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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 reveals TGS 2020 Online merch

Around for a limited time

Square-Enix has a slew of merch on the way for TGS 2020 Online. The items go up for grabs on Sept. 24th, and will only be available until Sept. 27th, 2020. Anyone who buys music products or other goods at the Square Enix e-store for 5,000 yen or more will get a special gift while supplies last. These include items like a special Square Enix bag and music sampler.

As for some of the merch available, fans can snag items such as autographed copies of original soundtracks and concerts for games such as Trails of Mana and Kingdom Hearts. There's also a Final Fantasy souvenir set, and a Dragon Quest souvenir set.

Final Fantasy VII/VIII Twin Pack looks to be releasing outside of Asia

Can't go wrong with this one

Back in 2019, Square-Enix released a Final Fantasy VII/VIII Twin Pack for the Switch, but it was only available in Asia. Now it looks like the pack is going to get a release in other regions.

European retailers have started to add listings for the Final Fantasy VII/VIII Twin Pack to their websites, and they're listing the game with a Nov. 6th, 2020 release. The price appears to be somewhere around $45. Expect this to be officially announced by Square-Enix in the near future.

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 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.

Former Square-Enix president reveals the path they took to rekindle their relationship with Nintendo in the early 2000s

Getting over it

Back in the N64 days, Nintendo and Square-Enix (Squaresoft at the time) didn't have any relationship. Their support for one another fell apart when Square-Enix moved over to the Sony side of things to work on the Playstation. This soured Nintendo on Square-Enix, and the two simply stopped working together in any capacity.

We wouldn't see the two companies reconcile until the early 2000s, thanks to Square-Enix interest in the GBA, which eventually paved the way for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on the GameCube. Ever wonder just what happened between the two companies in order to form a working relationship again? Some new insight has been shared from someone who's definitely in the know.

Former Square-Enix president Yoichi Wada has penned a blog post that details the steps that took place in the early 2000s to get Nintendo and Square-Enix back to a good spot. You can see the fan translation of that information below.

Thanks to Rockyeahh for the heads up!

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.

Square-Enix releasing Final Fantasy III Four Souls album

Celebrating 30 years

Final Fantasy III is coming up on its 30th anniversary, and Square-Enix is celebrating with a special album release. The company has announced a limited edition record called Final Fantasy III Four Souls. This is available to preorder via the Square Enix e-STORE, Sony Music Shop, and Amazon Japan for ¥3,850, and will ship out on November 18th, 2020. The album will also come with a download code for the songs for those who prefer digital content. Check out the track listing below.

A Side Arrangement Version:

- Eternal Wind
- The Crystal Tower
- Requiem
- Elia, the Maiden of Water

B Side Original Version:

- Eternal Wind
- The Crystal Tower
- Requiem
- Elia, the Maiden of Water

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.

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