|Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers|
Fainaru Fantajī Kurisutaru Kuronikuru
Za Kurisutaru Bearā
|Release dates|| November 12, 2009|
/ December 26, 2009
February 5, 2010
|Game modes||Single player, two player co-op in special areas|
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers is part of the Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles series exclusively on Nintendo consoles. The game was directed by Toshiyuki Itahana, who previously had done the artwork for all the Crystal Chronicles games currently released. The game's atmosphere is far more realistic and darker than previous Crystal Chronicles games, and focuses on a young man named Layle.
The story takes place long after the earlier Crystal Chronicles games and features advanced technology such as firearms and Airships. Crystals are used as the power supply for all sorts of common technologies. Long ago, a great war between the Lilty and Yuke tribes resulted in the Lilties destroying the Yukes' tribal crystal, removing the entire race from the face of the planet. The shards of the Yuke crystal were then used to power crystal-technology such as the airships and weapons the Lilty Kingdom employed from then on.
The story focuses on a protagonist named Layle who, unlike previous characters in the Crystal Chronicles series who set off on a journey to become a hero, starts off already as an experienced hero. He is of the Clavat tribe as well as a Crystal Bearer. Crystal Bearers have part of their body crystallized, in Layle's case a spot on his face, and thus have magical powers. Layle has the power to manipulate gravity and lift objects or people, though his powers are weaker the farther away the target is.
The game opens with Layle and his partner Keiss guarding the airship, Alexis II, as a large flock of Zu appears and swarms around the airship. Layle defeats the monsters, landing on the ship where Belle, a young Selkie woman who is taking pictures of the event, and Jegran, the Lilty High Commander who hired Layle, stand among red shattered corpses of the monsters. A portal remains open in front of them. Layle uses his powers to pull a member of the lost Yuke tribe out of the portal and onto the ship. The Yuke then uses a Crystal Idol to absorb all of the crystal shards aboard the airship. After a brief spat between Layle and the Yuke, whom he calls "Goldenrod", she escapes on a Zu and flies away, unaware that Layle swiped the Crystal Idol from her during the fight.
Jegran orders Keiss to pick him up in the smaller aircraft he had been piloting and abandoned the airship, but Layle uses his abilities to power the ship enough to steer through a canyon and crash land in the Queen's Garden of the capital city Alfitaria. As Keiss goes with Jegran to set up the contract to go after the Yuke for thirty million gil, Layle meets a Lilty girl before they see a group of Lilty guards chase Belle in order to arrest her. They soon go after Layle for using arcane magic within Alfitaria, so the two of them flee from the scene using a Chocobo drawn cart outside the capital building.
The cavalry chases the heroes off a cliff where they find the entrance to the Subterranean Ruins, where Layle uncovers a creation myth about four governing crystals that together formed the Crystal Principle. Before he can finish reading the myth, he saves Belle from falling to her death after he realizes the place is unstable. After traversing through the ruins, Belle and Layle find themselves in chamber with a glowing crystal in the center. "Goldenrod" stands waiting by the giant crystal and tells Layle she is there for the Resurrection. Keiss reappears and attacks the Yuke with Layle unsuccessfully. The Idol Layle stole begins to glow and emits a wave of energy, creating a branch from the crystal floating in the center of the room.
After escaping from the Crystal Chamber, Layle gets a letter from Cid, the Lilty genius who created crystal reactors, asking him to help him at Bridge Town. Layle helps Cid with his new steam engine and asks for information about the now dull Crystal Idol before a Lilty guard troupe shows up at Cid's workshop to arrest him, but Layle easily defeats them. Cid then talks to the Lilty girl from before, hidden from view, referring to her as Althea.
After defeating the guards, Layle goes to the Vineyard to meet with Keiss about a lead on the new job. The two of them chase "Goldenrod" through the Vineyard and the Forgotten Forest, stopping at a mysterious area full of floating landmasses. "Goldenrod" explains that this is the cradle of their civilization. She then gives Layle a red crystal shard, telling him that such crystals disrupt the Crystal Principle. When Layle refuses to stop chasing her, Goldenrod reveals that her power as a Crystal Bearer is summoning, bringing forth Bahamut to stop them.
Layle slays the dragon and follows "Goldenrod" into another realm of floating structures. When he and Keiss catch up, "Goldenrod" again opens a portal, this time sending all three of them to the Forbidden Falls, with Layle and Keiss finding themselves at the Selkie Guild's base. Going ahead, Layle speaks to the Guild Master Vaigali and makes a deal; Vaigali's intel on the Yuke in exchange for Cid's new steam engine powering the guild's train.
Proceeding to the Costa Faguita, Layle again meets with Belle before returning to Alfitaria via the Selkie Train. On board, he once more meets Althea who wishes to meet him at the capital over a matter before the train is forcibly stopped by Jegran's forces. Layle escapes unnoticed, finally meeting with Keiss at the royal library, now a colonel in the Lilty army. He suggests that Layle go to Bridge Town to get Cid to bring him back to Grassland Station to test the steam engine on Vaigali's train. Layle returns to Alfitaria with Cid, stopping by Clock Plaza to meet with Althea. She asks about the existence of bearers with healing powers, but Layle has no information for her.
Outside at the station, Cid and Vaigali are arguing about the steam engine. Keiss arrives and pretends to want to purchase the engine for the royal army. This convinces Vaigali to accept Cid's help just to prevent the Lilty Kingdom from getting it. Vaigali tells Layle that the Yuke had been seen in the Snowfields and that the train could take him nearby. Layle and Keiss follow Goldenrod up the mountain to Rivelgauge Monastery. While trying to find "Goldenrod", Layle runs into Blaze, a pyrokinetic Clavat Crystal Bearer who was Layle's former partner and hired by Jegran to capture Belle, who stationed herself in monastery to extort Jegran with the photographs from aboard the Alexis II.
In the Commoner's Graveyard, Blaze and "Goldenrod" are at a standoff over Belle. Layle agrees to help Belle, asking "Goldenrod" to wait. He and Blaze have a duel of Crystal Bearers' powers. When Layle wins, Blaze runs inside of the monastery. Jegran and his forces have arrived to aide Keiss in capturing "Goldenrod", but since the Yuke is missing they instead attack Layle. "Goldenrod" warps Jegran's massive sword through Layle, saving his life. The two of them the run off, "Goldenrod" hanging from a Zu and Layle riding a black chocobo.
Jegran chases them to a shut down crystal airship, but Blaze confronts Jegran over using him and discarding him without a second thought. The High Commander ignores Blaze's threats, explaining that crystal reactors harmonize with Crystal Bearers, making their powers exponentially more powerful. He then uncovers his right arm and blocks a fire blast with the Chocobo he rode on, now a red crystal just like the one "Goldenrod" showed Layle. Jegran reveals that he too is a Crystal Bearer, his right arm completely crystalline and able to convert materials into red crystal. He assaults Blaze and crystallizes him, powering the reactors of the ship.
Inside, the ship comes to life around Layle and "Goldenrod". Jegran catches the two of them in the same room. Though "Goldenrod" explains her intentions, Jegran refuses to listen as the Yuke and Layle jump out the side of the ship. Revealing her real name to be Amidatelion, she and Layle flee from Jegran's forces and a giant black behemoth. Amidatelion's armor is damaged by pushing Layle out of the way of gunfire, quickly summoning another portal to return to the Yuke Sky City before she loses her physical form's stability.
Layle and Amidatelion end up jumping through the portal to the Point Between Existence and Oblivion - the home world where the Yukes have managed to survive after their Tribal Crystal was destroyed. Amidatelion begs Layle to open a nearby closet for her, which causes another suit of armor to fall out: a replacement suit. Kneeling down next to her new "body", Amidatelion begins to heal her wounds - exchanging her soul from one suit to the other - and tells Layle to take some time to explore the Yuke village. Soon after, Amidatelion sends Layle back to his world.
Layle is sent to Moogle Woods Station where he gets a letter from Cid telling him to meet him in his workshop to talk about his new invention. Layle seizes this opportunity because Cid might have information on how to get into the Palace and talk to the princess.
Cid tells Layle that the only way would be to enter through the junkyard. Layle goes to the city and eventually into the junkyard. Layle finds a crystallized King (the Father of the Princess) which he thinks is probably Jegran's doing. Layle successfully sneaks into the Palace and manages to talk with the Princess, but only to get cut off by Jegran.
- Layle, the main protagonist, is a male Clavat, and is also already a famous hero at the beginning of the game. He is a Crystal Bearer with a crystal giving him the power to control gravity, he can use his powers to lift and manipulate objects, people, and enemies.
- Layle's partner is Keiss, a young Selkie with red hair and a blue bandanna. He is a trustworthy friend of Layle, even though he works for Jegran and the Lilty kingdom.
- Belle is a female Selkie photographer who gathers information for a business. She follows Layle after he saves her from Lilty guards, seeing him as a means to make more gil.
- Althea is the kind Lilty princess of Alfitaria, with blond hair and glasses. She is accompanied by her mischievous pet ferret, Mia. She carries a Crystal Idol with her at all times.
- Jegran is the High Commander of the Lilty army and the main antagonist of the game. Later revealed to be the cause of the disruption of the natural order, Jegran is actually a Crystal Bearer who can crystallize people with his arm once its concealment is removed.
- One of the major characters, considered an antagonist, Amidatelion is a Yuke with ornate headgear. She is a Crystal Bearer, who is attempting to bring her people back into the world through reviving the Yuke Tribe Crystal. Layle calls her "Goldenrod" while pursuing her. She later becomes an ally of Layle.
Unlike previous Crystal Chronicles games, which focused on multiplayer RPG dungeon crawler gameplay, The Crystal Bearers is an action-adventure single-player experience with open-world gameplay. Layle can battle both on the ground and in the air. He is able to pick up objects and enemies with his kinetic abilities. Characters make use of their kinetic abilities in battle as the main form of combat.
Using those abilities, the player is able to use anything and everything in the battlefield as a weapon. Unlike other games in the Crystal Chronicles series, there is a small separation between exploration and battle in the form of random encounters, but even with this small separation, the player is still able to use all of Layle's abilities in and out of combat, allowing him to even attack regular people (usually resulting on the returned aggression of the surrounding population).
The Wii Remote is used to grab objects and move them. Layle's powers can also work as a grappling hook to launch himself up. Nearly everything in the game can be interacted with, including people in towns (who will react to Layle differently depending upon the player's actions). As the game progresses, the amount of things that the enemy can do increases as does the number of options Layle has when interacting with them. There is no leveling-up system in the game instead, the player utilizes new equipment to enhance Layle's abilities, such as being able to interact with objects farther away. The player can also maximize Layle's total HP by collecting fragments of Myrrh, which can be found by clearing the Miasma Stream campaigns in each area and hunting down scattered treasure chests around the world.
Throughout the game, Layle can collect items and money from monsters and treasure chests. Using the items that he finds and buys, he can create accessories that will increase five different attributes: offense, defense, focus, range, and luck. Focus decreases the time it takes to lock onto an enemy, range increases the distance at which he can Lock On to an enemy, and luck increases his chance of finding rare items. Some accessories can also add special attributes to Layle like for example resistance to static, adding a tackle effect to the rolling dash or increasing the amount of time you can hold a captured object or enemy.
Battles at the start of the game are easy and can be cleared with standard attacks, but as the game progresses, the player is required to use objects and enemies in the battle field as weapons, experimenting to find good effects while avoiding bad reactions that could benefit the enemy to clear the miasma stream battles on time.
Even though the game focuses on single-player gameplay, it is possible to use a second Wii Remote to help the first player in a co-op style; the second player does not control a second character, but instead plays as an extension of Layle's gravity-based kinetic powers.
The original video trailer released showed an art direction style similar to the original Crystal Chronicles game. Steampunk style airships were shown flying across the sky, three crystal caravans racing on a desert-like plain, and a blond-haired Clavat boy holding a crystal in his hand. During the Square Enix Party 2007 a new trailer was unveiled showing the new direction the game was taken in. Plans were to have a running demo at Square Enix Party 2007 but due to lack of time, only a trailer was shown. They were hoping to have one ready by the Tokyo Game Show 2007, but the event came and passed with no demo or even a trailer.
Four Crystal Chronicles games (namely Ring of Fates, My Life as a King, Echoes of Time, and My Life as a Darklord) have been released since the initial announcement of The Crystal Bearers in May 2006. The developers of My Life as a King refused to comment when asked about the status of The Crystal Bearers at the Game Developers Conference of February 2008, stating only that the public should "wait for a press release".
Three years after the game's initial announcement, the game still did not have a solid release date. The first new trailer since 2007 was released with the Wii version of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time in January 2009. In March 2009, the Official Global website opened for The Crystal Bearers that updates with short videos on the game and revealed a new logo. The European page revealed that Europe has already received a rating for the game before both North America and Japan.
A newsletter was also emailed to people who signed up to receive info on the game from the European website. In a issue of Famitsu released in April, the Game Producer and Scriptwriter of The Crystal Bearers Akitoshi Kawazu, revealed that the long delay was due to the game being in early development when it had originally been announced and not having a full development team when they began work.
- King Leo and Chime appear in various locations within the game. There is a sidequest for these two: Chime is looking for Leo, but she cannot find him due to her lost glasses.
- In Alfitaria, if you change the channel of the big screen, you will be able to watch an advertisement of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, the first game of the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles franchise.
- There is an emblem of Mira that you can buy from a moogle.
- In Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, there is a Spriggan mini-boss in the main story called "Crystal Bearer".