Baten Kaitos is a JRPG developed as a collaboration between tri-Crescendo and Monolith Soft (Xenosaga) exclusively for the GameCube as a new IP. The game is set in a world where mankind has grown wings and inhabit islands floating in the sky. The player becomes a "guardian spirit" that guides main character Kalas on a journey to seek out five ancient "End Magnus" said to contain the power of an evil god, and prevent them from falling into all the wrong hands.
Like many JRPGs of the early 21st century, the presentation of Baten Kaitos revolves around detailed pre-rendered backgrounds, with characters realized by polygonal models on field and battle screens. Gameplay is based around "Magnus", magical cards that players can earn throughout the game which essentially take the place of items and even commands both in and out of battle. Players build a "deck" of Magnus for each party member, from which they draw random "hands" each turn during battle; strategy involves playing sequences of cards like in classic card games. Magnus figure so heavily into the world of Baten Kaitos that they also serve as a means of generating revenue through taking "photo" cards of enemies.
While players still control a party of characters in battles, the player doesn't technically control a main character while exploring maps. As a "guardian spirit", the player instead technically guides the character around while helping make important dialogue decisions that could have an impact on their relationship with characters; stronger bonds lead to unlocking more powerful attacks for use in battle, for example.
- Ingenious, twist-filled story rich with surprises and emotions.
- Gorgeous graphics: sub-worlds, villages, cities and weather patterns burst with colors and details.
- Innovative card-based battle system: 1,000+ "Magnus Cards," each with uniquely beautiful artwork.
- Capture the essence of certain items within blank Magnus Cards, then reproduce these essences to solve puzzles, battle enemies, heal comrades and more.
- Magnus Cards change through time: foods will ripen or rot, items will rust or gain or lose value