The lights are on
When we were in Tokyo for our Final Fantasy XV coverage, we talked to a lot of industry legends about the Final Fantasy series. One of those people was Takashi Tokita, a producer and senior manager at Square Enix. Tokita was the lead designer of Final Fantasy IV, but he was also one of the directors on another beloved RPG: Chrono Trigger. Tokita shared some behind-the-scenes info on that classic game, and talked about how he would like to see it resurface.
Chrono Trigger tops the list of Best RPGs Ever for many fans of the genre, but part of its appeal is tied to its time and place. When it released in Japan in 1995, the two biggest RPG franchises were controlled by different companies: Final Fantasy under Square, and Dragon Quest under Enix. Therefore, part of the magic of Chrono Trigger was that it was an unlikely collaboration of the best and brightest RPG talent on both sides. Tokita thinks this contributes to the idea of Chrono Trigger being considered untouchable by some fans – and even Square Enix itself. “It’s probably considered sacred since the companies merged,” he says. “It was essentially a dream mix between Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest; creating or exceeding what it was in its original form is a very difficult feat.”
Chrono Trigger wasn’t only exciting to play – according to Tokita, it was also exciting to create. When describing the game’s development, he paints a party-like picture. “Once everyone was done developing Final Fantasy VI, hordes of staff helped out on Chrono Trigger,” he says. “At the end, we had a couple hundred working on the game at the same time. It was kind of like a grand festival – it was really fun. [Tetsuya] Nomura was actually creating the environment background pieces in Chrono Trigger – like the courthouse scene, that was created by him. But everyone probably enjoyed how we were able to do things we’d never done with Chrono Trigger. That was the most exciting part.”
Despite all the love for Chrono Trigger (and even its sequel, Chrono Cross), Square Enix has been reluctant to tap into the fanbase and do anything with the franchise. However, fans aren’t the only ones who would like to see it resurrected. “Personally, if there is ever an opportunity, I would love to see a high-quality, high-end version of Chrono Trigger,” Tokita says. “Or a movie production, or something of the sort.” Even if it’s not a full-fledged sequel, maybe someday Square Enix will revisit the series in some form.
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