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Game Over For Crystal Chronicles Franchise?

Game Over For Crystal Chronicles Franchise?

Written by Darryl — 24 Jan 2010

When Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles first appeared on the Nintendo Gamecube back in 2004 it was very well received. It allowed four people to take part in the action, but they had to play using Game Boy Advances, instead of Gamecube controllers. Despite these heavy requirements, the game still ended up selling well over 1 million units and Square Enix naturally thought they were on to a winner.

This lead to Square Enix making the game into a franchise, which started with a prequel in the form of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates. It appeared on the Nintendo DS, and like its predecessor, it allowed people to join together to play the game, this time using the Wi-Fi capabilities of the DS. However, its sales didn't manage to stack up to the original game, with it selling just over 600,000 units worldwide.

This didn't discourage Square Enix though, as they made some WiiWare iterations, and started work on the next game, Echoes of Time. This game was oddly only announced a few months before its Japanese release, and even more oddly, came in two forms. There was a DS version, and a Wii version, but they were identical - the Wii version was a port of the DS version, not the other way around. However, despite attempting to recapture the fun of the original title yet again, sales were poor. Combined, it couldn't reach the heights of even Ring of Fates, with the Wii version only managing to sell approximately 160,000 units worldwide.

The latest version, The Crystal Bearers is actually an offshoot of the main franchise, as it no longer has a focus on multiplayer. However, despite this change, it has still failed to make an impact in both Japan and North America and sales have so far mirrored the Wii version of Echoes of Time. The game is actually to be released in Europe shortly, but recent Crystal Chronicles games have performed poorly in the region according to VGChartz, and so far reviews of the title haven't been promising.

So, where do Square Enix go from here? It's clear that the Crystal Chronicles franchise is something they're interested in making more prominent, hence the effort put into The Crystal Bearers - it was actually announced before Echoes of Time and spent more than 2 years in development. However, with sales declining further with each iteration, they either need to drastically improve the quality and appeal of the games, or simply turn their attentions elsewhere and abandon the franchise. Here's hoping they can manage to re-create the fun that the first installment had, because it was actually a joy to play and it would be sad to see a franchise simply die out, even if it is a spinoff from another brand.

Darryl was playing Final Fantasy before he was even born - quite a feat! Often very opinionated on the Final Fantasy franchise, you will often find him musing about small details. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

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