Square Enix's WiiWare launch title puts a Final Fantasy spin on the simulation genre.
During a Game Developers Conference presentation, Fumiaki Shiraishi of Square Enix, the lead programmer on My Life as a King, explained some details on what the WiiWare launch title will be like and how it differs from traditional Final Fantasy games.
The most radical departure from previous FF games, and even from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for GameCube, is that My Life as a King will be a simulation game. Your main character, a young king in charge of the welfare of a walled city, does not explore areas outside of the city or engage in combat. Instead, the role of the king is to ensure that his city—and the warriors that reside in it—has its basic needs and wants met.
The official trailer for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, the WiiWare launch title from Square Enix.
The warriors living inside the city are the focus of the simulation aspect of My Life as a King. Although players will never be able to see outside of the confines of the city, there is a whole world to be explored by the warriors living within it. A map system will show what the outside world looks like. Warriors will go about their business traveling to these locations and defeating monsters that may await them. While walking about town, players will see "real-time" updates on the status of warriors, such as where one is currently located or if someone has defeated a monster.
At the end of a day, players will receive a daily report containing information about the activities of all warriors living in the city. The report will show where people went, what monsters they defeated, what items they have obtained, and other information that a king would need to know about the activities of his subjects.
Using the information in this report, it's the king's job to make sure the city is better equipped to handle the needs of the population. The GDC presentation didn't make it completely clear what this entails, but a video showed two contrasting scenes from different times in the game. The first showed a relatively empty city with few buildings and a scattered population. A later scene from much later in the game showed a bustling town with many more people walking about a marketplace of sorts, with people walking into a weapons shop and walking out with new equipment.
Presumably, one of the tasks that will be set before you will be to manage the construction of new buildings to accommodate a growing population or item shops equipped with more powerful weaponry. Money will presumably also play a role in this, though it wasn't made obvious how exactly it would be obtained. Being a king, however, it's likely that the city's residence would need to pay taxes and the player would need to manage revenue to accommodate for the eventual expansion of the city.
Another way to gauge what people want, will be to take a walk around town and see what it is they are "thinking" about. During the video presentation, characters had icons over their head that showed what it was they wanted to do. It was explained that these characters have a desire—this one in particular wanted to go shopping. Presumably, if enough characters in town have a specific desire, that could be a clue to invest in something that would meet their desire more readily.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King will be a WiiWare launch title when the service is launched in North America on May 12. No official price or game size has been finalized, although Square Enix said that it was targeting a price of between 500 to 1000 Wii Points ($5 to $10) and a final size of 30-45 MB. Those figures may change for the final retail version, however.