It is a rare thing for several geniuses to come together and pool their efforts into a single project. In 1992, this happened in the video game industry. Three incredibly talented people joined together to create what may be the greatest video game of all time. The "Dream Team" as they were called consisted of Hironobu Sakaguchi (the creator of the Final Fantasy series), Yuji Horii (the creator of the Dragon Quest series ), and Akira Toriyama (the creator of Dragon Ball Z). Together, they made Chrono Trigger for the Super Nintendo.
Chrono Trigger is a story about heroes from all across time joining together to stop their world from being destroyed by an alien menace. It has amazing gameplay, engaging characters, a powerful story, a beautiful soundtrack, and graphics that pushed the Super Nintendo to its limits. If you haven't played this game before, then you need to rectify that fact as soon as possible.
We are here today to look into the creation of one of the greatest video games of all time. From the abandoned 8th party member to Robo's connection to Rick Astley.
Here are Fifteen Things You Never Knew About Chrono Trigger!
15 Gaspar Was Going To Be The 8th Playable Character
The Internet was once a fertile breeding ground for urban legends surrounding popular video games. Final Fantasy VII and Pokémon were the biggest targets of these fake secrets. Numerous websites were dedicated to the overly complicated methods of bringing Aeris back to life and finding Mewthree beneath the truck next to the S.S. Anne.
As news of the existence of emulators grew more widespread, some older games received a resurgence in interest. Chrono Trigger was one such title. It would soon receive its own false secrets and urban legends. The most popular of these was the rumours of a hidden 8th playable character. Magus' sister, Schala, was a common suggestion for this, as her fate was left ambiguous in Chrono Trigger.
An eighth character was planned for the game at one point. In the Chrono Trigger V-Jump Player's Guide, there were several unused character designs that were drawn by Akira Toriyama. One of these confirmed that Gaspar, the old man waiting at the end of time, was once going to be playable. He would have worn his Zeal outfit and used his staff in battle.
14 Spekkio Has A Form That Most Players Won't See
When Crono and his friends reach the end of time, they are instructed to visit a being known as Spekkio, who will help them on their journey. Spekkio is the God of War, with the ability to give some of your party members the ability to use magic. The party can visit Spekkio throughout the game and battle him for prizes.
Spekkio has several different forms. When you first encounter him, he will most likely resemble one of the Kilwala enemies. The form he takes is based on the level of the weakest party member. If you manage to get everyone to level 99, then you can battle Spekkio's ultimate form - the Pink Nu!
If a player is attempting a low-level run of Chrono Trigger, then they will encounter the true first form of Spekkio. If a party member is a level lower than ten, then Spekkio will be in the form of a frog when first encountered. If you play the game normally (without running from encounters), then you will almost certainly meet the Kilwala form first.
13 Chrono Trigger Has An Obscure Sequel
In Japan, the Super Nintendo received an add-on that was used as a very early form of online access. It was called the Satellaview and it allowed for games to be downloaded via a satellite modem connection. Nintendo sold blank cartridges, which could contain games that were purchased through the service. The Satellaview was home to a series of unique Zelda games and an obscure sequel to Chrono Trigger.
Despite Chrono Trigger being a critical and commercial success, its sequel was released without much fanfare. It was called Radical Dreamers and it followed three thieves trying to break into a mansion, in order to steal a mystical relic, known as the Frozen Flame. The connection to Chrono Trigger comes from two of the party members, Magil and Kid. Magil is revealed to Magus and Kid is the reincarnation of Schala, caused by the Frozen Flame.
As Radical Dreamers was only released in Japan, it never received an official localisation. A group of fans have created an unofficial English patch for the game, allowing international fans to play it for the first time.
12 The Leaked Prototype
The Super Nintendo's use of cartridges meant that demos of new games could not be bundled with magazines. Some of the systems that used floppy disks (like the Amiga) had the ability to release demos for new games. This became more of an issue when the Nintendo 64 stuck to using cartridges, as the PlayStation could also feature demo discs with their magazines.
In 1994, a demo cartridge of Chrono Trigger was issued to certain Japanese gaming magazines and stores. It featured several different scenarios from the game, with the rest of it being sealed off with invisible walls. A ROM file of the Chrono Trigger demo was leaked online during the early days of emulation. Through the use of cheats, players could access the rest of the unfinished version of the game.
The Chrono Trigger demo contains some unusual things. The Epoch was once intended to have a hovercraft form. A sprite for the world map exists of a figure clad in brown (which is believed to be a soldier from the 600 AD era). There was going to be an arena in the future era, which is referred to as the "Robot Village" within the game's files. The Lavos boss battle arena looks more metallic than the one seen in the final version of the game.
One of the biggest discoveries in the Chrono Trigger demo was a look at something that fans had been clamouring to see for years...
11 The Secret Of Singing Mountain
When Chrono Trigger's soundtrack was released, fans noticed that there was a song on it that didn't appear in the game. It was called "Singing Mountain" and it was a mournful piece, that fans lamented the absence of. The composer of the game, Yasunori Mitsuda, was asked about the song in an interview. He said that it was intended to be used in a dungeon that never made it into the final version of the game.
The leaked prototype of Chrono Trigger actually contains pieces of the lost dungeon. It was intended to appear in the prehistoric era and would have been discovered after acquiring the Dactyls. The Singing Mountain was a lava-themed cavern, that contained a maze of caves and several areas intended for bosses. These maps were totally removed from the retail version of the game and replaced with the areas from the Black Omen.
When Chrono Trigger was ported to the Nintendo DS, it included several new areas. One of the new additions to this version of the game was the inclusion of the Singing Mountain song, which was used in the Frozen Cliffs dungeon.
10 Ayla's Censored Sexuality
As Chrono Trigger was released on the Super Nintendo, it was subjected to Nintendo's harsh censorship practises of the time. Some of the biggest alterations happened to alcohol, with it being changed to soda or soup, depending on the context in which it was used. Final Fantasy VI underwent similar changes to its content. This was one of the reasons that Squaresoft jumped ship to the Sony PlayStation, as they wanted to be free to tell more adult stories. When emulation led to the creation of fan translations (through patches), both Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI received new English fan translations that more closely followed the scripts of the original Japanese versions of the game.
One of the changes made to Chrono Trigger was the toning down of Ayla's dialogue. When she is first encountered, Ayla mentions that she likes strong men and women equally. If Lucca is in the party, she reacts by saying she isn't into that sort of thing. This dialogue was changed to Ayla respecting strong people, with Lucca thinking she is crazy. These scenes were given a more accurate translation in the Nintendo DS version of Chrono Trigger.
9 The Future Of Leene Square
The events of Chrono Trigger truly begin with the Millenial Fair in Leene Square. When Crono accidentally runs into Marle, the two quickly hit it off and explore the fair together. After engaging in some of the carnival games and talking to the NPCs, both Crono and Marle visit Lucca's sideshow. Lucca and her father have developed a short range teleporter and are looking for people to test it out. When Marle steps up to try the teleporter, her pendant sends her back in time. Crono followers her into the past and their adventure begins.
In several of the game's main endings, the Millenial Fair is featured prominently. It seems that the developers had more plans for this area, as another version of Leene Square was set to appear in the future. When players were going through the Chrono Trigger demo, they discovered incomplete maps for a futuristic version of Leene Square. What this was going to be used for is unclear. Would the players have discovered the remnants of Leene Square in the ruins of the world? It's possible that the area was going to be rebuilt in one of the endings of the game, as the remaining humans regain control of their planet.
8 Crono's Death Was Going To Be Permanent
Chrono Trigger has one of the most shocking moments in all of video game history. Crono is killed during the first battle against Lavos. This is a permanent death that cannot be fixed with spells or items (like when a character falls in battle). As the game includes time travel, Crono's death can be undone through a quest that involves replacing him at the last second with a clone.
At one point during development, Crono's death was intended to be permanent. The other player characters would be able to replace Crono with a younger version of himself from the past. When Lavos was finally defeated, this younger version of Crono would be returned to the past, with his fate still sealed.
As development on Chrono Trigger continued, Crono's death was made reversible, as it was thought to be too depressing. It is still possible to see an ending that is similar to this original concept. You can witness it during a New Game plus, by killing Lavos before you save Crono.
7 The Missingno Sword
One of the most famous glitches in video game history is Missingno. It could be seen within the first generation of Pokémon games. By forcing a random encounter with a wild Pokémon in an area that has no enemy data, the game will create a whole new Pokémon from scratch. This glitched out Pokémon was often called Missingno, which is a shortened version of "missing number" (as the game is looking for the number that corresponds to a Pokémon).
A similar glitch exists within Chrono Trigger. It is possible for the player to receive a weapon known as the Wolflobe Sword. There are several methods for acquiring the sword, which mainly involves repeatedly using Ayla's Charm ability on certain enemies. The name Wolflobe comes from the game mixing the names of several other swords into one, as it tries to create something entirely new. Once the battle ends, the sword will not actually appear in your inventory, as there exists no data for it.
6 The True Name Of The Masamune
One of the most divisive figures among old-school RPG fans is a man named Ted Woolsey. He was the guy responsible for the English localisations of Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. Depending on who you ask, he is either the man who discarded the original meanings of key scenes and replaced them with corny jokes, or the guy who added character and levity to scenes that would have been lost if he had stuck to the original script.
When it comes to Chrono Trigger, Woolsey's most frequent alterations happened to the character of Frog. The addition of Frog's antiquated English accent was a creation of Woolsey. Frog's dialogue was given a more literal translation in the DS version of Chrono Trigger.
The most puzzling change made by Woolsey concerns the Masamune sword. In the Japanese version of the game, the Masamune is actually called the Grandleon sword. This also means that the spirits within the sword are named Grand and Leon (instead of Masa & Mune). The reason for this change has never been stated. Most fans suspect that the change was to link Chrono Trigger to the Final Fantasy series, as several Masamune swords appear there.
5 The Xenogears Cameo
In recent years, Square Enix has become more open to the idea of crossovers within their games. The characters of the Final Fantasy series have fought each other in the Dissidia games and battled to the sound of music in the Theatrhythm titles. Characters from multiple Square Enix games have appeared in the Lords of Vermilion series, as well as their numerous mobile phone games.
The one game that tends to be left out of any crossover is Chrono Trigger. Outside of a few songs appearing in Theatrhythm, the Chrono games are rarely referenced within other Square Enix titles. This might be a show of respect towards one of their greatest games, as they leave it within its own bubble that is disconnected from the rest of the company.
One of the few exceptions to this happened in Xenogears for the original PlayStation. If the player explores the village of Lahan, then they will run into Lucca from Chrono Trigger. She will explain to the player how save points work. Her cameo is due to the fact that Chrono Trigger and Xenogears were both written by Masato Kato.
4 The Lost Dungeon Within The Sealed Pyramid
When players reach the age of Antiquity/the Dark Ages in Chrono Trigger, they will see two different world maps. The first is a desolate land that is covered in snow. The second are the floating islands of Zeal, which carry several cities. One of these islands contains a blue pyramid. The player does not get a chance to visit this island or its pyramid, as the floating landmasses all fall to the earth before you can visit the final island.
The blue pyramid will reappear in the present day. It cannot be accessed without using Schala's pendant. After all the speculation, you will finally discover that the pyramid contains... a choice between two treasure chests.
When looking through the files of the Chrono Trigger demo, fans discovered that a lot more was planned for the pyramid. Originally, an entrance to a new dungeon was going to appear from the floor of the pyramid. A full dungeon was designed for this area, though it lacks any chests or enemies. No one knows what this mysterious dungeon was going to contain, but it had to be more interesting than a choice between two chests.
3 The Fate Of Lucca's Mother
One of the most emotional moments in Chrono Trigger involves Lucca's solo journey to the past. In the present day, Lucca's mother lives in their family home, but she will never leave her chair. Once the party brings Robo back online in the present day, Lucca will wander into the forest and discover a new time portal.
Lucca is sent back to her own past. She witnesses her mother being caught within the gears of a machine. If you work out the clues left in the notes around the house, then you can save Lucca's mother from the accident that costs her the use of her legs. Should you return to Lucca's home after this point, then her mother will be able to walk again.
In the original version of the game found within the demo, it was going to be impossible to save Lucca's mother from her accident. Going on the text files within the game, it seems that the accident was inevitable. There is no dialogue for stopping the machine and the code to stop it is given as a series of numbers instead of letters.
2 The Secret Passage
One of the most popular characters in Chrono Trigger is Schala. She is the sister of Magus and the heir to the Kingdom of Zeal. Schala is forced to use her magical abilities to help her mother's mad scheme to awaken Lavos. Schala's ambiguous fate was a major loose end for many fans, as one of the main endings involves Magus going back in time to search for her. The fate of Schala ended up being an important plot point in both Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross.
It seems that Schala was going to have a bigger role in Chrono Trigger than what we saw in the final game. When the party is captured in the Kingdom of Zeal, they are freed by Schala. They are then sent back in time, with the portal sealed behind them. This all happens within a cutscene.
The demo of Chrono Trigger contains a dungeon that is hidden behind the bookshelf in Schala's room. The dungeon lacks any enemies or chests and would likely have ended with the characters being caught by the Prophet (leading to the events that happen in the final version of the game). This may have been a stealth-based dungeon, as the characters are trying to escape from a city without being caught. That concept may have been moved to the Blackbird jet dungeon instead.
One of the most popular and annoying pastimes of the Internet is called "rickrolling". This is when you send someone a video link and pretend it's something that they want to see, but when they click on it, it turns out to be the song "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. You can expect to see these around the time that a trailer for a highly anticipated movie is about to drop. You should be wary if someone posts a YouTube link with no screenshot, with a caption saying "The trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi leaked early, it looks amazing!". Chances are, you will be staring at Rick Astley instead of Luke Skywalker.
When rickrolling became popular, fans noticed that the song sounded very similar to "Robo's Theme" from Chrono Trigger. Surely this was a coincidence? Chrono Trigger was made in Japan in the early '90s. Would a Japanese composer have even heard of Rick Astley?
In 2008, the answer was finally revealed. Chrono Trigger was composed by a man named Yasunori Mitsuda. During an interview, he was played "Never Gonna Give You Up" and asked if he had heard it before. Mitsuda confirmed that he had never heard the song until that moment. He wasn't giving a shoutout to Rick Astley, to whom most of the world was ignorant of until the turn of the millennium. He couldn't have known that the song was going to be popular... unless he had a time machine.