Yesterday, Owl Boy creator Simon Stafsnes Andersen posted an interesting mock-up trailer for a lovely looking follow up to one of the most beloved RPG franchises of all time, the Chrono series. Which had me thinking, is anything like this even possible? Well, the short answer is “I’m not sure”. If you’re a fan of classic RPGs like I am, you may be familiar with what many fans of the genre called the “Dream Team” of developers. The team was put together by Square to create Chrono Trigger for the Super Nintendo in 1995 but over the years several of these members have either left to create their own companies or moved on to larger roles in the company. Let’s go through the roster, shall we?
We’ll start off with the big guns. Square pulled together the creators of two of the largest RPG franchises to ever hit game consoles; Final Fantasy’s Hironobu Sakaguchi & Dragon Quest’s Yuji Horii. To explain just how big of a deal this was at the time we need to explain a couple of things. The company now known as Square-Enix was once two companies Squaresoft & Enix. When it came to JRPG in the 90s, Enix’s Dragon Quest and Square’s Final Fantasy were kings of the genre. The idea of the developers of these two juggernauts of coming together would have been enough to make any RPG fan excited… but it doesn’t stop there. The final developer that needs to be mentioned is Akira Toriyama. Most know Toriyama as the creator of Dragon Ball although he also worked with Horii on Dragon Quest and later with Sakaguchi on Mistwalker’s Blue Dragon series of games. While the three have worked on and off together, the three haven’t teamed up since Chrono Trigger. This is where difficulty starts to mount for a possible sequel. Sakaguchi has left Square-Enix to start his own company Mistwalker and while Horii works freelance on games like Dragon Quest XI, he has shown little interest in coming back to the series. While Horii has been apprehensive, he hasn’t completely written it off so it’s possible given the right team and situation he may come back. Toriyama is a bit of a wild card as Dragon Ball Super’s success has pushed the franchise to an all-time high although it is currently on hiatus.
Square also had multiple writers and directors on the game as well comprising of Yoshinori Kitase, Takashi Tokita & Masato Kato. Yoshinori Kitase was credited as both a writer and director on the game. Kitase has become one of the main producers at Square-Enix but gained fame as a scenario writer for Final Fantasy V-X. Another future Square-Enix all-star director, Takashi Tokita was given his first shot as a director with Crono Trigger. Takashi had been a scenario writer on Final Fantasy IV and would go on to direct Parasite Eve and The Bouncer. Masato Kato who would go on to become a scriptwriter for Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Cross & Final Fantasy XI was tapped to be the main scenario writer for the game along with Yuji Horii. While it may be possible for Kitase and Tokita would come back as producers, I don’t imagine them taking much more of a role than that. Kato, on the other hand, has also left the company after working on Final Fantasy XI although has worked with the company as a freelancer.
Square also brought Yasunori Mitsuda to helm the games soundtrack and sound design. This would be Mitsuda’s first game that he was the main composer for but he would go on to helm major projects like the Xenosaga, Xenogears, Xenoblade games and Inazuma Eleven. In an odd twist of fate, Mitsuda became sick during development and Square tapped Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu to take the reigns and finish the title’s soundtrack. Both composers have now left Square-Enix to become freelance composers working with both Square-Enix & Nintendo as well as Sakaguchi’s Mistwalker Studios over the last couple of years.
So here’s what we do Nintendo, become the middleman. Offer up the option to pay for the rights to further versions of the series (much like they did with SEGA & Bayonetta) and court Horii, Sakaguchi, Mitsuda & Kato to come back together and work on the series. Now that all of them have gone the freelance route, Nintendo may be able to become the middle ground needed for these individuals to create the game they want and create another great entry to the series. Remember, while Chrono Cross was released for PlayStation, Chrono Trigger was a Nintendo Exclusive. Square Enix has shown a great level of support for the Nintendo Switch so far. Furthermore, games such as Sonic Mania, Octopath Traveler & Owl Boy show that these styles of games can still be popular with the right platform and support. So I say we pull a Muppet’s Movie and get the band back together for one more go at the Chrono Series!