1. While other games will give players vast worlds to explore, Chrono Cross gets by with a fairly small one. Did that present a problem when branching out the story?
To tell you the truth, the world couldn't be made any bigger in terms of graphics, because of hardware limitations. We've squeezed in data to the limit. If it were possible, I would've liked to make the world a little wider. However, since we're making players jump between two parallel worlds, making the world map wider would confuse the player and get out of hand. I intended not to make the world map unnecessarily wide from the beginning, though.
How this fact affects the story is the scale. Even though the story is based only in a certain region and not the world as whole, I thought it was amply possible to give the player a feeling of grand scale. Whether it succeeded or not is another question (laugh).
2. How much more work goes into creating a game with multiple endings?
Hmm, it's a bit hard to say exactly how much more work it took. The multiple endings of Chrono Cross were meant to be just a few goodies after you've cleared the game, just like in Chrono Trigger, so it wasn't a terribly hard job to do.
Well, when you come down to it, it does take more effort to include such things though (laugh). However, unlike with the main ending, I think the staff had fun making them, because they were allowed to take it easy and go off with the multiple endings (laugh). I think the fun factor was stronger than the difficulty of the work.
3. How was character development divided? With forty playable characters, it seems like it may have been a monumental task trying to keep all the characters from running all over each other while maintaining a distinctiveness for each?
I don't think it was that much trouble, in terms of showing the characters' personalities. After all, the original idea during the initial development stage was "let's go for 64 characters!" (laugh). After I decided on the overall flow and crucial parts of the story, I left a number of the in-depth side episodes for individual characters up to the staff. The attractiveness of the characters is the result of the staff's love and passion for them.
4. Where did inspiration for such over-the-top characters as Pierre, Mojo, Macha, Turnip, and Van come from?
Take Pierre, for example: we started off by saying we wanted a wacko fake hero like Tata from Trigger. We also said things like "we need at least one powerful mom," "no way we're gonna go without a twisted brat," and so on so forth. Basically a bunch of selfish wishes (laugh). Also, the staff as a whole came up with many ideas of what types of characters we wanted to put in the party. Mojo was actually a test 3D model of a doll made by one of our staff early in development. I decided, based on personal taste, "This guy's cool. Let's make him join the party!" Everyone probably thought I was just making a joke, though (laugh).
5. Were you ever concerned that, for a game with such high replay value as this, players might get tired of visiting the same areas over and over during subsequent plays?
The "Continue+" system was introduced in Chrono Trigger so that the player could enjoy the game more freely after playing through the game once. Since that is the basis of the system, there are no new locations or dungeons added to explore. So it can't be helped that certain parts of the game become cumbersome or boring after multiple play-throughs.
6. With its many different paths, one might say that Chrono Cross resembles real life. A decision about which characters you associate with can have dire consequences later on in the story. Do you think a message is important in a game?
I don't normally think particularly about a theme or message at the launch of a project. The important question is whether the player will enjoy playing the game. Paraphrasing one novelist's favorite words, what's important is not the message or theme, but how it is portrayed as a game. Even in Cross, it was intentionally made so that the most important question was left unanswered (laugh).
7. The characters in an expansive RPG like Chrono are on the same level as actors in a play. Does the team select a part and then create a character to play that part, or do they analyze the designs and then script their roles based on their appearance?
Fundamentally, the character designs are finalized after the overall flow and settings have become solid. In the first place, a designer can't come up with an image without knowing what kind of personality the character has, or how he/she thinks or talks, and so forth. But there are also times when this is reversed, where a drawing has an extremely unique characteristic that conjures up a concrete character image and is fit into the story. In normal cases, I already have a clear image of the characters that come up in the story, so the rest is trading ideas with the designer. Then it's just a matter of how well the design drawings exceed my expectations while following my original concept.
1. What was your inspiration for the musical choices in Chrono Cross?
It was from the imagery of the ruins in Greece. Also the scenery of Finland entered my mind. All of my subjects are taken from scenery. I love artwork. I can write five songs if I have one piece of art (laugh).
2. How long did it take you to compose everything?
It took half a year this time. It was shorter than the other titles I've worked on in the past.
3. Who are your musical influences and why?
I've been influenced by a lot of different composers. However, I recently realized that the music I heard when I was little has had a greater influence than the more recent music that I've thought was "good."
4. What is your approach to various sections of the game like during battle scenes and dramatic moments?
As is always the case, the music during the event scenes is radically exaggerated. What may sound "a little too much" when you just listen to the music is just right when playing the game. On the other hand, no sound is entered when the event requires the music to be quieted down. This is my way of making game music.
5. What type of emotions were you trying to get out of the player with your music?
Probably: "burning soul," "lonely world," and "unforgettable memories."
6. Do you have a favorite piece from the game and what is it?
I'm pleased with all of them. I can't name just one (laugh).
1. How many people were involved in the creation of the game?
The development team itself reached a staff of 80 during our peak. In addition, the CG movie team consisted of 10 - 20 staff members, and QA had up to 100 testers per day.
2. How long did it take to finish the game from beginning to end?
The original Japanese version took one and a half years. Then the US version took about 3 months to translate and another 2 months to debug before we mastered up.
3. It is getting to the point where RPG games are beginning to resemble each other way too much. Do you think it is getting harder to be innovative when developing a game for this genre? What steps do you take to ensure that you're not just rehashing the same thing over and over?
To say the least, the titles we've worked on have been innovative, and I would like to continue this trend for our future projects. When creating a series, one method is to carry over a basic system, improving upon it as the series progresses, but our stance has been to create a completely new and different world from the ground up, and to restructure the former style.
Therefore, Chrono Cross is not a sequel to Chrono Trigger. Had it been, it would have been called "Chrono Trigger 2." Our main objective for Chrono Cross was to share a little bit of the Chrono Trigger worldview, while creating a completely different game as a means of providing new entertainment to the player. This is mainly due to the transition in platform generation from the SNES to the PS. The method I mentioned above, about improving upon a basic system, has inefficiencies, in that it's impossible to maximize the console's performance as the console continues to make improvements in leaps and bounds. Although essentially an RPG, at its core, it is a computer game, and I believe that games should be expressed with a close connection to the console's performance. Therefore, in regards to game development, our goal has always been to "express the game utilizing the maximum performance of the console at that time." I strongly believe that anything created in this way will continue to be innovative.
4. With Chrono Trigger (for SNES) considered a classic by many RPG players, was there a concern that not many references to the original are present in Chrono Cross? Were you concerned that you might alienate loyal fans of the original?
As I mentioned before, Chrono Cross is not a sequel to Chrono Trigger, so I'm not worried.
Of course, the fans of the original are very important, but what innovation can come about when you're bound to the past? I believe that gameplay should evolve with the hardware.
On a different note, the original scenario writer for Chrono Trigger, Masato Kato, worked on Chrono Cross's scenario as well, but actually, there's another game he worked on, called "Radical Dreamers," which was released between Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. This was an adventure game released on the Super Famicom online gaming system called the Satellaview. Radical Dreamers served as the bridge between Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. Gamers who have played all three games can probably figure out the connection, but since the media itself was so unique, I don't think many players know about it. As a result, we had to make sure players could play Chrono Cross without being too conscious of its connection to Chrono Trigger. This is why we have the title "Chrono Cross" instead of "Chrono Trigger 2."
5. The original Chrono Trigger seemed to leave little room for a sequel. Was the success of the original title unexpected?
I seem to be repeating myself, but Chrono Cross is simply a new title, and I believe there's always a risk when introducing something new to players. We're always striving to create the best product possible, so I believe the results will manifest in the end. If the end results are not favorable, we have to accept that, but as creators, we simply try do our best, leaving no room for regret.
6. What would the team like the players to experience as they play Chrono Cross?
We would like the players to intervene as much as possible with the flow of the game, and experiment with the various routes and possibilities. We believe we have incorporated quite a number of methods to deal with various situations, so there's no right or wrong way to go about the game. We hope the players get their money's worth by playing the game extensively.
7. On a system level, Chrono Cross forces the player to balance their magic and summon usage with physical attacks, is this a counter to the aggressive magic and summon systems found in Final Fantasy XIII?
Actually, I'm the one who incorporated the original summon magic system into Final Fantasy. At the time, summon magic was designed to be an "ace-in-the-hole" move because of its high MP casting cost. The battle system concept in FF VIII takes a totally different approach and is only similar in name. The system concept in Chrono Cross is also designed from a different perspective than the original FF, or the newer FF VIII or IX. Therefore, there was no conscious incorporation of any particular system from other recent titles when we designed the system for Chrono Cross.
Still, personally, I view the Motion Battle System of Secret of Mana as an extension of the battle system in the Japanese versions of FF I-III, and the battle system of Xenogears as its evolved form, which in turn continued to evolve into the battle system used in Chrono Cross. As a basis for this statement, all of the aforementioned titles use the FF III (and on) data tables for EXP and LevelUp acquisition. This may sound a bit contradictory to what has been mentioned up till now, but although the new world was created from the ground up, not everything was recreated from scratch. It is strictly a restructuring of the resources we have spent more than 10 years of efforts to effectively mature and perfect.
At the center of this evolution are improved expressive capabilities linked to advances in machine performance, the accompanying modifications to the interface, and the advances in gameplay. No major changes were applied to the nature of RPGs, which is the core of game balance. As for the balance of physical, magical, and summon attacks mentioned in your question, this was already incorporated in the aforementioned Secret of Mana and has gained a certain level of balance. This has been revised to achieve a higher level of refinement in the titles Secret of Mana 2 (not released in the US) and Xenogears.
8. Do you see room for a third chapter in the Chrono series?
There probably won't be any plans for a while. Our team is currently taking on new challenges, but there might be a sequel. We don't know if our team would be assigned to the title. If our team were to make a sequel, I think you can imagine from Chrono Cross that it will not be just a sequel, but something completely new.
Masato Kato: Fan questions
====The world of Chrono Cross takes place 20 years after the events in Chrono Trigger, but the two worlds seem totally different from each other (keeping aside references such as the Porre Army). Is Serge's world connected to Chrono's world via the strait in the upper left hand area of the map?==== Question From: Caliburn firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, that is correct. You can reach the Zenan continent if you go through the strait and travel the seas for several days. But the culture of the El Nido archipelago, the main setting of Chrono Cross, was generated under special circumstances and developed differently from the mainland. Access between the two areas was also very limited. Therefore, the islands managed to have a unique culture and environment separate from that of Zenan.
====2. Ok, first things first, this game rocks!!! Ok, now for the questions. First, how long had you had the storyline planned out for this game? I know there was an old text game called Radical Dreamers that became part of this game. Did you intend for it to become a sequel to Chrono Trigger. Now, for my most important question... where the heck did you guys get the idea for Mojo? He rocks!==== Question From: Ashburn email@example.com
Thank you. Hmm, yes, in certain ways you can say that the story for Chrono Cross actually came from Radical Dreamers. It was a short story about a one-night adventure of three thieves, Serge, Kid, and Magil, who sneak into Yamaneko's (Lynx, a noble) mansion seeking a legendary treasure. When I originally started working on Radical Dreamers, I never thought that it would have such an ending. We only had three months for development, and I was just making up the story while inputting data. When I finally realized the connection of the identities of Kid and Magil near the final stage of development, I even amazed myself, saying, "So, that's who they were!?" (laughs) Also, since there were issues with the media, the connections between Radical Dreamers and Chrono Trigger were intentionally left blurred in the background so that it'd only be recognizable by those who would understand.
As I have answered in a previous question, Mojo was a straw doll made as a test during early development (you could say that the model designer was just playing around) which I looked at and thought, it's a go! Alright, now just add a couple of candles on the head, stick a big nail into his belly and... Oh, perfecto! (laughs)
- Translator notes: The straw doll that is described here is actually a doll used for cursing people, similar to a voodoo doll. It's a commonly known (and parodied) cultural ritual for cursing in Japan. Don't try this at home kids!
====3. There were many deep themes throughout Chrono Cross and other Square games. One of the prevalent ones was the destruction of nature by humankind. Do you believe in the plight of nature vs. man, or is this intended as a purely fictional element in your stories? Are you trying to send a message to gamers?==== Question From: QuasiTime firstname.lastname@example.org
That's a hard question all of a sudden (laughs). I don't make games specifically to call out to players about environmental destruction or natural conservation. It's just that I hoped Chrono Cross would be a small trigger for each player to think about things like the connections between people and the world, among different peoples, and between people and other living things. That's what I had in mind during the making of Chrono Cross.
====4. Throughout the game, whenever characters from Chrono Trigger are mentioned, they are talked about as if they are dead. I can understand this with Lucca. However, shouldn't Crono and Marle still be alive? This game takes place twenty years after the plot action of Chrono Trigger, correct? Then, why are the Chrono Trigger characters talked about as if they are dead?==== Question From: The Mad Druid email@example.com
This is another difficult question. (laughs) The fate of Crono and Marle is not thoroughly explained in Chrono Cross, but taking into consideration the fall of the Kingdom of Guardia and the rise of Porre's militarism on the main continent, there is a good chance the two friends may have been involved in some kind of incident.
====5. What influenced the character's weapons? The Cards and the Carrot weapons in particular are pretty interesting, as is the swallow.==== Question From: Presence firstname.lastname@example.org
We mainly based the weapons on the characters' backgrounds and designs, but it's not really the weapons that are so unique or interesting. It's just the characters that use the weapons who are so weird...I think that's a better way to explain it. (laughs)
One of Serge's weapons, the swallow, just happened to pop up in my head. I thought it'd be strange for a young boy to have this weapon in a small fishing village, so I thought, let's just say it's an oar. (laughs)"
====6. During the course of the game, much of Serge's past is revealed. However, when it comes to the past of his antagonist, Lynx, very little is known. What is Lynx's past? Is it to be explained in a later game?==== Question From: The Mad Druid email@example.com
Lynx's identity is revealed towards the end of the game. Although I think I should have expanded on it a little more... (laughs) There's still much I have to learn.
====7. Though the prophet Belthasar was trapped in 2300ad in Chrono Trigger, he managed to make his way to Serge's time by building the neo-epoch time machine (found in the laboratory behind the bookcase). Why does Belthasar appear in human form in CC? Didn't he transfer his conscious into the body of a Nu? This Nu was later turned off after the CT heroes got the original Epoch. And, is it possible to obtain the neo-epoch in CC? Could you please help me solve these puzzling mysteries? Thank you.==== Question From: Tiamat firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, let's see... The Belthasar of Chrono Cross is from a different future than the one in Chrono Trigger. It's a different timeline of the future, one that did not perish in the catastrophic destruction caused by Lavos. Therefore, the Belthasar in Chrono Cross is not the one who transferred his consciousness into the body of Nu and died -- he is a different Belthasar. Unfortunately, you cannot ride the Neo Epoch. If the characters from Chrono Cross ever got their hands on this and traveled through time, who knows how long the development time would have been... (laughs)
====Questions about the CG cutscenes: How many people worked on it and how long did it take? What software were used (including the rendering) and was the majority of the animation motion captured? Were all the CG cutscene done by Square Visual Co.?==== -email@example.com
Motion capture was not used in this game. The director, Kato, and a number of others directed the cut scenes.
====Hi, I would like to know if you used any new programs or computer equipment to make Crono Cross better than the other Squaresoft games like Final Fantasy VII & VIII. Thanks for your time.==== firstname.lastname@example.org
Since our programmers came from a different team than the FF VII or VIII programmers, Chrono Cross had a different technological approach. So, even if the results seemed somewhat similar, everything from the design to the coding was totally different. No shared (program) routines were used. One of the most innovative techniques we created and used was the variable frame-rate code, which we applied to the game to allow fast-forward and slow-motion play for the second (and any subsequent) play-through. It's a sophisticated technique that was impossible to implement in RPGs up until now. Also, to make use of memory beyond the hardware limits, some of the required data resources (memory) were read and used off of the CD (CD read swap). This was done to compensate for the limited memory capacity of the PlayStation, which has been a bottleneck on previous PlayStation games. For that purpose, a proprietary program was developed to allow super-fast disc access.
====The translation team did an AWESOME job making the American translation just as intriguing as how I'm sure it is in its original form; were there any difficulties in doing so, more specifically in making certain all of the playable characters had believable and entertaining personalities?==== Michael Mahon email@example.com
Thank you for your praise, Michael. We are glad you liked our translation. Some of Chrono Cross's themes are quite deep and hard to translate. Then there is also getting the right balance of humor and keeping the style consistent among us three translators (particularly when I'm an Australian based in Tokyo, while Yutaka and Sammy are Japanese based in California).
But the biggest challenge with this project was that the characters' speech patterns had to be auto-generated, real-time by the program. The reason for this was that 40 or so different lines for each character would not fit into memory, so, for a large part of the game, we had to use one piece of common text and change it on the fly into all those funny accents, depending on which character was speaking. You can imagine coming up with different accents is hard enough (especially expressing them in text only). Working out a computer algorithm that can change one piece of text into multiple accents (with limited memory and speed constraints) was just mind-boggling. -Richard Honeywood Localization Director, translator & programmer for Chrono Cross
====What types of college courses or software application programs, languages, etc. would you suggest be taken or learned for a student wishing to pursue a job in the gaming industry - especially for a company like Squaresoft?==== Blaze firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't believe it is necessary to select a specialized field. It doesn't matter if your major is science or literature. It's best that you go with what you are most interested in. Otherwise, you probably become bored, and you won't last long. It's more important to hone your sensitivity. Meet more people. See more things. I believe that experiencing many things matures your sense of balance. It's important to have a specialty, but you must learn how to take an impartial and objective view of things.
My question is this, has the traditional encounter/battle system of the Final Fantasy type been a necessity on the PlayStation hardware because of the use of a 3-D overworld map, (therefore making it hard/impossible to display roving enemies on the world map....), and did this affect your decision to go with the 2-D overworld and a more non-traditional encounter system? And if so, will these types of problems be a non-issue on the more powerful PS2 or even GameCube?
If there were no limit to the amount of memory in the hardware, then it would be possible to switch to battle without having to change to new battle scenes (i.e. a continuous battle system). However, this can only be possible depending on how you use the aforementioned limited memory capacity of the PlayStation. If the details could be left cheesy, then everything could be done in memory, but if we strive to achieve sophisticated and complex details, the necessary memory capacity will grow exponentially. There are a number of titles on the market that were compromised to work within this capacity. However, we went with an "if it's not available, then we'll increase it virtually" attitude (by using CD read swaps for memory) to achieve the high level of quality in FF and Chrono Cross. Of course, there will be tradeoffs for loading times, since CD reads will consume time, but I definitely didn't want to make a game (even if my life depended on it) that forced the player to watch "Now Loading" sequences over and over. The current load times (of CC) were designed to produce the best results while only needing a minimal amount of wait time to prevent boring the player. Since the memory map design concept will differ depending on what becomes the focal point, the need to use techniques like CD read swaps might happen even on newer hardware. If the goal is to achieve PlayStation quality on newer hardware, then everything can probably be done in memory, but on a PS2, the memory will probably be filled up to the limit easily, so it'll once again be a battle between time and disc reads. Although, there still might be plenty of methods to let the players not feel any of these waits.
So the idea is that, depending on what the game needs to express the most, a game will use an encounter system or a continuous battle sequence like Secret of Mana and Legend of Mana. Deciding how the limited amount of memory is going to be used is the most important part of game design.
====Obviously, due to time constraints, budgets and other unforeseen difficulties, there were probably some things left out of Chrono Cross. Is there anything that you wished could have been included in the game that wasn't?==== Psychocatt email@example.com
Nothing in particular comes to mind.
Developers: Fan questions II
The music in your games is outstanding. And I especially like your remix albums like Xenogears Cried. I would like to ask, how did you get started in the video game music business, and what inspires you to compose your music?
MIDI Sequencer, SquallStrife firstname.lastname@example.org
Yasunori Mitsuda: All I did was to get hired to work at SQUARE (laugh). Really, I just happened to apply for work and to get hired, which turned out to be a very lucky thing for me. It was a great learning experience for me. Personally, I don't consider myself to be a game-music composer. In fact, I do a lot of music outside of gaming now. I would like to continue working with other kinds of music as well.
When I create music, I usually get my inspiration from pictures, scenarios, and lyrics. After all, you can't write anything without a theme.
I got the free music selection disc with my game because I preordered. But when is the music from Chrono Cross coming to the public?
YM:[There are currently] no plans to bring the entire soundtrack to the US.
I would like to know how Mitsuda-san is able to create a very different feel, mood, and style for Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, and Chrono Cross and still work in his own messages, style, and creative talents. Basically, how does Mitsuda-san come up with a musical feel/theme that is written into all his songs thus tying the whole score of a game together?
YM:It's probably easiest to think of it this way: There are many dialects in Japanese. You can say the same things in several ways by changing the expression, the wording, and the feeling of how you say it. The same applies to music. Take "happy" for example; there are many ways to approach this theme. You can base your approach on the type of musical genre, the instruments, or the key of the music. In any event, I believe it's important to have many ways to approach music.
Hi, the music to Chrono Cross is so beautiful and I was wondering how long it takes to compose those beautiful songs and if the composer was in any other games?
YM: It took about half a year to make all of the pieces. It went along pretty smoothly and it was the quickest of all the titles I've worked on.
As far as games, I worked on Chrono Trigger (Super Nintendo), Gun Hazard (Japanese Super Famicon), Xenogears (PSX), and Mario Party (N64). I make music outside of games as well. You can find further information about my work at my homepage: www.procyon-studio.com
Questions for Director/Scenario Writer Masato Kato
Is there any connection between Guile in CC and Magus in CT? Both use black magic, have purple hair, and float. The only difference that I can tell is their dress and the fact that Guile uses a staff. I was thinking that they could both be different adult versions of Janus (from CT). Of course, it's been a while since playing CC, so I could be totally wrong. There are some other character connections (I.E. Frog and Glenn) but Guile and Magus raises the most questions. Thanks for the great game.
Freight Train email@example.com
Masato Kato: To let the cat out of the bag, in the early stages of development, Guile was indeed meant to be Magus. In our original plan, the true identity of Guile was supposed to be Magus after the events in Trigger. (At the end of Trigger, Magus [a.k.a. Janus in Trigger and Magil in Radical Dreamers] disappeared into a Time Gate to go searching for his big sister, Schala, who was lost somewhere in time.) However, as the game's development progressed and we decided to use such a huge number of playable characters, we decided not to make him be Magus. We thought it was impossible to portray the relationship between Magus and Schala adequately in this game. So we changed tracks, made the colors of the Magus character design paler, and turned him into Guile, the magician. In a way, it's a pity, as I really would like to have seen the valiant figure of Magus come to life again.
To me Chrono Cross seems to speak out against racism. Was this intentional or did it just kind of work out that way? My nephew was playing the game the other day and he said how awful the demi humans were treated and that no one deserves to be treated that way just because they are different. I think it's great that video games can help kids realize things like that with out seeming preachy.
MK: When I was writing the story data for Cross, I didn't just have racism in the back of my mind, but the overall relationships between different kinds of things, such as human and non-human life forms. I thought, "I'd be pleased if the kids who play this game can think about this in their own way." So, it makes me very happy to hear that this game has inspired your nephew to think about these themes on his own.
If Serge went back in time to help Kid out of the burning house along with the rest of the children, why does she still say that ALL of the children are dead? Are they dead?
RD Chrono X firstname.lastname@example.org
MK: Actually, I think that several of the children were fortunate enough to escape from the burning orphanage. But little Kid doesn't know this at that point, and in her despair, assumes the worst.
Translator's note: Please don't jump to such morbid conclusions! If you look at what Kid actually says, you'll note that she doesn't actually say they all died... "It's burning...! Our 'home' is burning! Lucca... All my friends... They're, they're...!!" - R.M.H.
In Chrono Cross, Porre has a great military, a strong kingdom, and even caused the fall of Guardia. The question is, how did such a small village grow to be so large and powerful to even overthrow the kingdom of Guardia and expand so much in a mere 20 years?
MK: Actually, this is not explained in any of the games, but Porre had some kind of intervention or help originating outside of the original flow of history. But if I start to explain this, it will take me a long time to finish, so I'll stop myself here. (laughs) As it doesn't directly have anything to do with the story of Cross, we cut the details out of the game.
Mr.Tanaka/Mr.Kato, I have a very serious question for both of you concerning Chrono Trigger, which I'm assuming one or the other of you worked on. Chrono Trigger appears to hold many, many similarities and parallels to characters and tales from the Bible, but in a somewhat subtle manner. For instance, Crono exhibits many telltale traits of Jesus Christ, such as his selfless death and resurrection, gifts from three wisemen who carry the same names as the Biblical wisemen, a walking-on-water scene in the Heckran Cave, etc. Not only Crono, but many other characters have Biblical names whose Biblical roles they conform to with great accuracy, such as Magus and Mammon. I know from Xenogears that Square has used the Bible as an extensive base for concepts, so I was wondering if either of you gentlemen could verify for me (and many other curious Chrono Trigger fans) whether or not you intentionally patterned many areas of Chrono Trigger after well-known Biblical tales. I cannot express in words how much your answering this question with a confirming yes-or-no would mean to me. I have spent an incredible amount of time dissecting and analyzing Chrono Trigger, and I simply would like to know if I'm on the right track. Thank you for your time, and thank you for the superb games you've brought us.
MK: I wasn't the main story writer for Xenogears, so I can't say much on it, but as for Chrono Trigger, I didn't especially think of the Bible when I was writing the story. "Three wisemen who carry the same names as the Biblical wisemen...?" Oh, I see... So, that's how they were named in the English version? In the original Japanese version, the ancient sages were named GASSHU, HASSHU, and BOSSHU. Regarding the other things you pointed out, I didn't consciously have anything in mind, biblical or otherwise, when I wrote the story.
When Lynx was with Serge they switch bodies and the tear became the tear of hate, but when Serge was there alone it gave him his own body back and the tear became the tear of love. Why didn't Serge and Lynx switch again? Lynx was in the tower and you had to fight him. He couldn't have gotten that far.
Dinosaur Dude email@example.com
MK: The system composed of the Dragon Tear and Fort Dragonia's ceremonial hall didn't just have the function of switching peoples' minds; it also had the ability to reconstruct a person's body by recombining his body cells. Because Lynx (in the form of Dark Serge) was not in the room at the time, and would by no means willingly partake in the ceremony again, the switching function didn't work, so instead the system rebuilt Serge's body in its original form. However, the act of restructuring a whole body was too great a strain on the system and caused it to overload, shattering the Dragon Tear once Serge was reborn.
I just beat Chrono Cross for the first time and I have found four very annoying plot holes that are never explained in the game...here we go. 1) How and why did the Dead Sea contain the remains of the terminated future of the planet? Miguel mentions that something happened 10 years ago that caused the Dead Sea to turn out that way...ok, Serge's future was split into two 10 years ago but how does this tie into the Dead Sea having these futuristic ruins? And why do they exist in the Home World and not the Other World? 2) Chronopolis came from the future in which Lavos was destroyed and the human race was flourishing...so, how the heck is this a back-up plan for Lavos? By pulling back Chronopolis to make sure history is unchanged only assures Lavos's demise. What the hell is Lavos thinking?!?! 3) How come there are two frozen flames? I found one in Chronopolis and one in Terra Tower...I remember because Glenn distinctly said atop Terra Tower that the flame they found is the true frozen flame...I was like ????? My only guess that there are two flames is because Terra Tower and Chronopolis are two different futures, both pulled into the same time and place...one future in which humans get the flame(Chronopolis) and the other future in which the Reptites get the flame(Terra Tower). 4) Last question...what is up with the whole Prometheus traitor bug circuit lock thingy in the FATE computer? I know it was supposed to start a rebellion and that it prevented contact between FATE and the flame but why does FATE want it destroyed? And why is it such a big fuss when FATE destroys it within Chronopolis? Phew, there you have it...if anyone has the answers(preferably a CC Game Designer), please enlighten me so I could sleep at night. Thanks.
MK: 1) The Sea of Eden is really Chronopolis from 2400 years in the future, which, due to the Time Crash catastrophe, time-slipped 10,000 years into the past. In Trigger, Crono and friends defeated Lavos and saved the planet's future. Chronopolis is from this prosperous future. The Sea of Eden became the Dead Sea in the Home World because of the incident 10 years ago at Opassa Beach. Serge lived on in that world, causing the time-line leading to destruction (which Crono and friends nullified) to come back into existence again. In the Other World, where Serge died, the Sea of Eden and Chronopolis remain as is. In other words, the Dead Sea indicates that if Serge lives, the future will probably lead back to destruction.
2) It wasn't Lavos's intention that the Time Crash catastrophe at Chronopolis in the future should occur. Even if Lavos interfered with the events, it was simply because Lavos thought that those events could be used to its advantage. By introducing a major new factor like Chronopolis into history, Lavos was trying to bring about a new future.
Translator's note: Remember too that the Frozen Flames locked away in Chronoplis were part of Lavos originally, and this could be used to reproduce itself. Perhaps Lavos was ensuring its own survival in this way? Just a thought... - R.M.H. (Zealnote: Too bad this isn't coming from Kato directly...)
3) There is only one Frozen Flame -- the one in Chronopolis and the one at the top of Terra Tower are the same thing. The newly reunited Dragon God ("Devourer of Time") carried the Frozen Flame from Chronopolis to Terra Tower.
Translator's note: Remember, the Dragon Gods were warring with FATE for the very purpose of recombining into their original singular form and taking possession of the Flame for their own use. Once Serge and co. defeated FATE, it was theirs for the nabbing. -R.M.H.
4) Prometheus was an independent safety program to prevent the machine from going out of control. FATE itself did not know that such a thing was built into its circuitry. In a way, you could say Prometheus had been waiting for Serge for a long, long time. Prometheus was the one who had protected the Frozen Flame from FATE ever since the young, dying Serge had come into contact with the Flame all those years ago. FATE dared to delete the defiant Prometheus right in front of Serge and friends. Of course, on seeing the death of Prometheus, Serge and friends... (Well, I don't want to give away the story any more than I already have...)
Anyway, if you have played Trigger, then Prometheus should be very familiar to you. I'm sure a lot of players would make a similar 'big fuss' over the death of such a much-loved friend...
Translator's note: I don't want to give away more than Mr. Kato just did, but as a side note to people who played both Trigger and Cross, they'll notice the connection between Mother Brain and FATE and see how long the enmity between Ro... I mean, Prometheus... and the computer had been going on. It is so sad to see Mother succeed in taking her final revenge... - R.M.H. (Zealnote: Keep in mind he can still be perfectly fine after Chrono Cross takes place.)