Chrono Trigger: where is the remake?

Chrono Trigger: where is the remake?

Chrono Trigger

While reviewing Live A Live we had an epiphany, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus, and imagined what it would be like to play an HD-2D remake of Chrono Trigger. This name might say little to the younger generation, but there was a time when virtually an entire genre landscape looked at Square's work (before he married Enix) with awe and it shouldn't surprise anyone that they've been in. few, indeed very few, to challenge him on his field: the same sequel to 1999, Chrono Cross, which we replayed only a few months ago, took the necessary distance from the original.

Chrono's one could not even be defined a "series": it has just three titles, which are very different from each other, and as regards the progenitor, Chrono Trigger, it is important to discern between what it was and what it should be, as we have idealized it. Let us investigate the question in the next few lines by asking ourselves: where is the Chrono Trigger remake?

Radical Dream Team

Chrono Trigger, a scene from the game Chrono Trigger was the son of art of a cosmic coincidence of talents and circumstances, which also included Takashi Tokita, who had directed Live A Live, which was released in September of '94, that is just six months earlier. In fact, an abstract idea of ​​Chrono Trigger had existed since the early 1990s, and that is when three absolutely anonymous characters had made a trip to the United States to better understand Yankee culture and technology: the three caballeros in question were none the less that Hironobu Sakaguchi, who was the father of Final Fantasy; Yuji Horii, who was the father of Dragon Quest; and Akira Toriyama, who was the father of Dragon Ball and the Parent 2 of Dragon Quest.

Imagine these three masters of video games and comics wandering around America, like tourists by chance and, at a certain point, they decide to join forces to create an unprecedented JRPG. Legend has it that Sakaguchi and Horii did a dance, joined the index fingers and shouted FU-SION-HA!

In short, our heroes return to Japan and spend a year mulling over it. Eventually they find a producer in Kazuhiko Aoki, who had worked with Sakaguchi on Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV, and build a team of what in the future would be real authorities in the field of Japanese video games.

Let's see some of them. Hiromichi Tanaka, producer of Seiken Densetsu - that is what would later become the Mana series - and game designer of Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III, supervised Toriyama's work on the character design of monsters and protagonists. Masato Kato, hired as a screenwriter, clashed over and over with Yuji Horii about the idea of ​​time travel: in the end, Horii and Toriyama came up with it, but Kato would later direct the two Chrono Trigger sequels, both now available. also in Italy in the recent Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition.

Other celebrities? Akihiko Matsui and Yoshinori Kitase directed the work together with Tokita, as the game became more complex with each passing day. Matsui had designed the combat system of Final Fantay IV and Final Fantasy V; later, he would work on that of Final Fantasy XI. Kitase, who started in Square with Seiken Densetsu, would become one of the leading producers and directors in the Final Fantasy series.

Chrono Trigger, a scene from the game Other interesting signatures appear in the credits of Chrono Trigger. Tetsuya Takahashi had made a name for himself for the iconic introduction of Final Fantasy VI, so he was given the art direction of Chrono Trigger. Later Takahashi would direct Xenogears and many years later he would have founded Monolith Soft: today he is the mastermind behind Xenoblade Chronicles.

Tetsuya Nomura shouldn't need any introduction, more than anything else because in the world he is now more infamous than famous, but his indisputable career began in those years as a writer and graphic designer of various Square titles, including the Final Fantasy of the early 90s and, precisely, Chrono Trigger.

Nobuo Uematsu, practically the musical godfather of Final Fantasy, and Yasunori Mitsuda worked on the soundtrack. Mitsuda's story is very nice: basically the composer, who was mostly involved in sound effects at the time, wanted to quit because Square wasn't paying him enough. Uematsu, who had seen an unexpressed potential in him, wanted him to the music of Chrono Trigger and Mitsuda composed an unprecedented soundtrack in terms of quantity and variety of tracks. Mitsuda would later work on the music for a simply ridiculous number of video games, among which almost all of the titles directed by Takahashi stand out, including the recent Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

Chrono Trigger, a scene from the game As you can understand , at Chrono Trigger essentially worked the crème de la crème of the Japanese role-playing video game, at the dawn of what we could easily define the Golden Age of the genre. Today, many of these talents have taken completely different paths, working freelance or in competing studios, and it's virtually impossible for them to come together again under the same banner to try another bang. And this is just one of the reasons why Square's masterpiece should be repurposed with maniacal respect and care for the original. Basically, Square Enix has a chance - just one - to do it and it can't waste it: you need the right time, the right names, the right ideas. And are they there or not?

The merits of Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger, a scene from the game If we think of Chrono Trigger as a whole, we realize that the greatest merit of he is in balance. None of its components work alone, without the others. It is as if there is a harmony that holds every part of it together, while they balance each other. Let's take the story and the cast of the protagonists: it's an adventure made of time travel in fantasy and sci-fi eras, jeopardized by a transcendent alien entity that threatens all of creation. Practically a weekday like any other in the universe of Japanese role-playing games.

Yet the narrative works and captivates the player, because it is tied hand in glove with a stereotypical cast, but well written, brilliant and pleasant, despite the silent protagonist (Cronus), and a fluid gameplay that flows hand in hand step with the exploration and the script: there are no random fights and therefore there are no interruptions of rhythm, as the enemies are carefully arranged within the environments and the clashes take place on the spot, without screen transitions. br>
Chrono Trigger, a scene from the game Looking at it, Chrono Trigger looks more like Secret of Mana than Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest: it makes perfect sense when we consider the producer and the fact that he was originally supposed to be part of the series Seiken Densetsu with the provisional title of Maru Island. But after all, as we said before, Sakaguchi and Horii wanted to do something different, to distance themselves from their works to try a new path also for the Japanese public.

The combat system, in this sense, reflects their will. It resumes the Active Time Battle of Final Fantasy - called, in fact, ATB 2.0 - but it is a dry system, made up of normal attacks, consumable items, personal techniques that consume MP. Up to three characters can combine their Techniques in spectacular assaults and, in addition, most of these abilities have a positional component whereby the automatic movement of monsters and characters on the battlefield must be considered. They are very simple dynamics, which assimilate in a few minutes, but which hold their own until the end of the game.

Chrono Trigger, a scene from the game When it came out, in 1995, Chrono Trigger squeezed the SNES hardware literally to the its limits. Initially conceived for the Super Famicom Disk Drive then discarded by Nintendo, it hit the shelves, with its glittering 32-megabit cartridge, a year after Final Fantasy VI, sporting an amazing pixelart, some 3D effects and the obligatory Mode-7 for immerse players in a variety of colorful and detailed scenarios. Toriyama's character design was central to the cartoonic representation of the world and its characters: the mangaka was used to wandering between different atmospheres in his own comics, so time travel maintains an exemplary basic visual coherence.

The story becomes gameplay with the ability to move freely from one era to another, making choices that affect the narrative and lead to twelve different endings (thirteen from the Nintendo DS edition onwards). A dynamic that added depth to a title that, thanks also to a limited duration and the New Game Plus, encouraged it to be replayed several times.

Remake, remastered or what?

Chrono Trigger , a scene from the game Thinking back to Chrono Trigger, it's hard to find fault with it. It is a practically perfect title from every point of view, a sign of the understanding that was upstream between the minds that had conceived it. And this is surprising, if we consider that more authors have handled the story. Chrono Trigger is an ambitious title that never tries the longest step of the leg and always keeps within certain boundaries. This is why it is difficult to understand what we really need: a remake or a remastered? And what's the difference between the two? No, because today the definition of "remastered" lends itself to the most varied and not always positive interpretations. Square is also the queen of the remastered in the middle and for those of its most famous Final Fantasy the fans still scream scandal.

But, returning to the beginning of this article, one thing is certain: while we were playing Live At Live, we realized that we don't want a remake of Chrono Trigger. Not a remake in the sense of Final Fantasy VII Remake or Trials of Mana, so to speak. And not that fans haven't tried, over the years, to do something in Unreal Engine 4. It's just that new technologies don't represent the nostalgia that belongs to Chrono Trigger.

Chrono Trigger, a scene from game This is why Live A Live made us think of Chrono Trigger: because the HD-2D graphic style inaugurated by Octopath Traveler a few years ago is practically perfect. It is a visual approach that evokes the unforgettable 16-bit era, but which at the same time also has a fresher, more modern air, thanks to more detailed and defined 3D backgrounds and scenarios that mimic vintage pixel art, leaning on the possibilities offered by a dynamic camera and lighting in step with the times. Let's take a concrete example: imagine how cool it would be - which is an unprofessional term, but gives the idea - if during a fight in Chrono Trigger the camera rotates to frame Chrono and Frog as they execute their iconic X-Strike. Or think of the most memorable scenarios of the adventure, embellished with depth of field and various particles.

Chrono Trigger, a scene from the game Already a half remake, half remastered in Live A Live style would work just fine, but it would take some tweaks to the sprites, in terms of definition, detail and animations, to further refine the package. In the end, a re-release of Chrono Trigger would especially need some QoL improvement, Quality of Life for those unfamiliar with the acronym, to the quality of life, so to speak, if you struggle with English. These are those small obsolescences, daughters of the past, which today can be improved in a few, simple steps: more intuitive interfaces and menus, options for speeding up combat animations, the ability to skip dialogues and cutscenes in New Game Plus. so.

The re-releases for Nintendo DS, mobile systems and PCs have done this, but more can be done. Remastering the soundtrack - and let's not say rearranged, but it would be nice if Mitsuda did it again - for example, or reintroducing the animated cinematics of the PlayStation version released in 1999. Last but not least, but that would be asking too much, the possibility of switching to the I fly from new to old graphics, in Wonder Boy style: The Dragon's Trap or Diablo II Resurrected.

Chrono Trigger, a scene from the game Thinking about it, it's absurd that Square Enix hasn't thought of including Chrono Trigger, even as it was in its latest PC incarnation of 2018, in the Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition. In one fell swoop we would have had the whole "series", including the visual novel for Satellaview which has remained unedited for twenty years. Basically, you don't even need to play the titles in a certain order, as they are perfectly autonomous and Chrono Cross is, in its own way, a sequel, but it can be considered as an alternate timeline and does not retroactively affect the enjoyment of playing Chrono. Trigger at a later time.

We cannot help but think that Live A Live, a very interesting title that we are happy to have finally been able to play in our language, but certainly not as iconic, represented an experiment, a kind of litmus test, to develop other 16-bit titles of the era such as Bahamut's Lagoon or, precisely, Chrono Trigger. Our hope is that Square Enix, quietly, is already working on it, and that maybe they will arrive after the highly anticipated remake of Dragon Quest III: the formula is basically just that, and it would be crazy to give up a guaranteed success to try a path. different and more trivial.

Have you noticed any errors?

Powered by Blogger.