The Little Franchise That Could If Square Actually Let It

I don’t get it. What exactly is the reason for Square Enix’s treatment of Chrono Trigger over the years? The only “sequel” to the game did away with all of the characters everyone loved in the first place, and then nothing for years. In 2004, a fan-created game, called Chrono Resurrection, was announced, in an attempt to recreate the original game in a 3D engine. Obviously, Square’s lawyers beat it down like a red-headed stepchild, earning more ill-will from fans of the franchise.

Finally, last month, a ticking clock appears on Square’s homepage. But no, it wasn’t a new game. Square is simply re-releasing the game as a full-priced cartridge for the Nintendo DS. And now Square’s announced that Europe, which never even saw an SNES release of Chrono Trigger, will have to wait even longer than the U.S. to play it on the DS.

This isn’t anything new for Square. Sure, Chrono Trigger would have made a great Virtual Console release, and would surely have been more graciously received than its announcement for the DS. But Square already re-released Chrono Trigger for the Playstation, and has been re-releasing the older, 2D Final Fantasy games for years; first for the Playstation, then the Game Boy Advance, and now the DS. Since FF fans keep snapping them up, why sell for anything less than full price? I’m sure sales for Chrono Trigger DS will be just as strong, since fans of the game have been starving for anything new for it for years.

Still, why does Final Fantasy keep stretching the definition of “final,” while Chrono Trigger gets neglected? I tried playing the FF games, I really did, but random battles drive me absolutely insane. If it hadn’t been for Chrono and friends, I likely would have dismissed J-RPGs altogether.

I’m not alone there, either. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard from a friend, “Yeah, I don’t really like most Japanese RPGs. Except Chrono Trigger, that was great,” or some variation. It’s got nearly universal acclaim, and is one of the most beloved games for the original SNES. A boxed and sealed copy went for $1,217 on eBay in February. Can any FF game say that?

With all this universal praise and adoration for the game, I just don’t understand why Square hasn’t seen fit to continue the series. I understand that the original development team was a “dream team” of sorts in the Japanese game industry that would fetch a high price these days, but there are members of the team, such as composer Yasunori Mitsuda, who are eager to reunite.

I’m crossing my fingers and praying that Square will be using the sales of the DS re-release to judge public demand for a true Chrono Trigger sequel. I know that, for all my ranting, it might be enough for me to finally get a DS.

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