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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition composers wanted to make sure they didn't upset fans with changes

Walking a fine line

The soundtrack of the original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is highly regarded by fans of the game, and Final Fantasy fans in general. It might be one of the most praised soundtracks in the entire franchise. How do you go about reworking that soundtrack for a game remaster? Very carefully, according to composers Kumi Tanioka and Hidenori Iwasaki. They shared their thoughts on not wanting to upset fans in an interview with NintendoEverything.

KT: That’s definitely something I wanted to absolutely avoid, so any changes were made with the utmost consideration in that regard. On the other hand, both the game and the soundtrack also include tracks that haven’t been changed at all.

HI: It’s a great honor to know that this is one of the soundtracks that has been supported by so many fans. We felt strongly about not disappointing our fans as well, so “how can we change things while making it feel as though nothing at all changed” is something we kept in mind while working on the soundtrack with utmost care.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles composers discuss what it was like returning for the Remastered Edition

Revisiting a fantastic soundtrack

Composers Kumi Tanioka and Hidenori Iwasaki were the duo behind the soundtrack for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, a soundtrack extremely highly regarded by fans of the game itself, as well as the Final Fantasy franchise. All these years later, the two composers came back to revisit their work and add new tracks for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition. In an interview with Nintendo Life, we hear how Tanioka and Iwasaki felt about stepping back into their roles.

Tanioka: It was great fun, really nostalgic and a valuable experience.

Hidenori Iwasaki grasped the essence of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles' music perfectly, just like he did 17 years ago, and added some wonderful variations that properly understood my feelings and musical direction. Donna really liked ‘Morning Sky’ and ‘Moonless Starry Night’ and even sings them in her live concerts, so she really made this recording her own. I was delighted with her amazing vocals.

Iwasaki: It has been a very enjoyable experience to take another look the music that I made a long time ago with my very close friends. As we went along with the project, we reminisced about lots of things from 2003.

What I am grateful for is that Kumi Tanioka and Donna Burke had, almost to a surprising degree, the same thoughts and envisioned direction for it as I had. All of the background music has been reworked, and my discussions with Ms. Tanioka regarding them were incredibly pleasant - I’m very happy that our thoughts regarding how much or how little we should change something were the same. In the same way, I think that we have also been able to convey just how much we love this music.

Square-Enix discusses how hardware limitations impacted the soundtrack of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

Working within limitations

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has one of the most memorable soundtracks in all of the Final Fantasy franchise. It's a soundtrack that's still praised today, but putting it together proved to be quite a challenge for the dev team. In an interview with NWR, composer Hidenori Iwasaki discussed the hurdles that needed to be overcome when creating the original soundtrack for the GameCube.

It would be correct to say that there were unused performance phrases rather that lost/unused songs to be precise. Speaking of gaming hardware from the early 2000s, it was common to have 256 KB or 512 KB of memory available for music. When you attempt to sound music within that size, the only approach available is sampling an instrument’s waveform for each music interval (for example, the C and E sounds) and using MIDI for playback. The main programmer on FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES was very capable though, and they were able to allocate 2 MB of memory for music (even though that may still be a small amount (laughs)).

That’s when we really thought things through. If we have this much memory to work with, we thought we’d be able to use half (1 MB) in the traditional way, sampling intervals (i.e. C and E) and playing back those sounds using MIDI, and use the other half for sampling the Roba Music Theatre’s performance data by breaking them down and playing them back in phrases. The strategy ended up working, and we were able to achieve music that sounded as though you’re listening to something streamed (like mp3s and wavs). That said, in actuality, the task of putting all live performance data into 1 MB was quite a challenge, and an immense amount of trial and error awaited me; it was as though I was trying to solve a large jigsaw puzzle. Even after other team members went home, I worked into the late hours, chopping up the performance phrases, reusing the same parts, and dropping the sample rate among other things. Somehow, I fit everything within the available memory, but there were some phrases that couldn’t be kept, leaving us no choice but to cut them out. This time, we were able to revive the performance phrases that were originally supposed to be incorporated but ended up going unused.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles composers discuss how their created the game's unique sound

A timeless soundtrack

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has one of the most unique soundtracks in all of the Final Fantasy games, and it's one that has stuck with fans ever since the game hit the GameCube. Now with the Remastered Edition available on Switch, players have a chance to once again enjoy those amazing tunes.

In an interview with Siliconera, composers Kumi Tanioka and Hidenori Iwasaki discussed how they came up with the unique sound for the game's soundtrack. Check out their responses below.

Tanioka: I’d have to say the presence of the Roba Music Theatre was huge. While the game carries a harsh theme encompassing a journey to survive, the overarching atmosphere from the characters, scenery, and scenario have a gentle aura, so in order to instill that in the music, from the very beginning I had envisioned using various folk instruments to create songs that felt genre-less. Meanwhile, Mr. Iwasaki, who handled the arrangements, found the Roba Music Theatre and I was drawn to them immediately thinking, “This is the world we’re striving the achieve!” The music for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was born, thanks to Mr. Iwasaki.

Iwasaki: I’ve always liked folk and early music, and I took Irish fiddle lessons from a Canadian person once a week with Mr. Uematsu and others. Amidst that, it was around the year 2000 that I came across the Roba Music Theatre, a music group that specializes in playing period instruments. Their albums only used instruments like the crumhorn, gemshorn, hurdy-gurdy, and recorder, but it didn’t sound tiresome as it is often the case for early music; these were sounds that children would even perceive as cute and fun. I wanted to incorporate this type of music into a game someday.

And, when we were preparing to create the music for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles around 2002, I invited the composer, Kumi Tanioka, to see the Roba Music Theatre perform and we went to see their concert together. Reason being, I felt that the memorable melodies she creates, and the Roba Music Theatre’s performances would resonate well with one another. She also ended up enjoying the Roba Music Theatre’s performance very much.

Thereafter, we were fortunate to hear that the Roba Music Theatre would take on the performance for this project, and that’s how the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles’ music was born.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition director apologizes for bugs and problems, pledges multiple fixes

Fixes, but maybe not the ones you want

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition didn't have the smoothest of launches, with a number of hiccups and issues being discovered right away. Square-Enix is well aware of these issues, and they're working hard to fix things up. You can read a message from the game's Director below that includes an apology for the problems, and outlines the fixes coming down the line.

This is FINAL FANTASY CHRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition Director Araki Ryoma. Thank you so much for playing our game.

We have received a lot of feedback from our players since the game was released and are moving to address all the issues raised as quickly as we can, but I must apologize for the delay in making an announcement about the situation.

I also make my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience caused during play.

First of all, the situation where players were unable to play immediately after launch was caused by our servers going over capacity. We ran maintenance to increase that server capacity on August 29, which has led to comparatively stable running thereafter. Going forward, we will move to address any further server issues as required.

We would also like to release rapid updates to address the bugs that are getting in the way of players’ experiences with the game and are working on the update schedule announced above.

We are also looking into making further updates in addition to those detailed above, once we have reviewed player feedback, and will make further announcements once the update content has been finalized.

I must again apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers and beg your understanding as we try to put things right.

Thank you for your continued support of FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition.

Upcoming plans for updates to FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition
We would like to announce our upcoming update plans for FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition on PlayStation®4, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android platforms.

The following updates are planned:

All platforms

Fixes for the issue where players will count as already having spawned an unknown element hotspot after being matched with a player who has spawned one and completed a dungeon in multiplayer.

Fixes for the issue where items can be obtained infinitely.

iOS and Android versions

Improvements to the frequency of freezes during loading.

In addition, the following new feature is also scheduled:

All platforms

Ability for the hosting player to skip boss introduction cut scenes and myrrh drop scenes in multiplayer.

iOS and Android versions*

Ability to skip boss introduction cut scenes and myrrh drop scenes in single play.
These updates are scheduled for release between mid and late September. The specific release date will be announced once all details have been finalized, so please watch out for further information/future updates.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused for our players.

Thanks to Sephazon for the heads up!

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition official soundtrack now available

Well worth a purchase

Square-Enix has released the official soundtrack for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition. The soundtrack features over 50 songs, and includes both versions of the 'Morning Sky' theme song. The OST is priced at ¥3,300, and ships out on September 7th, 2020.

For those who jump on an order right away, Square-Enix is offering a limited first edition that includes a bonus CD of re-recorded background music. Along with that, those who purchase the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition OST before August 1st, 2020 through the e-Square Enix shop will get a digital code to download the 2003 instrumental versions of Morning Sky and Starry Moonlight Night.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition removed from the Switch eShop in Australia and New Zealand

Gone, but not forgotten

Just the other day, we shared a story about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition and some online issues that players in Australia and New Zealand were having. Players in those regions couldn't get into an online game for more than 30 seconds, as they'd end up getting disconnected.

Now we're seeing that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition has been yanked from the eShop in both of those regions. While we don't know the official reason why the game was removed, it likely has something to do with this online issue. There's no doubt Square-Enix is working on this problem, and the game will return to the eShop soon. When it pops back up, we'll be sure to let you know.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition players in Australian and New Zealand are unable to play online

Well that's no good...

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition makes it difficult for everyone to play online no matter where they live, but the situation appears to be much worse for those in Australian and New Zealand.

For whatever reason, Australian and New Zealanders are unable to get into online games for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition. If they can manage to hop in on a game, it disconnects just a few seconds later. This isn't an issue specific to the Switch, either. It seems to be impacting all versions of the game.

Square-Enix is yet to comment on the matter, but hopefully they can issue a fix soon.

Check out the launch trailer for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition

The fantasy is back!

SQUARE ENIX® today welcomes seasoned adventurers and newcomers alike to explore a world like no other, as FINAL FANTASY® CRYSTAL CHRONICLES® Remastered Edition is now available on the Nintendo Switch™ system, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, and the App Store® and Google Play™ Store for mobile devices.

In FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition, adventurers can embark on an enchanting adventure either solo or with friends via online multiplayer with cross-play functionality*. Including a host of new and updated features such as updated graphics, a newly-composed soundtrack, end-game high-difficulty dungeons, a new Mimic mode feature and more, FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition welcomes all players to take up the crystal chalice and explore a unique and magical world.

Players can also try the game for free from today with the release of FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition Lite**, which provides access to the first three dungeons in both single player and online multiplayer with cross-play functionality. Additionally, players who purchase the full game will be able to host multiplayer sessions with players using FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition Lite, so a full party of up to four caravanners can play through up to 13 dungeons in the fantasy adventure together with one copy of the full game. Save data can be carried over from FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition Lite to the full game, ensuring players can seamlessly continue their progress in the magical fantasy adventure.

For returning FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES players eager to relive their memories, new downloadable content is also available to purchase which will allow characters to take on the appearance of classic FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES series characters via the game’s new Mimic mode, such as Layle (FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: The Crystal Bearers™), Leo (FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a King™), Sherlotta (FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Echoes of Time™) and many more. Additionally, special weapons bundles are available to let adventurers take on their adventure in style.

FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition is rated T (Teen) and is now available on the Nintendo Switch™ system, PlayStation®4 system, the App Store® and Google Play™ Store.

Square-Enix shares a special piece of art to celebrate Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition's launch

Let the fantasy continue

As we shared earlier, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition is now officially available on the Switch. To celebrate the occasion, Square-Enix has shared the brand-new, gorgeous artwork above. Even if this version of the game seems to be a bit lackluster in areas, it's still nice to know that people will have a chance to experience it. Just seeing this art brings me back to the days when this game was revealed for the GameCube. I can't help but feel nostalgic!

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