FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition’s multiplayer explained

We explain why multiplayer - and convenience - matters in the enhanced co-op classic.
By Duncan Heaney

FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES offers up a very different kind of RPG. While most games in the FINAL FANTASY series are single player epics, this adventure can be enjoyed with friends.

In FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition, which releases for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android* on August 27, 2020, this co-operative gameplay has been enhanced further, with new high-level dungeons, entirely new features and more.

The team has also focused on making it as simple as possible to actually experience it - something that wasn’t necessarily the case with the 2003 GameCube original.

Ahead of the game’s launch in just a few weeks, we thought we’d go take a look at the game’s multiplayer - and what we’ve done to make it hassle-free - and affordable - to start playing.

How does multiplayer work in the game?

Almost every aspect of FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES, from the story to the gameplay systems, have been designed to accommodate multiple players.

For example, while many RPGs cast you as the Most Important Person In The World™, CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition takes a more collaborative angle.

You and your friends are members of a caravan that travels the world in search of drops of myrrh - a rare and precious resource that helps protect towns and cities from a deadly gas called the Miasma.

It’s the perfect premise for some co-op adventuring, and your journey will send you and your friends into multiple dungeons to find secrets and battle dangerous enemies. The four tribes you can choose to play as each have different strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll have to rely on each other and combine your skills carefully to survive the toughest battles.

In fact, the game goes out of its way to reward you for working collaboratively with your colleagues. For example, if you synchronise your attacks and spells, you’ll do much more damage. It also regularly throws in sections where teaming up is a necessity - such as making one player carry a vital object while relying on the others for protection.

The Remastered Edition expands on the multiplayer potential, with some new high difficulty dungeons that will test even the most experienced players. Trust us - having friends along will help.

In short, it’s a truly co-operative experience… though if you do have a competitive streak you’ll be pleased to know you can compete with each other to claim the most points per dungeon. There’s a good prize for the winner too - you get first dibs on choosing which artifact you take home.

How did we develop the multiplayer in FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition?

When the team was developing the new Remastered Edition, they were laser-focused on one thing in particular: convenience.

They wanted to make it as quick and easy as possible for people to join up with friends and journey through this classic world - and the new game is packed with features added specifically for this reason.

To understand why that is, you should first cast your mind back to the original game, in the long, long ago of 2003…

The original game’s multiplayer required some setup

The GameCube release of FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES offered genuinely awesome multiplayer… provided you could gather everything you needed to actually do it.

To team up with friends, each player needed their own Game Boy Advance handheld, and a special link cable to connect it to the GameCube console - and you had to get everything together in the same place.

If you were fortunate enough to achieve the setup, the game was incredible - but it was a big ask for players, particularly in the West.

So, when working on the new FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition, the team asked themselves a simple question: how do we protect the gameplay experience, but make it much easier to get into?

Online multiplayer

The first step was to ensure it could be played online. That means that four people can jump on at any time and start adventuring together very easily.

Ryoma Araki, the Director of FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition explains: “We understand that offline co-operative play was a feature in the original game many fans look back at fondly, so we hope both returning and new fans alike will be able to enjoy the game again by teaming up together across different consoles and smartphones and create new memories as they adventure together again.

Full crossplay

The team wanted to go even further than that though. Gamers have access to lots of different systems, from PS4s and Nintendo Switches to Apple and Android phones, and to limit multiplayer to those players on the same platform would be directly at odds with the social spirit of the game - not to mention the team’s goal of eliminating any barriers to multiplayer.

That’s why the team put a lot of emphasis on crossplay. According to Araki-san, “we wanted to ensure as many players as possible were able to team up and enjoy the adventure together, regardless of which platform they play on, or even if they’re using the free Lite version of the game.

To this end, all versions of the game can be played online together so anyone can play with anyone else. That means your caravan could consist of a PS4 user, Switch user, Android user and iOS user, and it will all still work seamlessly.

This approach has another benefit, too. As Araki-san says: “Three of the four platforms that this game will be released on are portable, so even if all four players play on different hardware, they can play together in the same location, or even if they’re physically far apart.

A free ‘Lite’ version so everyone can try it

It’s also fair to say that the original CRYSTAL CHRONICLES required investment to enjoy - up to two separate pieces of hardware, and specialised cables, for example. But for this updated version, no investment is required at all.

We wanted every player who was interested in the game to be able to try it and experience it together at no cost (outside of the standard PS+ and Nintendo Online subscriptions for online play on consoles) - enter FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition Lite.

This free edition of the game for consoles launches alongside the full version and lets you play through the start of the game, including the first three dungeons, in single player and multiplayer. On mobile, the game is free-to-play as standard - it contains the same content and functionality as the console Lite edition, with the option to upgrade to the full version in-game.

Regardless of your platform, you’ll be pleased to know that yes, four Lite or mobile users can indeed play together, and crossplay is supported!

That said, if one of the party members does own the full game, things get even more exciting… and convenient.

Only one copy of the game is needed for extended multiplayer

As long as one player has the full game, anyone can join them on their adventures - even if they only have the free Lite version. Once you connect with that player, you can play through 13 large, intricate dungeons instead of just three.

Not only that, but your progress on the Lite version can be transferred to the full game, so should you upgrade, you can pick up where you left off - both in single player and with others.

Hopefully that’s given you some insight into the multiplayer in FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition.

As you can tell, the team has thought very carefully about how to make it easy and convenient to team up with your friends - no hassle, no faff and no big bundle of purple link cables to untangle at the end of it.

We urge you to give it a go, whether you dive into the full game or try the free Lite version first, because in our (admittedly biased) opinion, FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition is one of the most satisfying co-operative games ever created.

You can try for yourself on August 27, 2020 when the game releases on PS4, Nintendo Switch, Android and iOS*.

*Mobile release date subject to change