. The Game Boy Advance, connected to the GameCube in lieu of a standard game controller, housed the menus and options in order to keep the clutter and menus of an RPG off of the screen. It was innovative, and enjoyable, but an expensive endeavor for cost-conscious gamers.
The second entry in the Crystal Chronicles series, Ring of Fates, landed on the Nintendo DS last year, and it improved on the gameplay by adding Wi-Fi and subtracting the wires. It was not on a console, but handheld adventuring that was playable with friends was a positive development for the Square Enix/Nintendo franchise.
Enter 2009, where Square Enix plans to release two new entries in the Crystal Chronicles series. The first of these is Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, a game that will be simultaneously released for both the Wii and the DS. If a friend has a DS and a copy, and you have a Wii and a copy, you can play together on your television.
The feedback has been mixed thus far, mostly due to the graphics on the Wii version. Yes, the graphics on the Wii look exactly like the DS game, and the entire screen is not used up but is instead made to look somewhat like the dual-screen DS, but the gameplay-which has been solid in previous Crystal Chronicles titles-is my main concern, and the thing I’m most interested in learning more about as the game nears its release.
Square Enix sent out a press release this afternoon to announce the official North American release date for Echoes of Time. Get your DS and/or Wii ready for March 24, because that’s when you will first be able to go on the next adventure with your buddies. Check out the screens Square Enix sent along, as well as the features touted below in the press release.
From Square Enix:
FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Echoes of Time
Launch Date Announced for North America
Multiplayer RPG Linking Wii and Nintendo DS Arrives on Both Platforms on March 24, 2009
LOS ANGELES (January 26, 2009) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of Square Enix‚® interactive entertainment products in North America, announced today that FINAL FANTASY‚® CRYSTAL CHRONICLES‚®: Echoes of TimeTM will be released simultaneously for both WiiTM and Nintendo DSTM on March 24, 2009.
An innovative new concept in multiplayer gaming, FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Echoes of Time will enable Wii and DS users to play side by side for the first time. This breakthrough in gaming connectivity allows players on both Nintendo platforms to journey together in the fantastical world of the beloved FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES series.
FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Echoes of Time offers a gameplay system that allows for a seamless, hassle-free in-game switch from single to multiplayer mode. Play anytime, anywhere, with anyone and experience a new level of connectivity with this latest adventure in the FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES series.
A triumphant return from a monster-infested forest marks the completion of the 16-year-old hero’s coming-of-age ceremony. However, the hero’s joy is short-lived as a young village girl is found to be afflicted by a mysterious illness known as “crystal sickness.”‚ Determined to obtain the cure, the hero steps out of the secluded village for the first time, only to discover a world in which crystals are merely artifacts of the past and no longer exist…
- Play anytime, anywhere with anyone! Multiplayer connectivity reaches new heights in FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Echoes of Time, where players can team up or compete with friends and players around the world
- The intuitive control scheme introduced in FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Ring of Fates‚® returns, now adapted to Wii for double the action
- Players can switch between single and multiplayer modes at any time while playing, enjoying two great gaming options in one integrated experience
- A personalized hero can be generated from a choice of the four familiar races of the series; Clavats, Lilties, Selkies or Yukes. Players joining from the Wii can also introduce their Miis to the world of FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES
- Create and customize materials, armor and equipment for characters with tailored appearances and abilities – no two heroes will be the same!
- Players can continue to enjoy the game even after completing the main adventure, as the New Game+ feature provides increased difficulty and better items with every new round
- A vast selection of quests delivers hours of fun!
FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Echoes of Time is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older). Please visit the Entertainment Software Rating Board website at www.esrb.org for more information about ratings. FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Echoes of Time will be available at North American retailers for the suggested retail price of $39.99 for both Wii and Nintendo DS. The official website can be found at http://na.square-enix.com/ffcceot.
About Square Enix Co., Ltd. and Square Enix, Inc.
Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Square Enix), with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, develops, publishes and distributes entertainment content including interactive entertainment software and publications in Asia, North America, and Europe. Square Enix brings two of Japan’s best-selling franchises – FINAL FANTASY, which has sold over 85 million units worldwide, and DRAGON QUEST‚®, which has sold over 47 million units worldwide – under one roof. Square Enix is one of the most influential providers of digital entertainment content in the world and continues to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation.
Square Enix, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. with offices in Los Angeles, California. It handles operations in North America, including development, localization, marketing and publishing of Square Enix titles. More information on Square Enix can be found on the Internet at http://www.square-enix.com.