During this week in 1993, Chrono Trigger, one the greatest RPG’s of all time was released for the Super Nintendo in North America.
The game was inspired by Hironobu Sakaguchi’s, Yuji Joii’s and Akira Toriyama’s “something that had not been done before”. When they returned to Japan, they assembled a game design dream team consisting of Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator of the Final Fantasy series), Yuji Horii (creator of Dragon Quest), Nobuo Uematsu (music composer of the Final Fantasy series), Yasunori Matsuda (iconic video game composer) and Akira Toriyama (creator of Dragon Ball). The goal was to create the greatest video game of all time.
Development began in 1993 for Chrono Trigger. The first year was spent fleshing out the game’s story. The initial name for the game was Maru Island and was intended to be part of the Seiken Densetsu franchise. The game was originally due to be released on the Super Famicom Disk System, however, when this project was canceled, the game was rebranded for the Super Famicom and Super Nintendo on a cartridge, now named Chrono Trigger.
A group of heroes must prevent a global catastrophe. The group is not only able to venture to distant lands but also through time by the use of a teleporter. They are tasked with averting a time paradox. By correcting the paradox, a butterfly effect is created that has consequences for the group, their friends, family and also the whole world. Gameplay occurs across multiple time periods such as prehistoric earth, middle ages, and a post-apocalyptic future. The ultimate goal is to undo the paradox, write the wrongs of each era and return home. Chrono Trigger was the first game to include multiple endings. Your actions, the allies you choose, and the quests you complete will ultimately determine the ending to the story.
Release and Reception
The development team had great expectations for Chrono Trigger. Luckily for the team who had poured their heart and soul into the project, the game was a best-seller in Japan. In the first two months, two million copies were sold and by the end of 1995, it was the third best-selling game of the year. Chrono Trigger is considered one of the greatest games of all time. It appears in the top 100 video games of all time from IGN (ranked #13) as well as many other ‘best game’ lists. The SNES release of the game received an aggregated score of 96% on Metacritic.
Chrono Trigger has been released on three different platforms in the West, Super Nintendo (1995), Sony PlayStation (2001) and Nintendo DS (2008). Each re-release added a feature that made it superior to its predecessor. The PlayStation version introduced orchestral tracks, anime cutscenes make this version the complete edition. They added a monster-battling arena, two new areas and a new ending that leads into the sequel, Chrono Cross.
There are technically two sequels to Chrono Trigger, however, only one was ever released outside Japan. Radical Dreams was a text-based game released for the failed Satellaview program in 1996. It was designed to fill some story aspects of Chrono Trigger that were left unanswered. Radical Dreams was intended to be included in the Nintendo DS version of Chrono Trigger as an easter egg. However, the developer of Radical Dreams forbade its inclusion as he was not happy with the text-based adventure he had created.
Chrono Cross was released for Sony PlayStation in 1999. This is the true sequel to Chrono Trigger. Although it introduces new characters and a new setting, it follows the events of the original and introduces new elements such as parallel worlds. Fans of the original should definitely give the sequel a try.
Unfortunately, Chrono Trigger is not a part of the games list for the Super Nintendo Classic set to be released on the 29th of September. However, it is available on multiple platforms including SNES, PlayStation, Nintendo DS, iOS and Android.