Years in the making, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers finally steps out of the shadows.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers was first announced at E3 2005. At E3 2006, Square Enix released a short pre-rendered trailer featuring fleets of airships, caravans (from the original Crystal Chronicles), and character models that resembled those from the original title. That trailer was the last the world would hear of The Crystal Bearers for over two years.
The Crystal Bearers re-emerged with a look that was different from the original trailer. The most obvious difference was the art style of the characters, adapting a style closer to 2008's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. It wasn't until E3 2009, four years after the game was announced, that the game was finally shown in action (read our E3 2009 impressions here). With its impending release (December 26 2009), Square Enix has finally revealed all of the details on their upcoming Wii title.
Set one thousand years after the events of the GameCube original, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers is a thematic restart for the series. In the thousand-year interim, a war between the militant Lilty Tribe and the Yuke Tribe has driven the Yuke from the world, and with them the magic they weaved. In place of magic, science and reason have taken the central role in society. There are a few people who can still use magic; these mystical fold are referred to as "Crystal Bearers."
Crystal Bearers stars Layle, a Clavat Crystal Bearer with the power to manipulate gravity. His power already established prior to the start of the game, Layle is hired to provide escort for a Lilty passenger liner. It is during this conflict that he encounters the game's apparent antagonist, a Yuke with the ability to bend objects. This encounter results in Layle being forced to go on a quest to save the world.
Like the original Crystal Chronicles, Crystal Bearers is an action-adventure title. Unlike the original game, Crystal Bearers is designed to be a single-player experience. The combat shown to date has featured Layle sporting a massive gun, shooting at swarming enemies and using telekinesis to repel them as he rides on the back of a chocobo. The gameplay style in these clips is best described as "on rails". Early gameplay demos have also shown that Layle's ability to move objects telekinetically is not limited to combat; he can also take advantage of his powers while exploring cities.
Layle's powers are controlled by pointing the Wii Remote at the target of his magical machinations and pressing the B-Trigger. Moving around is performed with the Nunchuk. Waving the Wii Remote about will similarly shake the target of your aggression around (including heaving Non-Player Characters about to shake the cash from their pockets). Of course, Layle's powers aren't just designed to harass citizens; they are also used to solve puzzles. One puzzle requires Layle to gain access to an area behind a time-locked door. Using his powers to move the hands of the clock causes the door to open, allowing Layle entry.
After years of development, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers is almost here. While there has been a relative glut of information over the last few months, there is still a great bit that is unknown. Thankfully, it won't be long before all questions (most importantly, "Was it worth the wait?") are answered Crystal Bearers ships in Japan on November 12, and on December 26 in North America. A European release has yet to be announced.