Square-Enix on Crystal Chronicles

Director Akitoshi Kawazu spills the beans on Final Fantasy for GameCube in this roundtable Q&A.;

Nintendo and Square-Enix will publicly debut Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles at the Electronics Entertainment Expo 2003. But readers won't have to wait quite that long to get the goods on the game. Earlier this evening the two companies held a conference call for select members of the press in which details of the game were fully explained.

A short, but informative question and answer session was also held with game director Akitoshi Kawazu. Following we have a speedy transcription of his thoughts on the game along with his answers to various questions about it.

Mr. Kawazu opened by stating: "I am Akitoshi Kawazu from Game Designer studio and am the producer of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. I think people will find the game to be quite different from all of the FF we've seen up until now. This is a game in which multiple players can participate. I think the interface is quite different, too -- it's a very action-based interface and I think it's going to provide some new flavor to the game.

Developing for the GameCube platform is a new challenge for me; it's something I haven't done before. I am looking forward to how my efforts are received and my fingers are crossed that it goes well.

The game also features a style of play that we've not seen in games in the US or Japan and that is how you connect the GBA to the GameCube and we think the connectivity feature is going to allow for new styles of control in the game.

Unfortunately this year I will not be able to attend E3, but FFCC will be on the show floor and playable, and I would be very happy if you could all check out the game and try it for yourself.

Q: FFCC as you said supports up to four-player simultaneous play. Can you describe some of the elements of that play and how it works with the GBAs?

Kawazu: With the GBA, you actually use that in place of a GCN controller and the GBA essentially acts as a controller for the game. Because each player would have a GBA with their own GBA screen, the GBA screens will have personal information regarding each character on them and we will be using that capability to interact with the standard gameplay.

Q: Please explain the storyline for the game and how it's set up.

Kawazu: Regardless of whether you're playing alone or with four players, you would be playing the same quest and the same story. As for the gameplay style, it is going to be more mission based where you're going from one stage, clearing it, and going onto the next stage. So I think that will provide a different flavor from most of the FF games that we've seen in the past.

Q: Who is composing the music for FFCC and will it support Dolby Surround?

Kawazu: The same composer who did the music for Final Fantasy 11. We are not going to have the game compatible with Dolby Pro Logic II.

Q: How does the battle system work? How do you fight, use magic and items, and things like that?

Kawazu: A very basic battle in the game would be where you face your opponent and swing your weapon to attack. We've also implemented a charge system where you can charge your weapon for more powerful blows. We also have magical attacks. And because this is a multiplayer game, we've also implemented a feature where players can consecutively attack and inflict more damage.

Looking for a fight? Try this guy on for size.

Q: Do you think FFCC will appeal to a different audience than your usual games?

Kawazu: FFCC, I think, has a much higher level of action elements in the gameplay system. I think from that sense it will be easier to pick up and get into the gameplay.

Q: What is the GBA controller there for? Why aren't you just using the GCN controller? And what really does separate CC from other FF titles?

Kawazu: Because this game has a higher level of action than some of our past games, players will not be watching the GBA and playing, but rather the television. Each of the characters will have access to different information and that will appear on the GBA screen. This will introduce different elements of gameplay. A player may have access to information on his GBA and he can choose to share that with his party of keep it to himself.

Q: Is there a lot of FMV or are the cinematics done in real-time?

Kawazu: The cinematics that are in the game are all done in real-time.

Q: When you're playing alone, do you have AI characters in your party or are you simply alone? And how is the multiplayer mode set up? Split-screen?

Kawazu: All of the action, even in multiplayer, will take place on a single-screen -- it will not e split. As a single-player quest, there will be no other AI characters. You will be playing alone. So obviously based on that there will be some adjustments in the game.