Chrono Cross

My feeds of late are chocked full of speculation that SquareEnix is working on a remake of Chrono Cross, the sequel to Chrono Trigger. Chrono Trigger is an absolutely astounding gaming achievement, one of those markers where you can see games before, and games after. When Chrono Cross came out, it had some massive shoes to fill, and didn’t really hit it all the way out of the park. It is still highly regarded, no question!

First, the art style was a whole lot different, what with it being on Playstation. The relatively seamless battles of CT, where replaced with the more FF variant of an overworld, and a battle view. There was a whole lot of RNG here, compared to CT.

Not bad for 1999

Second, the battles themselves had a somewhat complicated mechanic of chaining elemental effects. So complicated in fact, that the true ending requires you to get 7 elemental attacks in order – including the enemy attacks. The leveling an skill system also added some complexity. I loved the strategic elements, way more than in CT.

Third, the story was no longer about time travelling but travel across 2 dimensions. You still had actions in one area that impacted another, but they were harder to detect and understand. There are 2 story quirks along the path as well that can be really hard to follow when they immediately show up. You really need to play the game twice to get the full picture – not something everyone is willing to do.

Fourth, there are 45 playable characters. That’s insane. And it will take at least 3 playthroughs to get them all. Each has a specific nuance to the story and will impact a future playthrough. It’s just wild when I write this out, that I actually collected all of those multiple times.

Fifth, there are 12 endings in Chrono Cross. 12! Only 2 you can get on the first playthrough. That feels like a giant hurdle.

I have tried to play Chrono Cross over the years; I still have the disks. Unfortunately, the scaling is wonky between the game and the menu, as the latter appears hard-coded. Which is honestly a shame, since the game really is quite good. Even in the emulation scene, CC is notoriously hard to configure.

The last bit here is if this is a remaster or a remake. From a resource perspective, I don’t see how they would have a team to remake the game, in secret, while also working on FF7. Nor that the sales would ever justify that investment, unless it was a pitch to get a new entry in the series (like with Mass Effect). Remaster seems the more reasonable approach, where the interface has a simple update, and we get the overlay boosts (faster combat/travel/etc…)

It’s no secret that SquareEnix is looking to recoup some money after recent financial hurdles. Pixel remasters of 1-6 abound. FF12 Zodiac Age made mint. Given the recent re-release of FF9, it’s certainly feasible to remaster Chrono Cross for today’s PC / Switch crowd. I’d certainly give it a go.

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