A group of fans has assembled to make the original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles playable online, giving players the chance to finally experience the GameCube classic remotely at last.
Bork Yeah Games, the team behind the endeavour, is calling the project the HyperCube, and has recently gotten in touch with Time Extension to share more details on the ambitious venture.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, just to give you a quick refresher in case you need it, was released on August 8th, 2003 on the GameCube in Japan (the NA and PAL versions arrived the following year) and was a fairly unique multiplayer adventure for the time. Though it could be played alone, fans were encouraged to join with up to three friends using a bunch of Game Boy Advance link cables connected to a single GameCube. They could then embark on a shared adventure across a treacherous world filled with deserts, mines, and mushroom forests, taking advantage of the Game Boy Advance as a second screen and menuing system.
This proved to be a surprisingly powerful experience, for those who could actually rustle up all the necessary equipment, but when the game was remastered for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, iOS, and Android in 2020, this freshly updated version sadly altered how the multiplayer worked.
Local multiplayer was out and online multiplayer had been added in its place. This didn't function how you might expect though, with progress (specifically the Myrrh droplet collected at the end of each dungeon) only awarded to the host player and not the party at large, meaning players would have to beat levels four times over as a group in order to complete it properly.
It was this that served as the catalyst for Bork Yeah Games to begin looking into alternative ways to experience the game remotely.
William, one of the members of Bork Yeah Games, tells Time Extension over email, "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition released on August 27th, 2020. While the remaster brought the game to a new audience in a modern way it sacrificed a part of what made the game truly unique: the multiplayer system. The remastered version [...] modernized the game in a way that was decidedly single-player first. Multiplayer exists but only for assistance with dungeons and progress is only awarded to the hosting player [...]
"To many, ourselves included, the remastered edition was not worth playing since it had lost the soul of the original. This is particularly a shame since the remastered edition introduced some new content and challenges. However, we still yearned to play the game again. Unfortunately, we're now situated hundreds of miles away so meeting up in person is quite the hassle. After many late-night Google searching sessions, frantic theories, and tests, the HyperCube was born."
The solution they eventually arrived at requires 4 GameCubes with GameBoy Player attachments for each player and a Nintendo Wii running Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.
As William explains, "Each GameCube is able to masquerade as a GBA and connect to the Wii as a controller. The video feed from the Wii is captured and displayed in Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) while the video feeds of the 4 GameCubes are combined into a 4-way split screen view using an RCA security camera monitoring device and then captured and displayed in OBS as well."
This is obviously all well and good, but what really makes the HyperCube interesting to us is that it can be played remotely. And William was kind enough to elaborate on how this works.
"This relies on a few adapters as well as Parsec, a program that allows PC users to share screens and participate in local multiplayer games remotely," he tells Time Extension. "Each Client that connects to a Host via Parsec creates a controller device on the Host's PC that the Client controls remotely. The Host can then map the Client's controller to whatever local multiplayer game they want to play.
"In order to interface Parsec with the GameCubes for Client control, a series of 3 adapters is needed for each remotely controlled GameCube. First, a GIMX adapter allows a separate PC device (such as the controller devices created by Parsec) to input control through it and is then output as a PS3 Controller signal via USB. Next, a Brook PS3/PS4 to PS2 controller adapter is used to convert the signal to PS2. Finally, an old adapter that converts PS2 controllers to Original Xbox or GameCube is used and then plugged into each of the GameCubes. The result is a series of remotely controllable GameCubes through Parsec."
Obviously, this might sound like a huge amount of effort for the average player, but if you're truly dedicated to experiencing Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles in a way that replicates the original experience, and you don't have the benefit of living near friends, this could be the solution you've been after.
If you want to learn more about the project, you can watch the video above. Bork Yeah Games will also be holding a livestream on August 12th at 1pm EDT/6pm BST going into more detail about its creation and how you can build your own.